Friday, October 5, 2012

Airport security

On my recent trip to MN I had quite the experience going through airport security. It actually made for a really difficult moment for me.

Mike was unable to come and so I was flying alone. It was such a short trip, so I wasn't checking a bag. I decided to bring Marcellus Bear with me since I had room. He fit nice and snug in my little rolly suitcase. Well I am going through security, I get my laptop out, I get my 3-1-1 bag out, and put all my stuff on the little conveyer belt to the x-ray. After it goes through they are asking if that's my suitcase. I've flown enough to know that means there's something that's making them question it in there.

The TSA lady starts going through my suitcase and picks up Marcellus Bear. She says, "I think it's him. The pellets in him." I didn't think about that at all. When we went to MN in May we drove and in July we flew, but I checked my luggage and had him in there. It didn't cross my mind that he would cause an issue at security. I just responded with "Oh, yeah, he's weighted to my son's birth weight." I didn't mention that I have this weighted teddy bear because my son is dead. Sometimes I want him to just be my son, not my dead son. She had to pass Marcellus Bear off to another worker to put through the x-ray by himself. Oh that made me nervous. I didn't like people handling him that didn't know how special of a teddy bear he is. I was so afraid they were going to pick him up by an arm or leg and it would rip. My anxiety was spiking.

Now when I fly I do not go through the body scanners even when not pregnant. Call me paranoid if you will, but I just don't trust them. And while pregnant I am definitely not going through them, so I opted out. The same lady that went through my suitcase was the one doing my pat down. Now every time I've gotten a pat down the TSA workers are very nice, this one included. She gets to the part where she's supposed to run her fingers inside the waistband of my pants and I tell her I'm wearing my maternity jeans.

She then asked, "Is this baby number 2?" Oh wow, a question I haven't gotten before. Now I'm starting to get used to the "Is this your first?" question even though I'm still working on exactly how I'd like to answer that one (always mentioning Marcellus of course!). I tried not to hesitate too much and just said "yes". Of course part of me is wondering if I just let Angela down by saying that. This is really baby number 3 (more on that to come in a future post).

Then the next question took my breath away. She asked, "Hoping for a girl this time?" I panicked, my heart and mind racing. She thinks he's alive. Of course she thinks he's alive. I told her I have a son, why wouldn't he be alive?! She doesn't know about this world, this world where babies die. All I could manage to get out is, "We're just hoping for healthy." My mind was screaming "We're just hoping for an alive baby! A baby that stays alive long enough to come home! A baby that we don't have to bury!"

I was really shaken up by that. I gathered my things and went to call Mike. I had to get the tears out, it was all I could do to hold them in in front of the TSA lady. After talking with him I calmed down. I went to my gate. We had a gate change and a slightly delayed flight. Thank goodness that flight was delayed because it wasn't until it was boarding that I realized I didn't have my laptop with me. When I left security I was so just needing to get out of there that I left it behind. Luckily they had it there. But I had to prove that it was mine. I told the man to turn it on and he'd see my picture on the desktop.

This is the picture that he got to see. It's our first family photo taken the first time I got to hold Marcellus. He was one day old. 

I wanted him to say something, to comment on the photo. But all he said is, "Yup, that's you," and gave me my laptop. Still being frazzled I ended up leaving my boarding pass at security. A nice man that left right after me caught me at the bottom of the escalator and handed it to me. Phew, another crisis averted. Thank you nice man. Then I got on my flight and sure enough I was sitting kiddie corner from a lovely little family. A little boy about 2-3 years old in the window seat, the mom in the aisle sit with a little girl about 8 months old on her lap and dad in the row ahead of them. The mom was even breastfeeding the baby during the flight. I'm totally for breastfeeding in public and see nothing wrong with it. A baby's got to eat! But it was hard for me. I felt like I was inappropriate staring. I wasn't staring because of the act of breastfeeding, I was staring because I wanted that to be me in a year or two. That could be what my family would look like if Marcellus lived.

Going through security on the way back was not nearly as difficult. I was prepared that Marcellus Bear would cause some problems and so took him out of my suitcase right away. At MSP they didn't have the scanners running in all lanes, so I went to one that was using a metal detector. The still needed to inspect Marcellus Bear and when they let me know I decided to just tell them exactly how special he was. I asked them to please be careful because that teddy bear is weighted to my son's birth weight and he passed away. I figured it would ease my anxiety to just throw it out there. The lady behind me heard this and said, "I'm sorry for your loss." It meant a lot, even from (or maybe especially from) a stranger. Most people would just ignore it. I told her thank you, briefly explained what Molly Bears, and then commented on how I never travel without Marcellus Bear. She replied, "I wouldn't either." I found it to be a sweet encounter. The TSA worker was very sensitive to how special Marcellus Bear is and even had me pick him up. I thanked him for that.

Now I am prepared for traveling with Marcellus Bear. I wonder if anyone else that has a Molly Bear has experienced anything similar. I still won't travel without him. Even though I don't sleep with him every night anymore, I still do on those nights I need a little extra comfort. I need that comfort when dealing with the stress of traveling, especially without Mike.

Marcellus, what a whirlwind of an experience at airport security. I never thought about how that could be an ordeal. The main thing that got me is when the worker asked me if I was hoping for a girl this time. Oh how I wish I could have said, "Yes, we have our wonderful boy and it would be great to have a girl!" or "We would really love it if our son could have a brother!" Of course even if you were here we'd be happy with a little brother or a little sister. I wish you were here more than anything my sweet boy. I miss you and love you so very very much! xoxox.


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