If I haven't said it yet, the nurses here are absolutely amazing. They are patient, kind, have fantastically helpful advice, and actually allow us to work with Charlie as if we're at our own home. When we come in for Care Time, we say hello to his nurse (sometimes its someone we know and sometimes its someone new - depends on the shift) and go about taking care of him. One of our first nurses taught us how to control his heat bed, where all the supplies were, and what needed to be done. We even take his temperature for his chart - he hates having the probe under his arm, but its got to happen! If we need help or have questions, they are right there, but otherwise we can just spend time with him.
One major concern we've had since the beginning is bonding with him. If we were at home, we could hold him whenever we wanted and just be with him. Here, its a little tougher - especially with the bili light treatment that requires him to be in his bed for most of the day. Last night, our nurse asked us if we had a scent baby. Based on our facial expressions, she realized we hadn't even heard of it. She told us she'd be right back and returned with two flat, flannel cloths shaped like ginger bread men. The idea is for parents to wear the cloth under their clothes somehow (I've been wearing mine under my postpartum belt against my stomach) for a few hours until their scent transfers to the fabric. The cloth is then put with the baby so they can have the smell of their parents with them. Volunteers at a local church have been sewing them and sending them to the NICU for a while now, she said. It was so kind of her to bring these to us - its a small thing, but makes me feel better about leaving him here.
Another thing we're doing to bond is something called Kangaroo Mother Care; spending time skin to skin (baby laying on their Mother's bare chest) and just resting. Another one of our nurses suggested this and, in my Mommy opinion, he does so much better on the days we get skin to skin contact. I'm not doing too shabby either as a result - you've never been so relaxed in your life as you are with a sleepy baby keeping you warm and snuggling with you.
All in all, I just really can't wait to get Charlie home. Sometimes, I almost feel like I'm baby sitting or borrowing someone else's kid. Hopefully, the next few days will go well and we'll be home before the weekend.
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