Mike and I like to have a routine and know what to expect (as much as possible). So we planned our entire trip before we left. We had a schedule and knew where we would be each day and night (well really I knew, but I let Mike know along the way). That seems a little crazy, I know, but Mike and I are...a little crazy. Making the schedule was the easy part (and that actually wasn't very easy). The tricky part about planning for this trip was packing Emily's STUFF. We had to take her Pack N Play, her bath chair, her stroller, her medications, her feeding pump, her formula, her feeding supplies (bottles, syringes, tubes, spoons, bags for the pump), and an extra feeding tube (just in case we needed it). Add that to the normal stuff like: clothes, toys, blankets, towels, and all of her hair accessories and you wonder how the three of us even fit in the car! There were a couple of things we decided to buy in RI - diapers, wipes and baby food (we had enough diapers and wipes to last a day or so in the diaper bag). Can't you just see all the space we saved by not packing those things?
You already heard that our drive from KY to RI was 21 hours (and Mike may have forgotten, but I WAS in labor that long). Emily did really well - during the day she was perfectly happy to watch the scenery and at night she watched some DVD's or slept. There were two things that made our ride so long: the highway was shut down for 2 hours while they cleared an accident and some issues with a car-top carrier. Our physical therapist was nice enough to lend us a canvas carrier and we were thrilled. We really didn't want to tie Emily and her carseat to the roof while we crammed all of her stuff into the car! Mike attached the carrier and filled it with 3 large oddly shaped items. He had a strange feeling that it was upside down, but decided to ignore that for some reason. So the entire 21 hour drive we listened to the carrier flapping in the wind and the straps hitting the roof of the car (that wouldn't make a person crazy at all!). When we arrived in RI, the carrier was basically destroyed and the 3 items were covered in blue fuzz from the lining. Good times!
The ride home was a bit different. Thankfully, it took us 17.5 hours instead of 21. We bought a new carrier and put it on the right way. The main issue with the ride home was Emily's excitement about being in the car for a nice long ride. Just after we arrived in Pennsylvania we stopped at a McDonalds for breakfast. This is where Emily decided to have a major meltdown. We thought her gums might be hurting (we are hopeful that she will eventually have more than 2 teeth) so I tried to put some Anbesol on her gums. That is when she decided to bite me. She bit so hard that it broke the skin! Nothing says fun road trip, like a screaming baby and a bleeding mom. I have no doubt that the lovely people of PA really enjoyed their Egg McMuffins that day. That was the worst of the meltdowns, but she was pretty cranky the rest of the day. The ride was smooth and we arrived home safely. Indicentally, the next day she cried every time we put her in her carseat - do you think she was trying to tell us something?
Meeting new people:
As you have already heard, we had a lot of people to visit. Each day we visited someone new. Mike was really great about taking pictures everywhere we went, but when I went by myself, I did not take any pictures. I guess I was too busy talking! Emily got to meet a LOT of people for the first time. It was really fun for us to see people's reaction when they met her in person. The general consensus is that Emily is MUCH bigger than people expected. All in all, though, she was adored by everyone she met. She did really well with all of the new faces and places. She did have a good crying fit at one house and that was it. As Mike mentioned in a previous post, we think she was afraid we would be dropping her off just like we did with our dog (it is just a theory we have).
Emily met her Grandpa (my dad) for the first time. He may deny this, but he got teary-eyed when he first saw her. It was very sweet. When he held her, she just looked at him and smiled and smiled. He was smitten!
She also got to meet her aunt Christine for the first time. Whem we arrived at my sister's house, she immediately took Emily out of our hands. Here they are having a little girl-talk.
This is my sister, Lisa and my nieces, Courtney and Lauren. They had already met Emily when they came to KY in February, but they had fun holding her, playing with her hair and making her laugh. They were very helpful to us. Both girls even took a turn feeding Emily through her g-tube - they did pretty well.
Many people had questions about Emily, but by far the best questions came from the kids we met. Most questions centered around her g-tube feeding - why she eats that way, how does the formula go down, can she eat by mouth, etc. One very inquisitive 5 year old had lots of questions about Emily's abilities. As I was answering his questions, he asked "Is that because of her brain?". He had a chat with his mom before we came and he obviously paid attention. He knew that Emily had been deprived of oxygen (not sure he really understood what that meant, but I know he was listening). And a 7 year old that we visited had a plan to teach Emily how to crawl and walk. I think he was convinced that she wasn't doing it simply because no one had taught her how. The one statment we did hear most was "If you lived here we could see you all the time." - it was very sweet. The kids were really great. They were genuinely interested in having their questions answered. I loved the conversations we would have.
This is Ellie. She is the daughter of our friends, Stephanie & Joel's. When she first saw Emily, she asked me a question "Is she bigger than me?". Ellie is 2 and I do believe Emily is bigger. She is an adorable little peanut, isn't she?
Whenever we go to RI, we have a list of things that we cannot wait to eat. We ALWAYS go to Iggy's at Oakland Beach. They have the best Clam Cakes and Fish & Chips and luckily they are open all year long. We were excited to show Emily the ocean too. Of course, I think it was about 30 degrees that day, so we didn't stay outside for long. Mike already mentioned that we were excited about his mom's Thanksgiving dinner - SO good! We also got some Chinese food while we were there (it is a bit different than KY Chinese food). I was sad that I didn't get to have Casserta's pizza, but there is always next time.
All in all, the trip was great. We had a fun visiting with family and friends. We loved watching everyone ooh and aah over Emily (what parent doesn't love that?). It was a nice way to spend Thanksgiving. We were reminded of how much we have to be thankful for. We all need reminders like that!