As soon as we were ready, Nathan's nurse wheeled his crib into the room. And just like that, we were on our own. And for the most part, it wasn't really as exciting as you might have imagined.
Nathan's health had improved quite a bit in the 4 weeks since his shunt surgery. He had become really active and playful. He had even become really attached to one of those rainmaker sticks:
Nathan absolutely loved it! He would smile and wiggle and laugh, but without making any actual sounds! But as most parents can probably attest, you can only play with certain toys for just so long before they wear you out. Unfortunately, it seems the parents always get worn out before the kids do!
So we tried a few other things as well, but Nathan just wasn't used to moving around. He liked to lay on his back and that was about it. He didn't like to sit up, he didn't like to lay against your shoulder. He just liked to lay down. So there wasn't a lot that we could do to entertain him. Which meant that there wasn't a lot that we could do to entertain ourselves, either.
Occasionally, like when it was time to give meds, the nurse would pop in to watch us and make sure that we did it right, and to check how things were going.
A representative from Praxair, our home health care company, also stopped by and taught us how to work oxygen tanks and a feeding pump, since we would be running both of those at home.
We also had a session with one of the therapists. We tried a little oral feeding with a little bit of rice cereal. Nathan was a good sport and at least tolerated us trying, even though he wasn't overly interested in eating anything.
And then before we knew it, our time was up.
Then, for the first time, we gathered up all of Nathan's stuff that he wouldn't be needing for the trip home the next day and packed it up to take home. It was such a surreal moment. Nathan spent his first 139 days in the hospital. That's just a day shy of 20 weeks. And unless you actually stop to think about, you don't realize just how long 139 days is. It's just over 4 1/2 months!
And I have to give Bekah the utmost respect and props because she went to the hospital almost every one of those 139 days. She made it up to be with Nathan 129 of the 139 days. That's an amazing 93% of the time. And an even more amazing 12,500 miles driven between home and the hospital.
But now, finally, Nathan would be home. That would mean no more trips to the hospital. But we also knew that it would come with its own new set of challenges.