My brother has said that after witnessing my experience with parenthood, he will never have children. It sounds like an offhand remark, but I think he really means it. I told him he can't compare my experience with anyone else's in the world because it is so extreme. Twins (in the NICU), eighteen months later another baby, and then of course Eloise. It is so far out of the realm of any kind of normal, even in the Mormon world, you can't hold it as a standard experience.
The last two times Eloise has returned from the operating room she was in pretty bad shape. I've had to watch her come out of anesthesia frantic, crying, inconsolable, and struggling to breathe. By 'struggling' I mean 'not doing it.' Broncho spasms. Spasms that cause her to turn blue, panic, and she needs a respiratory therapist and neonatalogist to swoop in. Watching your child suffer is the worst feeling in the world. Worse than shame or neglect or guilt or jealousy or anger. Its the worst. More than I can bear.
My body and mind have been taut all day in anticipation for Eloise's fifteenth trip to the operating room. I was mentally gearing for another deluge. So when she came back three hours later (a long three hours later), chipper and smiling at everyone, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. It didn't. She played in her crib, watching Tinkerbelle, happy as can be.
All that adrenaline in my body has nowhere to go, and its strangely deflating. Oh, so there wasn't a crisis today. Okay.
The surgeon said she might come home next week. For the first time since she was born, I think it may actually happen. There are only a few more goals for her to reach.
Coming home will not be less work than having her in the hospital, but it will be less straining on everyone involved. My sweet parents. My marriage. My three at home. I still cannot envision Eloise living in this house, but I'm starting to feel like that may actually happen. That's a hopeful thing.