It’s coffee, grab something quick, and run out the door.
It’s a 20 mile, 25-minute drive at 6AM
It’s driving 100+ miles every day to see your baby.
It’s washing your hands and using so much Purell your hands start to burn.
It’s trying to figure out what to make/buy for dinner that’s quick and easy so you can get back to the hospital.
It’s seeing your 2lb baby and knowing she shouldn’t be here yet.
It’s a whirlwind of learning more medical terms then you’ve ever heard or needed to know.
It’s the sound of an alarm that you will forever hear in your nightmares.
It’s seeing your child through panes of a plastic isolette.
It’s seeing your baby hooked up to monitors, masks and goggles.
It’s wanting to desperately hold your child and not getting to until day 5.
It’s seeing your child going through test after test.
It’s watching your child have blood drawn from her head because she is too tiny to have it drawn from her arm.
It’s showing up to your baby’s room to find it empty because you’ve been moved to another room/floor.
It’s having to leave your heart at the hospital.
It’s walking the hospital halls and making relationships with the employees.
It’s when the hospital feels like home.
It’s when your toddler knows how to get to “sissy’s room.”
It’s the heartbreak of having to leave her with complete strangers, but know they can care for her better than you can.
It’s having to use a code word to get an update on your baby.
It’s being detached from the situation, but never feeling such heartbreak and joy.
It’s having your heart torn between a hospital and home.
It’s that phone call from the hospital that makes your heart drop.
It’s waking up every 3 hours to pump.
It’s seeing your child drop down to barely a pound.
It’s the joy of seeing your baby gain gram by gram.
It’s being excited for an increase in feeds.
It’s the wave to the receptionist as you make the walk to the elevator.
It’s the anticipation while you wait for a nurse to buzz you through the unit entrance.
It’s hurrying down the hallway to find out what happened overnight.
It’s the excitement of the first bowel movement because her digestive system is starting to work.
It’s the moment she starts using a pacifier because she is developing the sucking reflex.
It’s the excitement of the first time she nurses because she is getting closer to coming home.
It’s celebrating all the “firsts” that come naturally to a full-term baby.
It’s preparing for your child to come, just to have a setback that keeps her there for 5 more days.
It’s staying at the hospital nearly 24/7 so your baby can breastfeed.
It’s trying to figure out what your next quick meal is going to be so you can get back to the hospital.
It’s being terrified to bring your baby home with no nurses and no monitors.
It’s appointment after appointment for eye exams, weight checks, and thyroid checks.
It’s being in isolation during flu and RSV season.
It’s offending people you love to keep your baby safe.
It’s having your baby reach her due date at nearly 12 weeks old.
It’s your preemie at the NICU.