I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Leaving the hospital everyday without my baby is gut-wrenching. I’m tearing up just thinking about having to do it again tomorrow.
I cry when I wake up because I open my eyes and remember I had a baby a few days ago, who’s not here with me.
I cry when I pump because I wish I could feed him directly and I can’t.
I cry when I leave Sawyer to visit the NICU.
I cry as I make the hour long drive to the hospital and pass 4 other hospitals much closer to home that my insurance wouldn’t allow me to deliver at.
I cry tears of relief when I enter Oliver’s room and finally get to hold him again.
I cry tears of joy when he has a good breastfeeding latch, meaning we’re a little closer to coming home.
I cry when I smell the top of his head because our time together is so limited.
I cry when they tell me they can’t give me a timeline on when he’ll be home. It could be 2 days, it could be 2 weeks.
I cry when I have to leave him. Oh, do I cry when I leave.
I cry as I’m falling asleep because I wish he was with me.
I cry when I get up in the middle of the night to pump, because I wish I was waking up to his hungry cries and not my phone alarm.
The thing is, it’s all hard. While the NICU is incredibly hard, if he was home, it would still be hard, for different reasons. I would be crying because I was sleep deprived, because Sawyer wanted attention when I was trying to breastfeed, because I was overwhelmed or in pain from recovery.
No matter what, the newborn stage is hard, and right now, I’m grasping for it. I’m begging for it. I want Oliver to be here so that I won’t sleep. So that I won’t wash my hair for days on end. So I’ll be covered in spit up and breastmilk. My heart is aching for it. I would take it all and then some, if it meant my baby was home with me.
I’m grateful for so many things. That Oliver’s problems are minimal and solvable. That he’s progressing wonderfully. That his nurses love and care for him. That, for the time being, at least I’m getting a little more sleep than I would be otherwise. There are bright sides. But I would give them all up in a second, if I could just smell his head right now.