So, we all survived the trip to Texas. In fact, I'd have to say more than survived. Pretty much everything I was worried about turned out to not be a concern.
Thursday before we left, Mike's mom came over for the day to help watch Natalie so that I could do laundry and pack. This was a huge help, but not quite as much as it could have been. On Wednesday night (I think it was), there was a possibility that she wasn't going to come because she was afraid she had shingles. So, I did a bunch of packing in a burst worried that she wasn't coming anymore. But, she was fine and so we went ahead as planned. What was also great was that Thursday was also our four year anniversary, so we left Natalie with her Nana for about an hour while we went out to dinner at Friday's. Since Nana was there, I was able to get dressed up nice to go out for a proper anniversary dinner. A big highlight of this for me was that I could fit into my favorite dress.
Friday, Mike worked from home so that we could drive down to my parents house. We spent the night there, and then headed out around 930 the next morning. We had been up with Natalie for a few hours by then and she had already a nap. My father drove us to the Logan Express shuttle and Natalie got to have her first ride on a bus after hearing so much about them in the song "Wheels on the Bus." We arrived at Logan plenty early and got through checking our bags and security with no problems. Natalie's diaper change went smoothly since she had a mirror to look in while I did it, and there was a Wendy's right near our gate.
There was only one snare in the departure. At our gate, there was sign saying that at a different gate was a children's thing set up. So, when it was my turn to entertain Natalie, I decided to take her there. So, the signs say to take the elevator down to get to this supposed kid's airport paradise. So, I take Natalie down and get off the elevator. Within a couple minutes, I figure out that we have accidentally gone outside of the security area and I have no ID and no boarding pass and no cell phone! I managed to not start crying. I didn't know what to do, so I asked a security person what I should do. I had to go over to the ticketing counter and they were able to call Mike on his cell phone since he hadn't turned it off yet. He then left the bags for a second (which you of course aren't supposed to do) and ran my ID and boarding pass over to a guard who then passed it to me and we went through security again. Of course, the line was longer now. By the time I got back, we had very little time left before boarding, so we both had time to go to the bathroom and change Natalie again. So, I learned not to wander off without my ID at least. I also learned that a 20 pound baby feels a lot lighter when you are in a bit of a crisis.
The flight itself went about as smoothly as it can with a 9 1/2 month old baby. I nursed her just before we were going to take off since she was extremely tired and she was asleep before take off and slept for about an hour when we woke her up by accident because her head was hanging over backwards and I tired to move it. She stayed on my lap most of the flight and we played and she had dinner. She found the seat belts very interesting. We had to change her diaper once, which she freaked out for, but other wise she didn't actually cry at all. She got a bit fussy at one point, and I got irritable after having her on my lap for a few hours, but another nursing and we got through it. So, we made the flight very well, even though they actually extended the flight time because they rerouted to avoid some bad weather.
When Natalie freaked out what in the car from the airport in Huston to Mike's brother's house about an hour away. I got her to calm down some by a couple toys at first, and then by giving her snacks. But I couldn't keep feeding her, so she just had to cry it out. Meanwhile, I'm sitting next to her with my nephew in his car seat on the other side. She is just screaming at me in my face and there is nothing I can do about it. She fell asleep about ten minutes from his house. Luckily, she stayed asleep for a little bit after we brought her in the house. That allowed us to get her up, give her a bath, and do our regular bed time routine.
There isn't too much to tell about the rest of the trip. There were no problems with Natalie getting into trouble in there house. The stairs led up, so we didn't have to worry about her falling down them without a gate. There was furniture for her to cruise along so she was pretty happy. When she would try to escape, it was only to the kitchen and we could easily catch her before she got into trouble. She had fun playing her to her little cousin, mostly when he was his play seat and she cruised along the outside. She also played with her older girl cousins a lot. They were pretty good with her, but sometimes didn't quite know how to give her space or let her lead the play. I'm sure it was a good start for when their brother gets to be bigger though. And I had been worried about Mike not being able to share the responsibility of taking care of Natalie, but that wasn't a problem either. I would say that he did as much watching her as me if not more.
We didn't do too much because of the two babies. We went to an amusement park on day which had an aquarium, rain forest, and some other exhibits. We saw lots of fish, penquins, plants, turtles, seals, and parrots. Natalie seemed to enjoy the fish the most. We also went out on a ferry boat. Natalie had fallen asleep in her stroller by then, which was the first time she'd slept in that stroller. She woke up during the boat ride and was pretty happy, but I'm not sure how much she realized she was on a boat. Another day, we went to a really big mall and walked around. We didn't buy anything accept for food and some 12 month, long sleeve clothes for Natalie at the Carter's store. The rest of the days were low key. We hung around the house, had dinner out once, ran some errands, went out to the library (where we not only saw books, but also ducks and turtles at the pond outside), and we went swimming in the subdivision's huge pool. Natalie tried a bunch of new foods: waffle, pickle, bread (she liked a piece of roll, but not white bread), grape (cut in like eighths), canned turkey, and pork. We also tried two jarred foods, a veggie stew one that we don't have in our Walmart which she did like, and a rice, corn, green bean mix which she didn't like.
The flight home was even smoother than the one there. I was a little worried that she wouldn't sleep for the take off because she had already napped, but she did, and again for almost an hour. The flight was a little shorter and we had no fussy period. She played pretty much happily the whole flight, except when she was eating dinner. Since we were on Texas time, she stayed up for a little bit once we got back to my parents, then we spent the night there and left pretty early the next morning.
It was a little funny to be back home and back to normal come Monday since it had been about 11 days since Natalie and I had been alone. We had a good day and it was nice being just us again. But, that night, things started to go down hill. I had to make dinner and put the gate up in the living room so she wouldn't get hurt in the kitchen. She just howled at me no matter what I gave her. Even with her new favorite blanket, her beloved Boppy pillow, and some toys. After that was over, I brought her out to have dinner and I just felt wiped. Mike had been out mowing the lawn, so he hadn't been there to calm her down. Well, I felt so wiped - tired and even achy. Then I put that together with the fact that my left breast was sore. Well, it got worse as the night went on. I even woke up in the night with my teeth chattering. In the morning, my normal temperature of around 97 was 99.8. So, I felt pretty crappy, but using Tylonal throughout the day made me feel much better. I called my doctor's office as soon as they were open and could only get an appointment for 4pm because Natalie had her 9 month check up at 10. Luckily, during the morning, Natalie let me pretty much hang out on the couch while she played alone and I felt better by the time we had to leave for her appointment. But, I still had the problem of how I was going to get through an appointment with her. So, I called my friend and she was happy to help out, but we had to leave a little early to drop her car off, which was on the way.
I put Natalie down for her nap around 130 and then took one myself on the couch. I woke up sweating from the hot room with her crying pretty badly. I'm still not sure how long she was crying or if she just woke up unhappy. Either way, we were already running late. I let her chew on the thermometer case while I took my temperature again and when I took it back from her a couple minutes later, I realized the plastic wasn't as strong and I thought and she had broken off two pieces about the size of a small pea! I freaked out and swept my finger through her mouth. I check the whole floor as quick as I could, but I couldn't find anything. It appeared likely she swallowed the plastic. (Later I found one of the pieces, but neither of us could find the second one). But, we had to leave. She was fine and happy for most of the drive to the doctor's office. She then played very happily with my friend while I saw the doctor, including finding her snack in my purse and eating it.
After doing all the usual check in things as well as some extra since I hadn't been there in so long, I saw the doctor and she pretty much agreed that it looked like clogged duct that was on its way to becoming infected. I had looked to see if it was red before, but couldn't tell. She said it looked red (and when I look now, it very obviously is). There wasn't a lump exactly as the whole size of the breast just not feeling like it should, almost like it was swollen, but its hard to tell with the milk. Anyway, she prescribed an antibiotic. While I was there, I got my other prescriptions refilled which was a plus, and she said that even if Natalie did swallow sharp plastic pieces she was most likely fine. So, we head home. But, about half way, Natalie started crying and just wouldn't stop for more than a couple minutes at a time. (Of course I got stuck in some construction traffic). I changed her diaper and took of her shot band-aid which worsened matters, but giving her dinner helped a little. Mike came home and then left again to go get my prescription. While he is gone, Natalie cries horribly almost the whole time. She doesn't let up for being held and for a while, she just crawls up on the Boppy pillow and looks so miserable. Meanwhile, I'm worried not knowing if she is sick because of her shot or the plastic she might have eaten or something else. She never had reacted like this to a shot before.
She finally cheers up minutes before Mike gets home, which is a long time since they couldn't find the prescription, then filled one of them wrong. But, within a few minutes, she starts up again. With both of us there, we determine that her leg is hurting her because of her shot. She wouldn't pull up to standing and when we tried to stand her her leg trembled a little. So, we gave her some baby Tylenol before her bath (which she didn't move in at all) and then she fell asleep pretty quickly while nursing, but it was a shallow sleep where she kept letting go of my breast and latching back on. I let her so that she would empty that side as much as possible.
Overall, it was a crappy evening for everyone. But after bed time, it improved for the most part. Natalie slept fine. I felt horrible though practically the second she was down. But, there was a huge mountain of laundry to fold, gross floors to wash, and a few other small things to do. I managed to get through it and then just lay on the couch, first reading, then watching half of Pretty in Pink. I felt a little better by the time I went to bed.
I woke up this morning feeling pretty much normal. Natalie woke up happy. As the day has gone by, I didn't get my fever back and my breast now barely hurts at all. Natalie never got upset again today like that, even though she had plenty of bad things happen to her today, like falling backwards off the bed (for the first time though she almost falls like every day when she sits herself down near the edge), vomiting after gagging on some cereal (I thought she was going to be freaked out and cry, but no, she just sticks her finger in it), and hurting her hands up trying to pull out using the black screen door which was super hot due to the sun. But there were good things today, too. We went to the library today because we missed story time yesterday. We got some books with flaps for her to lift and she got to walk around and crawl around. We then walked around the park a bit. I had hoped to put her in a swing or take her down the slide, but they were all too hot for her to sit on. She napped in the car for an hour, then the day was almost over! She was super happy for Daddy when she got home.
Over the last couple days I know that I have other less factual things to write about. Reflections on our trip, or the craziness, or just being a mom, but by now they've been lost. I do miss being able to get some things done during the day. Today I managed to get some photos organized for Natalie's family book and her baby book, but I had to keep shooing her away from the scissors and from ruining the pictures. Mike wanted to finally watch out Netflix movie tonight, but I wanted to finally write. I watched and wrote at the same time, which meant its now a half an our over and I'm finishing up instead of going to bed. Its just gotten a lot harder in recently to get done what I want to do and what I need to do in the three I have in the evening. We watch anything on TV or a movie, then the whole night is pretty much over. Even then, I'm usual lucky if I don't fall asleep and miss most of it. I couldn't even imagine teaching and doing this. My teaching would have suffered greatly because I would have assigned less for me to grade. Not that I used to grade much during the week except at progress reports and end of quarter. When I picture going back to work, it will be when Natalie is old enough for me to play with her for an hour or two, then ask her to play alone for a little while. I know that I will have to change my teaching a lot because I used to stay after school until 4 at least every night, but having an older child should be very different than where Natalie is now.