Early in the evening on Monday – after spending 136 days in the NICU – we were finally able to bring our baby home!!
From late Sunday afternoon through Monday evening, Ray and I did an overnight “room in” at the hospital to be trained on Ronin’s round-the-clock cares, which include his G-button feedings, oxygen support, and blood thinner injections.
The nurses let us stay with Ronin in the NICU’s finest honeymoon suite, which included a dysfunctional tv and the world’s most unappealing queen-sized hospital bed.
But it’s not like we’d get much use out of either, anyway! We’ve done this parenting thing before, but now it’s a whole new ballgame.
By Monday 5pm, we had successfully passed nursing school, Ronin graduated from the NICU, and we were allowed to break him out of the hospital and head home from Dallas. When we pulled up to our house, Mika, Cami, Lani, and Hope were all waiting for us. They were so excited to love on their baby brother! Previously the girls had only been able to see Ronin when he was only a few weeks old, and were only able to hold his hand through a port hole in his incubator. They’re over the moon to have him home! They think he’s just the cutest little thing, and Hope has repeatedly told him that she had been praying for a baby brother like just him.
For me, our home finally feels complete.
There are small mountains of new medical supplies. Ronin’s oxygen concentrator sounds like Darth Vader after running a 1/4 mile sprint. And we’re currently living with a symphony of beeps and boops. But our baby is here and we’re all finally together.
Since being home, Ronin has been the happiest baby ever! He hardly ever fusses, but when he does it’s usually just because he wants more cuddles. He’s even sleeping through the night already! So apart from me having to run his feeds and meds at 4am, I’m probably getting more rest than I ever did when any of the girls were his age.
It was a difficult experience to have him in the NICU for so long.
Even though I knew he needed care from professionals, it was hard not being able to mother him in ways that I had wanted – and hard to form a deep bond when I wasn’t able to do very much for him.
Even though I just had a baby, being home and not having my baby with me was a very confusing thing, mentally and emotionally.
Even though I looked forward to visiting him nearly every day, leaving him in Dallas every day never hurt any less than it had the first time. Being with him by myself – and not with Ray and the girls – never left me feeling completely full.
I’m just glad that chapter of our lives is over.
I’ll be spending these next several weeks in my little love bubble with my family of seven. Other than Ronin’s medical appointments, I’m planning to be a full-fledged homebody for a while. We’ve been advised to do everything within our power to prevent him from getting sick right now, since it would require him to go back to the hospital and could potentially delay his open heart surgery. Plus, it’s quite a process to get all of his things packed up and out the door with us! Ray and I have already had to take him to two appointments, and I think we’ve officially unlocked a new achievement in parenthood.
During this week we’ve figured out all his home cares, and each of the girls have been a huge help. We’re finding a family rhythm to balance school and chores and extracurricular activities around Ronin’s schedule. Next week my focus will be to start organizing all the medical supplies and Ronin’s records. I’m also going to try to get our family connected with a local Down syndrome community and other available resources. It’s all new and I have a lot to learn, but it’s all very exciting.
I’m so grateful for everything God has blessed me with. And besides having Ronin’s heart surgery already behind us, as of right now there’s nothing else in this world that could possibly make me happier.