I waited 140 days to write that statement!
…well, wait, that was stated mildly…
I waited 140 hopeful, expectant and, at times, impatient days to bellow from the depths of my air filled lungs that my little girl was home. And that’s exactly what I did to the passionate crew from our church that had congregated at our house to welcome Davy home. With tear filled eyes, fist firmly quenched, arm stiffened skyward I was finally able to voice into reality what had only been a prayer – “She’s home!”
(Photo credit: Mary Marshall)
The Voyage Home
The day was a whirlwind. We got confirmation that morning that it was highly likely Davy would be going home that afternoon. Chelsea and I loaded up the car with eager hearts and The Austin Stone Story Team in tow so that they could capture the miracle of getting this girl home.
Once we touched down at the hospital, the official word came from Dr. Kelley that Davy was indeed going home! Everything then went into hyper speed. Final conversations were had, paper work was completed, and last minute details were finalized off the discharge check list.
Then it was time to leave. It was time to leave, not simply leave the hospital like the 139 previous nights, or the time we left after living in the hospital for two weeks, but to leave with our little girl by our side. The moment that had only been a dream, a prayer and a whispered hope was now materialized. It was tactile, tangible and possessed the weight of reality, and not just the ethereal substance of aspiration.
We got Davy dressed up in her fashionista outfit and stepped into the hallway with our eyes set on home and NICU room 7 becoming an artifact of the past.
(Are you kidding me? I’ll take cuteness overload with a side of extra cute!)
One of the sweetest moments was when we walked into the hallway directly outside of our room. The doctors, nurses and medical staff had lined up to send us off. I made a vain attempt at what some might call a speech, but the tears and lump in my throat made it hard to speak. However, if there was an interpreter present who spoke fluent “overly emotional” they would translate my statement as, “We love all of you and are grateful that God brought you into our lives to use your skills to help save our little girl. Thank you for everything.”
Chels and I walked underneath the floating, celebratory bubbles while carrying Davy, her oxygen tank and feeding tube, but made sure to stop and give three deliberate hugs. The first was to Dr. Kelley, our eccentric and comedic doctor who was the first to take care of Davy girl during the early days when we didn’t know if she would make it. The second was to the brilliant Dr. Herrman who was knit together with the soul of our family during her shifts with Davy and came up on her day off to see us off! The last was to Dr. Imm, the doctor with ice in his veins who made some crucial decisions to get Davy to health. All three extremely special people who will hold a special place in our lives.
After our tearful and joyful goodbye in the NICU we continued our exit. Out of the NICU doors, down the hallway to the elevator, from the 4th floor to the 3rd and then across the bridge on the main floor headed toward the entrance. There are no words for the cocktail of emotions that were present in my mind, heart and soul. However, I didn’t want to try and articulate the experience away with mortal words, but to simply be present and let the array of emotions flow through me as blood through veins.
My dad pulled the car around and I was grateful to see the car because I thought my arm was going to fall off trying to carry Davy! Good grief, who needs CrossFit when you can just carry a car seat with a child in it all day?!? We loaded Davy in the car, peered back at the place we’ve called home for the last 5 months and then took a deep breath. (I didn’t even have to fumble with the car seat as I had envisioned because I had already been an idiot trying to figure it out earlier in the week!)
The Drive Home
We then headed home where I proceeded to drive the slowest I’ve ever driven and you KNOW I didn’t even try getting on the highway! Precious cargo people! As we rounded the corner to our street we saw a group of people from our church with flags and signs welcoming Davy home. It was humbling to have a crew there because it was so last minute when we knew when Davy was going home and around 5 (which is one of the most joyful and fun loving times in Austin), but our church continues it’s streak of awesomeness.
(Photo credit: Daphne Bamburg)
(Photo credit: Maris Bush)
Everyone scattered relatively quickly because Davy is under strict orders to not have much outside interaction until post flu season (yes we’re going to be hermits until around April), but it was special nonetheless.
After we got everything unloaded, Chels and I walked into the house with my mom, dad and Davy. For a brief moment in the hallway we just cried holding our baby girl. We cried tears that were vastly different than the tears we cried in those early days. These were tears of joy. These were tears that found their beginning reflecting on the goodness and faithfulness of God to hear our cries.
Davy was home. Finally. It was no longer a desire articulated, but a prayer fulfilled.
After we regained composure, we closed our front door and opened the new chapter in our great adventure. #davystrong