When you have a child born prematurely, you think, “This is it. This has to be as hard as it gets.” You just don’t think of the reality that not every family goes into the hospital to have a baby and leaves with that baby.
If it happens to you, those initial few days are surreal. The first day you’re released, when you drive home with the empty car seat still strapped in the back, you think, “How can this be happening?” When you sit in your quiet home, obsessively calling the NICU nurses to check in on your newborn lying in an isolette miles away, you wonder how it could get any harder.
For some families, that bumpy start doesn’t get any smoother. For the Carnahan family, it was the start of a difficult journey they never saw coming.