Seven years ago today was one of the most grateful times of my life. We watched videos, signed paperwork, handed over a feeding tube, and loaded up our Jeep and life began. I remember getting on the elevator and the admitting neonatologist got on with us. He proceeded to congratulate us on getting to go home, he wished us luck and then told us that in all his years of practicing he’s never seen such an “on his own terms kid.”
Jeremy and I awkwardly laughed. Little did we know he was right. Whitman has his own story to tell. We’re grateful we get a front-row seat and to be apart of it! He makes us laugh so hard and makes us so proud on the daily. We don’t take this anniversary lightly we know what was at stake. We know how close we were to having a different kind of anniversary when just two weeks before, when Whitman was born, he was not breathing and had no pulse.
So we celebrate this with a light kind of heaviness. Whitman is our miracle. We’ve been told that from the start and he proves it to us on the daily. We celebrate the littlest of victories like getting to come home from the NICU. We celebrate that we never had to go back for RSV or any other complications that could have arisen. We celebrate that he is ours always and forever. That we were able to walk out with our tiny miracle. We were able to snuggle him on our own couch, we were able to love on him in his nursery. We were able to move on from the NICU.
I still have PTSD from our NICU days. When Whit was admitted to the hospital in 2019, I held my breath in the children’s hospital elevator. I saw the parents with that exhausted “I just had a baby it shouldn’t be like that look.” I contemplated hugging them and telling them it gets better. You’ll hopefully get to go home. You’ll hopefully get to show your baby the world when they are ready. We weren’t ready for three months. We had to pick and choose who we saw. We had our own little kind of quarantine bubble. Jeremy and I had clothes in our laundry room. We called it ground zero. If we left for any reason we picked clothes that were in ground zero wore them out came home and immediately put them in the washer and put on our at-home clothes after rinsing off.
We would have done anything to keep Whitman from the NICU. We’d been there. That wasn’t a journey we’d ever want to do again. It made us who we are as parents but watching your child struggle is not the way you imagine you starting your parenting journey. So we celebrate. We celebrate that we survived. We celebrate that we were a NICU success story. We celebrate everything that Whitman has become in these seven years, on his terms naturally.
He’s just the best. He’s so smart, sweet, and has the best sense of humor. Today is the day we celebrate everything that we have. The gratefulness behind it. We have never and will never take anything for granted when it comes to Whitman. Whitman John, you are an amazing human who deserves nothing but the best. Happy Coming Home Day! You worked so hard to come with us and continue to work so hard every day to be a part of our world. You deserve every happiness.