I know this blog has been a long time coming and you are all hanging on by the seat of your pants to hear about it but I don't even know where to begin! For anyone who missed my previous posts, I had posted an "I Am Strong" story on Birth Without Fear's Facebook page, let's just say a lot of people read it. It kind of went viral. Over 725,000 people read it and over 60,000 people commented. Plus, you know, 250,000 people also thought it was worth sharing. I mean how cool is that? Ty and Jacob ROCK! So any who, a few days after it went viral I received an e-mail from a producer at The Doctors TV show (it's a talk show based out of the US). They liked our story so much that they wanted to fly us out to California to appear on the show.
For anyone who missed my previous posts, I don't fly. I don't travel, I don't do well when my schedule is churned about. My PTSD has run my life for a few years now and I was quite comfortable with that. However, I am passionate about infant loss, I want to spread the word and my husband so there was no way we could turn down the trip. All the plans were made and finalized and on October 2nd our California trip began.
Let's start with the air plane. Well first, we barely made our flight. We were delayed in traffic for about 45 minutes which still would have given us 1.15 to get to our plane but US customs had quite the line. We were hustle and bustle and as we were running down to our terminal (I think thats what there called) we heard our names over the speakers, last call for Nelles. Our running was not dramatic like it is in the movies, it was more of a moving quickly. My adrenaline was so out of whack with so many things going on I didn't have time to process anything. Let's just say my stomach did not have the same problem, it was processing very well. We made it to our terminal and checked in in the nick of time, literally. They told us we were the last people to board and takeoff was in 10 minutes, talk about almost missing our flight! But I kind of like that we were so close because I was in such a hurry I didn't have time to process anything. We got Bee set in her car seat in her plane seat and we buckled in and it was time to take off. I mean it was that quick. I nearly fainted on takeoff, I'm sure I tuned all sorts of not so good colours and almost broke Stephens hand.
We made it safely into the air (spoiler alert, we made it safely on all our plane trips) and the 5 hour flight began. Bee was really good on the way there. There weren't a lot of people on board and we had all three seats for us. I watched the Great Gatsby to pass some time and nursed Bee quite a bit. We snacked, she slept, I took a lot of pictures and looked out the window as much as I could. Our world truly is breathtaking. I may have been terrified of the plane but my eyes were seeing something so pure, something so amazing. I could not stop looking at the amazement as we flew over state after state.
I'm just going to say this too, I HATE turbulence! It would be so much better flying without it. Our landing was a bit rough, we hit quite a few pockets of air, dropped significant feet quickly (to the point of almost tossing my cookies, think roller-coaster drop) and I forgot how nerve wracking hitting the pavement and stopping at high speeds can be. But we landed, safely.
Our driver was not there so we had to wait a little bit. Once we were picked up we headed off to our pre-interview shoot. We got there at one and was told we would be done by three. Well, six oclock rolled around and we had just finished wrapping up. The only part of the trip I did not like was Wednesday afternoon. We waited for lunch to be picked up, ate lunch and then had to get bee settled in another room where she would be quiet. Well if you know my Bee you know her and quiet do not go in the same sentence together so began the 6 hours of brutal taping. She was beside herself unless she could see us but then she was talking and they couldn't have her on tape so we had to keep trying different things. But ultimately, she was exhausted, I don't blame her I was too. It was her bedtime and we hadn't even begun taping really. It was not going well and I just wanted to say, thats it we are done she needs to get to the hotel and go to bed but I couldnt. We had to finish the interview while my poor girl screamed mama and dada and fighted sleep. We were able to get our interview done but it took a long time and many tears (from all of us). We waited for our driver to get us and we were off to the hotel.
Now when we were making plans, we chose the Hilton over The Roosevelt because we wanted to be in a more family friendly area then party central. I thought we were going to the Hilton Garden Inn which was an okay hotel but when we pulled up, we were at the Hilton Universal. Man it was AMAZING! Beautiful. We checked in and headed up to our room. May I add it was the 18th floor...I do not like heights. I refused to go near the window until the second day where I over came my fear and leaned against the window. Our view was truly amazing. It was breathtaking to wake up to each day. We ordered room service, out Bee to bed and headed to bed shortly after our dinner came. I miss room service. I miss being able to pick up the phone, order food and have it be there and the food at the hotel was incredibly delicious!
We woke up Thursday, ordered breakfast and got ready while we waited for it to come. We decided to rent a car that day and head out to Santa Monica. The drive was amazing, the sites were breathtaking and we made it with just a regular old map and my brains! We arrived at the Santa Monica pier and spent a few hours there. We made sure to put our feet in the ocean, as cold as it was just to say we have. We ate the best veggie burger I have had at pierburgers (fast food place on the pier) walked up and down the pier, walked a bit around Santa Monica and just stood on the beach in awe of where we were.
I became quite overwhelmed with emotion as we stood on the beach. I closed my eyes and just let the breeze run through my hair and the sun shine on my skin. I could not believe we were here. Standing in Santa Monica California. I couldnt believe it, I was amazed at what Ty and Jacob were doing and where it is leading us too. I most certainly had some tears and on we went. We didn't have to return the car until 6 so we drove back down Sunset Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd (route 66) and took some detours up the very winding Hollywood hills roads. We decided to head to the Griffith Observatory. Again, long winding drive up and the views were astonishing. We just had to stand and take it all in.
Around 5 we took the car back and they dropped us back off at the hotel. We ordered room service, put Bee to bed and both fell asleep quite quickly again.
Friday we woke up, ordered breakfast, got ready and waited to be picked up to head to the show. I woke up with a horrible headache, this one was relentless. I was ubber ill and not with it. Our driver came and off we went. We arrived through the back entrance of Paramount so no fancy gates for us. We were escorted to our dressing room, which was just a pretty plain dressing room. They do have nice ones but those are for the people with names and money! Lots of people came in, I was sent for hair and makeup as was Stephen. We got dressed, I nursed Bee while she got a nap in before the taping and at around 9:30 we headed down for our segment.
I lied, there was only other part I did not like nor did I feel comfortable with at all. They were to bring us out first and leave Bee backstage with a welfare worker until we came to get her. They thankfully let us mic up backstage but then we had to leave. My nerves were shot, not about the show I was not nervous about that at all but about leaving Bee. All I could think about was her, what if they tried to kidnap her, what if she got so upset she choked but I just kept going. It all happened so very quickly. They brought us out before the cameras were rolling, we said Hi to everyone and yes Travis is just as handsome in real life as he is on TV and yes he really is that tall. They had us sit , aired a clip from our taking then asked us a few questions, brought Bee out and we were done. It went by so quickly. We went backupstairs, got dressed and were off. I still had a ragging headache so we went back to the hotel and I laid down for a bit. Once I felt a bit better (thanks to my husband) I took off all the makeup ( I don't like makeup and I don't like how heavy it feels on my face) and decided to head to Universal City Walk. It's just a little area of shops and restaurants by Universal Studios. We considered going into Universal Studios but not for the price. We walked around, picked up a few souvenirs for Bee, some candy and ate lunch at a Brazilian all you can eat meat buffet. It was yet again, delicious. All the food we ate was so yummy. We walked around a bit more then headed back the hotel. We put Bee to bed, watched some shows, ordered dinner and headed to bed.
We didn't have any set plans for Saturday but woke up and decided to rent a car again and head down to Long Beach to go to the aquarium. It was a nice drive, not very busy and we were there in no time. We parked and headed into the aquarium. It was a lot of fun, we got to pet sharks and sting ray and see all sorts of fish. They also had penguins and seals a ton of jellyfish, which you could touch but I opted not too. I'm glad we were there early because it got busy quite quickly. We left and headed out for lunch at PF Changs. Stephen has always wanted to go to one so we went. The food was yes again, delicious. We still had a bit of time left so we got ice cream and headed out to the lighthouse. We sat on the hill for a little while just taking everything in. We knew our time was closing in but neither of us wanted to leave. We packed everything up, drove back to the hotel, ordered dinner and put Bee to bed as we laid down to sleep the last night in California.
We woke up, got ready, waited for our driver and we were off to the airport. I was in tears as I really did not want to leave. It was so beautiful out there and having no responsibilities was a nice break. Room service, drivers, all inclusive, it was nice for the short time we had it.
We arrived at the air port with plenty of time. We checked in, grabbed some snacks and had to wait to board the plane this time (and we were in the last group) Our plane took off over the ocean, which at first had me concerned we were on the wrong plane going over seas but thats just the way the planes exit at LAX. We were headed home.
Reality didn't take long to slap us back in the face, 2 hours into our flight Stephen cracked his tooth in half, an unexpected cost and quite a bit of pain for both of us.
It really was an experience of a lifetime and I am so thankful we had this opportunity. Though I do not feel we did much justice for infant loss, we did shatter the silence. I also pushed so many boundaries I have been hiding from. I still hate flying but I know now that I can do it. But we are back home and things are back to the way they were. We are still struggling and continue to. It was a nice break while we had it but reality was even happier to see us come back.
I really hope we can head back out there one day, it was such a beautiful place and we had such an amazing time.