Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dating in the PICU

is usually discouraged.
I'm guessin.

But there are some exceptions
and after a bit of first date jitters they met

and before long they were out for a stroll about town.

Rachel is here.
Can you tell how excited he is?

He isn't excited by much these days
I think he is a little.....
or a lot
bummed out.

He doesn't feel good
He doesn't know anyone
He doesn't understand anything
and he is scared beyond belief that someone is going to cut him open.

Bless his heart.

They took his arterial line out yesterday so we were able to get out of the room which did a whole lot to brighten his spirits so I intend to keep him out and rolling around in that wagon as much as I can today.

We will hit all the hot spots
the cafeteria
the gift shop
the terrace
the playroom
ya know
all the places the cool people hang out.

I may start a dating service in all my free time.
Chi-harmony has a certain ring to it no?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


And I don't care.

Rough night last night.
He spiked a temp of 103, started puking and was having a lot of pain from being intubated for the cath despite the presence of much, much morphine.
Poor little dude.
It was by far the worst night we have had.

But then this morning rolled around and he had a great skype session with his BFF Joshua P.

JP was adopted two weeks before our Joshua from the same orphanage.
These two heart kiddos have grown up together and seeing them talk to each other from their respective hospital beds hundreds of miles apart is nothing short of heartwarming.
They had a little show and tell session.

I have wires coming out of my chest.
So do I!
I have a hospital bracelet.
So do I!
I have an IV.
So do I!

I'm telling you
it was hysterical.

Then around 8am the congee showed up and
man alive
did that do wonders for him. 
Our posse of translators have been nothing short of amazing.

In case it's not inherently obvious....
they love him.
They dote on him
bring him toys
bring him shrimp fried rice and homemade dumplings.
I'm tellin ya

But I don't care.
It's well deserved if you ask me.

We have developed quite a routine with our Chinese posse.
We have some in the mornings and some come in the evenings.
Beginning Monday we will have someone here near round the clock for him because things are about to get a little interesting up in here.
They were all weeping right alongside us yesterday when the news came.

They are just a bunch of sweet, kind, Mandarin speaking Jesus lovers.
I dig it.

Joshua is taking a hard earned nap right now,
they have removed his arterial line which means we can get paroled from the ICU for an hour or two to head to the playroom on another floor and then this afternoon Rachel arrives.
We are ridiculously excited.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Great Physician



Today I witnessed a miracle unfold.
And stood beside a team of physicians that were left speechless.


I know that I am not even going to begin to do this justice but I am going to try
because so many prayers were brought before the throne on his behalf that I want to aim to show you how The Great Physician has healed our son.

But seriously
if you are a cardiologist
or are married to a cardiologist
or if you play a cardiologist on TV
try not to laugh too hard at my inadequacies in explaining.
I am a medical idiot....this I already know.
His diagnosis was/is Tetrology of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia.
What they expected to find was a stunted pulmonary valve that wasn't working properly and a whole host of tiny little collaterals or "branches" that his heart had created in a valiant effort to get blood flow and oxygen to his lungs.
The collaterals and what they looked like, how big they were
and where they were was of great concern.
Namely the question of if they were going to be big enough and functioning enough to group together or if they were not.
This was our mountain.

In addition there was the question of the pressures in each of his chambers of his heart and his lungs.
Because even if they could group together and form a functioning artery out of these collaterals the presence of pulmonary hypertension would have made him still inoperable.  
That was our other mountain.

But God.
Oh. but. God.
He is bigger.
So, so much bigger.

The result of today?
The report of the cath he had done in China at 9 months when they deemed him inoperable
was wrong.
Very wrong.
Correct diagnosis.....


Which left the question of how then was his body oxygenating.....albeit poorly....his body.
A duct.
The duct.
The duct that closes shortly after you are born.
The duct that should have closed after he was born.
The duct that can easily be closed surgically after birth in kiddos just like Joey who had that exact procedure done in his ASD/VSD/Patent DUCTUS arterious(PDA) repair.
The duct that they have to use meds for  in certain cases of heart newborns to keep that duct open
remained open in Joshua for 7 1/2 years. 
No medication.
No intervention.
None but the hand of Almighty God.
That open duct should have closed at birth and thus ended his life soon after.
It didn't.
giving him life.

THAT is how he was moving oxygenated blood around.

In addition the artery's that they said looked good on the echo looked indeed fantastic.
Amazing actually that since they have had virtually no blood flow (as blood was being mis-routed elsewhere) they are in perfect condition.
Heart valves gain strength and form from training so to speak.
The correct volume of blood flowing through them over time creates the needed space.
He had no flow going through there
yet they remain.
Just waiting for the day when the hand of a surgeon here will put them to use for the very first time.

And his pressures?
Miraculously normal in every way.

They have never seen this.
It is a miracle in the truest sense of the word.

So the plan.
The new plan is that he will remain here in the PICU until Monday when they will operate.
They will patch his large VSD, close that duct and form an artificial shunt to direct the blood around his non-functioning pulmonary artery and out into the aorta...or the lungs....or wherever the heck it is supposed to was around this point that I couldn't absorb any more info and all that was ringing in my ears was

Glory to God.

Open heart surgery
But a whole heck of a lot less risk and unknown.

We stand amazed.
and overwhelmed by the love of our Creator.
Our Healer.
Our Savior.
Praise you Lord.

The Results


We stand amazed.
As does the entire staff of this hospital.
When the #2 guy in the country says "miraculous"
it's a good day.

More later.
Trying to digest this news and have something to say other than

In the Cath Lab Now

Rough morning. 

He had the arterial line placed in his room.
His hematocrit only went down 2 points from 71 to 69 after extracting all of that blood and replacing it with fluids.
So they did it again with the goal of getting it down to at least 65 to do the cath safely.
After the 2nd round it went down to only 66.
But after some discussion that was decided that it would be sufficient.

I just came back up to the room
Waiting to hear.

They said to expect about 3-4 hours.
And then the cardiac team will come up and share the results and the plan.

It's a big day.

Big arteries
low pressure
we covet your prayers for him.

Today is the Day.

4 months ago when we began the process to adopt Joshua
we had no idea that Tuesday, September 27th would be the day.

7 1/2 years ago when she left him on the steps of that hospital in China
she had no idea that he would be here now
and that today would be the day we would know if he is going to have a 2nd chance.

Today is the day.

The day

He is scheduled right now to go down to the cath lab at 8:00am
cath starts at 9.

Our prayer:

That the arteries are big
and the pressures are low.

There is a ton of medical jargon to go along with all of that
not much of which I can even begin to fully understand
much less explain
but what it comes down to is just that.

We need big arteries
and low pressures.

The echo shows that the arteries look "reasonable"
but we have no idea of the pressures.
They both have to acceptable.
There is no one without the other.

Please pray.
This is going to be a big day.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

*UPDATE Despite tons of fluid his hematocrit is too high to safely do the cath so they are putting in an arterial line and they are going to take out some of his blood and replace it with fluid. The hope is that this will bring down his levels enough to wear they can safely do the cath. If they can get the line in here in his room we will head down around noon, if they can't get it in here they are taking him up to the OR to put a line in somewhere else in which case by the time they do all of that they might not do the cath today.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What I Didn't Tell You

was that today I ran down to Wendy's in the hospital to grab a frosty for Joshua and then walked into the snack room on his floor to pick up some crackers for him to go with it. 

Thrilling no?

Well hang on.

I was in a bit of hurry because I saw the doctor coming toward his room that is going to be doing the heart cath tomorrow.

Still thrilling no?
Well, no.

You see
there is an ice maker/water dispenser right by the door in the snack room
and apparently a stray ice cube or 5 had
at some point
unbeknownst to me
flung out of said ice maker and landed on the floor. 

Ice melts.
Did you know that?
Tis true.
It melts.

I took one step into that room and before I could blink I found myself on the floor with a chocolate frosty

I'm not sure which was more hurt
my booty
or my pride.

And I
being the stellar human I am....ahem.....
jumped right on up
took a quick inventory of how many people could possibly have seen what just happened
decided it was no one
thanked the Lord
and tip toed over to the other side of the room to grab an entire roll of paper towels as there was now chocolate frosty

On me.
On the walls.
On the cabinets.
On the stupid ice maker.
On the coffee pot.
I'm tellin ya.

Clean clean clean
wipe wipe wipe
toss remaining drops of frosty in the trash and be thankful JJ didn't know you went to get him a frosty
be really thankful you are wearing a black tank top so it's a bit hard to tell it is soaking in chocolate
and walk oh so gracefully and nonchalantly down the hospital corridor to meet with the man who will tomorrow tell you whether your son has any chance of a long life.

That was my day.

A Tour

of our home for the forseeable future.

It's glass on two sides which makes me feel a bit like I can now relate to the animals at the zoo.
It's loud which gives me a headache.
It has free coffee which  helps with the aforementioned headache.
It has automatic sinks which tend to go off for no apparent reason

which was initially creepy but now I have decided it is the presence of the Lord here with us
and now when they go off I smile.
It is also where we currently store JJ's collection of Happy Goat characters.
Filling up a sink with bubbles and letting him play in it is great hospital room entertainment.

This is the TV whereupon we watch UltraMan.
times a day.

This is my bed where I sleep lay awake at all hours.
I am just thankful to be allowed to stay with him.
 I was incredibly nervous that we were going to be subject to strict visiting hours and such.
But alas, that is not the case.
Praise. The. Lord.
I cannot imagine leaving him.

This is our mess.
Because everyone loves a mess.

This is my Joshua.
I know you knew that.
But I am in fact shameless and will use any excuse to show you that sweet face.

This is the door to the adjoining room where I am hopeful they will put sweet Rachel when she gets here on Wednesday for her heart cath.

Rachel was adopted 5 days before Joshua.
We were intiallaly set to travel together but then we didn't.
And I'm still bummed about that
but so excited that I finally get to meet them tomorrow.
These two tiny Chinese Americans are going to take over the place I just know it.
And I know these kids are going to have one heck of a time hanging out together.

This is the view out of our window.

Or something like that.

And that concludes today's tour.
Please exit the ride to your right.

Checkin in from the PICU


I called ahead and asked them to wire the hospital with wifi for me
but they didn't.
The nerve.

We are here
and getting into a routine
which involves a lot of coloring and painting
and very
little sleeping.

But he's cute.
So he's worth it.

The monitors are calibrated to go off when certain levels fall below acceptable rates
which when you are Joshua

It's big fun.

His O2 sat's are at around 65%-70% when he is sitting around
and they fall to 55% when he tries to walk around.

He's doing great though.
Amazing in fact that his body has learned to compensate so well.
He has a very awkward gait and is quite unsteady on his feet.
It's a bit of mystery to them at the moment but the diagnosis they are running with is malnutrition and perhaps a Vitamin D deficiency and/or a mild case of rickets.
He is having a head MRI this afternoon just to rule out an neurological causes.

The doctors just finished their morning rounds and the word of the day in regards to his heart issue is

Hold on.
I just have to say that again cuz it sounded so good.

Mountain be moved.
My God is bigger.

This based on the results of the echo he had yesterday.
Now we wait for tomorrow
cuz tomorrow is heart cath day.
And that's the biggie.
We will have a definitive answer tomorrow afternoon as to whether he is operable or not.

He is as sweet as can be
a little withdrawn at times
but being treated like a rockstar.
He's a bit of an anomaly because they just don't see 7 year old's that have survived this defect
which means we have met pretty much every med student that works here.

I am trying to find a balance and a rhythm
but so far I am failing at that.
I haven't eaten anything besides the crackers and snackage I brought with me because I don't want to leave him.
He gets very nervous when I step into the hall just for coffee so I haven't figured out how to go all the way down to the cafeteria yet.
I'm sure I will figure it out but in the meantime Goldfish crackers and I are besties.

That's all for now!
I've been gone 3 minutes....we'll see how he did.

I am going to try and update every day now
because I'm a girl
and I'm Sonia
which means I have a lot of words that I need to get out each day.
I'm in love!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gotcha Day...Momma style

Christina here again....

I don't have much of an update other than the homecoming went very well! She and Joshua are at the hospital now and getting settled. He was quite tired and got some rest in the car. I don't have much more to report at the moment but I do have pictures!!! I think the pictures speak for themselves. Praise be to God.

Meant to add earlier that Sonia wanted to thank you all, once again, for all of your prayers and support. We've got him this far with our prayers now lets keep it going to get him well!

 Jacob and Joey were quite proud of their signs they made for their new brother. Must have been such a comfort for JJ to have signs that he could read!

I love this picture so much, I may just make it my new FB profile picture. She won't mind, right?

 Brand new Family of 9!!

At the Airport

Hi fellow Martin friends and stalkers of Sonia's blog! This is her friend, Christina. I just received a phone call from Sonia and she wanted me to hack into her blog and give y'all an update about what is happening. If you're anything like me you've been hitting refresh on your computer all day hoping for a new post. ;-) So the following is everything she told me...except I've included commas, periods, and spaces since Sonia was so excited and talking really fast! 

Sonia and the boys are at the airport right now! Joshua did great on the flight from Hong Kong to Detroit. Praise God! (Don't know about you, but I was a wee bit worried about that flight.) They will be landing about 6 tonight. (Right as I'm typing this!!)  She is hopeful the last flight went well enough that she'll be able to take him to the hospital herself and not by ambulance.

The hospital called Sonia and they are ready and waiting for JJ's arrival. To Sonia's surprise they are going to be doing an Echo and Chest X-ray tonight. Those tests will give them some answers but there will be more needed that they will do tomorrow or on Monday.

She's going to keep me updated through the night. They have a friend taking pictures at the airport and she's going to have that person send me those pics so I can post them for you all to see

Lucky for you my husband is home and was able to help me battle getting these pictures uploaded for you! More to come later!! I don't have to tell you because they have amazing friends, but keep praying!

Jason waiting for his brother at the airport

After they landed in Detroit.

I'd translate for you but the only mandarin I know is oranges.

Another one taken at the airport in Detroit

Thursday, September 22, 2011

48 Hours

Compulsively clean
Pack clothes
Pack toys
Unpack toys and decide the hospital will have plenty of entertainment.
Pack jammies.
Go to library, stock up on books.
Pack Season 1 of Parenthood that your sweet friend gave you because she knows you haven't seen it.
Put toys back in suitcase just in case....and realize you should work on being more decisive.
Look up location of nearby Chinese restaurants that will deliver to the hospital....and realize that 1 year ago you weren't much of a fan of Chinese food and now you can easily distinguish between good, awful, and really exceptional Chinese food....and that you enjoy it....and you can order some of it in Chinese.
This makes you feel awesome.
But then you look at your laundry pile that you neglected all week and realize you are in fact....not awesome.
Then you realize you should stop referring to yourself in the 3rd person.
Vacuum the Suburban because you are switching cars with your husband and you don't want him to see just how many crumbs and how many dirty socks and old string cheese manage to end up in there.
Spend quality time with the other kids because you know your heart is about to be divided in two
Take the toys out of the suitcase......again.
Put the toys back in
Get poster board to make some Welcome Home signs
Be thankful you have two little Mandarin readers and writers in the house so that you can make a sign that JJ can actually read
Lay in bed at night and compulsively go over every detail of leaving 6 kids with one parent and all that their schedules entail
Lay in bed at night and be thankful that your friends, both old and new, are stepping in to feed and care for your other kids
Try to sleep because you know hospital sleeping is well......awful.
Realize you can't sleep because you are equally part excited and part terrified for all that is to come
Wonder if there will be a coffee stand nearby his room and consider bringing your husband's little coffee pot he keeps for deployments with you to plug in next to your bed/chair/bhair/ched that you will be sleeping in.
Decide that yes.
That is a great idea.

And that.
is 48 hours till home...
and the start of the rest of our lives.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Love Poured Out.

Thank you.

No seriously.

Yesterday was rough.
Like rough, rough.
Like rough, rough, rough, rou....never mind.

Yesterday was a hard day.
I kinda felt like the floor dropped out beneath me.

My theory.....cuz ya know....I am a cardiologist after all....ahem....not
is that all of this travel and going from here to there, getting car sick, being off of his normal schedule and experiencing a massive shift in increased activity has taken it's toll on his little body.
As in he went from doing relatively fine the first day
to not doing anywhere close to fine by the time their first evening rolled around.

Today is a better day.
Everything has been re-booked, rescheduled and they flew early yesterday morning to GZ which is where they are now.
He looks better today
He seems to feel better today
He had a much better night's sleep last night
and he's got a daddy and brother who are basically giving him anything he wants.
After the craziness of the last 24 hours John hasn't had a chance yet to send me any pictures but I managed to snap this on Skype this morning

Sweet boy.
He was actually up and out of bed!

Thank you for all of your suggestions about translators.
What the heck did I do before I had a blog posse?
The encouragement,
the prayers,
even an offer to order us pizza for dinner from someone I've never met on the other side of the country.


I asked for one random person that spoke Mandarin to meet us on Saturday night at the hospital and instead God gave me the head of a large Chinese Christian Church that is going to personally meet us as we roll in on Saturday and his staff and congregation are going to rotate stopping in to see Joshua and speak with him each day we are there.
Joshua get's Mandarin AND Jesus loving people all in one.
That blows. me. away.

Our change fee with the airline is fully covered.....seriously....thank you. 
I am humbled beyond words.
I sent the update and three hours later sat in front of my computer again only to discover that it was fully funded at 110%.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us Ephesians 3:20

Immeasurably more than we can ask or even imagine...
That's truth.
That's love.
That's the hands and feet of Christ.
I am ever. ever. grateful.

3 days till home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not Well. ~ UPDATE

Things are not going well.

Without getting into details,
Joshua is very sick.
He is being expedited even further and will now fly home on Saturday.
They will/are in the middle of completing this adoption in 5 business days.
He picked up Joshua on Monday and his new CA is on Friday.

If you are in the Gainesville area and know of someone that speaks fluent Mandarin that would be willing to meet us at the hospital can you please email me?
We need an interpreter and I would rather it be a person and not the phone system the hospital provides.

We covet your prayers for our son.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Monday, September 19, 2011



Free at last.

It went well!
I think!

They didn't end up getting back to the room until about 4pm their time.
I went to bed at 3am so when Skype rang at 6 I had 6 other people clamoring to see and hear all about it.

From what I could gather it went really well!
He recognized John and Jordan right away, came right to them
and he was ready to get on outta there.
His lips and fingers and toes are blue and he gets incredibly winded when he walks
but we were prepared for all of that.
Otherwise he looked ok.
Not great, but ok. 

I just skyped with them and he had just taken a bath,
that didn't go so well
his breathing became very labored.
So John yanked him out of the tub
got out the oxygen
and tucked him into bed.
Note to self. No baths right now. 

If you've ever wondered whether you could love someone half a world away that you have only just met
let me assure you
it can happen.
It will happen.

Loving the socks.
He's quite long and lean
he must get that from me

We are not above buying affection at this point.

A little brotherly stroll
and some brotherly dart throwing?

I have no idea.
This is what happens when you go to China without a mom around.

Joshua John, welcome to the family!
We are incredibly humbled and thankful that we get to be a part of your life.
You have quite the journey ahead of you but know this,
you will never walk it alone.
It is an honor and a privilege to call you our own and regardless of what the future holds you are
and forever will be
our son.

9 Days till home.

One Less

It is with great joy and a thankful heart that I present to you
Joshua John AnXiang
Our son.

There's one less orphan in the world tonight.


Details later.

I will not leave you as orphans I will come to you. John 14:18

Mother of 6 7!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I got nuthin.
It's 12:53am
and I got nuthin.

I've got sparkling beverages
Peanut M&M's
and two great friends....
but anything JJ related...

So here we sit.
Keeping vigil.
and waiting
and waiting
and waiting
and well

We played cards
we talked
I folded laundry
we talked
we snacked
we refresh Skype every 30 seconds
and now....
now I think I have to go to bed.


I think this is the part at which I regret not going to China.