We made it back! We were greeted by a grey sky and rain but I wouldn’t expect anything else and after such a long journey of being cooped up in a dry aired plane I was happy to feel the rain on my tired cheeks. The journey really surprised us coming home with the first two legs being the longest were actually more enjoyable and easier than our very short flight from Paris to London. The flight times home are always slightly longer than the outward journey due to winds (so I was told once) and I was also a tad worried about getting ill again mid flight but we all managed to sleep on the second leg and this made it so much easier and more enjoyable. We were then viewing our final part as a breeze, a forty-five minute flight after nine and twelve hour flights consecutively would be no problem at all right? Wrong. Oh God it was awful. Firstly we had a five hour stop over in Paris which was actually fine but added to our tiredness even if we didn’t feel it at the time. We were allowed onto the aircraft where we were then delayed. At least being delayed in the airport you can walk around but when on the plane you are stuck, this is not good when you have a tired baby on your hands. There was only so much breastfeeding I could do to calm her down and she was getting herself wired. I knew we wouldn’t get her to sleep on board as she is not the type of baby who will fall asleep on you no matter how tired she is. So we had a groggy baby, we were stuck on the runway and I could feel myself starting to panic about the flight. My panic grew as the plane finally started to taxi and once we took off the fear set in. Like I said the first two flights were fine and for some reason I don’t get as scared on larger planes. This could be due to the size and not being able to feel and hear every noise the flight makes but the smaller flights my deary me do I shit my pants. The exhaustion definitely wasn’t helping the situation for both myself or Eddie who was getting frustrated with me. His frustration with my irrational behaviour which is understandable only made things worse though. And while this is all going on Elbie is super wired and trying to pull and grab everything in sight and crying if she couldn’t get what she wanted. It was a forty-five minute nightmare. Then of course we landed, safely may I add and once we were eventually let off the plane all was forgotten and Elbie could sleep. Home! Well almost, we still needed to drive back from the airport but no more air travel and the rest of our journey was uneventful. Back to reality and to try and introduce some sort of routine again.
This blog post has been sitting in my draft folder since we arrived in Sydney on the 21st of December. I have been meaning to post it but we have been so busy I haven’t had the chance. Now as we start to prepare for our epic journey home I thought I better get it up. Who knows travelling home may be a different story altogether.
It was our first Christmas in Australia as a family. Actually it was both Elbie’s and my first Christmas in Australia so it was all pretty exciting while packing at home. The long flight though was something if honest I was dreading before we left. I’m not the best flyer and usually struggle with the 24+ hour journey anyway but the thought of having to look after a baby on top of worrying about death every time the plane makes a new noise filled me with anxiety. We have travelled a lot with Elbie already and it wasn’t her first flight but long haul is very different to a flight to France. It is a long time to be awake looking after a baby in a confined space while trying not to have a panic attack. But like most things with babies that I have discovered, the thought of it compared to the reality is usually vastly different and it was actually OK.
Elbie was a superstar and dealt with everything in her stride. I fed her going up and down which not only helps her ears but also calms me down (mostly). She looks up at me nipple in mouth and if she could speak I’m sure she would be saying “sort your shit out mum, this is fun”. So with that little face and those big eyes looking up at me I calm down a notch. Elbie is having a great time. We were super organised and had booked seats with a bassinet months in advance thinking the bassinet was essential to our journey but we hadn’t quite thought it through. Elbie sleeps on her front and we use ‘crying out’ to get her to sleep so this threw up a couple of issues. She didn’t have much room for her arms and her little chicken wings would knock against the side, this made it near impossible for her to get comfortable. We also decided ‘crying out’ wouldn’t make us very popular with our fellow passengers either so we ended up using the ergo baby. This meant that one of us couldn’t sleep when she slept, well, mainly Eddie who is my hero travelling buddy husband. I have to say I was close to useless 37000ft up in the air at hour 15. It was long but we made it though. If anyone is thinking of taking a long flight with a baby who is older than six months I would say a baby carrier like our ergo baby is essential. We would have gone crazy without it.
The next challenge we encountered on our big trip was the inevitable bastard jetlag. I said I was dreading the flight but this was the big monster I was really worried about. Every time we come to Australia I take about five days to adjust and I was very concerned that we were going to be like zombies in a far away time zone dealing with our daughter who had no idea what time of day or night it was. I think it made a huge difference taking a flight that arrived in the evening but again though I was pleasantly surprised at how easily she adjusted. Now don’t get me wrong the first three or four nights weren’t much of a laugh but between the two of us we managed it and I also think it made us get over our own jetlag quickly. I used delicious baby blog to help guide me with our baby jetlag, I found it very helpful and kept night awakenings as quiet as possible. Once she had stopped waking at 3am to play she started to sleep amazingly. Her sleep has been an absolute dream since. I’m definitely not counting on it continuing when we get home but I’m in full appreciation right now. Jetlag is usually worse coming this way so there is a glimmer of hope when we return.
We leave in just one day and although my fear of flying is still there hiding at the back of my mind, my dread of travelling that far with a seven month old has gone. Good job too as our family live in Australia and this is a trip we will be making every year.