A Preemie Story

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In honor of Preemie Month:

Thank you to Alena for her Preemie Story!  I’m sure I’m not the only one who sobbed while reading this!!!  (((hugs)))

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As a mom of 4, I never ever imagined I would ever be thrown into any unknown parenting world. After 4 kids, I was pretty sure I had seen or done it all. When pregnant with my 5th, my normal was forever changed by the birth of my first preemie at 34 weeks due to HELLP. All my “attachment parenting” styles were thrown out the window at delivery. No skin to skin contact after birth, no breastfeeding, no holding, not even touching my brand new baby. The once crowded delivery room was immediately empty and I was left alone, feeling helpless. All I could think about was the crucial bonding we were missing. How he needed me. How he must feel so alone without his mother. Once I was transferred to my room I was handed a NICU kit. In the bag I found all the stuff you would expect as a NICU mom. Some pamphlets on preemies, supplies for the breast pump and something called a snoedel. I set those aside and started up my demands for my 1stNICU visit to see my son for the very first time. As they wheeled me in, I wasn’t sure what to expect. 34 weekers are late preemies, from what I read, he would be perfectly fine, probably in an open crib asleep waiting to be transferred back to my room.. Boy was I wrong. No one had explained anything to me. I was wheeled up to an incubator, where my precious baby was laying in just a diaper with tubes and wires and a breathing mask. I was devastated. I wanted to hold him, love him, tell him mommy was there and everything would be ok. Only I wasn’t allowed to touch him, wasn’t allowed to hold him. Again I felt as helpless as I did after delivery.

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They wheeled me back to my room. After a good cry, I grabbed the NICU bag they had previously given to me. I pulled out the snoedel and read the instructions. This doll would give him what I couldn’t while he was trapped in that incubator. He would be able to smell me, know that I’m there and that I love him. So I put the snoedel in my shirt and went to sleep. I was desperate to do something for him, anything and putting this doll in my shirt to fill it with my smell felt like something at least.

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The next morning I ran straight to the NICU. Again I was told I couldn’t hold or touch my baby. Regulating his breathing was more important than bonding. I handed the nurse my snoedel and she immediately opened his incubator and draped it over his little body. It actually covered him from his toes to his neck. Looking in his incubator and seeing this doll that I knew was covered in my scent brought me such peace. To know every breath he took, had mommy smell. The nurses even referred to it as his mommy doll.

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As the days passed and as I was able to finally hold, bond and feed my little guy, I also had to continue to leave him there. The peace and comfort of leaving him draped in the snoedel, knowing that he felt me even when I wasn’t there, really helped ease the pain of leaving him. That doll stayed on or beside him his entire NICU stay. Even under the bili lights for jaundice, the nurses made sure that doll was under his little body at least.After we came home, the snoedel stayed in his crib with him. The same way the nurses draped it over him, I draped it over him while he slept.

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My son is now 17 months old. You would never know he was a preemie by looking at him. You would also never know that we didn’t have the immediate bonding that I felt so robbed of at his birth. He adores me and is very “attached”. More attached then my other kids who never left my side, who had immediate skin to skin contact, who immediately breastfed. All the things he missed out on.  That snoedel is now tucked away safely in his baby box and has very special sentimental value I could never explain. I am so thankful my NICU provided this and was very sad to find out that most NICU’s don’t. This would be a perfect gift for a new NICU mom.  Actually perfect for any mom that needs a moment away and wants her baby to stay comforted by her scent.

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*happy {bonding} babywearing*

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3 thoughts on “A Preemie Story

  1. I seldom leave comments, but i did some searching and wound up here A Preemie
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