It was fantastic. Although, not quite what I imagined it to be.
Saturday morning when we got to the NICU, Linda kept asking me, are you excited? Are you excited? I didn't know what to say. I wasn't not excited, but I wasn't jumping out of my skin. I think I didn't know what to think or what to expect. Kangaroo care has been something I've been anticipating since a few days after Alicia was born, and now it was finally time to do it, and I didn't now what to think.
We had our usual visit with Alicia, then we heard the announcement, "Dear Family Members, visiting hours are over, please come back tonight to see your children." That was the signal that what I'd been waiting for for so long was about to take place. Soon, the pink dividers starting floating over in our direction followed by the forest green recliner that parents sit in to hold their children. Once everything was set up, I unbuttoned my shirt, sat down and Alicia was placed in my arms. She wasn't too happy at first, because she had been napping comfortably in her incubator and suddenly she was being picked up and taken out into the cold air of the NICU. Unfortunately her Father was a little new at this whole Kangaroo care thing, so it took a little work before Alicia finally settled down.
As I sat in our pink chambers, I awkwardly placed Alicia on my chest. Not quite knowing how to hold her so she'd be comfortable, I kept trying to adjust her position, which for a floppy 2-month old newborn just got frustrating. Add onto the fact that her cannula kept getting tugged at and dislocated it took us several minutes for both of us to settle in and get comfortable. But when we finally did get comfortable, we were both out. And I couldn't tell you what happened for the latter half our our Kangarooing session, cause no sooner had we gotten settled then both Alicia and I fell asleep. According to Linda, we were both sound asleep for about 30-40 min. So much so that when it came time to put her back into the incubator she started screaming cause she did not like being jarred awake out of such a deep slumber.
I left the morning session a little bit disappointed because my performance-driven nature wanted to have a "perfect" kangarooing session, especially since it was something that I'd been anticipating for so long. Before yesterday morning, I had picture that I would lay down, Alicia would be on my chest, and she'd just drift off to sleep right away. But all I remembered from our session was Alicia writhing about trying to get comfortable. Thankfully, I have a loving wife who is quite knowledgable of my psyche and kind of gently reminded me that what writhing about was only about 15 minutes of the whole hour, and that I don't remember her sleeping soundly because I myself was also deeply asleep.
I got to do Kangaroo care again this morning. And thankfully, after yesterday's experience, I was more adept at getting her into a comfortable position, and within a few minutes we were out. Linda was amazed at father and daughter's ability to sleep with all the loud conversations and alarms going on about us. But we were both sound asleep.
Before this weekend people if you had asked me, "What's Kangaroo care?", I would have explained, it's getting to hold our baby against our body skin to skin. But after doing it two times over the past two days, I think a better description is getting to take an hour-long nap with my daughter skin to skin. =)
Before I did Kangaroo care the first time, I asked Linda, what's the difference between this and just holding her in our arms as we had done before. She said, "You'll see." And boy did I see. There's just something about that skin to skin contact that is so intimate and so precious. And getting to feel your daughter kind of nestling into a comfortable position and then falling into a deep sleep in your embrace gives you such a sense of contentment.
Here are some photos of me and my little girl:
Watching my daughter get bigger and bigger each and every day gives me such a sense of accomplishment. I mean, granted it's nothing that I have done. But it just feels right. We're finally starting to see in reality, the things that we only saw by faith in the beginning. Early on in this journey when Alicia was literally only skin and bones, I imagined her being all plump and rosy-cheeked and now being able to see that for real, brings me such joy.
So many of you are dying to, but have yet to meet Alicia. Today, as we were with her, I got excited thinking about how she's going to get to meet her many aunties and uncles soon and very soon. The great homecoming is upon us friends! Let's rejoice and celebrate!