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Ethan Philip – Life in a Hotel

Matt and I spent our first night as ‘unsupervised’ parents in our hotel room – excited and a bit anxious to figure out how things would go.  We sat looking at this precious face and pondering how much our lives were going to change. It was surreal…still is really. Nearly two weeks have passed and I still can’t believe it!  Monday my mom flew in to help us here and help us when we fly home. (Such a Godsend!) Walking to the car to drive to the airport I asked Matt if he’d like to ride in back with Ethan…’no’ he said sort of like I was crazy for asking. By the time we got to the car…’How about I ride back here’. I loaded up ‘the boys’ in the backseat and chauffeured them over to the airport. My heart was full…such amazing, precious cargo riding in the back. How did I get so lucky!?
Mom arrived and found us waiting in the baggage claim – a stunned and happy look on her face. All the anticipation and here he was…in the flesh. I’ll never forget that look. The hugs she gave us. The excitement on her face and the tears she wouldn’t let herself shed. I didn’t know if I’d ever see that look for MY child.  People nearby overheard us and congratulated us – commenting on how blessed we were and how adorable and tiny the baby was. After a few minutes checking him out, we loaded up and made our way back to the hotel.
The rest of the week has been a blur of snuggles, and dirty diapers, late night feedings, pizza deliveries, and quiet time with the new love of my life.  Mom insisted on buying us swimming suits at Walmart so we could have some pool time, just Matt and I. We lounged in and by the pool together just contemplating all that was happening – realizing our quiet alone moments were likely fleeting by the day. It was a wonderful little gift from my mother. One of many little daily gifts she’s given us through her patience, her presence, and her love for us all.
Friday my cousin Libby and her family came to visit us! They live in Orlando and ventured down with their little one to say hi and be our first official visitors! It was so great to see them and think about how fun it will be for Ethan with his other little cousins.
We spent two hours at what can only be described as the scariest pediatrician’s office in the world. My wildest imagination could not have conjured up all that my innocent, sheltered, Iowa eyes would be exposed to. I was panicked and frenzied and wanted to grab my family and run far away from there…but knew we had to stick it out and confirm that Ethan was doing well out of the hospital. Not since arriving in China with Matt have I felt such dread and fear in a ‘medical’ environment. Mom and Matt did their best to calm my nerves and reassure me – but let’s just say it took a LOT for me to stick it out. The good news was – Ethan is thriving. He gained weight – tipping the scales at just over 5 lbs! He has been eating and sleeping and doing that baby thing perfectly. He’s such a good baby – I have to pinch myself sometimes. Is it going to get worse? When is the ‘real’ baby going to come out? He’s content and mellow and only really fusses when hungry. He loves to cuddle and will sleep happily curled up on my chest for hours at a time. How could I do anything else?
Saturday we ventured out of the hotel for a bit and explored some nearby beaches. It was our first real outing other than the doctor’s appointment. All went well; the car ride, lunch at the A&W and wandering around the beaches and boardwalks. It was super hot though, so we kept him covered up and didn’t spend too much time outside the car. Even so, it was really great to get out of the hotel for a bit and see some real Florida.
The days are sliding into one other as we round out 1 full week in this hotel room and nearly 2 weeks in Florida. I feel like it’s been an eternity since we were home. Our families back home are going crazy waiting to meet Ethan. I send daily pictures and updates – but I know it’s not the same. This little boy has captured all our hearts and he has many arms waiting to hold him and love on him. He will know so much love and joy back in Iowa – I simply can’t wait to start our lives there. I know this time is precious – and I don’t want to wish it away. We’ve spent so much time just our little family of three that I am confident Ethan knows who his mommy and daddy are. He loves to hear Matt talk to him. He loves to snuggle up in my arms. This time alone, just us, has been priceless in establishing a firm and solid foundation as a family. Matt is continuing to push his independence limits and is right beside me to help in whatever way he can nearly all the time. He holds his son with pride and love and my heart melts.
We are hoping to hear back from the agency in the next few days on when we’ll be cleared to travel home. We have been looking at flights and working out plans to travel direct when we get the go ahead to leave. It simply can’t come soon enough. We are ready to start our life together – the Karwoski family of three – back in our house. With our amazing family and friends surrounding us all with love and support! It’s hard to believe, friends, that I sit here typing this from a hotel room in sunny Florida, with a tiny baby swaddled next to me…my tiny baby. My son. He is a precious gift. An amazing, amazing gift. I still can’t get over it!


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