If you haven’t read part one to this story, here it is.
After the worst plane ride imaginable, it was with great relief that we landed in Atlanta. AJ and I just looked at each other and breathed a sigh of relief. Of course, the relief was for mere moments, because we had to get off the plane, change our tickets, and get to a hotel. Yes, these seem like simple tasks, but both AJ and I are weak (in the moment), sick (unbelievably so) and barely holding it together (understandably so).
While everyone else exits the plane, we game plan, mostly because we wouldn’t be able to move if we wanted to. How are we going to do this? We have a carseat, stroller, a push wagon (for Maggie to push around), two carry ons, a backpack, my purse and a baby! When we are at our best, this isn’t an easy task. We settled on a plan and jumped into action. Well, stumbled into action. I carried Maggie in the Ergo (basically a front holding baby carrier), my purse, and one bag. I’ve got the important cargo. AJ put on the backpack, attached the carseat to the carry on, and grabbed the stroller from the gate. In other words, he’s got all the rest of the cargo.
As I walk up the ramp and pass the gate area where our stroller is sitting, I notice the wagon isn’t with it. I’m typically thrifty, but right now all I could think was “Screw it! Just keep moving.” At the end of the ramp, I am about to throw up again, I sit in the seats closest to the gate, while everyone stares at me as if I’m carrying a virus that could wipe out Atlanta. Of course, as far as we know, this could be true.
AJ comes up the ramp and looks worse than I feel. That, to my mind, scares the heck out of me about how I look, cause I feel miserable. We are a sight! The flight crew tells us we have to change our tickets at another gate. So here we go, shuffling through the terminal. I kept having to tell myself not to vomit before suddenly being stricken with fear that I would pass out and fall on Maggie. I’m so weak, I keep seeing spots. Must. Sit. Now. I find a seat and plop down. I tell AJ to go on without me. He does. Jerk.
He makes it to the counter where he is like the 15th person in line. 15 people! I can’t make it through 15 people! And I’m sitting down. AJ’s never going to make it. Next time I look up, he’s holding himself up on the stantions – can’t be comfortable or stable. Please don’t fall over. I look up again. He’s got his head down on the counter. Progress.
Through this, I’m sitting down, debating breaking out one of the 10 vomit bags I’m carrying in my purse. Running to the bathroom with all of our stuff isn’t an option. If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen here. I’ve put Maggie down to let her crawl around a little bit despite the fact I don’t have the energy to chase after her. As soon as I do, I hear gasps all around me. Not kidding, one lady screamed. I look at Maggie and the back of her jammies are bright red. WTF!!!! Is she bleeding out of her back?!? I quickly pick her up and look in side her diaper. All I can think is, please…please, a cut, a scrape, a bit. Please don’t be bleeding from your butt! I do the thing that mom’s do…I smell her clothes. Sugary. Sweet. Thank God. It’s just Gatorade. She has sat in Gatorade. I loudly announce to everyone around me, my child is fine, she sat in Gatorade. I, literally, hear several…”Thank Gods”. One lady sees my situation and tries to help me put Maggie in the stroller, but Maggie decides this is the time for a full blown meltdown. Thankfully, AJ walks over with good news – Delta set us up in a hotel and rebooked us the next day for no charge. He also has bad news – our bags were booked through to LA and since they didn’t get sick, they didn’t have to get off the plane in Atlanta. Lucky bags. So we have nothing to change into. Great. AJ buys ugly Atlanta sweatshirts. I notice there is a perimeter around us, that no one seems to be entering. Of course there is, we look like hell, smell like vomit and diarrhea and our baby looks like she has blood coming out of her tiny little butt. I wouldn’t come near us either.
We head to baggage claim. I can’t get on a tram – more motion would not sit well – and the moving walkways are making me nauseous. Everything’s making me nauseous, but those, in particular, were making me miserable. We walk, through “the world’s busiest airport” for what seems like FOREVER. Our terminal to ground transportation is the farthest distance one can be between two points at the Hartsfield Airport. Phew. Feeling like death and exercising. Everyone’s favorite.
At baggage claim we ask someone with an Atlanta Airport badge where taxis are. He directs us to the shuttle. We ask someone else. Same response. AJ pleads with the man. “We’ve got a baby and we just need to get to the hotel. Please, where are the Taxis?” he says. “I can take you,” says the man. I think if I was in the right state of mind, I would have said no and kept looking for the taxis, but we were exhausted, sick and smelly. Not to mention it is 40 degrees outside and we are in diarhhea and vomit covered beachwear, so we take him up on the offer. Now this would typically be the part of the story where we all end up wrapped in plastic in someone’s basement, but it all worked out and we made it to our new home in Atlanta, called Holiday Inn Express.
This would have been great, but the Holiday Inn Express, apparently has no cribs. This is not ideal when you’re talking about a sick, sleepless, mobile baby. We did what we could and I built a crib/pen for Maggie with the room furniture, complete with its own electrical socket. Not ideal at all.
I sent AJ to WalMart to buy us some meds, clothes and pedialite. While he is out, I find a laundry room in the hotel and decide to wash all of our clothes. I don’t have anything to wear that isn’t covered in vomit or diarrhea except my scarf. So I make a scarf dress out of the scarf and walk to the laundry room. Nobody saw me, but if they had, they would have thought I was a hooker. Since this was my only option, I was fine with my new hooker look, especially since I had to take Maggie with me. So I guess I was a hooker with a baby, also known as, an off-duty hooker. Once I get to the laundry room, I realize I am short 1 quarter, and my wallet (AJ) is out at Walmart. I get Maggie to sleep and collapse next to her. AJ returns, leans over and says “At least it doesn’t really get worse than this.”
The next morning, I have a fever and can’t keep my eyes open for the entire morning. AJ does laundry and Maggie has constant diarrhea every 15 minutes. We keep weighing taking her to the hospital versus getting on the plane. AJ takes Maggie around for a walk and when they return she seems to be better.
We pack up, deciding to fly to LA. We just want to get home. All ready to go, AJ picks up Maggie and she pukes all over him and his newly clean clothes. So he decides to wear the black pants he bought for me at Walmart. He picks them up and puts them on. The pants are a size 26W/28W. AJ thought that was the waist size. Or that I’m a planet. I am a size 6/8! So is he. He tries to wear the pants but he looks like a poor Arabian Knight. We decide he has to wear his jeans that smell like vomit…again.
We finally go to the airport and just wait. We board our plane and we both just want everything to be okay. I’m still sick and Maggie is sick. At least AJ is feeling better. So, there’s hope the end is near. As the plane takes off, Maggie falls asleep, so I fall asleep. I woke up 3 hours into the flight, with one hour left. I look over and see Maggie is still asleep, AJ is asleep, so I cry. I cry because I’m so thankful that she will have slept through the flight. I cry because the last 36 hours have been a living nightmare. I cry because we are almost home, we did it. From here on out, things are smooth. We find our bags, that Delta was holding for us. A nice gentleman gives us his SUV cab because we had more stuff than him. We get home and Maggie wakes up and squeals with delight because she sees her room. The past 72 hours for her, have been hell. It is completely understandable that she wants to be home. Our dog Gilmore is ecstatic that we are home. He probably thinks he has been neglected while we were gone and probably thought he was going through hell. Whatever Gilmore, whatever!