When we arrived home the first time from the hospital, I didn’t think the homecoming could get any sweeter. Shame on me.
Our morning yesterday was marked with steady progress throughout the night. About every three hours, Luke was waking and eating 15cc (1/2oz.) of milk. While it took me some time to coax him back to sleep, he did wonderfully. And, he even made me a few stellar diapers. Who knew I would be so excited about those? At 7am rounds with the NP, Luke was wide-eyed and waiting for Angela. What a flirt. She had a stern talk, delivered with a touch of sweetness, with Master Luke and informed him of his charges for the day:
1) No spitting up in large volumes
2) More wet and dirty diapers
3) No distended belly
If he could follow the rules, then we could go home that afternoon. Then she looked at me and said, “Are you ready to nurse?”
“Is the Pope Catholic?,” was my reply.
Home, really, really? I was in shock. How did this super sick kiddo who was screaming his head off in pain on Friday night become this content, smiling, cooing happy baby that was ready to nurse and go home? Dr. Meyer came by around 10:30 and confirmed what Angela said. He wanted to Luke to have 3-4 more good nursing sessions before he felt comfortable sending us home. Done and done.
I happily nursed, Scott and I had a chance to eat another romantic tray lunch and a friend and NICU mentor, Kelli, stopped by to cheer us on and share in our joy. If there’s anyone that appreciates discharge joy, it’s her. Kelli, thank you. Scott and I took the opportunity to swing by the NICU and see some old faces before lunch. Oh, if you could see the smiles on their faces as they inquired about Luke’s progress. They saw us at our worst and they know, more than most, just how far Luke has come. In a weird sort of way, I felt accomplished. And I don’t mean that in a narcissistic way. I mean, when I saw the faces of his nurses, I was able to appreciate the journey.
Before I knew it, the fourth feeding was complete, the room was packed and Luke and I awaited the discharge papers from the nurse. Just like that, the day changed.
Scott pulled up to Dell with the screaming and smiling brothers and sisters, we click-clacked Luke in his car seat and off we sped home (ok, not really sped, it was rush hour after all). As we sat around the dinner table last night and enjoyed some BBQ, compliments of Papa, it felt so normal. Kids fighting over who got the last rib, screaming over the wrong color cup for dinner, whining about taking a bath…and Luke, oblivious to it all, rocking away in his swing.
Ah, chaos. I love it.
It seems like such a perfect time of year for Luke to have surgery. It is the most blessed time of the year, Advent. As we wait with anticipation of Christ’s birth. We’ve waited so many times. So many hours. So many tears. So many smiles. So many stories. Each marked with anticipation.
When I was pregnant with John Paul, my last month was during the Christmas season. And I remember thinking, “How in heaven’s name did Mary so happily say yes, experience ridicule, ride a donkey to Bethlehem and give birth in a stable with no epidural?” This September God gave me the answer. Just after my c-section people kept asking how I was feeling. I remember some moments of pain, but mostly I remember my heart being focused on Luke. Somehow the pain faded and my thoughts were fixated on a higher goal: taking care of Luke. I suspect that’s a bit how Mary felt. All the trials, all the ridicule, all the pain somehow faded away as she gave birth to the Messiah. That’s just awesome. I’m gonna have to look her up when I get to heaven and get the full story…
In this most joyous season of the year, I’ve focused less on the “stuff” and more on the “love.” Thank you God for that lesson. I just wish you didn’t have to get my attention with such drama 🙂
Pictures are forthcoming this week. Pinky swear.