Today was a much better day in the NICU for the entire family. After yesterday’s experience we resolved to be clearer with our wants, needs, and desires, regardless of which nurse was assigned to our girls. Tom made sure each nurse knew we wanted to be active participants and that we’d like to change diapers, take temps and do whatever else we could while there, and we both expressed a desire to do Cuddle Care with each of the girls. As a result, I changed both girls’ diapers and got to do Cuddle Care with Kamryn for about 40 minutes. Woohoo!! Tonight’s nurse felt Kenley shouldn’t do Cuddle Care because she’s receiving her feeding over a two hour period instead of a one hour period and didn’t want to upset her digestion (this has been standard with Cuddle Care–it needs to happen after the girls have eaten and have had a chance to digest their food a bit). This was a reasonable response to me and though I missed holding her, it’s all for a good reason.
I also learned today (in re-reading the booklet that the NICU gives out to parents) that there is a difference between asking to hold a baby and asking to do Cuddle Care. Cuddle Care is specifically about skin to skin contact between mother (or father) and baby. The baby is placed directly on the mom’s chest and then a blanket is placed over the baby to keep her temp stabilized. This skin to skin contact is supposed to promote all sorts of good things for both the mom and the baby. Holding is when you hold the baby in your arms, and in our NICU the baby has to be a minimum of 1200 grams to be held. So I learned to ask specifically for “Cuddle Care” rather than the more generic term “holding”. It also helped a lot that both nurses today were very nice and could not have been more accommodating with us.
Also, we got to spend a more time with the girls because we visited three times today. We went in the morning for a couple of hours and then came home for lunch, a nap and pumping (and Tom did some laundry). We went back in the late afternoon–this is when I got to do Cuddle Care with Kamryn–and then went out to dinner and then back to the NICU for a couple more hours. It was the first time I’ve been out to dinner in months and it was nice to just relax and be out with my honey.
However, I think I pushed a little bit too much because my feet are hurting a lot and my wound is smarting more than it has in a couple of days. Still, I feel more energized than I did a few days ago and my emotions are starting to even out. I can see that soon the physical ailments and the emotional trauma of both my pregnancy and the surgery will be behind me.
All in all, spending the day with my own little sparklers was the best possible way to celebrate this 4th of July. Kenley gained 33 grams (and ‘cuz she’s so tiny you can really tell the difference–her cheeks are starting to look a little more chubbed out) and Kamryn gained 6 so they’re both moving in the right direction!!!
PS–What’s the deal with giraffes and babies? While giraffes are one of my favorite animals, I’m at a loss as to why so much baby gear uses giraffes as a design element. For example, Kenley’s incubator is called the Giraffe and the baby books I bought today have a giraffe on the cover– these are just a couple examples I can think of right now. But does anybody know what the connection is?