Two years ago today was one of the greatest days ever. After 68 days of fear, longing, and worry, our little girl finally left the NICU and came home.
When you’re in the NICU for as long as we were, you learn that discharge days are arbitrary. We saw plenty of parents get disappointed and frustrated as their child’s discharge date would get delayed for one reason or another. We were told Madeline would come home that week, but we didn’t let our hopes get TOO high. But that morning, our phone rang, and it was the head of the NICU. “Hi Mr. and Mrs. Spohr! Your daughter is ready to come home!”
Magical, wonderful words.
Mike and I raced to the NICU, car seat installed and ready to be occupied. We practically ran into the NICU and I gleefully removed the last sensors that were stuck to her skin. I dressed her in the going home outfit we’d chosen, and then I picked her up and walked around with her – the first time I’d ever been able to do that. She’d always been tethered to a monitor, or a medicine drip, or a an oxygen tube. But she was finally unencumbered. Mike and I walked her through the NICU for a goodbye – her victory tour – and everyone remarked how big she was. She weighed six pounds two ounces, double her birth weight. We thanked and hugged all the people who saved Madeline’s life, and then we left. I remember feeling like we should run, like the doctors and nurses were going to tell us that a mistake had been made and she wasn’t REALLY allowed to leave.
Mike drove so slow on the way home I still can’t believe we made it back before the sun went down.
Those first few days with her home were amazing and scary and fantastic. We stared at her. We couldn’t believe we got to be with her all the time, that we didn’t have to drive to visit her anymore.
Even Rigby stared at her:
We were so grateful to have our family together.
It was the best of times.