Ya... so that didn't go as well as I'd hoped. Main problems?
1. Since I was alone, I had to travel during the day, when Ben eats the most often.
2. It takes me about 30 minutes to feed him. Add in a diaper change and trip to the bathroom, and thats about an hour per stop. Counting from the beginning of each feeding, that means an hour until we have to stop again to eat.
3. If you do the math from the first two, you can understand why a 3 hour trip took us 6. Each way. Well, toward the end, the kid just didn't want to be stuck strapped to that seat anymore. Can't say I blame him.
1. Cloth diapers rock and were very easy. Just as easy as the disposables, except bigger of course.
2. When we did stop, Ben was so cooperative with my learning curve. He was wonderful while I stood in lines and put him into awkward positions to change his diaper.
3. Once my sister arrived, the relief was immediate. I went from utter exhaustion to feeling like I could finish the day after all.
On the way down, he was great. He slept for the first hour and a half, I stopped to feed and change him, and everything went off without a hitch. We got all the way down into LA, with him sound asleep. And right as the 405 was meeting the 101, in like 7 lanes of stop and go traffic, I think to myself- this would be the one place where it would be super hard to pull over- and pow!
Ben starts wailing like someone stuck him with a pin. Completely out of nowhere, just working his lungs for all he is worth! I reach back with one hand and pet his head, singing loudly. I am trying to figure out how to get off the freeway (to go where?) and a CHP officer pulls up just to my right, so I have to be extra careful. I somehow get off the freeway, with Ben still screaming, higher and louder than I thought possible. Immediately off the exit I peel into a carwash that I happen to catch sight of.
I park awkwardly off to the side, jump in the back and lock all the doors. As I am bouncing and rocking Ben, (when I still can't calm him, I lay him on my lap and whip off his diaper, putting on a clean one) I am looking around at where we are. It starts to rain, and a burrito truck pulls up near me. A van pulls in and parks right to my left. It looks like they are in line for the car wash, but there is no one in there, since of course, its raining. I am just praying that nobody approaches my car.
Finally Ben quiets and looks tired and peaceful. I set him in the car seat and pull the straps around him. One piece just will not line up and fit into the other. It appears as if it has been put on backwards. But I just got him out of the seat! I figured I must be frazzled from the screaming. I take a deep breath, and try again. And again. And again! Finally there seems to be no other option but to fold the strap in half and try to twist this piece around. By this time Ben's patience is wearing thin. I laugh to myself and tell him, "Someday, kid, I am going to tell you about this trip, and you will laugh. And hopefully so will I". It takes me two hands to muscle the buckle. How did it get flipped? I will never know.
Once we arrive he is extremely cranky. I feed him, but he cannot settle down. He has been fussy anyway, and he really put on a show for Nana. She can't hear well, so every time I would have to answer a question, he would startle and get upset again. She also asked repeatedly if there was something wrong. I explained that he is a little bit fussy in the afternoons, that he just has a little colic, nothing to be concerned about. It was draining. By the evening I could feel my face had fallen, I could barely hold my eyes open. Then Stephanie arrived! Ah what a relief.
I planned to leave early, after Ben's first feeding. Getting everything together had me staying up a little later than usual, after finally getting Ben to sleep. He woke up at 5:30 to eat, and I was feeling pretty well organized, when he blew out his diaper in the middle of his meal! I had to stop everything, change him completely, rinse out his diaper cover and finish feeding him, which added on some extra time. And, poop got all over the breastfeeding pillow, too, so I had to clean that off. We finally left at 7am, which put us right in the middle of rush hour. But what was I going to do? I had to get on the road, we weren't going to get home any sooner sitting around. It took us three hours to get out of the LA area, with two planned stops to change and eat. He eventually threw a fit near Goleta and I had to pull over and comfort him. When he had calmed down, we pulled back out on the road, and five minutes later he was screaming again. We were a little over an hour from home, and what he clearly wanted was to be there, so I had to keep on. It was heartbreaking to listen to him scream, although I stroked his temples and sang to him as loudly as I could. It was quite awhile but he cried himself to sleep. I nearly cried, too.
We made it home and I was beat down. I emptied what I could and laid down with him, and when Scott got home he finished unloading the car, and took care of him so I could take a long shower. That pretty much fixed all that needed to be fixed. But definitely next time, we will have to make some changes, although I think it will still be really hard. We will try to travel when he is about to go down to sleep, around seven, because thats when he sleeps the longest. I am considering how I can carry a bottle or two of breastmilk with us. Other than that, lots of prayer, I guess!