I am starting to understand how my poor husband feels, hearing these words over and over again.
One of the keys to being a successful foster parent is to maintain a certain emotional distance. The baby arrives with little fanfare and even less notice, is welcomed and cuddled and shown off and passed around and cared for, and then, one day, the baby goes home. HOME home. As in, not your home.
It is not a "normal" situation, to be flown to a hospital to bring home a brand new baby, and to spend 24 hours learning all about the baby, holding the baby, waking up for rounds, drinking coffee from a machine, basically completely dedicating your entire self to this child, giving up food and sleep, communing with the nurses and doctors, taking time off of work, and away from your own children to do so......
Turns out, when you deviate from the regular process of fostering, you get a teensy bit attached. This is my second medically fragile baby, and as any parent - foster or otherwise - will tell you, seeing a child in the hospital is awful. LEAVING them there is worse.
It is increasingly difficult to remain professional, and impartial, when a tiny baby is involved. And when you have to leave that baby at the hospital and fly home again with your diaperbag, in the same clothes you have been wearing for 24 hours, with 0 sleep, and then be given absolutely no information about how the baby is, or when the baby will be able to come home...well, it sucks.
I am in my room, and at the end of my bed it is pretty hard to ignore the empty bassinet. And the baskets of baby clothes. And the infant carseat I finally took out of the car because I thought maybe I was jinxing poor baby. I never keep these things out, unless there is actually a BABY in them. Because seeing them empty stirs up all sorts of emotions that I prefer to forget.
The facts are this. I am in my own home, with my healthy children and my loving husband, with food and transportation and a job.
The baby has been in a hospital for almost his entire life, and during this most recent hospitalization, he has been lying on his back, staring at the same mobile, with the incessant beeping of the alarm jarring him awake just as he drifts off to sleep. Because while the rest of his body is fragile, his hearing is perfect. I wonder if he notices that I'm not there. I was there for such a short time....
And when the state and Medicaid decide the baby is ready to go, it's 0 to 60 in 5seconds. I'll be on a plane, rushing to the hospital in a cab, bringing home a baby that is not mine, and not staying for very long. I am already dreading the day he leaves, while I walk on eggshells waiting for him to arrive.
6 hours ago