Yesterday Russell was off early in the day, which allowed us some time to run a few errands around town. One of those was a trip over to the hospital where the girls were born to drop off a letter update and a few new pictures for the NICU staff. I realize this might seem foreign to some of you, but our babies were there for nearly a month and we still feel a connection to many of the nurses who took care of our girls. This is not the first time we have done this either. We even made 4 trips up there in one week when the girls were about 3 months so we could see all of the nurses on all the different shifts. This was, however, the first time it made me feel very uncomfortable to be there. I never felt that way, even on the countless trips I made there during those long 25 days. In fact being there used to give me good feelings because it meant I was getting to spend time with my little ones. But for some strange reason this time left me feeling uneasy. Getting into the elevator, walking down the hall past the blind-covered windows, and ringing the bell to alert a nurse of our arrival was more uncomfortable than it ever was before.
I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago. Russell’s parents were in town visiting and due to my father-in-law’s pet allergies they are forced to stay in a hotel. We took the girls over there for some swimming pool fun (which turned out to not be as much fun as we planned because it also coincided with their nap time). Anyways, Kylie crashed right after getting out of the pool and so my mother-in-law stayed at the hotel with her to let her sleep, while the rest of us came home. She called as soon as Kylie started to stir and I began to head over to pick the two of them up. Their hotel, I should mention, is just past the hospital. As I started to drive in that direction, and turn onto that street it brought back so many memories of not having my Bear home with me. Suddenly I felt like I couldn’t get there fast enough. My heart raced and my fingers rapidly tapped on the steering wheel. By the time I arrived at the hotel I was practically running to get inside. Luckily, my mother-in-law and Kylie were already waiting for me in the lobby.
From the very first ultrasound we had and we heard “Did you know there were two?” I was prepared for a NICU stay. I knew the odds, I was ready for what would happen. On the other hand, I don’t think I prepared myself well enough for the day one came home and I left one behind. The day that we went in, packed Alyssa up in her car seat, took our goody bag of free pacifiers, bulb syringes, diapers and wipes, and came home was one of the hardest things I have ever done. While I wanted to be happy for the one who is coming home, how could I not feel sad for the one I was leaving there. Now, Kylie didn’t know what was happening and I don’t think she felt at all abandoned, but to me that was all I could think about. I had to turn my back on my little baby girl, and leave her there all by herself. For the first time ever not with her sister. STILL not with her parents. It breaks my heart to think about it still.
These are the same feelings I felt yesterday being back in that oh so familiar place. And as we loaded the girls into the car I gave Kylie a couple extra kisses and told her how thankful I was she was still coming home with us.