While we were all still fully immersed in shock and uncertainty, less than 8 hours from Joseph's birth, it was really time for Daniel to go home and rest. My mom would stay with my sister. Everyone was exhausted but silently wondering how they'd ever sleep again while not knowing what the next hours would hold for tiny Joseph -- they kept telling us that we'd learn a lot about his future by the way the next 24-48 hours rolled.
Somehow, I prevailed upon my brother-in-law to just briefly escort me to the NICU at Anne Arundel Medical Center so I could see the baby for the first time. I'd be the last to visit him for the evening. Everyone else had already gone.
When we got to the room, two women in scrubs were standing over Joseph's bed, talking quietly. We couldn't quite approach. Before I'd had an introduction with my new nephew, one of the women turned to my brother-in-law and explained that Joseph needed to be moved to another hospital. They weren't happy with some of his oxygen levels and they didn't have the treatment he needed at AAMC. She explained that Daniel could choose between Johns Hopkins / University of Maryland system, or Children's Medical in DC. Daniel and Bethany could make the choice, and then it would be a matter of checking for which place had the most availability.
More shock, at least for me. I hadn't expected that the baby would get moved all alone to another location, at least a 45-60 minute drive from his parents and grandparents.
The lady was just standing there, as if she was waiting for Daniel to tell her his answer. He explained that he needed to talk to his wife and he would let her know. This gave us a moment to say hello to Joseph, but I couldn't concentrate or relax, knowing what a big decision needed making. I took a hard look at my new nephew, tried to memorize everything I could about how he looked, and then went back to my sister's room so she and her husband could talk.
The decision for Children's Medical in DC was made after consulting with insurance. None of the AAMC workers were quite sure when the transport team would arrive, but they thought it could be a few hours. Sister's nurse was explaining to her that she could try sitting up in a wheelchair, and that it would be best to start working towards that in the next couple of hours so they could take her to say goodbye to Joseph. If she were not able to do that, she'd have to be wheeled down to the NICU in her hospital bed, which would not easily fit in Joseph's room.
If they'd ended up having hours to play with, they might've gotten Sister up in a wheelchair, in spite of the fact that she was dealing with incredible dizziness and was only a few hours beyond major surgery. As it was, I recall less than an hour had passed before the nurse came back to tell us that the transport team from Children's was on its way, and they'd have about 30 minutes to say goodbye to Joseph. The nurse and a tech immediately wheeled Sister's bed down to the NICU, and mom and dad had their chance to adore and visit and say goodbye until they could get to Children's the next morning.
Then he was gone. I remember the nurse saying, "They took him lights and sirens the whole way," and I knew I would never see an ambulance the same way again. Somebody's Joseph could be fighting for his life in there.