My my my, is jet lag ever fun. And if you think it's fun when traveling all by yourself, imagine how much more fun it can be with an infant who has no concept of it, sleeps when she darn well wants to sleep, and wakes up guided by the same principle. I've been up today since about 3:15am.
As if that isn't enough fun for one person to have all by herself, Eliana came down with a fever yesterday, our first full day back. By noon yesterday, her temperature was 102.5, which means that she can't go to daycare today, which means that I am home today with both children, running on about 5 total hours of sleep. I guess I'll have to recover from jet lag on my own time.
I feel like I shouldn't be complaining, as Meron is an absolute doll when she's awake, albeit a tad fussier than before the trip home (and I will discuss the trip home in a minute), but considering all she's been through in the last few days, I think she's doing an amazing job adjusting to her new life. Aside from the sleep issue, I couldn't really ask for more. I just hate being sleep deprived. It really does a number on my emotional and mental functioning.
So, the trip home. What an adventure that was. But not because of Meron - she was the world's best baby, sleeping for about 14 of the 30 hours of our journey, and a miracle baby during the hours she was awake. I, however, was a mess, starting with the Frankfurt-Chicago leg of the trip, when I experienced the worse vomiting attack I've maybe ever had in my life. Attention: Skip the rest of this paragraph if you're squeamish. I threw up so hard, it was pouring out my mouth and nose. I don't know if I've ever barfed through my nose before. The worst part of it is that everything smelled like vomit for the rest of the day. I couldn't get the stench out of my nose (literally). I threw up one more time on that flight, narrowly missing some woman's hand. I had rushed to the bathroom, knowing that I was about to be sick, and all of the stalls were occupied. I turned to the woman next to me, announced to her that I was about to throw up, and she promptly handed me a sick sack, and before her hand was an inch from the bag, I threw up in it. And then threw up again, in front of a crowd of people gathering to watch the barfing lady. It wasn't at all embarrassing, humiliating, disgusting, or frightening. No, not at all. I have no idea where the sickness came from. I guess when you're in Africa, living with a bunch of kids who just came from an orphanage, all seemingly infected with some sort of virus or bacterial infection, pinpointing the origin of a stomach bug...well, let's just say I haven't bothered to give it much thought. Paul had thrown up once on the Addis-Frankfurt flight, so maybe it was something we both ate. I was a little concerned that it might be e coli or something I picked up from changing Meron's diapers, but since I had no other major symptoms, I decided to put my hypochondriacal tendencies on hold for a couple of days. I'm feeling better today, so it probably isn't anything fatal. Whew.
The trip was rough for me from the beginning. As we were waiting in the living room of the Guest House, Paul returned with Meron's Life Book, containing the missing pieces of Meron's story, and quotes from Desalech. I was unprepared for this, particularly the details regarding Meron's story. I was suddenly emotionally overwhelmed, sobbing without the ability to control myself, grieving for Desalech, grieving for Meron, and just so, so, so sad for both of them. I wish I didn't know as I much as I do, and I wish I didn't have to pass along the information to Meron some day. I will likely seek advice when the time comes, as I really have no idea how to prepare Meron for such a story.
And then we were off to the airport. I looked like hell, as I still had pink eye, although that was hard to discern from the red puffy eyes I earned from sobbing. And we still had 30 hours of travel left to go.
By the time we pulled into Chicago, I had pink eye, 4 hours of sleep, dried vomit in my nostrils, cramps in my legs and back side, and very sore back muscles from carrying Meron in the Baby Bjorn while also toting a stuffed diaper bag packpack. I tried to catch a few minutes of sleep on a bench at the airport, while Meron dozed on the floor under Paul's supervision. It helped enough to get me through the rest of the trip, but by the time we reached Minneapolis, I was completely useless, nauseous, and exhausted. And you can imagine how damn sexy I looked. Meow. It was the longest wedding anniversary Paul and I have ever had, lasting 32 hours, and boy was it ever romantic.
I guess that's enough for today. I do want to add, since the tone of this post has been somewhat negative, that Meron is still delightful. She's more demanding than she was before, but that is a good sign. She's learning to expect more from me, and is learning how to ask for it. She's eats like a horse, and doesn't know when to stop, and today she has barfed up half her bottle, twice (is it just me, or is today's post developing a theme?). I think she finds the bottle comforting, which is why she demands it more than her tummy allows. The little stinker won't take a pacifier, though, and so I'm wondering what options we have to allow her the comfort factor of the bottle without the overfeeding problem. I guess that's a post for another day.
Tomorrow I plan to post all of our pictures from the trip. So tune in!