Shortly after waking up on August 15, we called the NICU to ensure that all was well and Veronica would indeed be discharged. We were told four other times that she would be able to come home and then she didn’t for various reasons. I would like to say that on that day it was different, and that we knew she was really coming home, but we didn’t. But when we called and spoke with Veronica’s nurse and learned that her night had been uneventful, we knew that it would be the day. We couldn’t wait to get to the NICU and take our baby home.
Our wonderful friend Maria, the same one who watched our children the day my water broke, came to our home again to watch them until my father and his fiancé arrived a few hours later. Maria helped them decorate the house for Veronica’s homecoming.Ironically, Veronica’s nurse that day was Beverly. Beverly was one of the first nurses who cared for Veronica and was often her nurse during those first few, difficult weeks. She was Veronica’s nurse the first time I laid my eyes on her in the NICU. I remember standing by the isolette, scared and unable to stop the tears. Beverly didn’t tell me that everything was going to be ok, because at that point nobody really knew how she would do. But she handed me a box of tissues, and without her even saying a word, I could feel her compassion. So it seemed only fitting that Beverly was Veronica’s nurse on her last day in the NICU. She was the first nurse we saw when we started our NICU journey, and the last one we saw as it came to a close.
When we arrived at the NICU that day, we anxiously awaited for the moment when we could take Veronica home. It took a little longer than we had expected, as we had to wait until the doctors were finished with rounds before they could complete the discharge paperwork. When we finally got to the point when Beverly could review the discharge paperwork with us, I remember asking myself if this was really happening. Were we really going to be able to take Veronica home? It almost didn't feel real. Veronica had one final exam with Dr. Mohamed, the attending neonatologist which put us one step closet to discharge.
|Dr. Mohamed "examining" Veronica.|
When Beverly unplugged Veronica from the monitors, I almost cried. She had been unplugged before for baths and two days earlier for our special family time, but this time was for good. That moment felt significant in so many ways. She was no longer a NICU baby.
Andrew left to go get the car and pull it up to the hospital entrance. I began saying my good-byes to some of the nurses. That of course, was emotional too. These were the people that cared for our daughter for 119 days. They were her parents when we couldn’t be there. What a difference they made in our lives and it was difficult to put our gratitude into words.We finally made our way to the exit door of the NICU, and as we opened it, I felt this tremendous sense of freedom. It was as though I had been the one who hadn't left that room for 119 days. What a relief it was to now be on the other side of the door. Just standing outside was Cynthia, the charge nurse, Rebecca, one of the residents and one of the receptionists. I gave each of them a hug and I think I began crying. I was overwhelmed with emotion.
Just down the hall, I saw Dr. Macri, the doctor who delivered Veronica. I had no idea he was even on duty that day and being confined to the NICU, it was rare to even see the attending OB/GYN’s. And then I saw Jenny, my nurse the night Veronica was born. She was the first one who arrived to my room when I knew something was wrong and she was with me during the birth. We had seen her a few times during the previous four months and she had always inquired about Veronica’s progress. It meant so much to see the two of them, to thank them and to show them how well Veronica had done.
|Dr. Macri, Veronica, Beverly|
|Jenny, Veronica, Beverly|
|On the way home.|
|Our oldest three, looking in to see Veronica.|