Wednesday, July 6, 2011

At last.

We are here. We are surviving. A couple of days ago I would have written the words: barely surviving, but each day is getting better. Warning: this post will contain some complaints about the rigors of taking care of two infants. And like most IFers who cross over (however they do) I feel some serious guilt ever letting out a complaint here. However, in a nutshell:

The sixteen hour international flight was nothing short of the most excruciating experience of my life. It was my labor and delivery for sure, unmedicated all the way. You see, we stupidly expected to board the flight with two bassinets reserved which would allow the babies to have a real place to sleep, which in turn would give us a chance to sleep.

No such luck. Despite getting to the airport over three hours prior to our departure as instructed, the bassinets were already all taken. At this point we proceeded to tell the ticket agent to reconsider and change his answer. Ha ha. Which meant we boarded that sixteen hour flight with two sick infants with nothing to do but hold them the whole time. And they screamed. And they thrashed. And they were miserable. And I cried within ten minutes of taking my seat. I think I have some post traumatic stress related to the flight.

Our stopover in DC was only moderately better because, despite being extremely tired, the babies wouldn't sleep in the hotel room. I cried some more. So did DH.

When our DC to Austin flight was delayed we all freaked out a little more, and yup, more crying. It was the last flight to Austin and there was no way we weren't going to be on it. DH had me calling our travel agent and he promised to "pay whatever it takes to get home tonight"...I think he would have chartered a private jet at that point. Luckily the flight made and although it was overbooked we made it on board and landed in our hometown.... only to discover that DH's parents (who had our car with our carseats) were stuck in a horrible traffic snarl outside the airport. I had actually seen the lights and sirens from the air as we landed. They hadn't moved an inch in over an hour. So we made a camp on the dirty airport floor and waited some more.

Oi vey.

We made it to our first night in our own home at 1:00 am and proceeded to sleep 3 hours. Which made our grand total of sleep about 3 hours 25 minutes in three days.

Yes I know sleep deprivation is part of the deal. But suffice it to say we were overwhelmed. There were tears. There were moments of sheer panic, dread, and fear.

And then.

My dear sweet Pablo dog took a turn for the worse. He has been in kidney failure for a while, he is quite old, and we knew the end was near. But yet he persisted.

He is the only living creature besides DH who knew the depth of my IF pain. He patiently sat with me while I sobbed so many times, he gave me little nudges and licks but mostly he was just there, abiding with me in my darkest moments.

I'd like to think he held on just in time to see the human babies make an appearance in our lives before he finally felt he could let go and have a sweet release from this life. I loved him like a human and he will always, always be my first son, my original boy. But having to say goodbye to him the first day after we arrived home was excruciating and my heart is still broken.

These last few days have been a whirlwind. Every day gets better. I feel like now that one infant would be a breeze. Oh yes. But we are making it, bit by bit, breath by breath, hour by hour and sometimes minute by minute. They are starting to recuperate, we are getting well, too (seriously--I haven't been sick in years, but every single baby in the orphanage was sick so it was inevitable), and we are starting to find a little groove.

I have so much I want to say about our experiences in Ethiopia. About the orphanages. About the donations. About the surreal day I clutched my baby girl to my chest as DH clutched our baby boy to his in the back of a very old Toyota (there are no car seats in Ethiopia) as we made our way on the muddied, nearly washed out roads towards the US Embassy, where we raised our right hands and talked through glass on a little phone to an anonymous worker on the other side, and in five minutes they were ours....I want to talk about it all but for now, I will just leave you with a few photos for your viewing pleasure:

First pedi visit, my Mom came to help for the day (in case you're wondering who is behind the stroller)
Bob Stroller. No, we haven't used it, besides strolling in the house (it's over 100 degrees here) but check out my daughter's evil glowing eyes!
View from the top, bath time togetherness!
My sweet boy Pablo, in his healthier days.


  1. OMG - guys, you have been put through the new parent rigors for sure - you have SO earned your stripes! I am so happy and excited for you two - and now four - and even though it's going to be tough as hell - you are going to make it through with flying colors and then some. Enjoy your beautiful children and know that there are lots of folks out there rooting for you all. Congrats to a gorgeous family!

  2. I love that you wrote, " my daughter". I'm sure it's really tough right now, but you have been to he'll and back, this will be so much easier. So happy for you!

  3. crying for Pablo and for you and mr. mtl and all the years of pain and the newness of this beutiful chapter in your lives. wishing all the best, and all the happiness that life can bring.

  4. I don't know which to address first....the sweet babes, or the poor pup.
    I know how comforting an animal can be to a human. Roxie is my forever companion and the day I lose her will be the day I lose a piece of my heart!! I am so so sorry about Pablo. They really are a (wo)mans best friend.

    As for those sweet little one....AHHHH!!!!!! This is the first blog post I genuinely smiled at in a looong time!! I was so so happy to see those two babes and you home safe. I realize your hesitancy to 'complain', but hello, instant parenthood, traveling oh so long, and with no sleep....totally justified!!!!

    xoxoxo so happy for you!

  5. So sad to hear about the loss of your sweet Pablo. Congrats on bringing home your two human babies.

  6. Congrats on making it! I am sorry to hear about Pablo. Your son and daughter are ADORABLE. xo

  7. AAAH! Glad to hear something!

    First, I'm so sorry about your fur-boy. It's amazing how much they inherently know and sense in their hearts, and you'll never convince me that he wasn't waiting for you and Mr. MTL to bring home his human-siblings before leaving.

    Secondly, I smiled when reading the story about your horrid journey home- only because (a) it would not have happened to the MTL's any other way! and (b) because I don't think it's a complaint at all, it sounds like a parents worst nightmare. Because you're parents. And that was terrible for you and your family. And the fact that you've got your family home, despite the cluster-fawkery that went down. :)

  8. Wow, they are so gorgeous!! And I'm so sorry about Pablo. Congrats on getting everyone home in one piece, it sounds like quite a trip!

  9. I am sorry about your dog, but it's uncanny how they seem to sense when their job here is done. And never, ever feel guilty! In my opinion, as someone going through infertility, once you 'come out the other-side' you have far more 'bragging' rights, and complaining rights than anyone. By the nature of your struggle you have earned it. When we finally get our children, by whatever means, I totally intend to gush and complain to my hearts content, as all mothers are entitled to do.

  10. Welcome to parenthood! Congrats on making it to the other side.

  11. Darn, I just wrote a book to you and lost it. Here is the short version. Yea to you both on surviving the flight home and for being home....with your two babies! I hope that good health and sleep are right around the corner for you! Write down as much as you can - things I thought I'd never forget are already foggy and it has only been 3 months! :-) Mommy brain comes even to us adopted mamas.

  12. OMG, I forgot to say how sorry I am about you losing Pablo. Our pets bring amazing love and healing during the infertility journey - I lost my beloved Shih Tzu months after my first m/c. The sadness of it all was a bit overwhelming. I am so sorry for your loss.

  13. Holy moly, what a roller coaster ride! Congratulations on becoming a family of 4 at long last. And I'm sorry to hear about your sweet Pablo. May your journey as parents be as smooth as your journey to become parents was bumpy. And feel free to complain away - you've certainly earned the right to do so!!! But it's all worth it when you snuggle w/ your sweet little ones. Wishing you sleep! I know you and MrMTL are going to be fabulous parents!
    Dona (dmnmb from DS)

  14. Oh man this sounds SO FAMILIAR! THE HORROR!!!!!! So glad that things are beginning to get better and better - I promise they will keep on getting better, and better, and better, and better.

    So sorry about your pup. Really glad that he got to meet the two human babies, but that must have been incredibly hard to lose him. He looks like a fine little dude.

  15. Congratulations!!! Huge sigh of relief over here. They are beautiful babies. I am really sorry about your little dog.
    Amy xx

  16. What beautiful children you have!!! Congratulations to you and your husband!! It sounds like a whirlwind!!! I am so sorry about your special baby!! I love the comment someone made about him knowing his job was done! Enjoy your gorgeous son and daugter!!

  17. I've been thinking about you guys lately wondering if you were home yet. Glad you made it safely, albeit a bit more harried. Sounds like you are finding your groove as a family of four! How exciting this time must be!

    I'm so sorry to hear about Pablo. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet. Hugs to you.

  18. I'm so sorry at the loss of your "original son" and do think he held out until he knew that you had your beautiful babies in your arms for keeps. I hope that things get easier and that you have PLENTY of help. Sleep deprivation is brutal...that's why they use it as a torture tool!! I am so so happy that the babies are home and YOUR JOURNEY IS OVER. I can't wait to hear more about the details of the orphanage, etc.

  19. Congrats on having your babies home. I'm so sorry to hear about your sweet pup, and about how difficult the traveling was. But I'm happy to hear your family is home.

  20. I have tried commenting on your last several post, but blogger won't keep me signed in! So, I'll have to do this anonymously.

    First, let me say that caring for two infants is tough. Like, hardest thing I've ever done in my life, tough. I, too, experienced the post-infertility guilt of complaining about being a mom. But, you have every right to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, terrified.

    That said, your flight home sounds like something beyond anything I've ever experienced. I absolutely can't imagine caring for two sick infants under those circumstances... let alone ones who are still getting to know me and do not yet take comfort in my presence. You survived it, though, and hopefully it has helped you see that you can survive whatever lies ahead as well.

    I am so very sorry about the loss of your beloved dog. Pets truly do become a member of the family, and I know how painful it is when they are gone. I think it is sweet that he stayed long enough to see your dreams fulfilled. And, I hope you can take comfort in the fact that he will not have to experience the "demotion" that inevitably occurs when children are added to a family. I know it has been hard for our pets to lose their place at the top of our priority list.

    My most heartfelt congratulations to you and your new family. It does my soul good to see you and Mr. MTL finally, finally become parents. You have two very lucky children.


  21. I am so glad you guys are home! I am devastated for your loss of Pablo, as I am still grieving the loss of my first "baby," who died shortly before I became pregnant with my twins after IVF. I will never get over losing her, but she was so worth all of the pain I still feel.

    As far as moaning and complaining goes, that is so tricky, I know. After doing everything we could to get pregnant, when the twins finally did come home, I was overwhelmed, scared, depressed, anxious, etc. And I felt like I couldn't complain, because any time I did, people would say, "well, you asked for this." Um, ok. Yes, we wanted this, but not because we thought it would be perfect or easy. And do we not have the right to be overwhelmed and unhappy sometimes, like all other parents, just because we used fertility methods? I mean, anyone who is having sex is "asking for it," right? This still frustrates me.

    Please, feel free to complain away. Or to brag. Or rejoice. Or however you are feeling in the moment. Because we are all thrilled that you are finally able to feel all of these things. And my god, a lack of sleep will turn any hopeful, rational person into an irritable monster (been there) for a while, so go easy on yourself. And please, keep sharing! Your babies are wonderful and you will all find a groove soon enough.

  22. OH a HUGE hug from me!! Yes, your flight certainly sounded like labour to me...oy vey is right! But you made it...and your exhausted...I know...its soo rough but SOOO worth it. You take care. I'd say get some rest but that would be me telling you a lie because I know that it likely won't happen! Hang in there! Much love to you and your darlings.

  23. I am so sorry about your sweet Pablo. I have tears in my eyes, and I obviously had never met him! I have 2 dogs and I feel your pain.

    And MAN, unmedicated labor for sure with that trip!!! That sounds just awful. I cannot imagine how tired you must have all been. But you made it!!!!!! Congrats!!!

  24. Oh my - what a time you've had! I'm sorry about Pablo and sorry the return trip was so difficult. BUT, am so happy for all of you and can't wait to read more stories. And please don't hesitate to vent, bitch, moan, or brag endlessly! Parenting is wonderful and can be freaking hard - so let out whatever you need to!


  25. So sorry about Pablo! My heart is broken. As one who had dogs and saw them go to a better place, trust me, I know your pain.
    It’s OK to be exhausted, it’s OK to cry, and it’s Ok to feel overwhelmed. Just hang on and it will get easier little by little. You guys are doing and amazing job! And they are the luckiest kids to have the best parents!
    Erika (DS)

  26. Wow, that is a story alright! I love the analogy of the trip home as your labor- it sounds much more painful, to be honest! But you survived to tell the tale, as all moms do, and being able to look at your children (YOUR children!!!) erases much of the pain. I can't express all my joy for you - trust me when I say it is immense.

    I am so sorry to hear about sweet Pablo. I do think these companions know, they know what we need, and know when their job here on this earth is done. I have a friend whose sweet dog passed away 2 days after her first BPF after many failures. It was like he knew she'd be ok, and his job of getting to this place was done, and done well. They just know.

    Congrats to you, Mom. :)

  27. Welcome home! The trip sounds harrowing indeed and I'm so glad you finally made it.
    I'm so sorry to hear about your sweet pup. That is similar to what happened to me, losing my 17 year old cat just a month before baby arrived. Like Pablo, he had been with me through so many struggles and was such a good companion and friend. I know how much you will miss your Pablo.
    Looking forward to following along with more adventures as they come. Big hugs to the whole family!

  28. I know about having a furbaby, just KNOWING that he would be my only child & the pain IF shells out on a daily basis-I actually have a 30 second video of my furbaby howling from the depths of his little soul during the time our son's BM had changed her mind, when she took our son from us & I was going thru worse than hell.He helped me more than anyone on this earth. I know how sad it is to say goodbye to your first (fur)baby, and I'm so sorry. But your son & daughter are just beautiful! Congratulations!! How exciting and overwhelming, and What a wonderful post! Blessings!

  29. Welcome home MTL family! Those international flights are a nightmare with infants. I'm from South Africa and have never had luck with getting the bassinets :( However, it's behind you and like all birthing pains, you'll forget about it soon! 2 babies is so hard but the best fun ever - there is no experience quite like it. They are beautiful. So sorry about your doggie. Looking forward to hearing your ongoing stories of parenthood.

  30. Oh my dear- you've been in my thoughts over the past few weeks. I am so happy that you are home and adjusting. I can't even imagine the struggle your trip home was- you are a hero in my book!

    I am so sorry about your dear sweet Pablo. Losing my furry child was really tough on me this Spring. She was also our first child, and I am so very sad she didn't get to meet our future child. I am so very sure that Pablo was an amazing spirit and soul, and knew that his work was done here on Earth, and now he will watch your babies grow and flourish here at home.

    You are a true inspiration to me, MTL. Thank you.

  31. How bittersweet! I am so happy to see you and your children home at last! And I am so sad to hear of the loss of your pup, my dog has also been there for me and is my firstborn, for sure!

    Sorry to hear of the rough flight, but it's over now and I am so happy for you!

  32. !!! Tears of happiness all for you four!

    Btw, none of what you said sounded like complaints, but if it did it would be 100% warranted.

    Congrats mama!!! Can't wait to hear more!!!

  33. First off, I'm so sorry about your sweet pup. I have an old dog who is also my "original boy" and I dread the day he leaves us. On a brighter note, even though you went through hell to get your babies home, they are beautiful and I hope they and you are feeling better. Congrats on bringing your little miracles home!

  34. I've been waiting for an update! So glad you found time to post!

    First of all, I'm so very sorry about Pablo. Losing a pet - a member of the family - is so, so difficult.

    Second of all, I cannot begin to imagine how hard that flight/trip must have been. I think you coped amazingly well.

    Third of all, my heart wants to burst at the thought that your family is FINALLY together, as you should be.

    Keep those pictures coming!

  35. congratulations! on your daughter, on your son... on beginning this new part of your life, as a parent. the world is a little more "right" with you crossing over. :)

    many condolences about sweet pablo. i am so glad you got to see him again before he died. our pets are the silent witnesses to IF, they feel the effects, and they are *special* because of it... may he join all our dogs and cats who have helped us all thru the worst of times.

    enjoy those babies! you will survive this! many congratulations to mr.mtl, too... he's a dad, hurray!

  36. Rooting for you guys. Look how for you've come! You're doing great.

    And so sorry about Pablo. I know that pain, too.

  37. how FAR you've come. how FAR.

  38. First, so sorry for the loss of your dog, that is heartbreaking.

    Second, A big YAY!!!!!! I am so happy you are finally home with your babies! Thank you for the update, I have been checking often.

  39. Congratulations!!!! They are beautiful and so fortunate to have you and your DH as their parents! I'm sure you feel that you are fortunate to have them as your babies, too. I am so thrilled for you!

  40. It brings me great joy to laugh at you and with you. It gets better, but it is going to take a while. You can see why more IF's than regular people get postpartum depression: because they think that now that their dreams have come true, they should be happy. My therapist mused, amusingly, that she didn't know what the standard time period was for parents to begin liking their children; the implication was that nobody really likes infants, especially on no sleep. Even when they love them with all their heart (which we do). I am thrilled to welcome you to the parents of multiples club. It isn't as hard as infertility, emotionally, but damn, is it grueling! It gets better. It gets better every day. Lots of love, Kay

  41. My heart is soaring and breaking for you all at the same time! I am so sorry that you lost your fur baby Pablo! I know your pain and hope that the happy memories flood your sadness soon.

    But your babies! They are just so precious and I am elated for you and Mr MTL! It is an adjustment period and you will feel like the lack of sleep is overwhelming sometimes. But it is so worth it (I know you know that :))!!!! Soak it all up!

  42. What mixed emotions this post brings on. Such a high and such a low, all in a few days.

    I am sorry to hear about Pablo. We just lost our dog a few months back and it truly is a heartbreaking experience.
    And I am so happy you guys made it back to the US safely. Hopefully everyone is feeling 100% soon and you all start to settle into life as a family of 4. How exciting!!!

  43. What a dear Pablo, for standing guard to your heart for so long! Your happiness must have been such a large part of his whole understanding of life, and it's just beautiful and poignant and touching that he hung on long enough to see things resolved.

    As for the rest, all I can say is that at least you are home and everyone is well. That really is what labor and delivery is like - no matter how terrible and drastic it is, at the end if you are all safe and on the mend then there is cause for celebration. So, I cheer you all, your new family finally together. Happy birthday, my dears!

  44. congratulations this is where the real journey now begins seeing your son and beautiful daughter growing strong and smart every day :)

    shel xx

  45. so so glad you have them home! sounds like a trial by fire for sure. And i'm so sorry for the loss of your pooch. I can't even imagine everything you're feeling - the elation, the exhaustion, the grief. be good to yourself and hang in there. each day will get easier as you get into a routine with the babies. sending many thoughts your way.


  46. Wow. Just wow. I'm sorry the flight was so horrendous, but relieved and very excited for all of you that you are finally home, as a family! And very impressed that with everything you have on your hands right now, you still found the time to even post.

    My heart breaks for you over the loss of Pablo. I know how you feel about him being your first son. I think you're right that he waited until you got home and he could see all of you together. He wanted to know that you'd be okay before he said goodbye.

  47. I may have PTSD from just reading about that flight! And I am crying my eyes out about your sweet baby boy, Pablo! I know how you feel about him and I can't even imagine going through that with all of the other emotional upheaval you've had. I am glad he waited for you to come home though.

    You have some beautiful children. I'm sure things will only get better from here. There are good days and there are bad days anyway, but they are always better days than they were. Complain away. You are absolutely allowed to! It is HARD WORK. And, a little complaint does not in any way mean that you don't cherish every second and feel just makes you human!

  48. You guys are rockstars! Seriously. I can not even imagine that flight. I am a delicate flower and probably would have sobbed and had a panic attack the entire way. I think about you guys all the time, I hope things are going well!

  49. Oh my. That was a labor and a half. But look at you. Just like everything else, you did it. You survived! Your sweet loves are with you and you got them here no matter the pain it took.

    I am so beyond sorry for your sweet pup. I know without a doubt that he waited for you to have someone else to mother. Those silly creatures just know what we need when we need it. Sending a whole gob of hugs to you...

  50. hi there...i have posted on your more recent posts about your wonderful new family, but i would be remiss in not posting here about your sweet pablo. i am sorry to hear he has passed. i completely believe he was hanging on for you to be "ok" before he could let himself go. they have such a strong sense of what we need. i am like that with my daisy mae, too. she was there through the thick and thin of not only infertility but other things that life threw at me. that bond is so much stronger than we imagine it could be...and it's proportionate to what we put in. hugs to you.