After having three healthy babies in a row, I’d gotten used to the idea of bringing a baby home a few days after his birth. So it was quite a shock when my fourth baby had to be transferred to a larger hospital, where he ending up spending almost a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
That was nearly 17 years ago, but I remember how hard it was to sit and stare at him through the plastic Isolette incubator as clearly as if it happened last month. Watching the numbers on the monitors go up and down, hearing alarms going off, freaking out when they were his alarms……it was a very difficult time for our family.
The best times were when we could hold him: gingerly of course, because we didn’t want to disconnect any of the lead wires attached to him. We could never do it for long because he’d get too cold and his heart rate would go down. It was so hard to let the nurse put him back in his little plastic box, which was decorated with photos of the siblings he hadn’t met yet.
How I wish there would have been something like Kangaroo Care back then*. I just read an article about this concept, written by a reporter whose baby was born prematurely. She got to “wear” her baby when she visited him in the NICU, and it made a traumatic experience a little easier on her and a lot healthier for him.
If you or someone you know ends up with a baby in the NICU, knowing that Kangaroo Care exists will be a real blessing to the baby and his parents.
*I also wish I could have known that, 17 years later, he’d be the healthy, feisty guy he is today