Bonding Lost No Time
My daughter was 15 days old the first time I held her.
It was a moment I thought we would share immediately after she was born, but all of our plans unraveled while I was in labor. An emergency C-section revealed severe meconium, and suddenly my baby needed to be whisked away for lifesaving, critical care.
As I entered my daughter’s NICU room for the first time, I could not reconcile the traumatic sight before me with the fact that she had been safe in my belly just hours before.
“That’s not my baby,” I thought, “There must have been some mistake. She can’t be this sick.”
But she was. For the first two weeks of her life, we stood by while she fought to stay with us. We learned all we could about her condition. We held her little hand and spoke to her softly. I pumped breastmilk and resisted every motherly instinct I had to pick her up, hold her close and comfort her.
Bonding had to wait. Survival came first.
When the day finally came that our daughter was strong enough to be held skin-to-skin, it took two nurses and my husband to move her and all of her lines, tubes and wires from her isolette to my chest.
I leaned back, resting my head against the gold recliner. I closed my eyes and took in the weight of her. For a moment, all felt right in my world again.
Each time I held her, I felt myself relax. Holding her close assured my heart, mind and body that she was safe. I was safe. We were safe. And no doubt, she felt that tranquility and strength, too. The memory of her traumatic start to life will always be with me, but holding her provided the sense of safety we both needed to heal and move forward.
As she grew stronger and required less medical support, I had more freedom to pick her up, hold her, and feel our hearts beat together. Her cries offered me opportunities to respond and offer physical comfort, which worked to develop my motherly instincts. And I grew more confident in my ability to care for her.
Months later, I held my daughter in the nursery chair we had picked out before she was born.
We were home.
As she nursed, I looked down at her little toes and, for the first time, I really saw them. On her right foot, one toe wrapped around the other ever so slightly. Just like mine.
“She’s my baby,” I smiled at the thought, and a warm sense of pride washed over me. Bonding had waited but lost no time.
We are expecting our second baby girl any day now, and while I’m hopeful that her arrival will be smoother, I did find a new product that supports Skin-to-Skin contact and will be helpful either way. I can't wait to try the Bump & Beyond from MOBY Wrap, which I know will be an easy, comfortable way for both of us to enjoy and benefit from this important care.