The tale of the horrible, awful, never-ever-going-to-do-it-again flight


I should have known it was going to be a crap flight by the way the morning started. Got in the shower around 7 a.m. and the moment I got in, the bathmat slipped out from under me and I fell straight on my ass. Not a good thing even when you’re not pregnant, but considering I am, I was a little concerned. The fall actually felt like it was happening in slow motion though, and I didn’t hit anything or bang into anything on the way down, so it was kind of like riding a slide unexpectedly, and the baby was kicking around a little while later, no bleeding or spotting, so I wasn’t TOO concerned. None since then either, so I think we are all good, but I have a Dr. appointment tomorrow so I’m going to mention it then and we’ll get to see whether everything really is alright or not, but baby is kicking me hard enough to move the computer as I type, so I think we’re probably okay.

Sara started nodding off in the car on the way to the airport, and I was not about to let her nap before we actually got on the flight, though in retrospect, maybe I should have. I had been checking the seat map regularly and there were two adjacent seats open in the middle of two different rows until the the night before the flight. Our seat was reserved as an aisle seat, but if I could let Sara have her own seat, even if it was in the middle of a row, I figured that was the best option. Unfortunately I was told at check-in and at the gate when I asked again that it was a full flight and there were no adjacent seats available.

We get on and I notice in the row behind us there is an open seat in the middle of a row, and I wanted to ask the gentleman sitting on the aisle if he wouldn’t change seats with us, but he was asleep before the flight took off, and Sara had already started falling asleep, so I figured, “meh, I can handle this if she’s going to sleep.” Oh how wrong I was!! Dumbest, dumbest, dumbest mistake I have ever made. If you find a more preferable seat on a flight, don’t ever hesitate, ASK!!! The worst that can happen is the person will refuse, and I have experienced the worst outcome when you don’t ask, and believe me rejection is far easier to handle!

Sara slept for the 1st hour and a half or so. Lovely. So did I. We woke up just in time for lunch. That went fine. And then the screaming started. High-pitched pterodactyl screaming whenever she didn’t get exactly what she wanted, which was basically to run around or play with the water in the bathroom, but it was not, under any circumstances, to sit on my lap in our seat. Granted, who could blame her? We were sitting in a crowded economy seat next to a larger, older woman. Very sweet lady, but  a bit on the larger size, not to mention I myself, am a bit on the larger side these days. Just plain uncomfortable for all parties involved. PLUS! the asshole in front of us insisted on keeping is sit all the way back the ENTIRE flight, except during meals. That made a HUGE difference in the amount of space we didn’t have, and Sara’s feet, or head if she was standing on the floor in front of me, bumped the back of his seat often. I did try my best to prevent that from happening, but inevitably she kicked or hit his seat several times. And do you know what the asshole did in return? He would throw his body back into the seat, to “send a message” I’m guessing, but I was so pissed off! He could have really hurt Sara if the table back had hit her in the head. Just not a cool thing to do. When we went to LA Sara was in my lap for the return flight, and at least the guy in front of us had the courtesy to ask if it was okay if he reclined his seat after realizing I had a child in my lap. Asshole, asshole, asshole! Beware of karma, you fucker! (Though he’s probably thinking the same thing about me.)

I’m not going to go through the entire flight hour-by-hour, it was just too freaking painful! But basically after Sara woke up and we ate lunch, we spent the next SIX hours of the flight running down the aisles, locked in the bathroom, screaming, crying (me), throwing water (Sara would ask for water, and when I wouldn’t let her pour it herself, she would take the cup and throw it, lovely). There was another little girl on the flight who was 3 years old and so well-behaved. It made me want to cry even more. Whenever someone was the least bit kind to me I ended up in tears again. I’m sure pregnancy hormones had a lot to do with the tears, but at one point Sara was slapping me in the face, and I was holding her hands and telling her no, and she was laughing and just kept doing it whenever she could get a hand free, and I started crying and she was still laughing, and I just completely lost it. How could my child be so completely evil as to watch her mother break down in tears and continue hitting me and slapping me and pulling at me cheeks and hair. I swear if someone had offered to take her away forever in that moment, I probably would have said yes.

Around hour 9 Sara finally started showing signs of being tired, but refused to allow me to sit down and hold her until she fell asleep. The moment I sat down in my seat, the high-pitched screaming started again. So I had to walk around the plane with my 10 kg daughter in my arms until she finally fell asleep. Once she did I thought for sure that was it until we landed. It was already nearly 9 p.m. Chicago time, the normal time she would fall asleep, but she was having a very restless sleep and woke up after about 2 hours and stayed awake for the last 3 hours of the flight. She was too tired to insist we walk around at least, but still lots of screaming and crying and just plain misery for both of us.

I swear 13 hours of intense, painful labor would have been far more pleasant than that flight. Luckily, I shouldn’t ever have to do that again. Sara will have a sibling the next time we go to Chicago,  which will hopefully provide some entertainment for both of them, and the plan for next time is to go during the dead of winter so Akinori can take 2 weeks off, and we’ll go and come back together.  Not the best time to be in Chicago, but I am more willing to put up with shit weather for 2 weeks than 13 hours of misery on a flight. Plus next time we fly Sara will have to have her own seat, so at the very least there will be a little more room for us when we travel.

Once we got to Narita and I had to get through immigration and customs with Sara in her stroller and the luggage cart with our 3 huge bags, people were very kind. The airport staff was incredibly helpful, and Akinori was waiting for us at the airport. Unfortunately the fun didn’t end there. All the time spent standing and walking around in the airplane was apparently a big strain on my pregnant body, and after about an hour or two in the car, I started to get horrible cramps in both my legs. We were getting gas when it started, and we had to repark the car after filling up, I laid down on the cement and Akinori stretched my legs out for me because I was in so much pain.

He and a friend had gone to a concert in Saitama the night before, spent the night in a hotel, and both came to pick us up, so the friend was sitting in the front seat, but after that episode we changed seats and I was able to stretch my legs on my own until we got home, when the REAL cramping started. I have NEVER had such horrible leg cramps in my life. I passed out on the sofa about 10 minutes after walking in the door and was woken up repeatedly by cramps in my legs, usually both at the same time. Just one, long, horrible nightmare. We ended up all camping out in the living room because Akinori had been sleeping on the living room floor since he came back so there were no clean sheets on the bed, and only a sheet and thin blanket for covers.

After a fairly decent night’s sleep though I was feeling motivated when we woke up and got the bed done, pulled out the winter blankets, washed the dirty sheets, started unpacking, got us showered, had a fairly productive morning, then went out for lunch and was dying for a nap. Luckily Sara was too, so we both passed out just after 1 p.m. and I had to force myself and Sara to wake up around 5:30! because if we slept any longer we would never get over our jetlag. It was an awesome nap though!

At 8:00 I went to the dance studio where I usually teach Monday nights to say hello to the students and the girl who was teaching my classes for me, and bring the chocolates I had brought as omiyage, so really expensive Godiva truffles, that I wanted to owners to give to the students, but the dickhead owner just said thank you, and left the unopened box on the front desk. I was so pissed off. Those chocolates were for my students, not him!

Anyway, he stopped me as I was leaving saying he had something he wanted to talk to me about, and complained that the number of students dropped considerably while I was gone. Whatever. 4 students have stopped coming. 1 has a serious back problem, and plans to continue taking lessons with me after I quit the studio, 1 is doing IVF in an effort to get pregnant, but told the studio work is getting in the way, and the other 2 they can’t get in touch with. Whatever. They stopped coming before I went to Chicago. It has nothing to do with me not being there. It has to do with the fact that they are pushy and nosy, and no one wants to deal with them. So then he asked when my due date was and what my plans were, so for the 1500th time I told him I was due early February, and would teach up until the New Year’s break. And he was like “What?! What do you mean you’re going to take time off after December?!” So I said, “Well, okay then, actually I think it’s better for everyone involved if I quit.” And he took it really, really well, so I think they probably planned on asking me to quit anyway. Perfectly fine with me, and I would prefer even sooner, but whatever. Then he has the nerve to ask me about finding another teacher. Fuck that!! First of all, I only know of other teachers, I don’t know any other teachers in Nagano personally. Second, I have no obligation to them whatsoever! Argh! Asshole! Asshole! Asshole! I do feel much, much better having quit though. I even had a nightmare about them and quitting their studio while  I was in Chicago. I can’t wait for the end of the year now!

When I got home around 9, Sara was already asleep, and she ended up sleeping through until 5 a.m. Hopefully we will back to normal by tonight. Tomorrow I have a Dr. appointment at the big hospital, which means another blood test and fancy ultrasound. This day seemed so far away when I went to the hospital and made the appointment at only 12 weeks. Time sure flies. Going to the big hospital means putting Sara in daycare though, which I am looking forward to. Aside from the hour last night, and approximately 2 hours I left her with my parents while we were in Chicago, Sara and I have been together 24/7 for the last month, non-stop. I need a break.


About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

2 responses »

  1. oh sounds nightmarish..especially while pregnant, I get sore hips/legs/crampy feeling just from carrying Alex around for 10 mins or so..that carrying time on the flight sounds hellish.
    Looking forward to hearing about your doc visit tomorrow 🙂

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