The NICU & Our New Normal

We’ve had a solid month of adjusting to an assortment of “new normals” – from my hospital admissions, to waiting in limbo, to now being home but with a baby in the NICU. Each scenario has had its ups and downs, and this one is no different.

20160605_165230798_iOS

I got discharged from the hospital two days earlier than expected because my recovery was going so well. The day of my discharge was a really, really hard day. I was emotional that morning seeing my teeny tiny baby being poked and prodded and realizing that’s all he knows right now is a life in a hospital and that basically broke my heart. And then I had to leave the hospital and go home without him.

Leaving the hospital on Thursday was extremely bittersweet. I was so ready to be home, but I had to leave my baby behind. Going home without Ben was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was overwhelming arriving home without Ben having been with us, knowing that he will remain in the hospital for several weeks. Our homecoming also seemed to coincide with my mama bear hormones changing, so that was fun.

20160604_034758008_iOS (1)

We have been through a lot, but it seems {hopefully!} like the hardest parts are behind us and now all Ben has to do is continue growing and eating and then he can come home with us. Alex found a great way to look at things – we’re just lucky enough to have gotten to meet our baby so much earlier than expected but he’s still got some cooking time where we can come visit him and hold him. That perspective has been really helpful for me and each day has been easier than the last. Today when we were visiting Ben we overheard another NICU mom being told that her baby basically had no brain development and that made me realize just how darn lucky we are. We’re in a tough situation but my goodness it could be a whole lot worse.

In any case, now that we’re home and Ben is still in the hospital and I’m recovering from my c-section, we’ve got a very new normal to adjust to. While my recovery is going very well I still have a lot of limitations {like no driving for two weeks!} and I am taking it very easy, which puts a little added work on Alex to pick up my slack. I’m officially on maternity leave and will be until three months after Ben comes home. Tomorrow Alex will go back to work, which will set in motion another new normal. Alex will work up until around the point that Ben comes home, then he’ll take a portion of his paternity leave through Labor Day.

20160604_032138507_iOS

We’re trying to find a “schedule” that works for us – I’ll be going to spend the mornings with Benjamin while Alex is at work and then after dinner Alex and I will go see Ben again in the evenings. I am providing breastmilk for Ben, so that requires me to pump every 3 hours, round the clock, so don’t be thinking we’re sleeping through the night here without our baby being home!

{The animals have been coming to keep me company while I am pumping in the nursery - I think they're excited to meet their little brother!}

{The animals have been coming to keep me company while I am pumping in the nursery – I think they’re excited to meet their little brother!}

All in all, we’re adjusting really well to this new normal. The first day home was extremely difficult but every day since then has been fine. We would much rather be in our present situation than have me still be in the hospital awaiting “d-day” {which would have been tomorrow!}. It has been nice to move on from that phase and we are cherishing the time we are able to spend with Ben. We can’t wait for him to come home and shake up our “normal” again!