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Life does not always go as we expect it to. Even the most organized and structured individual may be thrown many surprises in life, especially when it comes to having children. Pregnancy, labor and parenthood can be very unpredictable.
I recently learned about a friend of mine who unexpectedly gave birth to her baby four weeks early. As I read her message, tears came to my eyes as she described how she had to leave the hospital while her baby remained in ICU. I felt her heartbreak and I knew the pain. Her words sent me back in time to my first pregnancy. I never expected that I would have to leave the hospital without my newborn.
My first son was born one week prior to his due date. He was born a healthy baby boy, weighing 8 pounds, 14 ounces upon arrival. Instantly, it seemed that we were a happy family of three. Our joy and excitement turned to worry and fear when only a few hours after birth, he was taken to ICU as a precaution during to what the nurses observed as abnormal breathing. He remained in ICU four days. My stay in the hospital was exhausting, both physically and emotionally. When I was awake, I was walking back and forth to the ICU to hold my tiny new son that had an IV in his hand and oversized Band-Aids on his heels from where they were drawing his blood. I held him, rocked him, and attempted to breastfeed, without success in a room where seven other little babies were his room mates. When I was too tired to be with him, I was crying myself to sleep.
Then the horrible day came that I was being discharged but knew that my baby would be staying in the hospital. Prior to leaving the hospital, all the new parents were to take a class of basics for newborns. My husband and I sat through the short class, and then went back to my room to gather my things. I watched the other excited parents walking past my doorway with proud smiles on their faces and precious babies in new car carriers. I envied them. It was their baby’s first ride home. As I packed up my last items, tears dropped down my cheeks and I tried to avoid looking towards the door.