Tori's Blog

A Mom’s Hug and A Miracle Baby

Monday, September 13th, 2010

How it has gotten to be September already I have no idea. How Alexander is old enough to be starting 4th grade, I can’t even begin to get my head around. I completely understand that familiar saying, “You blink and they are grown”.

School has started and I have been back at the hospital now for three weeks. Between the two, the familiar feeling of being behind on everything is ever present. I know things will settle down but at the moment both Alexander and I are doing a lot of adjusting.

A friend of mine sent me a wonderful article that I’d like to share with you. It  is the perfect way to start off the week. The story is of a woman in Australia who gave birth to very premature (27 weeks) twins. Her daughter survived the birth but her son was unable to be resuscitated and after 20 minutes was declared dead.

The mother chose to hold her infant close to her skin in what is called “kangaroo care”. The practice, which is routinely done in my hospital’s NICU (newborn intensive care unit), consists of positioning a premature baby on his or her stomach – clad only in a diaper – against the mother’s chest with “skin-to-skin contact.” Fathers can also use kangaroo care.  The key to the method is skin-to-skin contact, not the gender of the person.

The care helps the baby maintain body warmth. It also regulates their heart and breathing rate, increases weight gain and improves the baby’s sleeping habits.

The practice began in less developed nations where access to ventilators and other equipment is more difficult. In the 1980s, it was studied in the U.S. and Great Britain and has since become a recognized practice in helping preemies.

I vividly remember being on a medical mission trip to El Salvador in the 1990’s and seeing a young mother holding a significantly premature baby in her arms. The baby was breathing on her own and looked amazingly strong. A wonderful example of the strength of life, even in lieu of technology.

It is likely that the twin in the Australian story was not actually clinically dead but had stopped breathing or had significantly decreased breathing and heart rate. However, that does not take away from this being a miraculous and wonderful event.

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