Planning my trip to Nigeria was not the easiest thing ever especially since I was going to be traveling alone with an infant. I bought my ticket first without thinking it through and then got so stressed out I thought my head was going to fall out of my neck.
I had to get her a US passport OMG!!! (In this process I learned the importance of having 2 birth certificates). Then we had to drive 5 hours to Atlanta (Nigeria Consulate) to obtain her Nigerian passport (that alone is another blog title). Both of these had to be done with papa present so we waited for papa to return from his short detachment with barely 3 weeks left and mummy in panic mode we got both passports just in time for the trip :) It also meant to me that God had blessed us to go on the trip. Except no one else could see that so I had our priest bless us and we were ready for the trip.
First, medically she was as squared away as she could be, she was caught up with all of her immunizations but neither I nor her could have malaria prophylaxis. She was too young and I am still lactating. In order to reduce all water contamination I decided to only nurse her (Baby had started eating solids). I also packed lots of hand sanitizers and everything I needed for Baby- clothes, diapers, wipes, wash cloths, first aid kit, holy water, blessed oil, you name it I packed it, my stethoscope, tylenol, teething gel ... I didn't even have enough room to pack my own things. I packed all long sleeves for her to prevent mosquito bites. I ended up not doing the long sleeve it was so hot my kid started developing heat rash; I got lucky she wasn't biting by any mosqitoes since we were on the topmost floor especially since we were indoors by night time.
Anyways after I was done packing, I ended up with 2 bags weighing 50 pounds each and one 20-pound-bag, a bag pack as a carry on and a hand bag. By the way, I was not charged for extra luggage since it was an international flight. Anyways, then I realized how crazy it was that I didn't pay for a sit for baby (what was I thinking? 12 hours of active baby on my lap? how was I going to eat, sleep, what if I wanted to use the bathroom?). So I did the normal thing; i.e. to switch to panic mode and called the airline and they told me that the plane is not full and I just need to bring a FAA approved car seat. I asked them if they had a list of car seats- of course not! so I went on google search and found nothing. I came across this site hough http://www.flyingwithkids.com/ and then came across this Car seat n stroller combo
So here's what I did- I used it as a car seat to get to the airport; packed in a close by packing lot and carried baby girl in a baby carrier and dragged the first two bags (by the wheel of course) and checked in. Then I begged the lady explaining my situation and telling her I had one more bag. She felt sorry for me and told me she would wait since I was very early to check in. So I got the last bag and so was down to carry-ons. I then strapped Mmeso back to the car seat and drove to the further-away-daily packing lot, turned the car seat into a stroller with baby in it, carried my bag pack and my hand bag and got on the shuttle that goes from the lot to the airport. At this point I was really feeling like super mom- I was so excited that everything worked out. I got to the airport and got through the security check point with my child in one piece.
Two of my siblings met with me in my connection flight and it was so nice especially when I had to run to the bathroom. Delta was so good to me, they sectioned a window corner for me and baby girl. However, when I was coming back the people in Nigeria refused to give me a sit for baby saying that I should carry her and use a bassinet. I gave up arguing but as soon as I got on the flight baby started jumping all over the place and one of the flight attendants asked me what I was doing in the bassinet section when I explained what happened she told me that baby girl was too big for the bassinet and she will get me a sit since the flight was not full. She ran out to grab the car seat and we had a safe return home.
It was a very stressful experience especially with little things like to bath baby girl without the water going into her mouth. She hated bath time throughout our trip while it is something she looked forward to here in the states; she also wanted to eat everything and so I gave in the last 2 days and she came down with some diarrhea but we were coming home and it didn't seem to bother her so I did my job by keeping her hydrated with lots and lots of breast milk.
It was well worth all the stress but we wished we didn't listen to people because I almost didn't go and my husband changed his mind at first about emotionally supporting the trip. But I switched from wife and mummy mode to doctor mode and gave him all the true facts and he was back on. Those negative people got to hubby and they still have things to say telling me "I'm so lucky that nothing happened to her and if they had known they would have told me not to go, it is unsafe for the baby..." It didn't matter that I was a doctor they really felt like they were given me the facts. They were telling me all kinds of diseases she could have had some they couldn't even pronounce correctly lol
Why did I insist on taking her? I wanted her to meet her daddy's side, I wanted her to go home, I wanted to attend my sister's wedding and I couldn't leave my kid behind plus she was still nursing; I also wondered about those people who are overseas on mission with their children, or those who are born here and go back home. Or what about baby girls parents (us) who were born and raised in Nigeria or even the same people who were talking- some of them just left Nigeria. I did think about her safety and sat with her doctor to make sure I was not missing anything (the only thing he reiterated was wear long sleeves as planned, limit exposure to her, and avoid water contamination if possible boil the bottled water). But just like my husband and I think about our safety before going home, we thought about her safety except with her we had to be extra cautious but extra cautious does not mean you have to wait till they are teenagers. It was definitely worth it all.