We are home! Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord. Ohhhh, it is so good to be back with my husband, my kids, my bed, my fridge, and my TV. (Yeah, priorities.
I am not going to sugar-coat the utter awfulness of the last 5 days. Being in the hospital with your newly-adopted toddler, watching him suffer, holding him down so strangers can poke him with needles, hearing his terrified screams from the post-op recovery room - UGH, it was horrible. If eating and sleeping were challenging for us at home, they were 10x harder in our unfamiliar hospital room with beeping machines and a steady stream of strangers coming in and out at all hours. To top it all off I had some wretched flu/cold bug the whole time, starting with a fever the whole first day and rounding out the weekend with a hefty dose of steroids to get my lungs working again.
As awful as it was, there is always something to be thankful for. In the dark moments, God gave me little reminders of all the ways that his goodness and faithfulness and blessings were still with us.
First of all, we were together - me and my son. I may have had to hld him down for needle pokes, but I was holding him down. I grieve over the hard moments of his life that happened before he came to us, and I wish the hard moments were all in the past, but they're not. The difference is that from now on I will always be there. That is a privilege I thank God for.
On top of me being with him, thank God he was with me here! If this had happened in Ethiopia I am not sure what the result would have been, but I can absolutely guarantee that he was far better off here. And thank God it did not happen while we were in Ethiopia with him -- if I was miserable being stuck in a beautiful, clean, American hospital I can't imagine how my wimpy whiny self would have fared at a hospital there!
I never thought I would be thankful for the 9 day hospital stay I experienced with D when he was almost exactly Z's age... but I am! Having been through a very similar experience with D was helpful on a number of levels. First of all, knowing a few tricks to keep a toddler busy but safe in a hospital room was nice. Being familiar with the schedules, routines, and protocols of a hospital was good too, though it didn't keep me from being thoroughly peeved every time a nurse or doctor disturbed Z's hard-won sleep. But the biggest benefit to having gone through this before is that it gave me perspective on Z's behavior. The question every new adoptive parent agonizes over is, "Is this behavior related to adoption, or is this just part of being (age)?" Having gone through a similar experience with a biological child of the same age gave me the opportunity to compare and realize that much of Z's behavior was textbook typical for a hospitalized toddler, adopted or not. Thank God!
I had a realization while talking to one of Z's doctors. She was explaining to me that the infection which led to the abscess was a staph infection. Staph is a very common skin bacteria, and these types of infections can happen to anyone... which means that this whole thing had nothing to do with his recent adoption and could just as easily have happened to N, or D, or me for that matter. Which made me think, thank God it was Z!! I know that sounds terrible, but if it had happened to any of the rest of us then I would have most likely had to spend 5 days away from Z rather than 5 days with him 24-7. We spent way more time interacting one-on-one and playing together in the hospital than we even can at home, because there was literally nothing else to do. I'm hoping all that face time balances out the trauma, at least in terms of bonding.
So there you have it. Sucky? Yes. A total loss? Nothing ever is, thank God.