Several weeks ago I got a piece of mail from Ronald McDonald House/Loyola NICU. I assumed it was a donation request & since I have a bad habit of sending money to anyone who asks for it & we're broke, I almost threw it out. But Loyola was good with Cooper when he was born, & the Ronald McDonald House offered to let us stay there (even though we only live about 30 minutes from the hospital) when we thought Cooper might need surgery & have to stay awhile, so I felt guilty & opened it. It wasn't a donation request (sigh of relief), but an invitation to a NICU reunion.
So we went to the reunion. It wasn't really meant for us; Cooper only spent 36 hours in the NICU so we really didn't have time to form relationships with doctors, nurses, or other parents, but I thought it would be neat to go back to the hospital where Cooper was born and I thought it would probably be nice for the doctors & nurses, even if they didn't recognize us, to see their former patients big, healthy, & running around. (John suggested some of the doctors & nurses might recognize me since I very dramatically passed out on their floor bleeding all over the place, creating complete chaos while they tried to gather nurses & instruments meant for an adult patient, and then had to be wheeled out on a bed; fortunately, they did not!)
It was much larger than I expected, with kids of all ages & lots of twins & triplets (yikes!). We snacked a little, played with bubbles outside, played with some play-doh in their activity room, but it was pretty chaotic so we didn't stay long.
There were tons of very normal, healthy kids (like Cooper) there, but there were also some kids that had disabilities or continue to need special care.
I took these pictures as we were leaving.
I was so upset that Cooper had to go to the NICU & couldn't be with us from the beginning, but we really were & are lucky that he had some pretty minor problems & he's perfectly healthy now.