I promise to update everyone soon. Below is from Salem and is a run down of the girls last couple days. Angeline is kissing my hands while I type this (lol) and the only reason Kim and I aren't at the hospital is because Ange and Abby (www.havingfunservinghim.blogspot.com) are at the hospital taking a couple hours with the girls. We went for pre-op testing today and both girls were admitted. Christella was dehydrated and Helande was constipated... we are not sure if they will be getting surgery as scheduled as of this very moment. It all depends on how Christella is doing in the AM. She is already perking up with the IV fluids. More news and pictures to come. Please pray. Sorry for not returning calls and emails, the girls are hanging in there and of course we are all as anxious as ever to see the healing begin! This journey has already had MANY miracles and we are being treated so kindly here in TX. :)
Blessings and thanks!
Sorry if this sounds jumbled, I'm still trying to process everything that happened!
On Sunday May 6th, my friend Crystal, my father Fred and I arrived in Port-au-Prince. After a few errands we had to run, we met Licia (Lori's sister), the moms and the babies in the lobby of the hotel. The babies were so beautiful and TINY! I wasn't prepared for how tiny Christella was going to be. She is 7 months old but barely any bigger than 3 month old Helande.
We spoke to Licia and the moms for a little while, going over paperwork and learning about the babies. Soon it was time for them to go. Taking those babies from their mothers arms was so heartbreaking. Both moms started crying, which caused Crystal and I to cry too. They finally handed the girls to us, Christella to me and Helande to Crystal and headed out. It was so hard to watch them say goodbye to their girls. They seem like such sweet moms. Please pray for them as they are away from their babies.
Both girls were so sweet. Helande is a screamer and seemed to be in quite a bit of pain, if something barely brushes the bump on the back of her head she would scream. She was so tiny and ate like crazy. Christellas sack on her back wasn't a big as I envisioned. It was still big, but wasn't leaking, thank God! Christella is the quietest baby I've ever been around. She never cried, only whimpered. Getting her to eat was a chore. She will gladly eat an ounce or so when you put a nipple in her mouth, but doesn't cry to be fed. She never ate over 2 ounces at once.
Both girls did well the first night. They were both up every hour, hour and a half though. We got very little sleep that night which made for an exhausting next day. Our visa appointment was at 7am, and about 630am we left the hotel. There was so much traffic. We were late for our appointment, but in the end it didn't really matter. The line to get into the consulate was wrapped around the building. We bypassed the line and went right up the guard. After showing him the babies problems (Christella's back, and Helande's head) and telling him they need surgery, they hurried us in ahead of everyone. We turned in our paperwork and prepared ourselves for the wait.
We were expecting to wait an hour, maybe two. Our flight out of Haiti was at 1230pm. We waited for four hours....at 1130am we realized there was no way were making our flight and went to speak with the officer that was handling our paperwork. She told us that they couldn't get it done right now, try back at 2:30pm but it might be tomorrow before they would be ready! AHH! Panic! The babies both had pre-op appointments tomorrow and we really didn't want to be there another day. We called home and had my mom get started working on calling Washington to try to get things moving, and changing flights. We called Sarah and she started working on calling Senators or anyone else who might be able to push things through. We decided to go back to the hotel, re-group and decide what to do.
We sat down to eat something and held hands to pray over our food and this whole situation. I spoke to my mom in the US again and she encouraged me to try calling the consulate and finding out the status of the girls paperwork. I got a hold of a very sweet woman who told us that one girl (Helande) got her approval back, but the other hadn't come yet. 1/2 way there! Thank you God! We decided to head back to the consulate, to sit and wait it out if we had to. Off we went. On our way there my cell phone rang and it was a woman from the consulate. Both girls approval came through and they were printing the visas now! YAHOOOOOO! Crystal yelled "Praise the Lord!" out of the tap-tap window and we were celebrating the whole way to the consulate. We quickly picked up the visas and made our way to the airport. We were re-scheduled for the 4:45 flight out of Haiti. We made it in plenty of time.
Both girls were such troopers the entire time. They did SO well with all the traveling, and running we had to do. It was so difficult to manage the little tiny planes with two very fragile babies but everyone was helpful and friendly. We had absolutely no problems leaving Haiti and no problems at Immigration in the U.S. Getting to the United States with both babies seemed almost like a dream....it was really all happening....they were going to get their surgeries!
We had already missed our flight out of Miami to Texas because we left Haiti so late. My mom and Sarah worked for hours trying to re-book us flights to Texas. The airline told my mom it was going to be an extra $600 per ticket to re-book for the next available flight. We were so upset, but were going to take it if that was the only option. Then Sarah got in touch with some wonderful ladies at Delta who not only rescheduled our flight and waived their change fees, but talked the other airline into waiving their fees and re-booking us too! Yay!
It was at this time about 1230am and we had just made it to the hotel in Miami. We got the babies settles, ourselves settled and went to sleep for three hours. Our flight out of Miami left at 6am, so we had to get up 4am, get the babies ready, get on a shuttle and get to the airport by 5am. We were so exhausted! The babies did so well and we met some of the nicest people. People offered to help us, carry bags, move strollers, pick up pacifiers, hold bottles, etc the whole way. We are so grateful for their help.
Our layover was in Atlanta, GA and guess who was there? The Delta employee who had helped get our fees waived and get our flights changed! She met us at the gate with two bottles of water and escorted us to our next flight. Turns out she has a daughter with spina bifida (the same condition that Christella was born with) She was truly a God-send and we can't thank her enough. If it wasn't for her, I don't think we would have made it to our next flight in time. They were boarding by time we got there.
We arrived in Texas exhausted, excited and nervous. We were both so thrilled that the girls were finally there! We found and met up with Sarah, her friend Kim and daughter Angeline. It was so great to meet them! We helped them get the babies loaded up into their minivan and saw them off to the hospital. It was so surreal.
I'm thankful that God gave us the opportunity to help these two precious baby girls. This was truly a life changing trip. I am so grateful for every single person who helped, donated, called, emailed and prayed for us and for Christella and Helande. I can't help but cry when I think of how much their lives are going to change in the next few weeks. THANK YOU so much for helping to make all this possible! Keep praying!