Since I last posted an update, an awful lot has happened. We hit the 100 day mark in the NICU. My due date came and went. I turned 27. We had meltdowns and felt like the babies would never come home. And then, one day, just like that, we packed Madeleine into her car seat and drove home.
Truth be told, I am still adjusting to the idea that we are full-time, full-on parents. Madeleine is home to stay, she lives here now and always will. At the same time, Reid is still in the hospital.
Only a little while ago it looked like Reid would actually be the one to come home first. Madeleine had always been one step ahead of Reid in terms of development, but then her surgery levelled the playing field a bit and allowed him to not only catch up, but surpass his sister. He took off like a bolt when it came to oral feeds, but then he failed his car seat test (three times!) Add to that a mysterious rash and a suspected tummy bug, and his discharge date got pushed back at least a week or two. Since Madeleine was no longer in need of hospital care, she came home on her own.
Having Madeleine home has been, like everything thus far, the best and worst thing simultaneously. But this time at least, it is the best and worst thing the way it normally is for new parents and not the way it has been under our unique NICU circumstances. We are tired in a way that we never thought possible, anxious, snappy, and, no really, seriously, mega tired, but at the same time, it is incredible. It is everything we’d hoped it would be, but never really thought we could have after what felt like a never-ending NICU stay. There have been rocky moments, but in such a normal, ‘all parents experience this’ kind of way that even the bad parts don’t seem so bad. It is what we envisioned when we first got pregnant many moons ago. (Although…did I mention we are really, really tired?)
When we first brought Maddie home, I started to wonder if maybe it was actually better to only have one baby home at first until we figure out what we’re doing (it turns out one baby on its own is a lot of work too!). Now though, I’m thinking that it is actually much, much worse to have one baby left in the NICU than it was to have two. Not only is it a logistical nightmare – all the back and forth of before without actually having any free time or energy – but you also know exactly what you’re missing. I cannot wait to have Reid at home with us where he belongs.
Even though I am struggling having my son in the hospital while we get to enjoy Madeleine at home all day, it is worth remembering that the fact that she is home in the first place means that we are almost completely over the incredible hurdle that is a long-term NICU stay. Until Madeleine came home, it still felt like we would be there forever. Now, we know that we won’t, and furthermore that this is really just the beginning of what it was always supposed to be like. A big milestone, to say the least.