As it was quiet in the nursery I was able to take her in and show her a tiny 900gm baby so she could get an idea of just how little she was. It was amazing to see Audrey standing beside the humidicrib of such a tiny baby. When she was still in the nursery we would see older children arriving back for follow up visits and wish we could fast forward to that point - to the point where we could look back and see it had all turned out OK. How has it been seven years and now - in what seems like the blink of an eye - Audrey is having one of her last ever follow up visits?
We were also able to go and stand beside Ashlea's old spot in the nursery - bed 2 - the scene of so much drama. Just walking over to her bed brought back a flood of memories and emotion. It's kind of strange that it's not traumatic for me to go back there. Emotional yes, but not traumatic. Even though traumatic things happened there I mostly remember the nursery as a safe place. The place where my babies were kept safe. The place where they were kept alive.
We were able to catch up with some of the doctors and nurses from our time there which was lovely. Funnily enough the nurse who was looking after Ashlea on 'that day' was there. It was lovely to see him. He still remembers that day too so it was lovely to be able to show him - and everyone we saw - the video of Ashlea walking.
It's funny how as a NICU parent there is stuff I just know. Just by looking around I could tell which baby was the sickest. I tried not to look, not to get emotionally involved in their story but I haven't stopped thinking about them since. I know what it is like to be the parent of the sickest baby on the unit. I know that worry and fear, that horror of not knowing if your baby is going to make it through the next day or even the next hour. I know things that I can't un-know.
I don't know why I still feel such a connection to the nursery all these years on, but I do. It is an amazing place staffed with amazing nurses and doctors and I am so thankful for the work they do there. I almost feel like it is sacred ground in there. Tiny lives hang in the balance, dreams blossom and are shattered, parents made and broken. It's hard to put into words what an incredible place it is.
Indulge me while I repost this clip of my twins nursery journey - the first half of the video is Audrey, the second half is Ashlea. Sorry it's long but I really like this song and didn't want to chop it up!