Crazy Love- Michael Buble
One of the most coveted stages of advancement in the NICU is the kangaroo care sessions. Before the NICU, all I knew about kangaroos was that they were incredibly strong and were considered pests in Australia. Kangaroo sessions in the NICU mean increasing the probability of complete recovery from being premature. But, before we could get to the kangaroo care, we had to become comfortable with the handling of our daughter. Gracie was tiny and fragile while also strong beyond my imagination.
One of the honorable tasks of parenting is changing diapers. It is referred to as “hands-on” time. It is one of tasks I got to do after the pneumothorax receded. Most parents get to share this special moment immediately after their child is born. We arrived at the moment when our daughter was stable.
Pampers seems to be the only manufacturer of micro preemie diapers. The front and back of the diaper is about the size of a post-it note, and they attach via velcro. I would love to see how these Pampers are made. As you position over Gracie for a diaper change, you have to grab her legs above the ankle and lift her up while she squirms and kicks you. Her legs have an uncanny resemblance to frog legs you get at the grocery store or chinese buffet.
Breast milk-fed babies are supposed to have stool which is mustard in color with a seedy texture. I am puzzled by why they have poo which looks like mustard, but I will leave that discovery to another day. As soon I pull the soiled diaper, Ashleigh immediately slid the new one underneath her, because at this stage there are no muscles to control bowel movements. Gracie immediately urinated on the new diaper and we again replaced it with another one. The smallest diapers in the world were sagging on my daughter. The wiping goes from front to back. Since Gracie’s skin is still immature, any stroking of the skin becomes very uncomfortable because it feels like tickling. Her skin is also undeveloped so we have to put antifungal medication on her sensitive areas to combat infections and yeast pockets. Even the small packets of lotion and ointments you get from the hospital are a waste since Gracie only needs a sliver. After I wiped and handed the old diaper for the nurse to weigh, I realized that not only was my daughter sagging, but the diaper was also crooked and off centered. I got her situated and put her changing stuff away and closed her isolette. I realized there was something wet on my pinky. It was stool in the drying process. I immediately yelled, “Hey, this is poop!”, smiled, sighed and walked over to the wash station and scrubbed down. It was good to hear some laughter in the NICU sometimes. I know that I will receive much more exposure to poop at home, but I just thought that my first exposure would be under different circumstances. Ashleigh somehow managed to not get any poop on her. This was the pregame show to the main event.
Tomorrow will be the first day that Ashleigh will get to utilize the kangaroo method. This is a skin to skin session lasting for about 45 mins to maybe over an hour dependent upon how Gracie reacts to it. Gracie’s head will be placed on top of Ashleigh’s heart to sync. Although this session is for Gracie’s benefit, it benefits Ashleigh because up to this point Ashleigh’s milk production has been pretty low compared to what she was supposed to be producing. Kangaroo care is supposed to stimulate milk production. Previously, Ashleigh was asked to hold Gracie up in her hands above the incubator and that short experience within itself generated a good volume of milk afterwards.
Could something as simple as holding her daughter on her heart transform Ashleigh into the source that Gracie needed her to be?