Monday, 4 January 2010

Emergency Landing

When I first started looking in to going to Sweden for our IVF one of many concerns were if flying could in any way damage the embryo. Dr. Boss Lady and Dr. Doodle both assured me that there was no risk whatsoever, but Dr. Google was not as confident. Dr. Google informed me that miscarriage rates are slightly higher for flight attendants and said that if cabin pressure drops below normal it could cause a miscarriage. He also said that loosing cabin pressure was highly unlikely to happen and I felt confident enough that it was safe to travel during, and after treatment. So not only did we fly to and from Sweden for the IVF, we also booked our tickets to Florida before we knew I was pregnant. 

When I lost this pregnancy I searched my soul for answers to why this happened. Even though I'm not a religious person, I'm very spiritual and believe everything happens for a reason. But no matter how I twisted and turned this urgent question all answers I could think of were negative and pointed towards me being punished for things I had or hadn't done. It was very discouraging and heart breaking but somehow satisfying in a cruel and martyr-like way. I figured it was tough love and a way to redemption so I just dealt with it.

This Christmas, half way across the Atlantic on our flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta, the captain unexpectedly speaks on the intercom: "Ladies and gentlemen, I have turned on the seat belt sign. We are having technical difficulties and want everybody to remain in their seats until further notice." 
Me and Diver Dude exchange surprised looks and noticed the crew disappearing in their seats. Half an hour later the captain tells us they're having problems with the computer that controls the cabin pressure. He says they're trying to control it manually but it's difficult at the high altitude we're traveling and that they're going down to 10 000 feet. This will cause the plane to burn more fuel and we will most likely not make it to Atlanta. For several hours the captain updates us on the cabin pressure and altitude and course of action in 10 minute intervals until suddenly he says: "Due to our inability to manually control cabin pressure we're going to have to do an emergency landing in Gander, Newfoundland. Ladies and gentlemen, bear with me while I take this plane down in high winds."

All of a sudden I had this sense of calm and light inside me. Could it be this was part of the grand plan all along. Could it be Mr. Circus Director had made sure the embryo that was transferred was one that wouldn't develop into a baby to make sure a healthy pregnancy wouldn't be lost due to failing cabin pressure on this trip across the Atlantic. Maybe the tragedy of loosing this baby was a blessing in disguise to protect us from an even bigger tragedy. The thought of this being a possible answer gave me a strong sense of peace and I felt like I could take a full breath for the first time in months.

I kissed Diver Dude, told him that I loved him and squeezed his hand tightly and braced myself for the landing. Our plane rocked back and forth and bounced up and down in the wind and mist for what seemed like a really long time, but the plane landed seconds after we saw land. We all applauded and laughed with relief when we hit ground. Four fire trucks were waiting for us along the landing strip just in case. Diver Dude was all giddy and high on adrenaline and gave me a big kiss before we deboarded the plane.

Newfoundland have their own time zone, and it's not the normal full hour/hours difference, it's actually half an hour. That in combination with the empty military airport made it feel like we had landed in the twilight zone. Turns out the water tank on our plane had a hole in it and was leaking. The water froze on one of the wings and somehow put the computer that controls cabin pressure out of comission. After three hours in the Gander-zone we were let back on the plane. They had temporarily solved the problem by defrosting the ice and emptying out the leaking water tank. Trust me when I tell you there were a lot of praying and crossing going on when we took off. 

Amazingly, in spite of the emergency landing and a missed connecting flight, we were only about five hours delayed total. At 12.30 that night we staggered in to our hotel, bag-less (yeah, they lost our luggage between Atl and Jax) but happy to be there in one piece. As soon as Diver Dude's head hit the pillow he was snoring. We hadn't had much sleep during our 27 hour journey and a bit more excitement than expected so I was actually surprised he didn't crash standing up. 

Me, I managed to say a little prayer of thanks before I crawled up next to my man and joined the snore-fest.


  1. Wow what a story! I generally don't believe that everything happens for a reason, but this left me doubting that a little.

  2. F*** sorry for the bad language, but that's all I can think of.

    I'm glad you're here, back down on Earth. So very, very glad.

  3. How scary! That's one way to see Newfoundland, I suppose ;). Good for you for being able to see the silver lining in Acrobat's short time.

    While pressure issues are few and far between on flights (thank goodness), flying is otherwise safe while pregnant. I flew at 5dpo and 10dpo and wasn't happy about the timing and my RE swore to me that if the embryo is healthy, there's almost nothing you can do to interrupt the pregnancy, short of drastic measures like falling down a flight of stairs or mainlining heroin; things of that ilk.

    I'm glad you're back, safe and sound!

  4. Yikes! What an experience. Not the best way to experience Canada! LOL! Glad everything worked out and you are able to find peace in things.

    Take care.

  5. Holy Cow!!! That is an amazing story! I have to say I belive the same way you do about the timing of the m/c. I'm a firm beliver in things happening for a reason. We can't see it at the time it's happening but hindsights 20/20!!

    It's good to know your safe and sound and back on firm ground!!! ((HUGS))

  6. WOW! I am so glad that you are safe and sound!! It sounds both terrifying and uplifting at the same time!!!

  7. What an adventure! I have been on a plane before where all the passengers clapped on landing - it was one helluva ride! Good thing I'm not afraid of flying. hehe

  8. Holy crap, sweets! I suppose a crash landing would be the ONLY way to see Gander, Newfoundland! ;)

  9. What an adventure! Glad you are safe now.

  10. I love it when suddenly it all "makes sense"! Glad you got in okay!

  11. That's scary. I love to go places but planes always make me nervous. That would have been hard for me to endure for sure.

    Also, I think if that thought gives you some comfort then I say go with it. I often have those thoughts that certain things happen for a reason and I think that could certainly apply here.

    I have actually been to Gander! We were going to England and we stopped there. I'm not sure why (I was a kid). I remember the weird time zone thing also!

  12. Oh my!! What a scary experience!! I am a nervous flyer so I'm not sure how I would have coped...specially with the part of "getting back on" the damn plane! Glad it helped you in a way to breath again. Much love, Fran

  13. TheDH travels for a living and in the US. Which means, every day I worry. Twice a week, actually, which is when takeoff and landing happens.

    As you know, terrorism in the US is really at a high point via airline as it has the most international/media impact and seems to be the viable means for people to make a statement.

    Your post resonated strong and hard to me.

    I am so glad you are ok, CC.

    I pray for an acrobat this year, or two.

    And I pray for everyone who travels, to arrive safely.

  14. Hello!

    First of all, what a harrowing ordeal you survived!

    My name is Elisabeth, and I am an infertility / repeated pregnancy loss "veteran". You can read a little bit about me and my experiences in my blog: . I am completing a PhD in Counseling Psychology, and my dissertation is focused upon the impact of infertility on marriage. I believe strongly that there is a need for better support services for men and women who are undergoing IF diagnosis and treatment, and my hope is that this study will aid in the development of such services.

    I am contacting you after stumbling across your blog. I am recruiting participants for my study, and wanted to invite you and your husband to take part. All that would be involved would be the completion of an online survey, that would take approximately 20 minutes. All couples who complete the surveys will receive a voucher good for a pair of free movie tickets at a Regal Cinemas.

    Please let me know if you are interested by emailing me at . I have included the criteria for participation below.

    Feel free to pass information along to anyone you know who might be interested in contributing to this study.

    Best of luck to you!

    Member of a married, heterosexual couple
    Both you and your spouse are between the ages of 20 – 45
    You do not have any biological or adopted children living in your home
    You are not currently pregnant
    Either you, your spouse, or both has received an infertility diagnosis
    You have received treatment for infertility in the past six months, or plan to do so in the next six months
    Both you and your partner are willing to participate & have access to the internet

  15. Truly terrifying. I do believe things happen for a reason as well. So glad you made it home safe and sound. Hugs and Happy New Year.


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