Beijing – Day 1

Well, as you know if you’ve checked in on my Facebook account in the last day or so, our first night in Beijing didn’t exactly go as planned. Minutes after I uploaded my post from last night, all four of us were in bed – in fact, Matt fell asleep on my mom’s bed and had to wake up to move, and Miranda fell asleep lying next to him before I could even get a diaper on her. Soon after we fell asleep, though, Miranda told us she didn’t feel good – and while she had thrown up several times earlier that evening, she had really seemed fine once we got back to the hotel – tired of course, but she ate a bit of food and ran around and played and laughed right up until bedtime. Matt said she felt very warm, and her heart was beating fast, so I dug around in a suitcase until I found our thermometer, which registered her temperature as 101.6. We tried giving her some Tylenol, which was pretty much a fail, since she’s used to taking infant’s Tylenol with a syringe instead of children’s Tylenol with a cup, but at least some of it got into her. An hour or two later, though, her temperature was still rising – it registered at 102.0.

At that point, I was picturing myself calling and waking George, our guide, in the middle of the night and explaining to him that we need to go to the emergency room of a Beijing hospital to get some kind of medical help for our critically ill child. It’s not unheard of – some friends adopting a little boy from the same orphanage that Madeleine CaiQun is from had to take their older daughter to a hospital in Zhengzhou a few weeks ago when she was running a fever of around 105.0. I was feeling somewhat panicky, wondering what we have gotten ourselves – and our precious little Miranda Grace – into.

Our awesome pediatrician had said that we were welcome to e-mail him if we needed medical help (or wondered if we might need medical help) while in China, so I logged onto the internet from my phone and sent him an e-mail describing what was going on and asking at what point he thought we would need to seek medical care her and whether there was anything we should do other than give her Tylenol and Ibuprofin, and I sent an iMessage to our nurse telling her I’d e-mailed our doctor and asking if she’d make sure he saw the message. Matt and I prayed for our little girl and made a quick Facebook post asking others to pray for her, as well, and we tried to lie down with her and get some sleep.

The next time Miranda woke up, I gave her a dose of Ibuprofin, and we all went back to sleep again and actually slept for our longest stretch of the night – maybe 3 or 4 hours. When we woke the next time, Miranda felt noticeably cooler, and the thermometer said her temperature was around 98. Our pediatrician had responded and said he thought the best course of action was to continue to treat her with Tylenol and Ibuprofin and just let him know if her fever persisted more than 4 days or if she developed any other symptoms. We were incredibly relieved.

All of us started to sleep even more restlessly between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (understandable, since the 14 hour time difference makes that 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm central time, and we finally got up a little after 6:00 and discussed our options for the day. Miranda’s temperature continued to read as normal, but we weren’t confident that taking her out on a tour of a traditional Chinese hutong, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City was really going to be the best course of action, so I said I would stay at the hotel with her while Matt and my mom went out on the tours. They would have stayed, too, but it seemed silly for all of us to miss out on seeing more of our new daughter’s birth country and learning about this amazing Chinese culture when really Miranda was probably fine.

I was really bummed to miss out on today’s tours. I’ve enjoyed reading and learning more about Chinese history and culture over these last months, and I was looking forward to seeing some of these important places in Beijing. But ultimately, this trip isn’t about sight-seeing, it’s about adding Madeleine CaiQun to our family. And I want to be a mom to my girls even when I miss out on other cool experiences. I expect we’ll be back for other trips in the future, whether to adopt again or to experience more of China with all of our children, so I’ll look forward to seeing those places another time.

And really it was certainly not the worst thing in the world for Miranda and me to have a low-key day at the hotel. I have been so busy these last couple weeks preparing us to travel to China and getting our house set up more appropriately to bring home our new toddler that I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to Miranda in doing things she enjoys. Sweeping the floors, folding laundry, or organizing her bedroom? Sure. But snuggling on her bed reading books, coloring with her, or building block towers? Not so much.

I enjoyed the time we had together this morning. We colored some pictures…


and read some books…


and of course watched The Letter Factory.


We also took a walk around the lobby, people-watched from our hotel room windows, re-organized the suitcases (packing such that you can survive as long as possible if any one bag gets lost by distributing everything equally among all of them is great for meeting that objective, but, it turns out, awful for facilitating actually being able to find anything, so now that we and all of our luggage have made it to China, some re-organization was necessary). Other than tiredness, Miranda really seems to be doing fine. Obviously I’ll know more after she wakes up from her nap and the evening continues, but I’m optimistic. The last dose of meds I gave her was hours ago, and she hasn’t seemed to be running a fever at all, and she is engaging and interested in playing and seems to be alright. I’m hoping that her 24 hours of various illness symptoms were all jet-lag related, and I really think that’s all it was. Our bodies aren’t designed to adjust our internal clocks by 14 hours all at once, and she doesn’t handle those transitions well (please start praying now for our return journey!). Although we got a fair amount of – albeit interrupted – sleep last night, I think she probably could have napped as early as 10:00, but I held her off until 12:30, when I laid down with her for a few minutes, and she was out almost immediately. I’m really hoping that her body recognizes this as “naptime” as opposed to “bedtime” and she wakes up on her own and happy after a couple hours and continues to increasingly adjust to Beijing time!

And while she’s been asleep, I’ve finished re-organizing the suitcases and am probably going to do some Bible reading and try to review some of my Connected Child reading. I could definitely sleep if I tried, but since Matt and my mom won’t have napped, everyone else will probably be ready for an early bedtime tonight, so I’m going to try to power through!

Feel free to check out Matt’s blog later on, in case he has a (significantly more interesting) report on his day, including experiences that occur outside the walls of our hotel!

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