Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Madame Kangaroo

          Today is International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day.  Kangaroo Care is a method of holding babies with skin-to-skin contact.  Many labor and delivery units are now practicing what they call the "golden hour," where a newborn is immediately placed on mom's chest after birth, so they can begin the bonding process.   Preemie moms rarely, if ever, get that "golden hour."  In fact, they usually have to wait hours, if not days, to even see their little one.  Any length of time separating a mother from seeing or holding her child for the first time is heartbreaking.  Whether it is 3 hours, 3 days or 3 months.  Any length of time is too long to not hold your baby.  Too long to not feel their skin against yours, their little breaths, their soft hair.  There's something about feeling the weight of your child against you that just feels so natural and so necessary.  Moms of premature babies leave the hospital, with empty arms aching to hold their child.  But, when they do finally get that chance, Kangaroo Care is the most healing hold for both mother and child.  
Enjoying some KC when Jack was 1 month old (9.16.10).
The first time I held Jack, he was 11 days old and still weighed just over 2 pounds.  He measured only 12.5 inches, his head on my chest and his feet at my belly button.  But the weight of him  and the weight of that moment was so much more than that simple unit of measure.  The first time Jack snuggled into my chest and almost every time after that, his heart rate stabilized.  His breathing patterns became regular and his oxygen saturations (O2 sats) improved.  He cried less, ate better, and slept more.  My milk supply increased and our bond intensified.  My feelings of helplessness decreased and my sense of motherhood grew.  As far as I know, there's no medicine that could ever do all those things at once.  So, I held Jack using Kangaroo Care as often as possible during his 112-day stay.  I held him so often, that one of the attendings named me "Madame Kangaroo" and told me, "That's where all our babies should be."   A proud moment in an often guilt-ridden experience.   

I guess if I'm Madame, then he's "Mister Kangaroo." 

Lately, Jack has been really wanting to cuddle.  His head now rests on my shoulder and his feet reach to my knees.  Even now, 2.5 years after our first Kangaroo Care hold, the weight of Jack and these loving moments are so much more than his slight 24 pounds.  And we are still the best medicine for each other. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful testament to how Kangaroo Care helped Jack (and you!). Thank you for sharing.