When I found out I was pregnant with Avery, I really fell apart, as you can imagine. I cried with my friends in the Wegman's cafe for a while, but then I knew I had to go home. I did NOT want to go home. I did not want to tell Michael I was pregnant--he was scared enough already. I did not want to go home and inflict on the love of my life the pain and fear I was going through. I was so unglued myself I knew in that moment I couldn't go straight home. So I went to my Mom. I don't remember much about it except choking out the words "I'm pregnant" and collapsing into her lap, sobbing like a little girl. I cried in her lap that night harder than I've cried basically ever. Since I was a baby anyway. Screaming, sobbing, choking, crying. I just kept saying: "I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to do this.", and I didn't. Who would? But I've learned that God knows how to do this and He has led me each day, sometimes each minute.
We're in a new chapter where I just don't know how to do this, so I have to lean on Him. I keep replaying in my mind the moment they put Avery on my chest and we saw her for the first time. I try desperately to remember how she felt and what it was like to have my arms around her tiny body. That is the only time I've held her in the 5 days since we met. If I add up the amount of face to face time I've had with her since then, it is less than 24 hours. I can't explain what it is to feel so keenly the absence of someone you don't really even know. Even the kids, who have each seen her for a grand total of maybe 15 minutes talk constantly about how they love her, how they miss her, and how much they want to bring her home. Even my stoic big boy Owen talks about Avery all the time and how much he wants to hold her and have her with us. It's amazing how they all know our family isn't all together and that it's not quite right.
I've changed a grand total of two of her diapers. 2. One wet, one poop. I never knew I could be so elated to change a poopy diaper but I will remember that diaper change to the day I die. When Avery was one day old I was sitting with her with my hand on her back because that's all I can do for her and I happened to see a nurse in the hall carrying a dirty diaper to the trash. As she was wrapping it up I saw it had that blackish greenish tar like meconium poop on it and I just broke down. I realized that I didn't change Avery's first diaper and it hurt so badly. I've spent a lot of time as a Mom of little ones dreaming of what it will be like someday to NOT be constantly providing for someones constant basic needs. Now, all I can think of is being the caregiver again. I dream of the day that wiping her little bottom is routine.
I was discharged from the hospital July 26th. I left her there. My mind knows that this is right. She can't breathe without the help of a ventilator. She can't maintain her own body temperature. She can't eat without a feeding tube. My body and my heart scream at me all day that this is not right. Something is missing. Someone is missing. All the way home I looked out the window and tried to tell myself: "Next year at this time we will be pushing Avery in the stroller like that." and "Next year at this time we will show Avery the river.". Mostly though, I just cried and called out to God: "I don't know how to do this!". Because I don't.
I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to leave my baby in the care of others. I don't know how to have someone else tell me how my child is doing. I don't know how to not scoop her up and comfort her when she cries. I don't know how to call and ask if it's a good time to see my child. I don't know how to turn my back and go home when it's time to leave, and I have to leave. I have to leave because her brothers and sisters need me too. I have to leave because I have to recover from bringing her into this world so I can get back to my treatment so that she will have a Mama to come home to. I have to leave her there but I don't know how. I know how to stand up out of the chair and move my feet to get to the car, but when I try to imagine the next few weeks or even months, I don't understand how to live this life that we are living without her. I don't know how to do this, but thankfully God has shown me in the last few months that I don't have to know. I just have to lean on Him and he will shepherd us through this experience.