Earthy and Expecting: Discharge day!

On Jan. 23, Jax was discharged after 87 days in the York Hospital NICU.

He came home without a feeding tube, a slew of medications or any monitors for apnea or bradycardia.

It probably goes without saying that we’re thrilled.

It probably also goes without saying that we’re going to be incredibly busy from this point forward — not with endless runs to the hospital and back, or to the baby sections of box department stores, or to Home Depot for building supplies to finish the upstairs remodeling project at our house (almost done!).

At long last, we’re going to be busy creating a new normal: bringing home our “newborn,” making room in our lives for the tiny, inspiring person who irrevocably changed them.

As such, this will be my last Earthy and Expecting column.

I could talk about the protocol for discharge—the long conversations with doctors, nurses, feeding specialists and social workers about how to proceed with taking care of Jax on our own—but to be honest, I’ve had my fill of clinical talk.

I thought maybe readers would like to hear from Jax’s father, Jonathan Moore, about what this NICU journey has been like for him:

Three months ago this week, we met our little miracle man, Jackson. I will never forget wrestling with the emotions caused by seeing my son lying in an incubator in such a fragile state. I remember being ripped from the pinnacle of pride and joy down to the deepest pit of gloom and despair I have ever known, repeatedly, daily. One minute, things were going smoothly, and the next, we were tapping our baby on the feet because he wasn’t mature enough to remember to breathe on his own.

Several times, it was too much for me to handle, especially in the beginning. I would not have been okay if it weren’t for the overwhelming show of support from family and friends.

Most importantly, I want to let my hero, Ms. Earthy and Expecting herself, know how much strength I have gained by watching her plow on, physically and emotionally. Stacia, you are my love, my partner and my guide. Thank you for our son.

Aww, and I didn’t even put him up to that!

From left, Jonathan Moore, Jackson “Jax” Harrison Moore, and Stacia Fleegal get ready to leave the NICU on Jax’s discharge day, Jan. 23.

I certainly echo those sentiments, though, and will add that writing itself sustained me, as it always has. I started this column last August because I wanted to write about my pregnancy — my pregnancy.

I wanted to focus on an eco-friendly, healthy, and often alternative approach to dealing with the usual milestones of carrying a baby. Going into my pregnancy, I read that first-time mothers try to do everything by the book, and can often become overwhelmed at the amount of information, sometimes conflicting, about “what’s best.”

I wanted to find my own way, to chronicle developing and learning to trust my own intuition, the voice in my head that exudes confidence in my capabilities and drowns out the others that tell me I’m doing it wrong.

In the greatest show of trusting my intuition, I went to the hospital on Oct. 25 because something didn’t feel right. Everything changed at that point. My pregnancy, and my quirky pregnancy column, were over, but I didn’t want to stop writing.

Changing the focus of the column to a NICU parent’s perspective was therapeutic and kept me, pardon the pun, down to “earth.” Perhaps not the “earthy” or “alternative” I was going for, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that things do not always go as “expected.” We manage life’s obstacles, even its derailments, with trust in ourselves and the love of those around us.

From Jon, Jax, and myself: thanks for your support, and thanks for reading.

Love for the NICU

While the NICU isn’t where you want your baby to start out, it became a haven for me during Jax’s time there. If there’s one positive thing to come from my column, besides the peace of mind that writing it provided me, it’s the potential of increased attention for the amazing neonatal facility we have here in York. In December, my York Daily Record colleague wrote about a family’s NICU Christmas.

Smart Magazine is currently hosting a Valentine’s Day contest. Readers can submit photos of homemade valentines from Feb. 7 through Feb. 13 for a chance to win a $50 Heritage Hills gift card. If you want to donate your entry, bring it to YDR, 1891 Loucks Road, West Manchester Township, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. weekdays through Feb. 13.

To continue showing love to the York Hospital NICU, Smart editor April Trotter, Baby Jax and I will then deliver the donated valentines to the nurses, doctors and patients there on Feb. 14.

Stacia M. Fleegal

York Daily Record multiplatform journalist. Degrees in creative writing from Lycoming College and Spalding University, and a coupla books with my name on them. Central PA native who came home after floating around for a while, but always grounded by words and the places and people I remember.

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1 Response

  1. July 5, 2013

    […] wrote about weaning myself off their support the same way Jax had been. It worked, and we found our confidence as new […]

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