Ian Love -- A Mother's Story
I felt so hopeless. There was a tiny little body in front of me with tubes in his nose, his mouth, his arm, his belly button. This was supposed to be my perfect first baby, and we were supposed to be bonding right now, not separated by doors, lights, doctors and nurses. Should I touch him? Could I touch him, talk with him, sing to him, hold him? I just didn’t know what to do.
That first time my husband and I saw our son of 30 weeks in the NICU, we must have looked hopeless and lost, like all the other parents, because the nurse caring for him approached us and asked if we’d like to touch him. We looked at each other, wanting to, but not sure how. “This is the containment touch,” she explained, gently cupping his head in one hand, and his feet in her other. “He’s still supposed to be inside you right now,” she explained to me, “so we’re helping him feel secure in this new environment.” And as we each reached in to hold him, we felt that we were able to start the connection and say hello.
Looking back, my husband and I now know that we were a part of Compassionate Beginnings™, right from the start. Each time we were there with our son, his nurse would show us new ways to communicate with him through touch. We learned to understand his cues so we could participate in the decisions of when to hold him, when he needed rest, when he was uncomfortable and when he was content.
We also felt more and more comfortable as the weeks wore on going home every night because we knew that nurses who were trained in Compassionate Beginnings™, too, comforted our son. We could rest assured that if he was crying, or needed calming, caregivers who understood his needs would surround him.
As the time grew closer to bringing him home, we were taught more and more how to communicate with our baby through Compassionate Beginnings™. I attended several lunch meetings led by one of the nurses to learn things I could do once at home and I was encouraged to share my new knowledge with anyone who would be in contact with our son once he was at home.
The nurses caring for my son continued to share their knowledge of ways to make him more comfortable during and after eating, how to hold him while he slept, and how to gauge his level of sensory input so as not to induce stress.
When the day finally came and we found ourselves at home, a new family getting to know one another, we thanked our nurses, doctors, and especially Compassionate Beginnings™ for giving us the guidance and ability to best care for our new baby. Because we understood our son’s needs, we could feel confident in our abilities to meet them, the goal and joy of all new parents.
* Received by HFL several months after this family’s discharge from the NICU, from a Mother whose son was born at 30 weeks gestation.