The day Ward came home was a happy day! His siblings have taken right to him, and it's like he's always been a part of our family.
It would be a mistake to take anything from this experience other than all of the blessings we received during it. So, because we never want to forget, in no particular order, things we're grateful for:
- Prayers. We felt them. We found comfort as we offered our own.
- Eric's job. Eric was able to get away from work to be with me and Ward. When he emailed his boss to tell her what was going on, she responded: "The living are more important than the dead." (he works for a genealogy company, hence, 'dead'). It was amazing to not have to worry about work pressures, for just a little while anyway. I needed Eric by my side, and it was great to have him there.
- Our families. Even though no one is near, and they all have their own lives going on, they all offered to drop everything and come running.
- Our ward "family." We're an island. Eric and I don't have a single relative in 400 miles. Generally, we're used to going it alone, but this time that wasn't an option. Our neighbors stepped in and brought us meals, did yard work, offered company, and babysat our kids. Ward (church) members I've never even met offered to watch my kids for me so I could be at the NICU with Ward. We were never alone, physically or spiritually.
- Dinners. I know, who doesn't love food that they didn't have to make themselves? This one was so much more than that though. The NICU schedule put me home around 4 p.m. each day, and not having to try to figure out a dinner when I was so tired and exhausted and all my kids wanted was my attention was such a blessing. Sitting down to family dinners during everything was so important to keep us all grounded with one another. The "big" kids needed that family time so badly after long days apart.
- Aunt Anna. "Camp Aunt Anna" has saved us on numerous occasions and we've often joked that once she had her own kids, she wouldn't have time for ours anymore. Not true. Anna dropped everything and brought three-week old Iva to Utah to provide our kids with some stability.
- My recovery. Just like when Maggie was in the NICU, my recovery seems to have been almost too easy. I am so grateful I was able to do all of the coming and going (even if it was tiring, it wasn't impossible).
- Date nights to the NICU. Again, NICU scheduling had us needing to be back there between 7-10 p.m. each night. We were always able to find sitters so Eric and I were able to go together. We really enjoyed those nights spending time together "alone." It brought us closer to one another.
- Having done this once already. Having gone through this once already with Maggie, made it much easier this time. There was still worry, frustration, and tears, but I am sure I handled it much better.
- Modern medical science. Not that many years ago, medically, this would have gone an entirely different direction.
- Modern technology. I don't know how people functioned before, but trying to share information and updates would have been a nightmare without texting, facebook, email, etc. Our smartphones and ipad made things SO much simpler and easier.
- Good doctors and nurses. This one sorta've goes along with "Eric's job" because it provides the benefits to choose the hospitals and doctors we want to use. Being able to be in the hospital we wanted to, with our doctors, and nurses we adore made this a much better situation. Having the same pediatrician we went through this with Maggie with was really nice.