Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Six Months Ago....

Six months ago today, Veronica came home from the NICU.  I will never forget that day, or how I felt.  It’s something I still think about daily.  I never took the time to post about that amazing day so I thought I would do so now. 

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
Beverly escorted me and Veronica out of the hospital where we met Andrew, who had the car.  We said our goodbyes and thank yous to Beverly and then put Veronica in the car.  And just like that, that was it. I knew at that point there was no turning back.  After 119 days, we were on our own now and it felt wonderful.

On the way home.
One of my favorite parts of that day was when we had almost made our way home.  As we turned onto our street, I could see our other five children in the yard.  They were all wearing their "Veronica" shirts, ones they had made several weeks earlier in support of their sister.  They noticed our car and their excitement was evident. They were jumping and yelling.  The pride I felt at that moment is indescribable.  And finally having us all home together was priceless.

Our oldest three, looking in to see Veronica.



  1. Marcie-
    We knew the time was coming for Veronica to arrive, having seen the decorations and talked to Maria. So we happened to notice when your car was pulling up, so we all watched from our front step. We could feel the joy from across the road, and shared in it with you.

  2. What a wonderful day!! Couldnt stop the tears on this one! It's the most amazing feeling, to have your baby breathe air outside those nicu walls! And your other children look so cute trying to take a peek!

  3. Love this! It brought back great memories of bringing our twins home too. I love how excited your other kids are to see their baby sister.

  4. I remember that day too. It truly is priceless.