Imogen and I flew out of London on 30 December to venture to The Land of the Long White Cloud.
We’re spending eight weeks in beautiful New Zealand visiting family. Given the great distance between us we’re lucky to be spending this time here as we don’t often see our family other than on Skype which is a wonderful tool for bringing people closer.
Travelling with a baby or toddler is never easy so we broke the 30 hour journey with a night’s stopover in Hong Kong so we could stretch our legs, catch up on sleep, take a bath and have a break from being in the confined space of an aeroplane. I was surprised at how well Imogen took the 12 hour flight given the only other flight she has been on was for 1 hour.
She slept on and off throughout the flight interspersed with drawing, sticker books, playing with her Shape Sorter, eating dinner and watching a few episodes of Cloudbabies on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet.
Whilst Imogen was asleep I became very aware of a stench of sick and the sound of retching from around us. I was asked by a crew member if I felt sick as there were many people who were taken ill on our flight. I thought perhaps it was food poisoning as it was so sudden and widespread.
We made it to Hong Kong and enjoyed New Year’s eve in the lovely Sky City Marriott Hotel. As a Mum travelling alone with my baby I found the hotel staff incredibly kind and helpful.
The next day we enjoyed a late check-out from the hotel and then had five hours before our flight in Hong Kong Airport. I had a trolley with a large suitcase, a backpack and a toddler to look after amidst the hustle and bustle of a very busy airport. Imogen was a star and great at staying with me and not getting upset by being in the same place for such a long time.
Whilst at the check-in several passengers were talking about how they’d been hospitalised overnight in Hong Kong. Was the sickness caused by food poisoning or a virus on our flight?
We boarded the plane bound for Auckland and the final leg of our long distance flight to New Zealand. Imogen fell asleep for a couple of hours giving me the perfect opportunity to catch up on some slumber.
When Imogen woke she seemed irritable. A few minutes later she was violently sick and it didn’t stop for the remaining four hours of our flight to Auckland. The crew on Air New Zealand were wonderful and very helpful. They found a Doctor on the plane who monitored Imogen and her details were radioed by the pilot to a Doctor on the ground in Australia every 30 minutes. There was talk of us landing in Sydney so we could get her to a hospital.
It was such an awful feeling as a mother, having a sick baby and knowing I could do nothing but try and soothe her. There was nowhere else I could take her to get better. We were up in the sky and the plane would get to our destination at the scheduled time, not a second sooner.
Imogen refused all fluids and our greatest fear was dehydration given she had vomited at least ten times. The Doctor tried to put a line in her arm so he could give her IV fluids. Unfortunately he didn’t manage to get a vein and it just put Imogen through additional stress. All this took place in one of the plane’s tiny toilets as there was nowhere else to go. A plane provides a small amount of space for passengers at the best of times.
Paramedics were notified of Imogen’s state before we landed and they had an ambulance ready to take us straight to hospital when we arrived in Auckland. The paramedics from Middlemore Hospital were excellent and very thorough.
We were taken to Middlemore Hospital, which deals with infectious diseases, as New Zealand officials were concerned we may have to be isolated due to the nature of the virus on our flight. Thankfully we were given the all clear with some tablets to help stop the vomiting and plastic syringes to administer fluids if necessary. With a letter stating we were ‘good to travel’ I rearranged a later flight that day to Wellington as we’d missed our connecting flight.
My parents met us in Wellington and it was absolutely wonderful to be reunited with them. Imogen’s face lit up and she beamed a huge smile the moment she saw them.
The next day Imogen had diarrhoea but was in good spirits and loved exploring her grandparent’s house and garden. We were very concerned as she wasn’t drinking. With the amount of fluids she’d lost the day before and now with diarrhoea we had to try and provide her with fluids using a plastic syringe.
Day 3 in New Zealand and I instantly knew something was really wrong with Imogen as soon as she woke. She looked very pale and was really quiet, very unlike her usual self. When I changed her that morning she began to fall asleep which she never does. She still wasn’t drinking and it was clear she was now bordering on being dehydrated. We took her straight to hospital and she was taken to Pediatrics who quickly gave her a nasal gastric tube for rapid rehydration.
Imogen also needed a stomach x-ray and ultrasound as they were worried she may have complications resulting from gastroenteritis which could result in surgery. Waiting for the stomach x-ray and ultrasound results was so frightening. The Doctors said the results were inconclusive so Imogen and I stayed in hospital overnight where she was monitored regularly and given more fluids. I was so relieved when the next day Imogen was eating and drinking and getting back to her happy self.
The most likely cause of Imogen’s sickness is the virulent Norovirus which is prevalent in the UK right now. The night we were in hospital my Mum started vomiting and for the next 3 days she had Norovirus symptoms.
This couldn’t have been predicted when planning our journey to New Zealand. I’m just so thankful to all the people who have helped to get my beautiful baby back to good health.
Here’s to enjoying the rest of our time in New Zealand with family and friends.
Have you or your family members suffered from the Norovirus this winter?
Sites That Link to this Post
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