“Baby girl, please come home.”

It’s so strange how random objects can suddenly bring back a memory. As I stood in Aria’s room, looking at her ultrasound, the moment began to play in my head.

We had just learned that Aria’s condition had gotten much worse, and we needed to transfer to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia immediately. I knew we would be out of state, and staying with Aria in the NICU for a while after her birth. I wanted to be prepared when we finally returned home, so I ran to Target to purchase a few baby essentials.

In the deepest pit in my stomach I couldn’t help but fear the worst – that Aria was never coming home. But I refused to accept it. I thought if we were really prepared, and had everything she needed, she just had to come home. So I grabbed a few bottles of Burt’s Bees baby wash, lotion and powder. Then I walked over to the diaper section, and tears filled my eyes as I realized I had no idea which size in diapers Aria would be wearing by the time she was able to leave the hospital. I decided to be extremely optimistic and grabbed a small pack of newborn diapers, even though I knew how unlikely of a scenario that would be.

As I stood at the checkout counter and paid for my items, I’m sure that everyone else thought it looked like a regular transaction. But at the core it was a desperate prayer. I was begging for an outcome that allowed our daughter to survive.

I remember the words racing through my mind as I walked out of the store, “Baby girl, please come home.”

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