Born on June 29, discharged on September 5, on November 13, Oaklee had finally lived half of her life out of the hospital. 69 days in. 69 days out.
Remember reading about Oaklee’s date of discharge – the happiest day of my life? Or do you remember reading the post “Homegoings” from the very next day? Those heavy hitters seem so long ago, but that’s what 69 days feels like. Just short of 10 weeks, it’s almost 1/5 of a year, 1/20 of my husband’s and my marriage, an entire summer.
My greatest mental battle in those 69 days was knowing we would never get those 69 days back. We were often absent for Oaklee’s first 10 weeks present on earth – I worried about the firsts we’d miss out on. She slept in a plexiglass box instead of the spaces we’d dreamed up for her in our home. We shared her with complete strangers, entrusting them with her complete care. We had to ask permission to hold her instead of snuggling her through nap times and letting the laundry wait.
I can say a thousand times that I wish someone had warned me what life could be like in the event that my baby would be premature and spend 69 days in the NICU, but I don’t know it’s something you can comprehend until you’re the parent of a preemie and doing time in the NICU. And so now my heart breaks for the people who find themselves there. Now, because now I know. Now, but too late for those who traversed that world before me.
In the stats:
Birth weight: 2lb, 12oz
Last known weight: 9lb 11oz (11.9.17)
Adjusted age: 7 weeks, 2 day
Actual age: 20 weeks, 4 days
Days in the hospital: 69
Days home: 69
Appointments since home: 13