So, I was obviously really sick when I had Harley. I could have died, it was really dire and incredibly scary. Eventually, though, they were ready to release me and send me home to continue my recovery. I was so excited to get out of the hospital, to come home and be with my wonderful husband. I wanted to see my cats, to sleep in my own bed, to have my own TV and internet, to watch Netflix and play games.
I was ready to get out of the hospital, despite not being 100% better yet. It was time to leave that room in the maternity ward, escape from the less than fantastic hospital food and all the rest. Unfortunately, there was one other thing that I’d be leaving behind, and that part was rather hard – I would be coming home from the hospital, but Harley wouldn’t be yet.
I went to see Harley before I left the hospital. I kissed her and stroked her tiny little head and promised that I would take her home soon. I promised that I would come and see her all the time, that I would continue to take care of her in as many ways as I could. I told her I loved her and that I would make sure our home was ready for her when she’s big enough. And then I left her in the NICU.
Throughout this journey, I’ve been saying that I know parenthood never goes as planned, but this was definitely a way of getting thrown into the deep end. Of all the things I prepared myself for, none of them included a premature delivery under such dangerous circumstances followed by leaving my daughter behind in the NICU for an indeterminate length of time. It could be anywhere from 2-6 more weeks that she’ll be there, gaining weight and learning how to eat normally. Who knows what this will mean for her development? Who knows when she will come home?
There is so much uncertainty still. Harley is doing well, but every time I go to the NICU I wait for the latest update about her status. Did she gain weight? Was she vomiting? Which doctors have been to see her and what do they say?
And while I get every update, and go to see her every day, and milk myself like a Jersey cow to ensure she has plenty of breast milk, I’m not down the hall anymore. I’m not in the hospital – I’m on the couch binging on Netflix. I know I also need to heal, to recover, to spend time with my husband and take care of myself so that I’m rested and ready when she comes home, but I can’t help but feel awful for leaving her there. Yes, they take excellent care of her. Yes, they know what they’re doing and are lovely nurses. But how can I, her mother, go home and leave her behind? It had to be done, and it was the right decision and continues to be, but even a week later, it makes me far to sad to think about leaving that teeny tiny princess behind as I came home.