She's 2 weeks old today. Still more than 4 weeks before her due date. This quiet time waiting for Mighty Mabel to figure out how things work in her body is hard, yet precious beyond measure.
I've been here in this hospital for 3 weeks tomorrow. I've only seen my husband and older children for an hour a day (and not everyday) at most. I can hardly remember the feel of my own bed, the mundaneness of the daily routine, the smell of my children's heads while they sleep.
I miss all of that so very much, and yet I will not leave. My smallest and most vulnerable child needs me more than I need to put my big kids to bed. I know the eventual transition home will be challenging. I know there will be tears and tantrums. I know I will stumble and fall as I try to become the mother to 3 girls. I know we will be overwhelmed.
I want nothing more than to go home with my babe in arms and step forward into our new normal. Time moves so slowly and yet it's already been 2 weeks. Every day is a constant 3 hour cycle of breast, bottle, pump, eat/sleep/shower. I steal away from the NICU a few times a day, walking outside, people watching, wandering the halls of the hospitals.
I sit in different lounges watching the wind toss leaves and debris around. I spot a tree with one solitary yellow leaf left holding on. The wind flips it this way and that as it steadfastly stands guard on this fragile young birch. A sharp snap of wind and the leaf comes lose flying off through the garden air.
And finally, finally, I break and the tears come.