On June 23, 2006, I walked out of the hospital with a five pound baby, a couple of monitors, a bag of medicine, a handful of prescriptions, a list of doctor appointments and a portable O2 tank. The day we left Lenox Hill Hospital was bittersweet since many of the nurses and doctors had become like family to me. Every single picture of the occasion is blurry since even the friend behind the camera was weeping.
On June 23, 2006, Eliza, my Mom, Dad and I strolled 500 yards to my apartment, an apartment from which I could see the NICU every day and night.
That walk on June 23, 2006 was the first time in her 100 days on this earth that Eliza had seen a blue sky, the sun, a tree, smelled a flower or even saw a good old NYC pigeon. We were brave and took an extra lap around the block so we could just feel, well, normal.
As a single parent, coming home alone with a medically complicated baby was daunting. I had never heard of an oxygen concentrator, didn’t know anyone whose baby had a handful of specialists, a dozen prescriptions or needed weekly doctor appointments. I knew of no other single parents in this situation. I didn’t sleep for the first week for more than an hour at a stretch since I was so afraid something would go wrong, or some machine would break and there was no one there to help.
But we figured it out on our own, with the help of some special people and frequent calls to and from the NICU.
Five years has flown by. I entered Lenox Hill Hospital in February 2006 with predictions that not only would Eliza not likely survive, but that I might not survive HELLP Syndome. It was so bad at one point that my doctor recommended I have a guardian in place for Eliza if she were to survive and I did not. Pretty surreal when you have not yet entered your third trimester.
But somehow, we have not only survived but thrived.
I can never thank the doctors and nurses enough for saving me and Eliza. After about two months in the NICU Eliza was declared to be a “very, very good baby” by the head neonatologist at the time. She didn’t look “very, very good” to me, but he seemed to know something that I didn’t, and thankfully he was right.
Eliza has not only been a very, very good baby, but she has grown to be a wonderful, delightful and remarkable little girl. Eliza has worked so very hard to get where she is today and I give her full credit for all that she has achieved.
Oh the places you will go Eliza Grace, the very, very good baby.