Wednesday, 16 July 2014

How we wake up at night (Part 2)

If you personally know me, you would know that my husband and I love to travel whenever we can. In fact, before we got married we actually had to *test* the waters out as travelers (Too many friendships can get ruined just by going on vacation... and don't worry, we had separate rooms) by going to the International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People's (IFHOHYP) Summercamp, in Fiesch, Switzerland (we did a quick tour of London, Vienna, Venice and Zurich on the side too).  Fortunately for us, we only had one minor disagreement - in Venice, we both argued on what would be the best way to get back to the hotel (turns out we were BOTH right... what are the odds!?!).

Anyhow, this summer has been filled with travel: Baby's first flight to Toronto to visit extended family and to the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association National (CHHA) Conference, plus several camping trips.  For the flight, I was particularly concerned that Rachel would suffer from airplane cabin ear pressure, and asked our family physician about this. He recommended that we use Auralgan, which are ear drops in gel form. We applied it about half an hour prior to take off - it seemed to work like a charm as we didn't get any fuss from Rachel. Plus, Auralgan won't cause any hearing loss.

Auralgan, I swear by it!
Upon arrival, I was exhausted - partially from waking up so early to catch our 7am flight, feeding Rachel on the plane (she doesn't like the nursing cover, so... boobs wide open), and keeping her occupied in the tight quarters of the plane. Fortunately, she was a trooper.  By the time we got to the hotel, it was about 6pm, and with the time difference of 3 hours, we didn't get to sleep until around midnight *SIGH!*. Our wake up system is different from the one we use at home, and requires not one, but TWO smartphones. I have a Samsung Galaxy S2, whereas my husband has an iPhone. We found an app called Baby Monitor (below is what the interface looks like) for free, and it *seems* to work.You can set the sensitivity level on the app so that once a cry reaches a certain threshold, it'll trigger the baby alarm.

Baby Monitor App, it does an *ok* job (I'll review it later in this article)

In addition to the smartphones, we plug in the vibrator (if you don't know what this is, refer to Part 1) to a LightOn system (approx $70). The LightOn holds my husband's iPhone, in a similar fashion to the photo below. My phone will act as the receiver, with the baby monitor app running. When sound is detected, it sends a call my husband's iPhone, and his iPhone will vibrate, causing the LightOn to go off, thereby transmitting a signal to the vibrator to wake us up. Complicated much? Think of it like a relay system, where one cannot happen without the other.

Check out this video to see how LightOn works:
Naturally, there are a several drawbacks to using this system when traveling:
1. You get less sleep (you're constantly waking up because you don't trust the system 100%)
2. The LightOn System seems to work better with iPhones than Androids. Somehow I wasn't able to figure out how to get my phone to vibrate when receiving calls.
3. My phone kept receiving emails/text messaging while the baby monitor app was operating , this resulted in the baby monitor app to stop running, and thereby miss her cries (this was the most annoying part... I finally figured out to not sync my emails and have not figured how to temporarily stop text messages from coming through).
4. There is a 30-second delay in using this system, unlike the system we have set up at home, which is instant.
5.The need to have two phones, instead of one - imagine if I had to travel alone with the baby, it would be near impossible!
6. We can't really use this system if we leave Canadian soil, unless we're prepared for some major roaming charges.
7. Did I mention, less sleep? 

We had a couple of hiccups on our trip - at one of my relative's homes, they told me the morning after that Rachel had been crying for a little while (not too long, thankfully!!!) and asked me if the alarm ever went off. My answer was "No", and it was at that point that we figured out that I needed to turn off my email notifications. Fortunately, Rachel was a happy traveler, and we even managed to make our way out to Niagara Falls!

Selfie at Niagara Falls - what a lovely day!

A friend of mine recently told me that the new Samsung Galaxy S5 doubles as a baby monitor(, if you have the gear watch ($145!?!?!) that vibrates when it goes off. This option might be worthwhile if you're not a heavy sleeper - which I am, unfortunately. We've tried so many different vibrators, and the one that we have seems to be the only one with enough force/strength to actually wake us up. Until we find something better than this current 'travel' system, we're stuck with this for now.

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