I was discharged from the hospital on Sunday, January 15th; a mere five days after Avery and Lily were born. Days ahead of time, I began dreading being discharged. How in the world was I going to walk out of those doors, get in the car, and drive away, leaving our babies behind? I knew that I would physically have to do just that, but I didn’t imagine I would be able to do it without an emotional meltdown. As we were packing up the room Sunday morning, I would dissolve into tears every few minutes. I was also unduly afraid of having my staples removed, which proved to be totally painless. After all, I pay money to have steaming hot wax applied to my upper eyelids by a so-called professional and then the tiny hairs ripped out by the root. I’ve experienced far greater pain in the pursuit of beauty than I did from the staple removal. All morning long, I would repeat in my mind, “Please God; Please God; Please God.” I didn’t even know what to ask for. I couldn’t ask to stay in the hospital. I couldn’t ask for my girls to come home with me. Just “Please God,” over and over again, hoping He would fill in the blanks for me.
Once all the discharge papers were signed, the staples removed from my incision, and Noel had packed the last of our stuff into the car, we headed to the NICU. I even dreaded going to see the girls before we left, because I just knew I was going to fall apart into some weeping train wreck. When we got there, the nurse asked if we’d like to do Kangaroo Care. We’d heard this term, but we didn’t know exactly what it meant. The nurse explained that Kangaroo Care, or skin-to-skin care, is when they tuck the baby into the front of your shirt so that her skin would be directly in contact with your skin. Research shows that this type of contact helps preemies breathe easier, relax more, and even grow faster. We were happy to try it. The nurse put two recliner chairs next to each other, in between the girls’ incubators, helped us settle a girl on to each of our chests, placed some blankets on top of them, put up a partition around us, and even dimmed the lights. There we sat; each with a daughter atop our hearts, and God gave us the most beautiful gift of peace. Both girls instantly went sound asleep, and we were washed with a wave of the most profound tranquility. No spa in the world has ever succeeded in creating an environment of such perfect serenity. I have no words to describe it other than a peace that passes understanding. God answered my plea when I didn’t even know what to ask Him for. We spent an hour and a half with our girls resting on our hearts. When it was time to go, I was able to leave the hospital in a state of total calm, knowing that it was nothing short of a state of grace granted to me by Our Lord. I came home and was able to get some much needed rest. Noel and I spend every morning at the hospital, doing Kangaroo Care with our girls. It has been an amazing gift to all four of us. The girls are growing every day, and Noel and I feel peaceful and assured that they are in His hands. I have had the blessing to experience in the most tangible way what the Apostle Paul described in Phillipians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” God blessed me with just such a peace, a peace that passed all understanding.
Avery and Lily left the NICU on Thursday, January 19th, at just 8 days old. They have no medical problems and take no medication at all. They’re happily eating an ounce every three hours and continue to melt the hearts of everyone who sees them. The nurses say they’re on the “feed ‘em and grow ‘em” program. Next week they’ll start trying to feed from bottles. All that stands between them and coming home is gaining about a half of a pound each and transitioning to feed solely from bottles and not from a feeding tube. Please continue to pray for their growth and development. I know they’ll be home with us in no time at all.