Two days later I am discharged. It isn’t until they officially say I am discharged that I tear up, again. And, again, I’ve been delusional. Aside from everything Ollie’s NICU nurses have been saying -about him working on eating on his own, about being extra sleepy- I had hoped I would still be taking him home. That we would get discharged together.
We go to Ollie’s room. We tell him we will be back soon. We won’t be gone long, but I don’t want to leave him. However, I am also ready for snuggles with my almost 2 year old. “I’ll be back soon,” I whisper into Ollie’s ear and kiss his cheek.
Ugh. I hate it. This isn’t how it is supposed to be. Yet, I am thankful. I know he is okay. I know his only issue is having enough energy to feed on his own, to not be so sleepy. He’ll come home soon. The doc said most likely within 3-5 weeks.
The next 5 days we follow a similar routine.
-Charlie and I head to the NICU once our toddler is in bed.
-We stay with Ollie through two NG tube feedings
-Head home to get a little rest.
-We wake up to greet our toddler and send him off to daycare
-We shuffle back to the hospital to be with Ollie for the day.
-Leave the NICU just in time to greet our son as he returns from daycare.
-We enjoy playtime and dinner together.
-Repeat the process all over again, for the next five days.
On Thursday night, Nov 26, the team predicts Ollie will get to come home as early as Sunday! I tear up. I am overcome with joy. “Bring the carseat in so that we can check that off his discharge list.” We leave Ollie that night, and I am excited. Once our toddler is in bed, we rush around the house checking off our final to-dos to be ready to bring our newest addition home.
On Saturday, Nov 28, we got a nice surprise. I could feel it coming, or maybe I was just hopeful it would come. “Ollie can be discharged today. We just need to complete his car seat check.” I cry, again. Yes, yes, yes! Charlie and I head to the cafeteria to get something to eat while we wait for Ollie’s test to be complete.
We return ready to buckle up our son. Small hiccup. Ollie didn’t pass his initial car seat test. Swaddles are placed behind his shoulders, and they repeat the hour and a half test. Charlie and I try to busy ourselves while we continue to wait.
We return and Ollie passed the second test. He is cleared to go. My parents have been staying at our house to take care of our toddler this week. We chose not to tell them we get to bring our special package home early. Instead, we just waltz through the door.
Ollie is home.