The first time you take your baby home from the hospital is a milestone moment for everyone, but so much more so when it is a moment that almost up until when it finally happens, you hardly dare to dream it could.
The last time I had stepped foot in my house had been four weeks earlier. I had been in early labour and I had no idea whether I would be lucky enough to be able to bring my baby home.
The room that had been earmarked for the nursery was still undecorated; the few baby clothes we had been given were in a drawer or in my hospital bag. When I first fell pregnant, I had visions of decorating a nursery; plans that were put on hold after finding out that our daughter had a serious heart condition at the 20-week scan. In-utero surgery had given us a tiny glimmer of hope for our daughter’s survival but we were repeatedly told throughout my pregnancy not to get our hopes up. I could not bear the thought of decorating a room that my baby might never get to sleep in.
We had no buggy, no car seat, hardly any of the things that most people buy before their baby arrives. We’d been given a Moses basket (one of the few things I’d prepared but I’d put it in the spare room, ready to close the door on it if I had to). All of these things were bought by my hubby a few days before we were ready to come home.
Four weeks in hospital. Three surgeries – two of them open-heart, ten days in intensive care, ten days on the cardiac ward and then transfer to a hospital nearer home. Tiny steps along the way – from watching my baby in an intensive care cot, to those first cautious cuddles juggling tubes and wires; then the freedom of wires gradually being removed, allowing movement further and further away from the cot itself. Being able to move around the ward, my tiny girl in my arms and then being able to put her in a buggy and leave the ward for a short time whilst still staying within the hospital itself. I can still remember the first time I was able to leave the ward with my baby; the feel of warm autumn sun on my face and the sheer joy of being able to step outside, if only for a moment.
And then finally, we were able to go home. The joy of being able to put my baby in her car seat, clip it to the buggy and wheel her outside to the car was a feeling I will never forget. I wanted to shout it out to the world – we were going home and we were taking our baby with us!
The house felt so strange – it seemed like a lifetime since I had left and it looked different somehow, alien almost. It felt like I was looking at my own home through the eyes of a stranger – such an odd feeling and one that has recurred with every return from an extended hospital stay, although never quite so strongly as that first time.
The main thing though was that we were home at last, the three of us as a family – a moment that we had barely even allowed ourselves to dream of when I had left home that day four weeks earlier. We were finally together, finally able to have a taste of normal family life and although we knew that there would be many steps ahead on our journey as a heart family, and many hospital stays and surgeries to come, we were home for now and it was the most wonderful feeling ever.
Inspired by Mum Turned Mom for The Prompt #100 – “Milestone”