Monday, December 17, 2012

Bittersweet Homecoming

 That last night in China was a L....O....N.....G.... one.  I ended up holding an uncomfortable, exhausted, having-trouble-breathing Zoe for about 7 hours.  We slept for about 45 minutes before we had to get up to head to the airport.

On the way to the airport, she threw up all over me again after choking.  After checking in, I had to dig out cleanish clothes from our bags and put throw up covered ones back in.

We were getting very worried.  She had gotten a fever the night before as well and combined with little sleep and throwing up everything she'd eaten that morning, well, we weren't off to a stellar start of a 20 or so hour journey home.

Fortunately she was so exhausted that she slept most of the first 4 hour flight to Tokyo.  She fell asleep on Daddy, which was awesome because she hadn't been comfortable around him when she was tired up until that point.  And it gave my aching back some rest. I have to tell you, even when not feeling well, this little Peanut is a joy to be around.

We just had quick layover in Tokyo, but enough to stretch our legs and let Zoe cruise around.  She seemed to feel better at this point.  And we hopped on our on-time flight to Houston, which sat at the gate for an hour.  But we had saved up frequent flier miles for 4 years and had gotten ourselves business/first seats on this 11 hour leg of the trip which made it easy and was so WORTH it!

Since Zoe was now happy to be with Daddy some of the time, too, we traded off and each got to lay down (I'm talking fully lay down here!) and sleep a bit on the way back.  Zoe slept some too and her fever seemed to break early on in the flight.

Finally, we landed and headed straight for customs.  Apparently so did everyone else.  After about an hour of waiting to get to the front of the line, we were shipped to another room where we waited yet another hour.  But we finally got the okay with our new little American citizen and family member!

Then we pretty much went running to go see Arella!  Here's our very first family of four picture, plane grime and all!

I can't tell you how many emotions were going on here...

My girls.

Arella is taking this Big Sister role seriously.  Without anyone asking, she gave Zoe a big welcome-to-the-family hug.

And then after smooching Mommy and Daddy, Arella laid a big wet one on Zoe.

Arella was so sweet with Zoe right from the start at the airport.  They bonded over shoes and snacks and Zoe just wanted to follow around this busy big sister person.  When we got home they were playing and then toward bed time, we brought out milk for both of them and Arella had a melt down.  I thought she was jealous of Eriek because he was feeding Zoe, but lo and behold, she just wanted to help feed the baby her bottle!

And keep feeding the baby her bottle.  Zoe didn't mind at all, in fact, I think she thought it was fun.

Did I mention Arella wanted to feed Zoe her bottle?

 Zoe had a permanent happy face on.

It's like she knew all was right in the world.

Then we ran to the local clinic to see if they could help us with Zoe's random sickness because we were scared to lay her down to sleep.  Next thing I know, I'm holding oxygen for her and we're being transferred to Texas Children's Hospital downtown.

Poor thing had an IV port put in just in case. That was brutal.

And off we went.

We thought she was going to have to have a scope done or something similar, but fortunately when the doctor checked her out there, she thought Zoe was in good shape.  She said indeed she may have a syndrome other than microtia (her ear), but that wasn't what was causing her to choke.  The doctor gave us a list of specialists to call to start discussing Zoe's condition, and then they did a deep suction of her nose.  Spicy Peanut was all out of spice at this point.

Or so we thought!  I guess being up at 2am after a couple days with little to no sleep is nothing for a spicy Peanut!  Did I mention Zoe had a first when we got home from the airport?  She started walking!  Boom, she has a family and a home and a big sister to chase after, so she starts walking!  So that's all we did while waiting at the hospital.

We finally got home at 3:30am.  I think Eriek said it was close to 60 hours we'd been up with maybe 3 total hours of sleep.  Then of course, Zoe didn't go to sleep until 5:20am.  And Arella woke up at 6:20am.

So, it was a very L....O....N.....G.... trip home, but absolutely worth every difficult and scary second.  If I'm actually able to get some sleep tonight, I'll try and post some pictures and updates from our first couple days home as they have been a treat!


  1. what a story!!! i'm exhausted after just reading it!! so thankful you are all on US soil together and we will continue to pray for Baby Zoe (and her family) as you move forward to address these physical issues. so happy for all of you - arella is going to be a fantastic big sister!!

  2. Aww I'm so glad that you have her here and sorry that the start was a bit difficult. If there is anything you need or anything we can do please let us know. I would love to also keep your families in this time and pray for peace and that everything adjusts easily. I love your heart Laura and I"m soooo excited to get a sneak peek into this amazing journey.

  3. Wow! What an adventure. Hope you are all finally getting some rest.

  4. Wow! You guys are awesome! It's amazing what we can endure for our children. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us.
    Cindy & Casey Ponton

  5. Oh, girl. That pic of you holding Arella and crying. I can't stand it. Praying for you guys. Have I told you lately that your blog is my new favorite?? Thank you for letting us go on this new journey with you!!!!!

  6. I'm so sad that there was so much excitement when you returned but glad you are all home! Let us know what we can do for you!

    Laurie McKillip

  7. Laura I thought I had such admiration and respect from your olympic achievements, but I was wrong. Laura this was you "Olympic achievement, this earns you and Eriek the gold medal" in the eyes of humanity. It is honor to be in your company. Marian Fisher

  8. HAPPY PARENTING!!! May you enjoy the journey you are on always knowing that God is in control. Make lot's of wonderful memories; the girls will grow fast! Many blessings and hugs~~kelly

  9. Such a beautiful story! Your family is so filled with love and compassion!