There I was yet again, in the hospital with my older husband, Keegan, by my side. I was in preterm labor again. Just like with my firstborn, I had to follow strict rules. Complete bed rest and complete pelvic rest, which meant Keegan would have to find someone to play with or suffer through the rest of the pregnancy. The last time, I went out of my way to arrange a sex buddy for him. This time he wasn’t so lucky.
Because I was on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy, I couldn’t care for my older child at all. So, she was mostly with her grandparents and Keegan. This was extremely stressful for him, especially as his work responsibilities kept mounting. We were stretched to our limit even with the assistance from our parents.
Our youngest daughter was born six weeks premature. She was in the NICU for two weeks immediately after being born, then on the pediatric floor for another week. I was up and walking four hours after having a C-section. I walked the entire length of the hospital to see my baby in the NICU.
I remember being discharged from the hospital and getting home with Keegan and our oldest daughter, who had just turned two, and I felt like a terrible mom for leaving our newborn alone at the hospital. But when I was at the hospital, I felt bad for not spending time with our older daughter, who was missing her parents badly. It was tormenting trying to decide which of our children needed me more.
I couldn’t help but feel that I needed to be by my baby’s side in the NICU. I am glad that I did, because at one point, her breathing tubes were drowning her, requiring a full workup and report to be done. Sadly, it was an oversight of one of the nurses who grabbed a machine that needed recalibration.
After that event, I tried to be there, even stay there as much as I could. After a couple days, I was the one bathing her, checking her tubes, and doing all of her diaper changes.
She was so small that Keegan could hold her in his one hand. She looked even smaller in the large plastic isolette that kept her warm. Eventually, she was transferred to the pediatric floor where I had a foldout chair to stay with her. Keegan stayed one night a week, mostly because he was still trying to work and manage everything that I had let go during what was one of the hardest points in our marriage. Unfortunately, bringing her home didn’t make things any easier.