Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Spanish...Nursing Strike

Day 7: Wednesday, June 19th

What we did: Up at 4:15, drove one hour to airport, caught flight to Athens and then to Barcelona.  Took train and subway to hotel, arriving in early afternoon. Walked A LOT from hotel to Gothic quarter.  Jacob was wanting to kick himself for not doing any research on places to eat on Rhodes, so he spent time on Trip Advisor lining up recommended spots in Barcelona.  We tried a tapas place that he’d found and had a delicious spread of foods.  Cora sat on the table and mainly ate bread (with one piece of smoked salmon) and people-watched happily.  We then went to a recommended gelateria where Cora refused any gelato but was delighted to have four testing spoons which she played with all the way back to the hotel.  

We were finally able to FaceTime with Jack after not having steady Internet access in Rhodes.  He was grumpy from just waking up from a nap and seemed like he missed us but wasn’t quite sure what to do with those feelings :(  We know he’s been having a great time (swimming, Vacation Bible School, fire station visits, ice cream, the lists goes on), but I did feel a little guilty talking to him and hoping he wasn’t wondering why HE wasn’t with us on the trip.
What was most memorable: This day was HARD. Out of the blue, Cora went on a nursing strike. She nursed the evening before, but wouldn’t nurse when she woke up, nor before we got on the plane, nor any other time I tried throughout the day. This was majorly problematic because we were leaving a remote island at the crack of dawn to then spend the next 6 hours traveling through airports and I had NO PUMP!  I spent much of the morning in airplane/airport bathrooms trying to master the art of hand expressing but by the time we arrived in Barcelona, I was feeling pretty desperate.  When every trick I could think of wouldn’t work to get Cora to nurse, I headed out to find a pharmacy to buy a pump.  We’re not sure what is going on with Cora.  The list of possible reasons for a nursing strike include several that could be the culprit (lingering ear infection, major change in routine, overstimulation, teething, possible virus, etc.) but we don’t have a lot of options for fixing any of those while we travel.  She doesn’t have a fever and besides a drastic change in appetite (won’t nurse, will only take sips of water/breastmilk, and is pretty much only interested in bread), she seems happy!?!

Day 8: Thursday, June 20th

What we did: Spent the first hour having to upgrade to a better (and MUCH more expensive) electric pump because the nursing strike continues and I can feel mastitis coming on.  Once that was resolved, we walked past La Sagrada Familia and then down the Passeig de Gracia and La Rambla to window shop and people watch.  Cora spent two hours fighting a nap before passing out briefly.

We went to another Trip Advisor recommended restaurant, Teresa Carles, where I had my favorite treat of the trip: coconut water-watermelon-mint-agave syrup juice concoction, along with a delicious pear-gorgonzola pasta dish.  At this point, I really wasn't feeling well, but it was like a magic drink that restored my immunities and reenergized me :)  (Jacob didn't feel that was worth the $5.50 it cost.)  We then headed home for naps (that didn’t happen because we have an insomniac child on our hands) before heading to the Parc Guell where we had excellent views of Barcelona.  Our day then started to turn around with a peaceful stint at a playground and then dinner at another Trip Advisor rec: Tacos, Tacos, where Cora bonded deeply with the Elvis-loving owner.  More people watching and then Cora finally fell asleep at 10:00 and we got a chance to FaceTime again with a happier Jack.

What was most memorable: This was the day where Jacob (and I) were most tested by Cora’s presence. Up to this point it’s been obvious the trip is different than it would be without her here, but it’s been really enjoyable at the same time.  Well, after the long day yesterday of traveling and the nursing challenges, pushing a crying baby all over the city today made us feel the strain. We know we are pushing her limits, but she is showing an increasingly strong willed personality.  When neither the roomy stroller in the balmy city nor the quiet hotel room for 2 hours met her standard for naps, what else were we supposed to do? 

Luckily, things did turn around once we were back out in the evening.  Cora has LOVED the metro and makes friends on every ride.  She reaches out to strangers and gets smiles, hand shakes, and peek a boo games back.  She also really enjoyed her time at the playground along with the nachos and attention at dinner.  With her passed out in her stroller, I was able to get her to nurse as I put her down for bed!  Hopefully this means the 2 day nursing strike is over??

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