London’s Birth: Part XI, Changing a diaper on a two-pound baby

*This is another post in an ongoing series. Scroll all the way down or click to part I to get to the beginning.

While in the waiting room a doctor came in to talk with us about London’s condition. She sounded positive, being clear to us about what our expectations should be. We had to stay there for a while until Kate’s room was ready. When it was time, I helped push her bed over to the new room with nurse Amy, from earlier in the evening. We were on the fourth floor, facing south over the main entrance to the hospital. Kate was a little disappointed we didn’t have a mountain view. If you looked off to the right you could see the mountains bending southward, but it wasn’t very majestic like it would have been with an unobstructed view west.

I was able to go be with London once more before Kate was ready to head over there. That’s when I met nurse Megan and the new employee she was training, Laura. They were immediately helpful and gave me so much information I couldn’t keep track of it all. They pointed to line after line telling me what it was and using acronyms that I quickly forgot. “This is where she is getting her TPN.” “This is the PICC line.”

London was in her isolette, which was ridiculously hot and humid inside. Megan started to tell me about these things called “cares.” They are at certain times of the day, every four hours to be exact, and that is when we would take London’s temperature, change her diaper, listen to her, poke and prod and make sure she is doing well. Megan and Laura were just about to start and asked me if I wanted to jump in and take her temperature and change her diaper. Megan emphasized that if I was not ready, she could do it this time. This surprised me, but I did not take her up on that offer, I said, “I can do it. Just coach me through it.”

They showed me the one button on the isolette I was allowed to touch. It activated a heat shield so when I opened the little openings for my arms to go into the isolette it did not cool off in there. They gave me a thermometer and told me that I will take her temp in her armpit. They showed me how by placing the thermometer and holding her arm against the side of her chest. I put my hands in the isolette and immediately noticed the jungle like feel to the air in there. I had not touched London yet. I was so afraid. I felt like a simple touch of her arm would snap it. Because I felt that way I was much too gentle with her and failed to get a good temp reading. I didn’t have the thermometer truly in her armpit. The nurses corrected me and told me I could be a little firmer with her. They were right. London was so small and looked extremely fragile, but I could apply enough pressure to get the job done correctly without causing her any harm.

I had changed diapers before, but never on a two-pound baby in an isolette with really low arm openings for someone who is 6’9” and with intimidating wires and tubes everywhere. At this stage, London’s skin was so delicate that I could only touch and release with my hand or finger. I could not rub her skin because of the risk of it breaking and sloughing off. Yeah, that was easy to remember. Do not rub your daughter’s skin off. Check.

My hands are not monstrously big, but they fit my frame, so one of them could completely cover London’s body. During the diaper change I was using giant tools for a micro job, but because of the nurse’s help I changed London’s diaper. The nurse said, “Once you learn to change a diaper on a preemie like this, every diaper will seem easy.” I knew she had a point. This was harder and slower going than any diaper change I had ever done or thought I would ever have to do. Megan wrapped up the rest of London’s cares. I walked back to Kate’s room, thankful that when I returned to London’s side I would be with her mom and we would all be together for the first time.

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