People say your priorities change after children arrive. I didn’t believe them. I have always said that my kids will not take over my life, instead they will “fit” into my life. I still think that’s true for my husband and I down the road, but right now, Peyton is our only priority. After nearly 4 months in the Nicu, our miracle child finally came home. 116 days of staring at the hospital walls, then suddenly she was able to see the world around her. Peyton went through hell and back to make it to present day. She survived an infection that killed her sister, a surgery, a brain bleed, heart problems and several blood transfusions, among other hurdles. So it came as quite the surprise when the Nicu called us a few weeks ago, saying it was time for her to go home.
Peyton has come a long way since the day she and her two siblings arrived. She no longer needs a feeding tube and can easily maintain a comfortable temperature. She is still in need of some lung support, which means she is tethered to an oxygen tank and monitor. But boy does she look like your typical newborn! And while she has proven to be a miracle child, she still has a ways to go. She has countless doctors appointments and will be spending the next several months sitting tight at home. We can’t risk her getting the flu or RSV. So with that, comes a change in priorities.
I’ve always been a workaholic, even writing an article about it here at “Her View From Home.” I love what I do (I’m a news anchor in Illinois) and have always planned to be a working mom. But my pregnancy threw a wrench in my plans, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been off the air since May, when I began to have complications. After the babies arrived, I was too sick to work…and too heartbroken to put a brave face on and read the news. I’ve learned that you can’t put a timeline on grief and losing two children will stay with me forever. Between the death of Abby and Parker and Peyton’s health, I decided to take a leave of absence from my television station. I couldn’t bear the thought of not spending hours of my day in the Nicu with my daughter. And now that she is home, I can’t imagine not being there for every doctor’s appointment and therapy.
While most women take 6 to 12 weeks off, I’m now going on 6 months of being away from work. I no longer get an income and I’m in jeopardy of losing my medical benefits. Sure, it’s stressful and I have shed many tears over the financial toll it’s taking on my family. I spend some nights awake, wondering how we will ever pay off our medical bills. Between me and the triplets, our hospital bill has reached into the millions. So when you look at the tens of thousands I’ll be paying after insurance, that’s a bargain compared to the actual bill. And Peyton is worth every penny. Sure, I plan on going back to work, hopefully in a few months. But, this experience has taught me that it’s ok to change your priorities, it’s part of life. My career will always be there to go back to and I know that I can balance motherhood and work. But right now, Peyton needs her mother…and I’m happy to be there for every special milestone.