I had full confidence in my ability to drive 14 hours straight through from Iowa to Georgia by myself while 20 weeks pregnant and with a one-year-old.
I had this great idea several months ago. My brother, Justin, gets married May 22. I figured Gabriela and I would drive down early, spend a few days in Georgia with my parents, and then head over to South Carolina to help with wedding preparations. Eric could then fly down just before the wedding and then drive back with me afterward.
Originally, I was going to leave at Gabriela's bedtime and drive through the night so she could sleep the whole way. That plan was looking less appealing though as I really need my sleep these days, and I know from past experience that those early morning hours just before sunrise are really hard for me when I pull an all-nighter on the road (and that's with company in the car!)
I decided instead to leave after she woke up from her first nap and ate lunch. That way she would start the trip in a good mood, take her afternoon nap on the road, we could stop for a quick supper break, and then she could go to sleep and sleep the remainder of the way. And lucky for me, I have a real trooper of a kid. She did just as I expected and never once cried, whined, or got fussy. She just sat there in the backseat entertaining herself when she was awake and sleeping when it was time to sleep. She is such an awesome traveler!!! (Especially when there is no one in the backseat with her. For some reason she gets really whiny and wants to be entertained if there is an adult back there with her!)
We managed to make the entire 900 mile drive with just two stops - which I can't even do when Eric's with me (I swear Gabs has a larger bladder than he does!) Pit stop number one was a little more than I bargained for though.
We stopped at 5:30 in Effingham, Illinois. Fuel, bathroom, supper, and we'd be back on the road.
Fueling up was no problem.
Supper at the attached McDonalds was fine.
It was the potty-break in between that proved challenging.
My prego bladder was full, but I decided to change Gabriela's diaper first. I got her on the changing table and got her diaper off. It was wet, but not dirty, so I thought I'd go hold her over the potty to give her a chance to take care of business where she wouldn't have to sit in it for several hours.
Leaving the diaper bag on the changing table, I carried her bare-bottomed across to a stall. We were 1 step away when I heard a splat. I looked down to see a turd on the floor. Fabulous! But I was fairly certain there was more to come, so I rushed her over the toilet and prayed no one walked into the restroom.
After she finished up, I took her back to the changing table, quickly re-diapered her hiney, and then used the wet diaper to clean up her mess on the floor.
By this point I was doing my own little potty dance. So I threw the giant diaper bag over one shoulder, held Gabs on my other hip and made my way into a stall and immediately noticed there was no hook or shelf for the diaper bag. Gabriela was excited to be out of her carseat and was squirming to get down. But she was barefoot for the car ride, so I didn't dare let her stand in the public bathroom. As she squirmed and the bag swung around me, I struggled to unbutton my jeans and pull down my pants - I cussed myself for not wearing something elastic-waisted.
Then I attempted the all-famous female hover technique as to not obtain any of the many diseases accredited to public toilet seats. At 20-weeks pregnant, I might not be that big, but my balance is off. Throw in a giant diaper bag and 19 pounds of squirmy little girl who is now trying to get into the bag and dig stuff out of it, and I found it to be most challenging to keep my bottom safely in the air. But I managed.
Then came the real test: how to pull up my underwear and jeans over my ever-growing rear-end and get them buttoned and zipped. I bounced and wiggled while my diaper bag banged loudly into the stall wall and Gabriela squealed like a baby pig since by this point she had wiggled around and I was holding her tucked underneath my upper arm like a newspaper and squeezing her around the midsection as to free my hand. Lord only knows what people thought was going on in there!
I got myself put back together, only to find the lock on the stall was jammed. So a little more banging around and I finally made it out of there to go wash my hands. Where I discovered the soap dispenser required two hands to function. And Gabriela managed to get into the water and soak the front of her outfit.
I've never in my entire life been more thankful that Gabriela was a singleton. How on earth would I have managed that with twins?!? (I'm also seeing the beauty of these little hang-your-kid-on-the-wall contraptions that I've always thought were really strange.)
(Eric pointed out that I am about to have a second kid - seemingly concerned about my future abilities to visit public restrooms solo. I maintain that is going to be much different than a twin. By the time the baby is old enough to be out of his/her infant carrier and require to me to hold during bathroom visits, Gabriela will be big enough to stand on her own inside the stall with us. MUCH different than if I had to hold two 1-year-olds at the same time while I try to go potty.)