I convinced them to let me stay another night, not because I needed to be there but because I wanted to be close to CJ. I liked that I could just walk downstairs whenever I wanted to go see him. When they did discharge me, my mom and mother in law helped me with all my stuff. They left me in the lobby while they went to get their cars. I knew I didn't want to be leaving without my baby but it really hit me when I was waiting there. There were several other moms who had their newborns tucked into carseats, going home all together. Their husbands pulled up and idled their cars so they could run in and help their wives to the car with their new bundles of joy. I knew in the back of my mind that being discharged would be challenging, but nothing prepares you for those feelings.
When my mom finally pulled up, I let it all out. Up until that moment, I had been strong because I had to be. We had a beautiful son who was fighting hard and doing well. How could I complain? How could I feel bad for myself? But leaving him there was the most unnatural thing. As a mother, the most fundamental parts of being his parent had been taken from me. I had to leave it up to someone else to care for him, he received his nutrients from an IV, I could only hold him when a nurse took him out of his incubator for me. I cried most of the drive and it almost felt good to just let it out.
I would be staying at my in-laws for the time being because I couldn't drive post-surgery and they were less than 10 minutes from the hospital. When I got there, I just felt sad. My mom and mother-in-law encouraged me to just eat some lunch and rest a bit. I felt kind of lost. In "our room" my mother-in-law had framed a photo of CJ from the first time I held him. It was so touching that she did that for us and comforting to have him "there". I keep that frame on my nightstand now.
It got easier, but I think back on that is definitely one of the more difficult memories.