After three months in the NICU, we were told last Monday that going home was just around the corner. We were so excited we couldn't stand it! The doctor told us that he would send her home on a little bit of oxygen and a monitor, but there were still things that needed to happen - the biggest one being that she needed to start eating all of her feedings by mouth and gain weight while doing so. We really buckled down all week and I was diligent about being at the hospital for as many feedings as possible. By Wednesday the doctor was really pleased with the strides Olivia was making and with her weight gain. (To give you an idea of how well she did, on Monday, July 9 she weighed 5 lb 10.6 oz and one week later on the day we were discharged she weighed 6 lbs.) Her doctor told us to plan to room-in (stay in a room at the hospital with her for a night) Sunday night and that if all went well we'd get to take her home with us on Monday. Obviously, everything went perfectly! She's HOME!
Leaving the hospital was much more emotional than I had ever imagined. There were so many "full circle" moments during those last couple of days. When we roomed-in we stayed in the same room they took us to when Mary Grace and Madelyn passed away. Many of the weekend nurses who were there the night the girls were born were also working on Olivia's last night there. The doctor who discharged Olivia was the same doctor who visited me in Labor and Delivery just days before the girls were born. He was the same doctor who told us how sick Madelyn and Mary Grace were. The elevator we left in was the same one I rode to be admitted into antepartum nearly four months prior. I think the Lord knew I needed closure and that's just what those moments brought.
We were also able to say "goodbye" to many of our incredible nurses. Women who cared for our children. These nurses ministered to our family in such a tangible way. They gave our girls, what we, as their parents, weren't able to. When someone cares for your child like that, you automatically feel a special bond. Our whole story was in Olivia's file, and not once did any of them ever bring up what had happened. Reid and I have often talked about how special it would be for Olivia to want to be a nurse when she grows up. Our experience taught me that nurses are truly the heartbeat of medicine.
On Monday, when it was finally time to go home, Reid and I decided we needed to make a stop along the way. Olivia needed to visit her sisters. It hit me when we pulled up that it was the first time they'd all been together since March 28. And then, I couldn't think of a more perfect way for their little sister to be welcomed home.
"...The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
(Job 1:21 ESV)