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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

Mothering New Mama

I am a slave to white linens in the summer. They just feel fresh and clean and bright. But I'm feeling fall begin to settle in my veins... and am craving warm and cozy. I set out today to dig through my linen closet to find something other than my standard issue whites. All I could find were a set of cream flannels and a navy sheet my Grandmother gave me, neither what I was looking for. So, I put them back and reached up high for another white sheet to put on our family bed. I had just grasped it in my hand when another sheet fell down. It was this burnt, rusty orange color- the color of fallen leaves... perfect! I set Xavier on the middle of the bed and began to tuck my fall sheet around him when a memory came flooding back....

After Xavier was born they allowed me to stay as a "patient" on the labor and delivery floor for a couple of extra days. Those first few days were pretty critical and I couldn't be in the NICU with our sweet boy round the clock, so down the hall was a close second. But the day came when we had to check out of our institutional living quarters and while we only lived a couple of minutes away from the hospital it seemed impossible to spend the night anywhere else. But the hospital didn't have any overnight accommodations and strongly discourages round the clock stay, especially right after delivery. So around 11pm David and I reluctantly packed up and headed home. I was a mess. I had entered the hospital with my body full of baby, upon arrival had delivered him into this world where he was fighting to stay. And now I was stepping back into the world without him, for the first time. I can't find a word to describe how that felt. I climbed into the car and we headed to a house that no longer felt like home. As we pulled up to our little bungalow and stepped out into the cold December air I noticed a sparkling "it's a boy" banner across the window. The tears that had been resting in my eyes began to overflow. I stepped inside dismissing our cats purrs and nuzzles and headed straight for the bedroom. I just wanted to sleep and wake up and get right back to the hospital. The bedroom we left in a tousled hurry was immaculate. The bed freshly made with new sheets and blankets. Cozy burnt orange rust colored sheets that felt like fall. On top of my pillow were a pair of tiny light blue booties with dragonflies across the toes and a note from my sweet Xavier.

David's Mom and Grandma had been hard at work doing everything they could to make that impossible first night away bearable. Looking back it seems things so small. But that first night - mother being separated from child... I needed mothering like never before. Thanks Mom!

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  • Blogger Nikkie says so:
    7:45 PM  

    I understand exactly how you felt. Exactly. My Boo was born premature and had to stay in the NICU too. They let me stay in the hospital as long as my blood pressure was insane but when it got better I had to go home. I cried the entire cry ride home and for hours when I got there. It wasn't fair that the other mommies got to go home with their babies and I didn't. top

  • Anonymous Glass Half Full says so:
    9:09 PM  

    As I read this I could feel an absence in my heart. I could only imagine the separation you must have felt.

    Look back....be thankful...you pulled through!!! top

  • Blogger Adventures In Babywearing says so:
    12:28 AM  

    Oh goodness that was too real! I just can't imagine it for myself! I am so happy you have him in your arms all you want now, and don't ever have to let him go! top

  • Blogger beth says so:
    11:54 AM  

    I can't imagine...but you got through. top

  • Blogger Heaven Sent says so:
    2:02 PM  

    I can't even imagine how you felt. I am so glad you had such a wonderful, loving support system to help you thru such a hard time. So happy he is now at home, with mommy, where he belongs!

    (BTW, thanks for visiting my blog!) top

  • Blogger Randi says so:
    7:30 PM  

    I can't even imagine how that felt:( And now he's such a strong and healthy boy! Thanks for sharing this, it really touched me. top

  • Blogger Awesomer Mom says so:
    8:42 PM  

    How sweet. It is very hard to go home without your baby. At least you did eventually get to bring him hone and now he is thriving. top

  • Blogger Robin says so:
    11:08 PM  

    I know that feeling of leaving your baby and having to go home. I also had a 3 year old at home that needed me, but I wanted to be at the hospital all day too. Thank God it was only 8 days. top

  • Blogger Michelle says so:
    10:56 AM  

    How do you always make me cry with your posts? I remember that same exact feeling. My hubby and I cried in each other arms for hours that night. It just isn't right that I parent should ever have to leave a newborn behind.
    What a wonderful mother you have. And those sheets will always remind you of her love and your precious boy. top

  • Anonymous Shawn C says so:
    12:08 AM  

    Awwwww....the feeling must have been overwhelming. Glad he safe in your arms now! top