When your preemie baby is born you probably won’t have the opportunity to hold him right away, and possibly for quite some time. Your baby will likely be whisked away after delivery so the pediatrician can get your baby hooked up on life support: mainly oxygen and probably an I.V., heart monitors, and a feeding tube. After you are moved to your recovery room in the hospital and are able to get into a wheelchair you will then be wheeled to the nursery to see your baby for the first time (if you weren’t given a glance at delivery, which I wasn’t).
If you have never seen a preemie baby before then you may be in for a shock. I had never seen a healthy baby right after birth, and I certainly had never seen a preemie, so it was difficult for me to see my baby girl for the first time. She was covered with wires, tubes, tape, and bandages, she had gel smeared around her closed eyelids, she was red and wrinkly, and she was still but did not look peaceful. She was so tiny and frail, and in all honesty she looked so foreign to me that I was a bit frightened of her although I wanted with all my heart to feel the motherly love I was told I would experience instantly with the birth of my baby. I sat numbly in my wheelchair and looked at her for a few minutes before I was taken away again so that she could be readied for a life flight to the nearest NICU.
What I had a hard time realizing when I first saw my baby and for her first few weeks of life was that underneath all of the tubing and wires was my very own baby who wanted to be loved and cared for like any other baby. It wasn’t until I was able to hold her for the first time, almost a month after she was born, that true bonding began. Although bonding came later, I don’t believe it was any less sweet than for a regular baby, and actually I believe it was probably even more wonderful because of all of the extra time and effort it took to make it happen.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please leave comments or questions in the comments section following this post. Thanks!