You see, having lost a preemie in NICU, I never fully allowed myself to believe that I would walk out those hospital doors with a baby in my arms. I didn't set up a crib. M set up some things - the swing, etc. I did wash the 0-3 months size clothes and hang them up while I was pregnant, but I hadn't done anything in preparation for a baby since E had been born. I remember every week the NICU social worker would ask M if I had let him set up the crib yet. He'd say "Nope!" and smile at me, and I'd smile, embarrassed, and say "Maybe next week."
So a year ago today, we were scrambling around town. Buying bottles (I have to have Dr. Brown's, because they reduce colic and reflux! Lots of preemies have colic and reflux, I'd better start preventing it!), buying a thermometer (We'd better get this one that does rectal, axillary and oral. It's more like the one they have at the hospital...), a nasal aspirator (Should we get this battery operated one? He's been really snuffly lately, maybe the bulb one won't be powerful enough...), an Angel Care Monitor (HOW on God's beautiful green Earth am I supposed to be able to trust this child to keep BREATHING without an apnea monitor?!), and a bajillion other things that I can't even remember because I probably never actually needed them. We set up the crib that day - we had it "sidecarred" next to our king sized bed.
Setting up the crib itself was a really difficult experience for me. I was so happy that I was bringing my baby boy home. So happy. We had painted the crib a green color (with gold sparkles that we added), because he looked best wearing green. I hated when his NICU nurses dressed him in blue (especially blue hats!) because it gave his skin a bluish tinge and it made him look like a dead baby. And I saw him dead enough in my nightmares. But he looked beautiful and alive in green, so we chose everything green. We were setting up the crib (well mostly M was) and I just started crying. M asked me what was wrong and I told him that as happy as I was to bring E home... this was a green crib. A green crib. Where was the pink crib? The one we should have had for our preemie girl. All the days in NICU, I got to have with B. There were 2 with her, and 45 with E, but I still got NICU time with both of them. I got to pump breast milk for both of them. But from this moment, everything I did with E was something I never got to do with B. And that made it bittersweet.
I pulled myself together and we went and got Qdoba for dinner. I really don't like Qdoba (Chipotle is much better!!) but M liked it and it was close to our apartment.
After dinner we went to NICU, and saw E's primary nurse for the last time - she wasn't going to be there on his discharge date. It was so sad. But happy, too. I held him for awhile, and we breastfed that night. He did really well and I was pretty encouraged. We left at shift change to get one last night of sleep!
And today? A year later? I took E for his one year checkup. He weighed 21 lbs, 2 oz. He's 28 inches long. He's 16th percentile for weight and 7th percentile for height for his actual age. He's within the normal range (again, for his actual age!) for all his milestones. He doesn't qualify for Synagis this year. He's too healthy.
I look at him, and I can't believe this happy, wild, crawling-sorta-walking-getting-into-everything chubster is that preemie who I had no faith that I would walk out of the hospital with. Even with all the other not so great things that have happened this year... I have no idea how I got so blessed!
This was the night before we brought him home :)
Today at the doctor's office!!