Every time I drive over the bridge to the hospital , I flash back to that terrible night on July 10th when T and I first made the trip there. Checking in at 25 weeks, answering “October 22nd” when the charge nurse asked my due date- a date that seemed so impossibly far away. Hearing the worst-case scenarios from the neonatologist and MFM teams. And then the five harrowing weeks of hospital bedrest that followed, each day wondering if that was the day my babies would be born too early.
Then my daughters’ terrifying birthday on August 12th. Meeting Carina for the first time, holding her tiny hand in mine and hearing from the doctors that this might also be a good-bye. That I should prepare for the worst.
Leaving the hospital for the first time, the heartbreak of coming home without my babies. All the days driving back and forth over that bridge since then to visit them. Each night going back across the river, leaving them behind again and again.
It all has taken a toll.
But my tiny girls are amazing. And tomorrow, at 36 weeks and 5 days, against all the odds, Carina is scheduled to come home. She had her feeding tube removed and has been taking all her feedings by mouth. She’s passed her car seat test. She hasn’t had any destats or bradys (heart rate or breathing episodes) for over a week.
The hard part is that tiny Sylvie isn’t ready yet. She’s healthy and growing and alert, but she’s not interested in nursing or bottle feeding yet. She’d rather snuggle into my arms and sleep, or look around the room with her wide eyes, taking it all in. The bottle or the breast just getting in the way of her view.
I had dreamed of a joyful and triumphant homecoming with both my babies, but instead I’ll be leaving Sylvia behind again- all those feelings I had leaving her the first day home coming back again.
So it’s a beautiful terrible mix of emotions. The joy of welcoming home the daughter I feared I might have lost. Showing her the world outside the hospital. Tomorrow night I’ll get to snuggle her whenever I want, without having to ask permission from the nurse. But our family still won’t be together.
Hopefully her sister will follow soon. And maybe one day I’ll drive over the bridge with my three daughters singing and cooing and talking in the back seat, and the old terrifying memories won’t engulf me. Instead I’ll think about how strong we all were to get through this. How happy the days have been since then.
And how grateful I am to be on the other side.