We will be leaving on Saturday to drive up to Northern California to spend Christmas with my family. We opted to drive this year for a couple of reasons. First, she's still rather small so I don't know how she'll do on a flight (though I am now flying back in early January for my Sister-in-Law's shower, but more on that later). Second, I feel like she has so much "stuff"--and while we don't need all the stuff, it will probably make our lives easier to have it (ie, her bouncer seat that she does so well in). Third, we left the pack-and-play at home in NorCal after my shower with the intent to use it on our trip (and I don't think it would have fit in my SUV with all the other amazing gifts).
So aside from clothes, diapers (still disposable for now, but I did order one GroVia AI2 and sent it home so I can try it out), and the aforementioned bouncer, what else do I really need for a 14 hour drive and the 1-2 weeks at my parents' home? My husband and I discussed leaving the stroller here (at around 12 lbs, she's easy enough to carry in the Baby Bjorn and seems to prefer to be close to us anyway). Like I said, the pack-and-play is already there, and has the changing table and bassinet built in. What are the other "essentials" that I'll need?
Secondly, any trips on driving such a long distance with a newborn? We'll leave her early Saturday morning, but we'll need to spend some time on the way to visit my husband's grandmother and attend a friend's baby shower. These little stops are about two hours into the trip, so we're looking at about a 12 hour drive starting at about 4:00 pm. I'm leaning towards driving through the night and praying that Ella will sleep most of the time. My husband crinkles his nose at this thought and complains that I don't drive my share and that I complain that my back hurts after an hour of driving (to which I had to point out that I was seven months pregnant on our last road trip...so yes, it did in fact hurt...and no, I probably didn't drive my fair share...but I was seven months pregnant!). What do you think? Do we drive through the night? Or plan on staying in a strange hotel somewhere along the way? Or drive as long as we (and Ella) can handle and stop if we need to? And what do you suggest for feedings? If we were to stop every three hours to feed her for an hour or so, it would take us forever! I'm not opposed to pumping in the back seat as my husband drives and feeding her that milk. What do you think? (Oh how easy life would be if I could just nurse her as we drove...but I'm not able to put her in that sort of potential danger). Any other suggestions for a long drive with a newborn?
I am really excited to go home and see my family and finally introduce Ella to her Aunt and Uncle and Great-Grandparents, but I am a little bit anxious about the drive and remembering all of her items. It's one thing to pack for myself, and I can usually get all of my husband's stuff as well (I think I forgot his belt one year, but that's it)...but it's so new and different (and wonderful!) with a newborn. So I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.
Today's blessing is knowing that two women who have struggled with infertility and loss are due to have their babies today. Kate is scheduled for a c-section today, and Christa was induced last night and will most likely give birth today. Both of these women were so special to me along my journey, and I am so excited for each of them. Please keep them in your prayers today and in the weeks to come.