Thursday night I felt like I lost my ability to wear the "I'm totally fine and dealing with the fact that my one month old daughter hasn't even been home yet and won't be for at least a little while longer" face.
I've been hanging in there the past couple of weeks and wearing a very brave face and attitude that this is the new normal. Every day I head out of the house to the hospital and make the familiar trip out of Mundelein down to Evanston, wind my way up the parking garage, stop for my coffee in the Atrium, head down the winding halls to the Women's Hospital, check in, wash hands, and finally see my sweet baby girl. I don't wake up, get out of bed, and turn the corner into the next room to find her laying in her crib. I pull up a chair next to her incubator, pop open the two little doors that connect me to my daughter, and lay my hand on her head. I watch the clock to decide when to pump and when she will be due for her next feeding so I can hopefully do it or how long I can hold her before they have to take her vitals again, plan when to eat, pump next, and what time I will have to leave depending on Tera's schedule for the day. And then I leave. I leave my four week old, not even to term newborn daughter in an incubator, and I go home without her. I go home to my other daughter who has only met her baby sister twice.
And Thursday, for the first time in at least a week, it was too much. The endless amounts of crap that are accumulating around our house was too much. The clutter and projects we have planned was too much. Tom's work schedule was too much. Missing my baby girl was too much. Realizing that I have only one daughter at home was too much.
I hate, more than I can express, having to leave one daughter at the hospital in order to see my other one. I hate having to balance all this shit and feel like I'm barely holding onto to life. I hate feeling like a shitty mom to Tera when she wants to go outside but we're utterly exhausted. I hate that Tom can't go work out which helps alleviate all his aches and pains. I hate that we're spending money on gas, parking, and hospital cafeteria food.
And despite all the things that are bothering me now, I shouldn't complain because Zoey is doing better than we ever could have expected by now. She is officially one month old and it seems like the longest and shortest month at the same time. I can't believe it's been a month since I went to the hospital not really expecting to meet my newest daughter that same night. From a rocky first week to being completely off oxygen, taking at least three feedings a day by bottle, wearing actual clothes, and taking her first field trip to the family visiting room, she's met and blown past every new challenge given to her.
So as we move past month one, we are in a much better place, but it's not much easier. The worry and stress are less, but the pain of walking in and out of that hospital day after day and coming home without her is still very real. Today Tom coined the term "normies" to refer to the people who actually get to leave with their babies when they get discharged, something we won't ever know. And that will be a little easier to deal with once we actually get to take her home. But for now, we wait...