“Well Parker. This is it. What do you want to do?” my husband asked me with a slight tone of impatience.
“I’ll tell you what I don’t want…I don’t want to leave.”
“But you’ve been discharged All the papers are ready. It’s time to go.”
“How can you make me leave? I’m not ready to go home without them.”
He pulled me to him and hugged me. “I’m not making you leave. I am giving you a choice. We can go home now, unpack all your stuff and get some rest. Then we can come back later on tonight…”
“But they won’t open the NICU until after eight tonight. That is too many hours between now and then to not see them.” I pleaded.
“You didn’t let me finish… Or we can stay here until they close the NICU for shift change at seven o’clock… But when we leave at seven we will not be coming back until tomorrow.”
“You are being mean to me!” I sobbed burying my head in his chest
“Honey, realistically there’s not a whole lot you can do for them. You need to go home and get some rest. Besides, I finished the nursery you haven’t even seen the furniture yet.”
I hadn’t been home more than 2 months. My husband painted and decorated the nursery, hung pictures and transformed the closet so that we could hang the all the babies’ clothes in one closet with two racks. My mom washed whatever clothing and linens that were sent to us as gifts for the babies. I missed that whole part of nesting and decorating. Everything was just piled in a laundry bucket waiting to be put away.
Again, I hated him for being the voice of reason.
I did not want to go home. I wasn’t ready to leave them. I felt so empty leaving them behind.
“Well, can we at least say goodbye before we leave?
“Of course we can. It’ll be a quick visit and then we will come back later tonight and spend time with them.”
We went to the NICU and we were alarmed to discover that our son’s condition was not improving as we had hoped. For starters, they removed his diaper and they made a make-shift diaper out of a surgeon’s mask. It was terribly sad because the mask was huge on him and didn’t really cover him at all. It really just looked like a tent around him. Not only they did have the blue light above him, but now he was resting on an ultraviolet pad that shone green. His bilirubin was reaching dangerously high levels.
He was losing more weight and at a faster rate.
His oxygen requirement had increased. Not decrease as we had hoped.
And they were having trouble setting up a new IV. So we were presented with another document to sign. It was the consent to start a PIC line also known as a central venous line. The PIC line would be inserted into his chest and would deliver all the nutrition that he would require, and double as a portal to draw blood on demand without having to have to constantly search for viable veins.
I was so scared for our son. All I could think was, my poor, poor baby. What is going to happen to him??? Is he going to be okay???
The doctor reassured me that as frail as he was, the doctor was confident that we would see an improvement in our son in the next 24-48 hours. I prayed that he was right.
We spent a few minutes with Little Miss and promised to come back to see her and brother later that evening.
The NICU doctor urged me to go home and rest. Against the panic rising in my heart, I heeded his advice and let my husband lead me out of the NICU. As we were leaving, one of the nurses handed me a “Going Home” present. It was sealed in an envelope. I thanked them, and reassured everyone that we would be back later that evening.
I reluctantly left the NICU and headed back toward my room to gather my belongings and go home.