It’s not yet been a week since our Princess came home, and through the surreal fog it’s slowly sinking in: we have a little person demanding our every minute, expecting her Dad and me to take care of her every need. Don is home all this week and the three of us are starting to slowly put the pieces together and become a cohesive family unit. I’m astonished at how quickly my life got turned upside down—despite how long it took to finally get to here—and I’m a bit in awe of how wrapped around my finger this tiny being is already. I’m so in love.
Nyana was only a week old when I wrote about what our new normal looked like. Don was coming to the end of his week off after she was born, and we were faced with the huge unknown that lay ahead, down that long yellow hallway. We were still learning the lingo, figuring out how we fit into this little person’s life with all the medical staff and equipment in there, too, and we were scared without wanting to admit it. And here we are now, seven months old and 13 pounds, and we’re repeating our new normal all over again. Don has taken the week off after she came home and we have no idea what happens next, now that she’s home. We’re learning how to care for her in our own home, by ourselves and without the safety net we’d come to know, and we’re proud of ourselves for being so confident in her care—despite the bells and whistles she comes with—but we’re still a bit scared and not wanting to admit it. We’ve almost come full circle, and yet we’ve come so far from where we started. We’re not just her favourite big people anymore… we’re her only big people.
I love having her home. I wake up early and I don’t mind. I wake up earlier than she does even, paranoid that I haven’t heard her wake up yet. I find myself standing over her crib just marvelling at her, in awe of her, amazed that this is what What We Made has grown into. And somehow, despite the hours and days on end we spent standing over her crib in the NICU, it feels different at home. More real. More mine. I find myself wanting to walk just a bit taller when I’m pushing her stroller up the street and I find myself wanting to say please and thank-you more often, just in case she’s listening. I worry that she’s asleep when she should be awake and I worry that she’s awake when she should be asleep. I’m grinning as I change her diaper at four o’clock in the morning because that is what I signed up for when Don and I started a family, not the nurses and the beeping machines.
I don’t think I quite realized while we were in the NICU how much we were just going through the motions. Sure, we were allowed to be her parents in a very structured, supervised way, but we never really had the chance to be her mum and dad. Having her home, tending to her everything, has been nothing short of amazing and while there have been some challenges, I know it’s only going to get more amazing as time goes on. We took her out for a stroll this afternoon—the sun was shining in Vancouver and it was the only day this week that we had absolutely nothing booked—and Don and I got to talking about how it almost, almost, feels like a lifetime ago already. Of course, ‘a lifetime ago’ is still an armsreach away—we meet with nurses on Thursday and the pediatrician on Monday, and in exactly two weeks we’re back overnight as an inpatient as Nyana finally gets her g-tube replaced for a Mic-Key button—the institutionalized life is still just an armsreach away, but homelife is closer, and way more fun.
Nurse Awesome is coming over for cuddles with Nyana on Thursday morning and family and co-workers are waiting in the wings next week. A few of Nyana’s suitors from our early days in the special care nursery have been knocking on our door requesting an audience with the Princess, as well. It’s still so unbelievably surreal to be living life on the outside, yet it finally feels so comfortable and so right. I’m finally a Mum, in every sense of the word, and I’m so in love.