Monday, October 18, 2010

The Inevitable... The Plane Ride Home

People reference it. You hear about it.

but it's soooooo different to experience it.

I'm not sure if you can completely prepare for it before hand. 
But I thought I'd share my experience anyways. 
Maybe it'll help those who are getting ready to travel.
or maybe it won't. 

I should start off by saying that before the plane even took off
(actually, before it was even landed from the previous flight)
I was tired. So, SO tired.

in fact, I think this needs to be said. 

As soon as you get your referral:

start walking every day

I'm not even kidding. 

Seoul is a major 'walking' city. Even if you take the subway
you're still gonna walk. And there are a ton of stairs. 

Lugging around all your shopping bags is tiresome.
Lugging around your shopping bags AND your child is even more so.

So by the time I got to the airport for check-in, I was spent. 

Check-in took 2 hours. 
(be sure to book your lap ticket before you go to Seoul... I didn't)

All I wanted to do was get on the plane and SLEEP.

All Charlie wanted to do was get on the plane and NOT SLEEP.

The beginning of the flight wasn't too bad. 
Playing with him & singing to him was all he needed. 

But then it went down hill from there.

I wasn't able to eat dinner because he did NOT want ML to hold him.

and then the crying started.

I knew he was tired. It was past his nap time but he wouldn't sleep.
Not only did he not want to sleep, but didn't want to be held.
(that's a big problem)

I ended up walking to the back of the plane by the lavatory. 
Pretty soon he started to calm down, and even fell asleep. 
So I headed back to my seat, sat down, and closed my eyes.

then he woke up again and started screaming

So I head to the back of the plane again, and get him to fall asleep.
I come back, sit down, close my eyes...
and the process starts all over again. 

I finally get smart enough to bring the carrier with me this time. 
I put him in it and that makes him even angrier.
But I'm now lacking the strength to keep holding him in my arms.
Especially since he's starting to fight me. 

I  think it was around the 4th or 5th time I headed back to the lavatory
that I started crying. 

I was soooo tired and I just wanted to be able to sit down
(I wasn't even thinking about sleeping at this point)
I think it was also around this time that Charlie went into psycho mode.

He didn't cry once when I had him the two previous days. 
At lunch the day I got him he kind of whimpered/cried out a couple of times
but that was it. I had no idea that he had huge lungs.

He was angry - and that's when things got bad for me.
His screams were not only mad, but they seemed to be filled with rage.
He kept throwing his head back and kicking violently with his legs. 
Nothing I was doing would calm him down - he kept getting louder.

And that is when I made the decision to stand in the lavatory.

I find it ironic how the place I was the most terrified of before the trip
became my refuge on the flight home.

I just stood in bathroom with my back leaning against the sink
and I just cried.
I cried hard. 

I cried because I was miserable.
my feet hurt
my legs hurt
my back hurt
I was hungry
I was exhausted
I wanted my husband
I wanted him to stop. 

I wanted him to be a 'perfect' baby

and I actually got mad at him. 

In my brain, I was like, 
what do you want me to do?
I can't do anything to make you stop
I can't put you down to crawl or walk
I can't help you fall asleep
so again...

When I realized that's what I was feeling
I instantly felt guilty. 

I had to remind myself what he was going through.
He didn't understand me.
He didn't even really know me.
While I was wanting my husband for comfort
I'm sure he wanted his Omma... which wasn't me.

I also thought of all the families before me who had it so much worse.
Those who had their child scream for the entire flight...
... or when they met for the first time

and I knew I was being a baby.

this was my turn.
I had to push through it. 
and I had to do it alone.

So unwillingly, I did. 
(since I actually didn't have a choice)

and every minute that passed was a minute that brought me closer to this:

so it was all worth it. 

and I'd do again.

(but not any time soon... I'm still recovering from jet lag)


Big House Creations said...

THANK YOU for your honesty. Our flight wasn't quite as bad as yours was, but I do remember getting angry with her and thinking what a horrible person I was. Your honesty here will help SO many people in the future. Enjoy the good times that are happening now and in the future!

scatterbrainliz said...

What a plane ride! I cannot thank you enough for being honest about your feelings because I'm sure every parent who's gone to pick up their children had similar feelings when they were on the plane ride back to the states. I know I'll probably go through similar feelings when it's our turn to go pick up our child but thank you for sharing.

Sometimes you have to go through some difficult times to get to the good stuff and when it comes down to it, it's worth going through hell and back.

I've been thinking of you.

Tim and Karen said...

Glad you made it through that horrible experience. We did that 3weeks ago with our son and it was the longest plane ride of my life. I cried when we arrived to our home airport, so glad to be off that plane! Grieving babies and planes don't mix! I'm glad you're home and it will only get better!
2blessingsfromseoul from Holt forum

Anonymous said...

Awwww, your time on the plane sounded just like the time I escorted my first baby home, my first trip back to Korea. So you have so many emotions running thru your head besides being exhausted..that doesn't help. But you push thru it because you know what is at the end, happiness and for you, your family to help with Charlie. That is all worth it! And I was sore for an entire week after that experience since I had not exercised or held a baby in years! Enjoy being a family of FOUR!!

Kim said...

Sounds very familiar and something important for ALL adoptive parents to know!! The good, the bad and the ugly! You said it so well and in the end, I think we'd all do it again too...hope you have recovered from sleep deprivation and are enjoying your time with your new little addition! Love ya girl!

4dogs said...

It is so hard to try and comfort a baby who does not find you comforting (in fact, it's impossible). Our flight home from China was sheer hell. It's been over three years and I still remember it vividly. Glad you made it home safely and you're hopefully able to get some much needed rest! Loved following along on your trip. I laughed and cried right along with you. Can't wait to watch your family of four! Hugs to you!

Moulton family said...

Thanks for sharing your journey with us! I have really enjoyed reading all about every minute. Your flights sounds terrible! I have flown for half that amount of time with my kids at that age and it is really difficult so I can only imagine.
That picture of Bob with both of the kids is SOOOOO sweet! Congratulations!!!

Jessica said...

Oh Babe,
I have so, so been there. You did well. Your feelings were completely normal. And, your picture of your man and two little ones is so completely awesome. I'm happy you are home. I hope jet lag lets you off easy. :)

JimandJackie said...

You are awesome, it is so hard and everything you said is so normal, the anger the guilt. The PAIN you feel in your body...I was so sore from holding him and was so tired. Oh, one upside...yes you cannot eat often I lost about 5 pounds (okay it's back after we entered the goldfish eating stage..) The picture is wonderful and you are right I would do it 1,000xs over! I hope you are sleeping :)

CJ said...

I am so sorry that the plane ride was so hard. But, I know, at least for me, that your honestly is so cherished. We all know that this can be a difficult process. Thank you again for being so candid. I hope that all of that becomes a distant memory as you spend time with your new family of four!

Leah said...

Bless you R! I know of what you speak - at your wits end - nothing to do but cry! Thanks for being honest, that feeling of helplessness, if very disheartening <-if that's a word! So sorry that was so rough, but you made it through, like you said, what else were you gonna do?! You didn't give up! You're one tough mamma! Great job Rachel! Hope you're feeling better after some much needed sleep! Congrats on making it home! :)

Susan said...

Rachel - I want to give you a hug!! Oh, I so feel for you! While I didn't have that exact feeling on the plane, there were many sleepless nights once we got home where I shed those tears feeling so much of the same. You are such a brave, wonderful mom! Thanks for all of your honesty, sharing your wonderful trip to Seoul and for always finding the humor in everything. . .while I know you probably didn't feel like laughing at that particular moment on the plane! The days ahead will get better and better! So happy you have Charlie home and are finally a family of four!

Susan (and Andy) from the Holt Forum

Kelly said...

Oh my gosh, I think Charlie was channeling Nora during his flight home!!! I felt like I was reading about our own flight was probably the most tired I have ever been but somehow you find the strenght to stand in the back of that plane for 12 hours!! At one point I started to make up imaginary stories in my head about all the people coming back to use the restroom..umm. closet. I was delirious!!!! Wasn't it fabulous to walk off that plane???!!! We had the Korean flight attendants bowing to the passengers next to us and I think it was to thank them for being so kind...but, you MADE IT HOME!!!! Everyday does get better, give yourself time to feel whatever you are happy you are home!!

Jenny said...

Yikes! Reading this post makes me glad I didn't travel. Not because of how Bethany might have been on the flight home, but because of the sheer physical energy you exert while in Korea. I am a total weakling and would've probably gotten really sick.
I'm so sorry things were so rough on the plane and I so appreciate your honesty in telling it like it is. You are a great Mommy to both Claire and Charlie!

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