first day home
****Please note that these posts are in reverse chronological order****
*******to view the first entry, scroll to the bottom of the page********
Let me start with our first 24 hours home as there is so much to say and very little time as you might imagine. I'll try to put in a bit about travel as well if no one cries, fights, dirties pants, needs a boo-boo kissed, etc. before I am done.
Our first day back has been nice. On our way home from the airport we stopped at my aunt and cousin's house. It was about a third of the way home and a good place to stretch out (the babies and I), do bottles, and change pants. We then visited with our parents for a bit before heading home, though we would have loved to stay longer...I was exhausted. It was SO wonderful to see my oldest two daughters. They look huge to me, I can't believe how much Little Bits has grown. She is almost as tall as Twinkle Toes and I think her hair grew 3 inches while I was gone (she also lost what little bit of baby fat was left in her face, that was kind of sad to see.) Then we managed to make it home and start in with life. Bedtime went ok, the babies ended up in bed with us and I think that helped us survive the night. We need to get a monitor before we put the babies upstairs at night. The two of them take-up enough room that co-sleeping won't be as easy as it was with our older girls. Besides, they are 5 mo already and it is easy to forget that. They were up a couple times at night and went back to sleep fairly easily. But add to that a dog that suddenly needs walked at night, and the former baby of the family feeling a bit needy and Brian and I both had pretty interrupted sleep. We did make it to church in the morning, not Sunday school though. It was so nice to be in church. Our church truly is our second family and I felt like it had been ages since I had seen them and worshiped with them. This afternoon we visited with more family and then the girls and I CRASHED....as in we were asleep and did hear a thing or even smell the bacon the husband was cooking! Jet lag still has ahold of me, but I think everyday will find me feeling more and more like myself.
My trip was wonderful, relaxing at times, and simply put guided by God. At every turn I had someone helping me. From Hanoi to Hong Kong the flight was fairly short (3 hours?) and both babies slept...one in the baby pack on my front and one on the extra seat I bought. In Hong Kong, we had just enough time to get to our plane (I say we as one of the fathers from our agency was traveling home on the same flights to LA as I was, it was wonderful to have him along and we were able to help each other...he had their 16 mo old adopted son with him.) I was worried about the Hong Kong to LA flight as it was about 11.5 hours and I still did not know if I was able to get two seats side-by-side with traveling that last minute (I went to confirm my flight and get seats right after my "visa" post, 4 hours prior to the plane leaving.) The lady at the CathayPacific office had called the Hong Kong airport as they were worried about me traveling alone with the babies. So, I get in line and turns out my seats are in different rows. I tell them that if at all possible that won't work as I am traveling with two infants. They all smile and said they were waiting for me and gave me new seats side by side. So I get on the plane. Now, they are a Chinese operation and quite frankly their planes are designed with that stature in mind...not a 6 ft American woman who weighs 200lbs (blushing) and carrying 2 diaper bags and 2 infants. I GOT STUCK! There was a spot where you walk between two kitchen areas and it is narrow. I coulnd't go forward, I couldn't go backward...embarrassing. The gentleman behind me took the offending bag that had me stuck and followed me to my BULKHEAD BASSINET seats!!!! I about cried I was so happy to see such choice seats reserved for me. The bathroom was right 3 feet in front of me, there were no seats in front of me, there was the little fold-down bassinet right there waiting to be used after take off, I was thinking I could do it! Then this wonderful flight attendant walked by did a double take and came up to me and said "we have been waiting for you, I am so happy to see you!" Well, I was happy to see someone happy to see me. SHe scooped up a baby and went back to seating people. As she came and went she explained how the bassinet worked, where the changing table was, who the attendants were in my area, and insisted I let them know of anything I needed help with. I sat in my seat with on baby still attached and this wonderful lady (I will say angel!) came by and also offered her help. She almost insisted on taking a baby for take off as they have to be buckled in with you. Then she said to go ahead and give her a bottle and diaper and she would just be my helper. I could see her from where I sat, she had her 2 grown daughters with her and they took care of a baby the ENTIRE flight! It was wonderful and they were so happy to do it. They made my day, and I think I made theirs...what a great arrangement. The bassinet allowed me to sleep while the other baby slept, and speaking of sleeping, they slept for most of the flight. No melt downs, no fussy spells, they were great. I slept more on that flight that I had the past couple nights in Hanoi.
Now, I am not fond of the LA airport, but I was glad to see it. My babies are now US citizens :)
The other father and I stuck together figuring 2 of us to 3 babies was a good idea. We got through immigration for ous quickly and then proceeded over to process the babies. That went well and off we went to get luggage. I only had one big checked bag plus a carry-on I checked so I didn't have to carry it on. He, on the other hand had 4 HUGE bags, his wife did a good bit of shopping and sent most of it home with him! So we grabbed a baggage guy and somehow grabbed the best of the bunch. He loaded up our bags as they came and we then proceded to customs. The line was long and we figured we better settle in a bit. The baggage guy had another idea...he saw a customs officer leave the bathroom close by and simply follwed him with us behind him right to his podium and through we went with no wait. He then proceeded to take us up these HUGE ramps (not sure how he pushed those two carts up them) to where Cathay takes our bags back and gets them to our on-going flights. We tipped him nicely as he saved us alot of time and stress. From there we split ways. There were no food places open in the airport with the exception of deli sandwiches and I proceeded to pay $17 for a chicken salad sandwich and danish with juice as I knew on my domestic flight I would not be fed a meal, let alone the 5-course feasts I was served every few hours on the international flight. I then proceeded to check-in to my next flight were I was almost not let on the plane...long story short he couldn't figure out that I purchased two seats, therefor there were enough oxygen masks for everyone in the row. OH, I forgot security was interesting in LA too. They seemed very stressed there and it looked like a bunch of first time through the US foreigners. Then here I come with a stroller, laptop, liquids in bags, 2 babies, etc etc. SO we go through and got flagged to be searched....not me though, Twin A. That made their night I think having to search a baby for weapons and check her diaper bag for explosives. Glad to help them out :)
The last flight was a bumpy one, but I lived. It is possible I have proved it. LIke I said though, if I needed the stroller folded, there was someone there to do it. If I needed help with a bag, there was someone there. I never asked for help, it simply was there. I know I was being watched over. I know.
Please, Please, PLEASE pray for the families that still wait. Many of them have good and pressing reasons that they need to get home. I am fortunate to be here and wish they all could have traveled as well. It is hard not knowing when you can home. The last month has been one of simply not knowing what is happening the next day. Until the moment I got the visa's I simply did not know if I would be able to bring these girls home. That is scary.
Thank you all so much for your support, it means more than I can say and I promise to keep blogging as I am able.
Signed, me...a mother of 4 girls