October 16, 2012

Hello Parenthood…

How am I ever going to blog about the last 96 hours of my life?!? ABI IS HOME!!!!!!!! (Well, in Tennessee that is… I’m typing this from a rocking chair beside her crib in a hospital.) So, for the sake of my tired eyes, and my low laptop battery… I’ll catch you up with a list… Then later I’ll go back and write more about various things that I HAVE to tell you about. But for now, this is all I got…

I’m doing this chronologically… here goes.

1) We got Abi’s visa Thursday afternoon (as I drove back to the hotel I called Sean and we screamed over the phone with pure joy, I then ran back into my hotel, rushed upstairs, grabbed my bags, picked up my baby and my mom and rushed to the airport. We made it there just in time to check in and begin boarding. Phew.

2) We flew from Ghana to NYC. As we took off the ground and headed to the US I couldn’t believe it. (10.5 hr flight.) Abi was a champ and slept most of the way…didn’t make a peep. When we finally landed the passengers cheered and I did all I could to not start bawling… Abi had landed on American soil. She was finally here.

3) At 4:30 am we rushed into the NYC airport , changed a dirty diaper and hopped into the line for immigration. An hour later I was through immigration and rushing to our gate for the next flight. Carrying a baby with luggage on my back through the airports is officially really, really difficult. (Props to all you traveling mamas.) Any suggestions on slings for a child as long as a 2 year old but can't hold there head up yet is appreciated. (Baby biorn doesn’t work for her weak muscles right now.)

4) The next flight, from NYC to Atlanta, went great, except when we landed in Atlanta, Abi started screaming…. She was having major stomach pains (or so it seemed.)

5) We immediately took her to the bathroom where we changed her diaper and began to feed her again. She was inconsolable. So I camped out on the bathroom floor of the Atlanta airport, (getting many, MANY looks) soothing Abiella, getting her medicine, etc. etc annnddd…missing our flight. So, Sean coordinated a rental car with a car seat at the airport.

6) The painful fit lasted so long that the staff asked if they could do anything to help and I said, , “YES. Get me to my rental car kiosk. I’m exhausted and I can’t walk with her and all my luggage that far. “ (Over a mile.)

7) So they graciously got a wheel chair for me and wheeled me with Abi (now asleep on my shoulder) about a mile to the rental car company.

8) We got our car and drove straight to a McDonald’s parking lot where my mom ran in to get food for us and I fed Abi in the back seat. As we hit the highway, we let out a major sigh of relief that we were in a car… on American soil… and began the 2.5 hour drive to my mom’s house.

9) As we drove towards the mountain, so did Sean. We were going to meet halfway at my mom’s house.

10) Abi finally fell asleep and as we pulled up the mile-long driveway I couldn’t believe Sean was going to be at the end of it. We would finally be together as a family!!! I grabbed Abi out of the car seat and as I walked up the steps to the front door, Sean walked out and we just laughed with pure joy. We couldn’t believe it. We hugged and laughed and stared at each other in amazement. WE WERE FINALLY ALL TOGETHER. IN THE STATES. WITH ABIELLA. SAFE. It was too much to believe. I handed Abiella to him and in the middle of her sleep she smiled. She knew.

IMG_0520[1]
11) We sat by the fire and Sean held Abiella for almost an hour, we had a snack, let Abi sleep, and then hit the road for the final 1.5 hour drive to Nashville.

12) We arrived in Nashville by 9pm. As we pulled up I saw that Sean had recently mowed the lawn, added mums on the porches, and washed my car. When we all finally walked in as a family of three, I saw the whole house was decorated!!

IMG_0533[1]

IMG_0534[1]

13) We then got a text that our friends (across the street) were wanting to meet Abiella if we were up for it. So we bundled her up and walked across the street. It was so much fun to FINALLY walk across the street with OUR DAUGHTER!!! IN AMERICA!!! IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!!!

14) The next day my dad came to meet Abiella (so amazing) and I learned that my friends had set up a “food calendar” so that we would have home cooked meals brought to our home at night. Unbelievable!!! This would also be a great way that they could meet Abi one by one and not bombard her with a bunch of loud “obrunis.”

15) The next two days, were perfect, sacred, amazing, wonderful, and exhausting. Abi and I were still jet lagged so our clocks were doing crazy things. (Asleep at 5pm up at 2am kind of crazy.) However, Abi was settling in and LOVING her new world :)

IMG_0523[1]

IMG_0519[1]
This is her discovering her new crib for the first time.

16) Throughout this time, Abi had a few “fits” (similar to her stomach pains in Africa.) We were unsure if it was due to diet, (which is super bland right now), or if it was acid reflux, gas, etc. So I was ecstatic when I realized Sean had already made an appointment (when I was in Africa) with our pediatrician at the children’s hospital for Monday morning.

17) So Monday morning, we go in for our first appointment and due to the fact that Abi is 15 pounds and almost 2 years old… (pics are deceiving friends… she’s way too skinny) AND the fact that we were unsure if she was aspirating OR what the stomach pains were from, they decided to go ahead and admit her into the hospital.

18) You would think this would be a huge disappointment but in fact it was a HUGE relief!! We were finally going to get Abi the health care she deserved!!!!!! Our main goal was to get her hydrated and figure out how to feed her SAFELY / find out why she’s having stomach pains… BUT in the meantime (since we’re already here) we’re getting other tests done that we had planned on getting anyways.

19) Yesterday was great. She loved her room and even though she had to be pricked with a needle twice, she was all smiles. Life was good and she knew it. We were in America getting health care!!!

IMG_0530[1]

20) Today, though, has been rough. All night long she had vitals taken (aka- waking up to cold thermometers and strangers’ hands touching her…) and then today she’s had IVs flushed, blood drawn, x-rays, Upper GI testing, a swallow study, physical and occupational therapy AND a feeding tube put in, and she hasn’t gotten food since 7 am this morning and it’s now almost 5:30pm. Progress is being made, but that’s A LOT for a precious baby girl’s 4th full day in America. A whole lot.

21) So… here I am. Sitting on my new “bed”, watching my BEAUTIFUL daughter sleep while precious nutrients (she’s been deprived of her whole life) flow through a feeding tube, through her nose and into her belly. I’m holding onto the silence like gold, knowing that she’s FINALLY sleeping… but I’m also, dreading the clock, knowing that  in 19 minutes a nurse will walk in, put a rubberband around Abi’s little arm, wake her up and take more blood. As great as the nurses are, this girl needs rest… and it’s hard to get it here. And me? Well, I’m trying to keep my eyes open and my spirits high. I am tired, I am sad that Abi’s having such an intrusive and rough introduction to her new life, I am thrilled that she’s getting medical care, I am THANKFUL that I’m in MY city and I can look out my new window and see MY TOWN (and that I’m not walking across a red dirt road to beg help from a pharmacist in Ghana whose never even seen my baby, whose handing me a bottle of medicine I’ve never even heard of before) and I’m moving forward one doctor’s visit at a time, one of Abiella’s laughs at a time, and one of Abiella’s crocodile tears at a time. Praying peace for this miraculous child...

44 comments:

Heidi said...

Wow! So happy for you that you're home with your precious daughter! God is good.

Christina @My Life, Laughs, and Love said...

God bless you, your family, and baby Abi - this brought tears to my eyes. CONGRATULATIONS.!!!

Becca said...

I'm so so glad you guys are home with your sweet baby! I know how hard life in the hospital can be, we are praying for you and please tell us if there's anything else we can do for y'all!

Kenzie Smith said...

That is so great to hear that you are all together, home, as a family! :) My thoughts and prayers are with your gorgeous family.

Carly @ Texas Lovebirds said...

So glad you are home! Praying for sweet Abi.

Have you looked at Ergo carriers? I know you said the Bjorn wasn't quite right but the Ergo is a much better carrier (in my opinion).

xo

Robyn said...

abi is home-what great news. congratulations.

Samara said...

Oh man, I just love reading these posts about Abi---praise God that she is getting the medical attention that every human being deserves. I hope that one day I will be sharing a similar story on my blog ;-)

By the way- your husband- what a champ.

Jessica said...

wow! what a journey. So glad she is home!!!! sorry that she is in the hospital but glad she is getting medical care! continued prayers!!

Rhiannon said...

This is just so beautiful to read. Abi is so beautiful and you and your Husband are fantastic parents to this little girl.

Brittany Walsh said...

So glad to hear you are HOME and reunited as a family. I dream about that day for my hubby and I and our adoptive child(ren)! Your blog has been such and encouragement!

Paige said...

So glad to see this point in your journey! It has been a long time coming! I know that the nurses coming in at all hours can be annoying, but remember they have Abi's best interest at heart and I hope you have some great ones that truly care!

Treasure Tromp said...

this is so beautiful. welcome home. lady!

Melodee said...

you two are angels, just reading this makes me feel that there is good in the world...that this little girl is so blessed to be your child! congratulations...and happy days ahead mamma!!!

Money in my Pocket said...

What a story! I pretty much cried while reading this! I cant even imagine all the emotions you were going through. So happy you guys are all home and safe and together as a family and sweet Abi is such a lucky girl to have you guys as parents! I hope everything continues to go well and you both get some sleep!

Amanda @ Eloquent English said...

WOW what a journey and it has only just begun! Thinking of you guys...

canadianbakers said...

Congratulations on having your little girl home with you!
It sounds like a SSC (soft-structured carrier) would be a better option for you/her, instead of a sling.
Ergos are quite comfortable, though the back tends to be shorter (may not support her head like needed).
Beco has different designs and carriers, and may work - higher back in most would mean more head support for her.
If it's any help this site is a chart to compare all the SSCs, giving measurements for back heights and whatnot - https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p1IiFbzF2Rif1tmPRn4j4XA

I wonder if a mei tai (for example, babyhawk or toddlerhawk) would work. They have no buckles, you tie it on, but the body/back is quite high (especially on the toddlerhawk) and may provide enough support for her.

Kaity said...

I don't even know you, but you've brought tears to my eyes. Your heart must be overflowing with happiness right now. God is so good- praying for you and your family <3

kels said...

Oh my goodness, this made me cry! What a blessing! Praying for Abi, you guys, and the doctors!

Katye Y said...

Tears pierced my eyes as I read this. Tears of joy for you, Sean and Abiella finally getting to be together, for Abi getting the medical attention that she needs, and for your amazing ability to stand strong and faithful through your journey. I love you and admire you Mary Susan!

Danielle said...

Your story is so amazing! Congratulations on making it home, safe and sound! I love the Abi updates, keep them coming!!!

Amber said...

what an incredible story! so glad to hear you and Abi made it home safely!!

momFITtingitallin said...

I am beyond happy for you and your family. Just reading this is causing me to cry of pure joy!

Happiness!!!!

So happy she is getting the best treatment possible!

Can't wait to see your journey!

Sharee'
www.momFITtingitallin.com

Erin said...

I have chills reading this. And tears of joy for your sweet family.. ALL TOGETHER, finally!! Praying sweet Abi gets the care she needs and can grow grow grow!!

ColbyB. said...

What a whirlwind, but know that you are so happy she is home with you and Sean! So happy for you guys!!! Best of luck these next days while she gets the dr's help she needs! :)

The Egg said...

GAH!!!! These photos brought tears to my eyes.
SO happy for you and your little family.
those father daughter photos make me melt.

xo the egg out west.

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said...

I am over-the-moon ecstatic for you, Mae! She's HOME! Keep those updates coming (after you rest, of course)!

Carolyn said...

YAY! I'm so glad you made it to America, and she's getting the care she needs! I'm so happy for you!!

Anonymous said...

So happy for you and your family!! how exciting. God is so great, and your baby is so lucky to have two wonderful parents who love her so Much!
I love my MOBY Wrap. My son is two and a half and we still use it. It is also great for newborns and can support their necks. good luck.

It's Sooo Fluffy! said...

I'm SOOO happy for your family!! I hope she gets stronger soon and I know she is so grateful for you!

Libby A. said...

tears of joy all the way over here in San Diego! Im so excited for you three! I was just telling my sister I hoped you made that Thursday flight! So glad you did :) Congrats & get rest <3

Libby A. said...

Oh! And I LOVED the moby wrap. because your able to wrap it to your liking and adjust it to her body it may work great.

JMc said...

How wonderful that you AND Abi are home. Sorry that is it filled with hospital beds, pricks, and sleepless days/nights.

I just saw a blog post the other day where the mom took a 5 yr strip of stretchy fabric and wrapped it a certain way to support her twins. Looks like she has taken the post down but here's the link to the wrap instructions she used (I can still see the entry in my blog reader, weird): http://www.mobywrap.com/instructionpages.aspx?Topic=instructionsgathered

TDM Wendy said...

WOW. Congrats and you are in my prayers. That is a lot to take in for everyone. A lot. And the sleep deprivation is killer and will begin to really set in if it hasn't. An you will cry a lot and that is totally okay. Look at her smile. Amazing! Yay that she is going to finally get the care (both medically and from her parents - I write that with tears) she needs. Wow. Amazing.

Di said...

Wishing Abiella the best of health and hoping that active healthcare helps her achieve every dream you have for her and she will have for herself!

Stacie said...

So exciting that you are both back in the USA! Woohoo! I had chills as I read your story. So awesome she can get the healthcare that she needs. It's been interesting to follow your journey and where life has taken you on your blog. Usually I dont comment but Im just so excited for you guys!

Ashlee said...

i discovered your blog through your sister's blog...
i read through all of your post about your journey to bring abi home and cried and cried.

the sign your husband made for her welcome home melted my heart.

i will be praying for your sweet daughter. <3

itsmekt said...

glad you two made it home!!
what an amazing inspiring story, shes beautiful!

Celeste said...

So incredibly happy and excited for you all that you are now together as a family! Your story is so inspirational, and the love you have for your daughter is absolutely beautiful. Almost every post brings tears to my eyes...she is so, so blessed to have you and your husband. Wishing her a quick and easy hospital stay, and a lifetime of happiness to you all!

Bre said...

What a lucky little girl to have you two as parents! God really does bless us in such unexpected ways! I am praying for you!

Beth Dorsey said...

So very happy for you all! I hope Abi can get all the help she needs. What a sweet little spirit she is.

Jessica @ Lovely Little Things said...

This is incredible.
INCREDIBLE!

So excited for your new family :)

Babygirl said...

was just telling my husband about you all last night, and couldn't help but tear up at the miraculous things God is doing with your family. Continued prayers for healing your precious baby girl, and many thankful praises being said over how far you've come. God bless...

Elle to Elle said...

You all have such beautiful hearts! Even though its rough, it'll be worth it when her body is finally able to get the nutrients she's been deprived of. I love reading your story.

Briana@SweetCGrace said...

I'm so thankful to God that your baby girl is finally here, and that you get to be a family!