Leaving the hospital with our newly repaired Rebekah was a little more bittersweet than I had expected. I was excited to have my beautiful, healthier, baby girl back, but I was also a little sad to leave.
At this point, even with a few weeks at home before surgery, we’ve still spent more time living at Akron Children’s than anywhere else. Although our week and two days in the PICU were not the same as our 10 weeks of NICU time (it’s just a few floors up the elevator shaft, but the NICU and PICU can seem worlds apart), the hospital still has a certain feeling of comforting reassurance, of familiarity.
We know the people at the hospital and they know us. Don from the visitor’s desk filled out our tags every day without ever having to look anything up because he knew us so well. The ladies in the cafeteria knew whose turn it was to pay when we had guests, and everyone, everywhere checked to see how she was doing.
There was never a time that I left Rebekah’s room and went anywhere that I didn’t meet a familiar face or answer a question about how she was doing that day. The best part was that from surgeons and doctors through the maintenance staff, everyone genuinely cared about our daughter and how she was doing each day.
So, as we packed her bags to leave for what we anticipate will be the last time, I was a little nostalgic. The first time we left the hospital, we left knowing that Bekah was simply going home to grow a little before her return for heart surgery. This time, we knew we were leaving, for real.
This wasn’t a day to say we’ll see you in a month; it was a day to say we’ll see you around as visitors sometime.
As we walked to the car carrying a baby who was leaving the hospital for the first time not connected to a monitor, and not expected to come right back, I was surprised at the range of emotions I experienced. It was delightfully exhilarating, and yet surprisingly sad.
Although it may seem like a difficult way to start life as a family, I must admit that there were definitely parts of our hospital stay that we very much enjoyed, and one of those parts was the amazing people and their tenderhearted care.
Read the rest of Sarah and Rebekah’s story through her blog, Following Your Heart.