The next couple days were a blur of elevator rides, constant alarms to head downstairs to the NICU, nurses calling my room about a crying baby and the pain of recovery. There was also an argument with a doctor about formula. He didn’t trust me, my body or my baby. Here I was, completely informed about pregnancy, birth, babies and breastfeeding but the doctors still managed to scare the hell out of me. I didn’t prepare for a premature baby but I never should have questioned my body.
The baby was doing so well. Off the precautionary IV (which I hated), gaining weight on his own, maturing by the day. On Friday night, one of the doctors told us that W could come home with us when I was discharged on Sunday. Tears of joy!
On Saturday morning, another doctor gave us the bad news. He had a breathing episode while we were upstairs. He wouldn’t be discharged on Sunday. I cried over his bassinet. We had visitors that day and it was hard to be social. I just wanted to rip the wires off, tuck my baby in my sweatshirt and run for the car.
The next day I was discharged. As we made our way down from my room to the NICU, my heart broke. We were all supposed to be going home. On our way to the elevator we followed a couple carrying their baby out to take her home as a new family. That was supposed to be us! As we entered through one of the many locked doors in the NICU, we walked right into my mom who had driven down to see us for the day. I fell into her arms and sobbed. It was all too much at that moment.
Later that afternoon, as we were going to empty my room and order lunch, I remember handing Wyatt to my mom so she could hold her grandson for the first time. It was a beautiful experience for the three of us regardless of the circumstances.
The next week felt like a day and a year all at once. I slept in a recliner and Doug slept on the futon in the parents’ area of the room. We showered down the hall like we were in a college dorm and ate dinner in the uncomfortable chairs in the lobby. Lots of tears. Lots of frustration with the flashing lights and beeping alarms. As the week came to a close they started preparing for discharge: a hearing test, a car seat test, CPR and car seat safety DVDs. They kept saying they thought Monday would be the day. I tried not to get my hopes up but I couldn’t help but pray for an end to this nightmare. And finally on Sunday we were told we could take him home the next day.
Monday morning. We were just waiting for the official word! I remember coming back from the shower and I was greeted by a smiling nurse. W was unhooked from everything and he was wearing his going home outfit! We had our discharge meeting, W had his photo taken, we packed the car and 12 long days after he was born, we got to take our baby home!