Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

First Look at Your Preemie

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!

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.

Comments

  1. my little nephew was born 5 weeks early. i remember seeing him in the NICU-he looked just like you described him. I tried to be strong for my sister, who was balling with tears. It’s hard to describe but I know that any little touch from the parent creates bonding and reassurance to the baby. It was hard for my sister, to go home and leave the baby there, it was hard to pump milk, she was uneasy, her baby consume her mind. she was told by the nurses that any little milk helps.

  2. Thanks for your comments Mariana. It is definitely hard to leave your baby in the NICU – even just overnight! And it’s a lot of work to pump, but your sister’s nurses were right that even a little breastmilk helps so much. Especially collostrum, the earliest milk, which is packed with nutrients. It’s the best thing a little preemie can have.

  3. My twins were “25 weekers” and weighed 1lb 15oz at birth, it was very hard to see them that way. It has been a long road so far, they are still there and I am back at work too. I cannot wait till they are home. My due date was July 2, 2010.

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