March 16, 2011

saying goodbye and giving thanks

For the past ten days I've been living with Merritt in the nicu. Our room is small, but it has a makeshift bed and sliding glass doors with privacy screens. Having a place to sleep when Merritt sleeps has saved me. We also have a lot more control over our environment; no more bright overhead lights, beeping monitors, or late night staff chatter.

My totes and duffels are piled high in the only available corner, muslin blankets, a boppy, onesies and tiny socks, and other new baby essentials are strewn about--in addition to my computer, agenda, snacks, and reading materials. It's weird, but just as the place was beginning to feel kinda like home I got word at rounds this morning that Merritt will be discharged tomorrow.

That's right. By mid morning tomorrow we will be set free.

After 26 days, the news doesn't feel quite as thrilling as I imagined it would. In fact, nostalgia for this experience has set in before I've even stepped foot away from it. This room, our nurses, these monitors, they're imprinted into the story of Merritt's early arrival--a series of events that have further shaped my identity as a mother. I've never had to fight so hard for the role.

The first month of our life together, me and Merritt, was more agonizing, tender, and emotionally complicated than I can put to words. Our family's shared investment to take care of each other in a crisis has made me overwhelmingly proud, and while I know that Roscoe wasn't left behind in the larger sense of the word, I hope that he will eventually understand that if the roles were reversed his Momma would feel the same fire to fight for him.

The hospital environment and nicu way of life, which at times made me feel powerless, eventually gave way to necessary partnerships. The impact that this experience has had on the four of us is tremendous, yet Merritt is just one of hundreds of babies admitted to this nicu every year. I imagine that for most of the nurses, caring for us during our stay was just part of the job (although many went above and beyond), but for us our stay in the nicu was our life. Now the thought of leaving this familiar place and these familiar people suddenly seems very strange and a little unsettling.

Will they know how much we've been changed, and how their dedication and investment in our success has really translated for me and Merritt? I will have to tell them.

I'm thinking a good old fashioned hand written note may be the way to go. And a sweet treat never hurts.


  1. I am so happy that you guys are heading home today; Roscoe is going to be so happy top have his momma & brother home to love on!!

  2. Really glad to hear that your boy is coming home. And I think a heartfelt note is absolutely the way to go to thank the nurses/staff. The notes I got from patients over the years are still treasures to me. They boost both self-esteem and job morale at the same time - it's such an awesome thing. Can't wait to see the pictures from Roscoe meeting his little brother for the first time!!

  3. **TEARS!** Again, this post made me cry! I'm such a sap! Enjoy your first moments as a family of FOUR, all under the same roof! I love you guys! See you next weekend!

  4. I got teary reading this as well. But I'm so happy for you all that your sweet baby boy is finally going home! I am so excited to hear how Roscoe and Merritt's first meeting goes!

  5. I'm so glad to hear you're coming home! This was making me cry as I was reading it - you are an amazing mother and so strong to withstand all the ups and downs of this past month. Have a great first weekend home as your new family of four. I also think the nurses would much appreciate your gesture. Congratulations!


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