Tomorrow I am being discharged from OSU hospital after more than 8 weeks of hospital bed rest. And, oddly enough, I didn't want to leave. This is where my babies are, and this is where my Dad was. Dad was moved to a hospice house tonight (next to Riverside Hospital ironically enough), to wait out the remainder of his time here on earth. The idea is that it will be more comfortable and homey for him and the family. Personally, I don't know how much of a difference it will make for him, but he never did like being in the hospital, so why not try this?
Everyone (Laura, Dad's brother and sisters, and best friends) went with him tonight, but I must stay here one last night. So they gave me time alone with my Dad before the journey...just in case. For the first time all day he opened his eyes a little when I started talking with him. I layed on his chest (very carefully) and wrapped his arms around me so we could have a proper hug. Apparently my arms around him wasn't enough. He tried to put his arms around me, but he just couldn't make it without help. So help him I did. Finally, I was able to share with him a few things in my heart and on my mind. I hope he understood what I was saying. Naturally, I told him I loved him and would see him tomorrow. He doesn't try to speak much anymore, but he will still attempt an "I love you" in return. Every time. I told him we would all be fine. That Charlie and Olivia would be fine. To which he squeezed my hand. He knows them. And he loves them. How blessed have we all been? The Lord has given me more time than I could have imagined with him over the last few days. For that I will be eternally grateful.
With regards to Charlie and Olivia, we have had some sweet experiences with them. Last night I was able to give Livy a mini-bath (face and bottom) after which she promptly turned her head to the side and spit up all over her cheek! It begins. :) Then I fed her a bottle. The first time we were able to do this! She took it slow, but did well. Tonight, I was able to feed her again, and then Eli took his turn later. She gulped it all each time and seems to be holding it down. Eli was so wondeful with her. A bit hesitant at first, but by the end (which came after about 2 minutes!) you never would have known he was new to this. It was so sweet. Charlie is still being fed through an IV, but we are hoping he will begin to hold down bottle feedings soon. He is definitely interested in eating.
But the most important thing that has happened is that we are beginning to become a family. That's right, it doesn't just automatically happen when they are born! Whoda thunk it?! But these few experiences coupled with more holding time has fostered more love for eachother, and for these precious children. This is my joy. They are the calm in the midst of the storm. They are my future and they are my past. Dad will not be here to hold them and cut their nails (his designated job in the family), but he is in them. Charlie looks just like him. And he sleeps just like him, from eyebrow raises to the slack jaw that drops open at the most restful moments. Just as Dad is about to embark on a remarkable journey, so are we. And because of the Lord, we will do it together. We just might not know it right now. But someday, we will.