Casey and Oscar came back today from a short trip home taking care of a few things. It wasn’t easy being away from Oscar for a few nights. This NICU experience actually forced my first nights away from him. He can’t come on to the floor Olivia is on until flu season is over so he hasn’t even met her yet. Until this protocol is lifted, I am forced to figure out how to split my time between my two kids. I long for the moments that I can be holding Olivia constantly like you do with any newborn, and watch Oscar play with his trucks. When I was pregnant I daydreamed about slow afternoons snuggling both of them or watching Oscar play while soaking in small fingers and toes.
I know that I still will get those moments (peppered with moments of realizing Oscar is a giant toddler that doesn’t know how to handle an infant), but these current moments of having to split my time tears my heart apart. And each day Olivia is more alert and I feel more connected to her and I can’t stand leaving her. But Oscar needs me, too. Each day brings a new schedule as I figure out this balance. Tonight I got to put Oscar to sleep after dinner and then hopped onto the shuttle back to the hospital to practice breastfeeding and to give Olivia a bath. If tonight is like last night, I will put her back in her isolette and watch her root around to which I can only offer a pacifier to soothe her, until tomorrow when I get to hold her again. This month has brought out the complexity in life and made us face it head on — the thin veil between life and death: grief, sorrow, sadness and joy, delight, and warmth all simultaneously sharing a space in our hearts.