Monday, December 19, 2011
The last days or weeks in the NICU are often described as some of the hardest. When your baby is SO close to coming home with you, every little set back seems devastating. Its easy to get your hopes up and then see them go crashing down again with a brady spell or failure to finish a bottle feed.

When my daughter was in the NICU, we didn't know when to expect her to come home. One doctor got our hopes up with "she'll be home for Easter!" then "Mother's Day!" We were elated each time but quickly learned that we couldn't get our hopes up that much. So we waited. And waited. It felt like forever. But finally she came home, about 2 weeks before her due date.

The whole time we wondered what the discharge process would be like. Here are some preemie mom's experiences with the discharge process to give you some perspective.
Keep in mind that every baby, every doctor, and every hospital will have its own story so these may or may not be what you experience.

What was discharge like for you?
  • "With the twins they came home at two separate times. When DS came home first it was bittersweet, I cried, oh did I cry. Leaving behind our "home away from home" for months, and leaving behind DD. We were so happy to have DS home, but leaving DD behind was sooo much harder then the first day leaving the hospital empty handed if you will. They days leading up to it we were excited and nervous. We found out that he was going to need O2 (for feeding) and a monitor about a week before he came home and it was so much chaos getting that all coordinated."
  • "Exciting and rushed. There was some confusion because he was suppose to be circumcised and the NICU blamed the docs and the doc blamed the NICU if he got circumcised he would have to stay another 24 hours. We took him in to get circumcised to the doc office about 2 weeks after discharge."
  • "Unfortunately, Jack stayed another 2 weeks in the NICU after Ian was discharged. That was hard, leaving Jack behind but we were thrilled to finally have at least one of our babies home with us. Ian left the hospital around 9pm on a Friday night, so there weren't many people there and it was pretty quick and painless. Jack left around 11am on a Saturday morning, again quick and painless due to prep."
  • "We tried not to get too excited about discharge because we had seen our "neighbors" have set backs on discharge days so we didn't want to jump the gun so to speak. When we knew she was getting close we started to prepare but never said "its our last day." We roomed in the night before she was discharged but she couldn't stay in the rooming in room with us because of her MRSA infection so I slept in her room in the recliner. It never felt "real" until we were in the car on the way home the next day. I remember I sat in that recliner holding her all night and all the next day as "discharge" was taking place - It took forever - and I just sat there until the nurse came and took her from me to remove her leads."
  • "It was fast. The neo called me Monday morning to tell me the results of her sleep study/reflux test that was run over the weekend (she'd moved into an open air crib upon hitting 4 lbs the previous Friday) and said we could pick her up anytime. I was at work and was like "anytime? do you mean the nurse will tell us when she's released?". I'm sure he thought I was an idiot."
  • We had our discharge date changed three times in the course of week. First they wanted to get our baby's 2 months shot done before she was released, then we had more test to run, another ultrasound...it seemed like it would never end. Even on the day she was scheduled to come home we ended up waiting half the day for pulmonary results to find out if we were going home with a monitor or O2 after not being on it for over a month. But we made it home after everything!

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Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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