Our rooming-in and discharge day was wonderful. Finally, something turned out the way I wanted it to be. Jim and I went to celebrate with a "last supper" (so to speak) at Macaroni Grill before heading to the hospital for the night. When we got to the hospital, Cade was finishing up his car seat study. Then, our nurse wheeled their big crib out of the NICU and into the rooming-in room. Jim and I got no sleep that night, but we didn't really care. It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to do their first feed with mixing formula and breast milk, measuring, setting up the feeding pump, feeding, and cleaning it all up. We got a little better at the process as the night went on. In the morning, they brought us breakfast and the doctor came to do a final assessment.
Our family arrived around noon and met us in the room. Brylee, Colin, and Aunt Brandi met the twins for the first time. We went back into the NICU with the babies to get them in their car seats and say good-bye. As we walked out of the NICU, our family was waiting in the hallway with cameras and video cameras. We felt famous! We walked out of the hospital with babies and balloons in tow just like all those lucky parents who I saw daily leaving with their baby or babies. It was our turn, and we couldn't have been more proud.
We then loaded all of our babies into our car and headed home. We have had so much fun with Camdyn and Cade being home. We get to love on them whenever we want. I no longer have to call up to the NICU to check on them. I am able to breastfeed Camdyn whenever I want without having to make a plan to do so. We get to give our babies baths every time. This journey has taught us to appreciate every aspect of human life and parenthood. You appreciate every, and I mean every, breath your baby takes. You feel privileged to change diapers, feed, clothe, and bathe your baby. You are overjoyed to rock, hold, and even touch your baby. You see the beauty of a rising chest and hear the melody of breathing. And you realize just how beautiful life is.
Brenna has been enjoying the babies at home too. On our way home from the hospital, she gave us a constant report of what the babies were doing in the back seat. She was really cute when she said she was so proud of our babies. Today when I told her we were taking the babies to their doctor's appointment (with their pediatrician) she asked me if they were going to have to stay there for a really long time. How sweet and sad. She wanted to make sure that we got to take them back home again. She is such a proud big sister.
Jim has been the most awesome husband and father throughout this whole journey. So many times when I felt my world falling down around me, he was there to hold me up. People say that I have been so strong, but I have nothing on the strength of my husband. He has been able to accept whatever bad news we have been given and remain hopeful when hope was bleak. He has shown me how to be a more positive person and to count our blessings. Now that we are home he has been so helpful. It really takes both of us to care for the twins while being good parents to Brenna. I really don't know how I would have done this without him. I thought about how we should celebrate our 8th anniversary when March rolls around instead of waiting for the 10th anniversary that most couples celebrate. I am not sure if we'll be able to go anywhere with three kids at home, but we will celebrate somehow. After all, our 8th year of marriage has so far been the hardest, most trying year. And, I have developed a new love and appreciation for my husband. Life doesn't always work out in neat 5 year increments or even 40 week pregnancies for that matter, so I think people should celebrate what life gives them.
Here's a pictorial journey of our way out of the NICU for all my blog followers. I know you all have been waiting anxiously for this post just as we have.
Dr. Breed holding Camdyn and Cade. I wish we could have taken pictures with all of our doctors, but they weren't there when we left. Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists who have helped our babies make it to this point and to the desk staff who greeted us with a smile and made us feel welcome. We will be eternally grateful.
Cade doing his car seat study. Camdyn had already done hers before we got there.
Daddy telling the babies that they were about to room-in with us. Notice that the monitors are off!
Our nurse, Thad, wheeling the babies out of the NICU and into the rooming-in room.
Cade and Camdyn wearing their 'going-home' outfits. How cute!
proud big sister Brenna with her babies. Camdyn's shirt says "little sister", Brenna's says "big sister", and Cade's says "little brother". I thought that was so appropriate because we will finally have our family together.
Mommy getting Camdyn in her car seat.
Daddy getting Cade in his car seat and Brenna helping Mommy with Camdyn.
Brenna with the twins just before leaving the NICU.
Camdyn and Cade looking very sweet in their car seats.
We're on our way out of the NICU! This is our first family picture with all five of us.
leaving the hospital
Camdyn and Cade in the car ready to go home!
Brenna and the babies in the back seat. It's pretty tight, but they do fit.
We're finally home! All my babies on my couch AT HOME!!!