We all know that travelling with an infant is a trying experience. We all know that having a sick infant is difficult. We all know that being sick and being a mum do not work together.
Accumulate all three together and you are actually in hell.
After our successful, albeit stressful, test run of the airport and plane a few months ago with the baby in tow, I had approached our holiday abroad with the same military plan of attack. Dare I say it, but knowing we were travelling in a group this time had made me slightly over-confident (idiot). Everyone who was asking me how I was feeling about the impending holiday got the same response: “Yeah it’ll be fine, he was ok on the plane last time and we have help.”
The suitcases were organised and packed, we had researched milk and nappies abroad and we had literally bought every travel baby device known to man (including three different mosquito nets, a pram fan, microwave sterilising bags, a beach tent and headphones for the plane). We even had to pay for an extra suitcase to get all the baby paraphernalia in (seriously there is so much crap!).
The word organisation does not go far enough to describe what we were.
And then the day before we travelled we woke up to a baby that had done a green mucous poo and couldn’t keep any milk down. Excellent.
We were lured into a false sense of security the morning we went when he seemed to keep his milk down and the diahorrea seemed to no longer be soaking through every nappy. Excellent, we thought, just one of those 24 hour things. And then we got to the airport. How wrong we were.
I’d begun to feel slightly queasy on the drive over but dismissed it as my usual overactive airport nerves (where is my case going? Will we get all the milk through passport control? What if I’ve left a random lipgloss in my handbag? Will the pram make it to the other side with any wheels intact? What if we don’t have enough time to get to the gate? What if we’re delayed?).
On heading for food after checking in, it dawned on me that this was not nerves. I eyed my baby boy suspiciously and tried not to throw up while perusing Giraffe’s lovely, albeit spicy and exotic (groan), menu. One bite of a plain chicken sandwich and the return of the baby’s projectile sick sent me over the edge and before I knew it I was running to the smelly, grubby airport loos (why are they always so disgusting?) and seeing the contents of my stomach in reverse.
Still, I had false hope. I felt a bit better immediately after and thought it might be like when you’re drunk and you need to be sick but then you feel ok to have another few gins. We hadn’t even boarded when it washed over me again, and again on the plane, and again and again and again.
Of course it’s in this state that we are on a plane that sits on the tarmac for an hour. And of course it was a hot day. And of course the baby and I were taking turns at throwing up. Meanwhile, the baby had also shit through all four outfits we’d brought for him.
I remember at one point my husband decided to order a ham and cheese toastie and I didn’t even have the strength to tell him to stop being a twat and that I’d be sick all over him. But then they didn’t have any toasties left and offered him a tuna sandwich instead and I literally nearly died inside (luckily he turned it down but only because he was being fussy about the contents, not because he was thinking of his fragile sick-spraying wife).
At times the baby screamed so hard I thought he was going to choke and nothing would calm him down. The irony of it is, I think he wanted his Mummy half the time but she had her head between her knees holding a sick bag like a security blanket. All I can say is thank god we were travelling in a group.
I counted the minutes down until we arrived. On emerging from the plane smellier, more dishevelled and frankly sick stained, we then lurched from one transport nightmare to another. Those little airport buses that drive around like the drivers are on speed and fruit juices with added colours and preservatives. A special thank you to the taxi driver who took a bend so fast I nearly vomited over the back of his head – you dodged a bullet there pal.
We reached the villa and I lay on the bed, face to face with my baby boy wimpering “we’re both poorly monkeys baby”.
Just when I thought we’d made it to the finish line and we were all in bed drifting off to sleep (praying that it would be gone by morning), there was a panicked commotion as my husband lurched up out of bed and ran for the toilet. The night was a mixture of sick trips, runny nappies and shivery fevers.
The long and short of it is, I can’t believe that I was worried about the baby being too noisy on the plane and whether I should or shouldn’t take the play gym only days before.
And the sickness didn’t pack its bags and do one the next day.
Of course, there was no option for me the next day and during the night but to get up with the baby even while still feeling ropey, but as those of us with husbands are all too aware, they really do suffer through these things much more intently than us women folk (the poor little lambs) and take to their beds like they’re a waif in a Jane Austen novel.