Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm a Kangaroo

It was the day I was to be discharged from the hospital, and I had yet to know what it was like to hold my babies. 

They were four days old.

During rounds, I asked our neo if I could hold one of the babies. I asked him this same question every day.  And everyday he said no.  Except for today.  Today he said yes.  He said I could hold Lenay.

He said YES!

I learned later that the fact that I was going home was the only reason I was allowed to hold her.  She was still severely jaundiced, and needed to be under the light at all times.  But the doctors and nurses really try to help bond the moms to their babies before they leave if at all possible.

The reason I could hold Lenay and not Campbell was that Lenay was much more stable.  She came off her cpap after just one day, and was now only on a nasal cannula.  Lenay had also been moved out of the most critical room that same day.  Campbell remained in the critical room, still on cpap, and under the light.  She was also low on platelets so she was receiving a transfusion.  All of that plus still watching her brain bleed situation made her much less holdable than her sister.

So on Friday August 21, 2009, I learned how to kangaroo.

{ For those not familiar, kangarooing is a way to hold all newborns, but is especially important for premature babies.  The mom (or the dad) takes off her shirt, puts on a gown, and her baby is placed directly on her chest, inside the gown.  The nurses then place warm blankets over mom and baby, recline them in a comfortable position, and you just snuggle in!  This is very beneficial to both mom and baby.  The skin to skin contact has been proven to help babies grow and thrive.  It can also lessen pain.   Not to mention help moms and babies to bond!  Also, holding the baby in this way is known to boost milk production, which is very important for pumping moms who are unable to breastfeed.  For more reading on Kangaroo Care, please visit

Sidenote: I saw a piece on The Today Show where they said that Kangaroo Care was invented in Australia.  I guess I can see why one would think that, but the concept was actually brought about in Colombia.  Somebody didn't do their research! }

As I got ready to hold my tiny 2 1/2 lb baby for the first time, I remember being scared.  She was so tiny!  I was afraid I would hurt her.  Our nurse was very reassuring.  She won't break I promise, she said as she scooped up my tiny bird like daughter, careful not to pull any of her lines, tubes, or cords, and gently placed her on my chest.

Talk about the MOST amazing feeling.

She was light as a feather.

And warm as toast.

She wiggled a little and then snuggled right into me.

I had been so afraid that she wouldn't know me.

But at this moment I knew she did.

It was like she was saying, Oh Mom, there you are.  I've missed you.

We cuddled and I told her all about our house and her big brother and our puppy and how I couldn't wait for her to come home.  I told her that her sister was doing okay in the other room, in case she was wondering.

When it was time to put her back, I was sad, but I was so glad I had this opportunity.  It meant so very much to me.

Saying goodbye to the babies was very hard.  Even though we only live twelve minutes away. 

When we left the hospital shortly after, it was strange. I had been there for two and a half weeks. 

I had gone in with my babies.  And now I was leaving them behind.

As we drove away, I looked back at the hospital. 

They are in a Level 3 NICU. 
Thats the highest level. 
With top-notch doctors and nurses.
My babies are getting the best care in the country.

As hard as it was to leave them, I knew it was where they needed to be.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I remember that feeling... Wyatt was 3 days old before I could hold him and it was a limited time - such a bittersweet moment! I remember loving and hating that NICU at the same time!!

    love that you're sharing your personal side of your journey!