Finding a New Normal

Each one of us has had to find our new normal as well as finding our new normal as a family of four now! The hardest part has been the lack of sleep! The whole open heart surgery thing really screwed up Mila's sleep! Part of it I'm sure is/was just waking up scared, and the other part I'm pretty sure is that she got used to being picked up every single time she even whimpered while in the hospital and when first home because we were afraid she was scared or in pain and we wanted to comfort her. While in the process she forgot how to get herself back to sleep without us and was waking every single hour. We'd rock her, put her down, only for her to wake up right away. When we finally got her down she'd wake up another hour later. So we've been working on teaching her how to get herself back to sleep little by little by little, while at the same time trying to give her the comfort she needs. We're making progress! She only woke up once last night where she needed help getting back to sleep. She woke up a couple other times and whimpered/cried for a minute or two and got herself back to sleep. The best part is that she was soooo happy this morning because she was finally well rested! We're hoping the progress continues.

If there is one thing I NEED in life, it is sleep! I'm a typical 8-9 hour a night sleeper and we got way spoiled with Zoya who sleeps 12 hours overnight and has pretty much since week 2 home! I could probably function on 5-6 hours, but certainly not on 3 hours added up by 20 minutes here and there. Let's just say you might have found me crying in my cold car in the garage at 2am one morning. Shawn has been so fabulous and has been strong when I couldn't be. He has taken a big hit on his sleep, all while working full time and I soooo appreciate it! We're working together trying to muck through this transitional time and trying to find some sort of a schedule-ish type day that works for Mila (and us).

When you consider all Mila has been through in the last 3 months, she is doing great. I mean the poor girl was taken out of the only home she's ever known, traveled half way across the world, saw lots of doctors, had airway surgery only 3 weeks after being home, and open heart surgery one week later! Whew! How did we make it through all that???? What a whirlwind! God surely carried us through and continues to do so. If someone would have told me this would be our path and we'd adopt a baby who would have so many medical needs, I would have said NOPE! We trusted God and followed him on the crooked, twisty-turvy path he laid ahead of us piece by piece. I never thought we'd be strong enough to make it down that path, but here we stand....rising with God by our side.

I can finally, just now, start to think about Mila's future a bit more. Seriously during that time we had to literally take life one moment at a time and simply could not see past the stepping stone we were currently walking on. Looking back I picture Shawn and I standing in the middle of an empty land with stepping stones only behind us, trying to see ahead but not being able to because of the heavy fog. Moment by moment, the Lord reached out and took our hands leading us to the next stone. The night I was alone in CICU with Mila I was soooo tired and stressed after a long rough day. She woke up for the 78th time and I just stood by her bed praying for God to lay His hand on her and comfort her because I was too weary to keep at it by myself. At that moment I so vividly felt God's hand on my shoulder comforting me. I prayed for Him to comfort her not me. But there He was beside me when I felt I couldn't carry on another minute alone. I surely felt His presence at that time more than any other time I can remember. Peace washed over me and I could feel so many prayers being said for Mila and for us. I treasure that memory because it comes to mind each time I am weary and feel like I can't make it to the next moment and it reminds me He is our strength and with Him we can get through anything even when the moment seems absolutely impossible. Mila-bean is teaching me so much already and helping me find a strength I never knew I could tap into.

Mila's last night in the cardiac step down unit! Zoya was soooo happy to see her sister again! And I'm pretty sure she was just as happy NOT to be the patient for once and be able to run through the halls and ride the elevators up and down just for fun!
They let us put a portable monitor on Mila and take her around the hospital. It was so nice to do something as a family of 4, even if it was eating dinner in the cafeteria together! (Mobile was a Christmas present)
Safe at home, right where she belongs!

Needing some PT to work on her pill bug (potato bug) pose...she curves to the right. My PT friends if you have suggestions until PT starts (soon) that'd be great! Yes her spine was xrayed and they said it looks okay, slight curve but they think it's all positional and related to her poor sleeping pose due to the airway issues.
My Mila-bean

She looks like a red head in so many pictures but not so much in real life...can't wait to see what color her hair turns out to be!
Girl loves her beads just like her sister!


  1. Mila looks like she has grown sooooo much! Can't believe how thick her hair looks in these pictures. Love is definitely agreeing with this little angel. Her big sister looks happy too!

  2. Oh my goodness, I just love all of those adorable faces Miss Mila makes. What a doll! So sorry to hear that your sleep is broken up at night. That is so tough and makes for long days. Have faith that this too is just a phase and you'll make it through. I'm sure you're just hoping for a normal sleep pattern again and it will come. In the meantime, just sit and cuddle those girls as much as possible :)

  3. I was starting to get worried something had happened to one of you guys! Then I realized you have 2 small kids now. Mila looks so so much better, she doesn't look like the same baby. Every time I see Zoya's little BIG smile I crack up. Prayers that Mila starts sleeping better at night.

  4. Oh Sarah, your stepping stone metaphor is so beautiful. I can just picture the beautiful hand of God leading you forward! Praise Him!! This was a really good picture fix!!! So glad that Mila seems to be correcting her sleep issues. There is nothing worse than sleep deprivation in my book as well! Morning person here but only after a good solid night of sleep! Thanks for catching us up. You continue to be in our prayers! (((HUGS)))!!

  5. So happy for an update. Praying for good sleep and new energy for all.

  6. I have loved following yalls adoption journey! I have a few tips for Mila's little lean. I'm an occupational therapy student so here is the best I can think of :)
    -Always try to get Mila to play towards her left reaching towards the left, hang her beads on the left side, etc...hopefully this will make her lean left instead of right while playing
    -When he is laying or in her seat maybe put a rolled up towel or something under her right side that will make her lean more to the left/straighten her out
    -Stretch her out a little bit if her muscles in her back feel tight, and get her to reach for some objects while sitting up to her left side to help strengthen her core muscles.

    Thats all I can think of off the top of my head :) Hope it helps!

    LOVE reading your blog and getting to see the pics of your beautiful girls!

    Corey in Alabama

  7. I too, need 9 hrs of sleep (which I haven't gotten in a long time due to my 2 boys!) so my heart goes out to you. If I lived closer to you, I would gladly come help with the girls so you could take a much-deserved nap but Lancaster Co. is a bit too far unfortunately! I am THRILLED to see Mila's progress though; she is amazing! And so are you and Shawn! Sending cyber hugs and good thoughts your way always.....Tracey

  8. I am glad to hear you finally got a break and got a little rest. There's 24 hours in everyday, but the fewer of those hours spent on sleep, the longer they take to drag by.
    Sleep or no sleep though, you girls all look good!
    I can't get over the difference in Mila from her first pictures and how she looks now. It is so amazing how much that baby has grown! I don't think I will get tired of pictures of that little sleeping girl all laid out flat either, God is just SO GOOD!

  9. I love her new bouncer chair.

    Portable Mobile? wow, I love it on the stroller, what a great way to use it.

  10. I just love the comment above that says love is agreeing with little Mila. That really appears to be the case with both of your girls as I look back to earlier posts. They both have a sparkle in their eyes that simply wasn't there before. You and you husband have done such a miraculous thing for these girls! I am sure, though, that they have done just as much for you:) Love reading these posts, by the way. You really seem to have a lot of followers because of your beautifully inspirational story, which in turn, equates to a lot of people praying for you and sending you well wishes. That can't hurt, right?? :) I hope you all get the sleep you need and continue to grow and thrive as a family. Take care.

  11. Hi Sarah.. I've been reading both of your blogs for quite some time, I stumbled across Zoya's blog from another blog or possibly from Reece's Rainbow, and I just fell in love with her smile and love to read your updates about her. :) She's such a beautiful little girl. I've read your whole journey to Mila, and prayed for her during her surgeries. I just wanted to comment that Mila looks like a TOTALLY different baby from the first pictures you posted of her. Her colour is AMAZING! All one has to do is glance at a "before" and "after" picture, to see how much your love and some proper medical care has done for her. I just wanted to say well done. :)

  12. I've not been able to read for a few days due to a crisis of my own and so today, it's been such a delight to see precious Mila looking soooo healthy! She doesn't look like the same child--and, like the others, I'd say love most DEFINITELY agrees with these angel girls of yours! Love the pic of your Mila-bean with her hand on your chest snuggling with you. And I've sure missed reading about sweet Zoya as well (gotta catch up lol). That beautiful smile of hers gets me EVERY TIME, lol! Praying for improving health for Mila--and sleep for mama and daddy!


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