One year ago today, on Tuesday, July 19, 2011. I sat up in my hospital bed (I never really slept through the night in the hospital. I was terribly uncomfortable, homesick, and haunted by nightmares.), hoping that it would finally be the day I get to go home. I begged and waited for all of my doctors to sign off on my ability to be discharged: the surgeon, the infectious disease doctor, the general physician, and my kidney doctor. The kidneys were the most fragile of my organs and I couldn't go home unless doctors were sure I wouldn't need dialysis again and that my kidney function was improving.
I waited and waited all morning until I was finally released. Everything happened quickly after that. The stitches in my abdomen were removed, my PICC line (a long, slender, tube that was inserted into a peripheral vein in my upper arm, connected to and inserted into a large vein in my chest near the heart to obtain intravenous access) was removed, and my highly potent antibiotics were ordered. We live about two minutes from the hospital, which seemed so odd during those last few days stuck in my hospital room. Like my dad said, we live so close you could spit on our roof, yet I felt so far away.
When Chris pulled into the driveway I started crying. Not because of everything I had been through, but because I missed my home and my family so much. I had never been away from Charlie and Sofie for more than three days and they hadn't seen me at home in over 19 days! I knew things would be weird and different, and they were. I can't even begin to explain the sadness and anger I felt when I first walked into my home and for the next several days. The house didn't smell good. It smelled like a boy. I didn't smell like my perfume and lotion, like it usually does. It didn't smell like the essential oils I clean with, or the gluten free waffles and muffins I often bake for the kids. It was gross. My dogs were ecstatic to see me and jumped all over me, (That was nice.) but Charlie and Sofie were distant. They seemed awkward and clung to my mother in law. I am so grateful for the way she cared for them when I was gone, but I hated that they found safety in her and not me. I started to wonder if I should be home or not. I was in pain and I could barely walk. I wouldn't be able to use the stairs or lift anything for several more days and I was frustrated. I decided to take a nap in the bed I missed and cried for for days. I walked into our bedroom and was greeted by the bassinet. It had been set up and ready to go before we left for the hospital. It was filled with a full container of baby wipes, the Boppy Pillows (with a new, pink cover for Mila), and piles of laundry that our mothers had folded. My heart sank as I crawled into bed. I felt numb. The kids were being loud and I cried. I felt angry that I couldn't stand their voices, but missed them terribly. They had been through so much and, even though I was home, I still couldn't be the mother they were used to. It just sucked.
Today, a dear friend and neighbor walked over with a card, congratulating me on getting through the last few weeks. It warmed my heart that she understood what these last nineteen days represented. To me, they represent survival, but also survivor's guilt. I still sometimes wish that I had never gotten pregnant in the first place. I hate even thinking that as I love Mila more than anything in the world, but the pain of infertility (which I know all too well) would never have hurt as bad as this does. I keep praying that God give me hope and courage to face what He has planned. I have to believe that Mila's conception and beautiful gestation served a purpose. I try to look back fondly on the days that I carried her and she lived in my womb. It was an amazing time, but I feel heartbroken for the mother that never saw this coming, that will never see, hold,or smile at her baby. We were so sure that Mila would be fine. I still can't explain or understand the horror and shock we felt when she wasn't breathing. I guess this is it, the low point of the last three weeks. I could go on more, but I feel a pity party coming on and none of you want to be invited, I'm sure.
I still need prayers. I still need people to tell me that Mila touched their lives, too. She was and is a very special baby. I think she knew exactly what she was doing here on this earth, that her time with us would be short. I feel her, though. Every minute of every day, she is with me.
Thank you for reading and for joining me for the last nineteen days. Thank you to those who validated my feelings and shared your own personal stories with me. I know I am not the only one who has lost a baby or a loved one. I know that we all have pain. My hope is to be some kind of inspiration, to remind others that through God all things are possible, and to make sure that Mila's short but extraordinary life touches others. I think it has, and I am grateful.