The First Hold

Due to London’s umbilical artery catheter (UAC) line and her general fragility, we could not hold her until she was a bit stronger so the UAC line could come out. They pulled that line on February 10, a Monday, and we were told that the next day we would most likely get to hold our daughter for the first time. Just the thought of that was tear-jerking and, I admit, a little intimidating.

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A new and improved family portrait.

The next day everything went as planned. So it was on DOL 12, that we got to hold her for the first time. I wrote in our journal:

I teared up as I saw you placed on your mom’s chest. You are so fragile and small. So helpless. We are absolutely in love with everything about you. After mom held you for a couple hours, I got to hold you. Kate took an amazing photo with one of our phones. It’s the best photo of us together so far…We reached a new level of love and connection to you today and it was all because of getting to hold you and be with you as we were meant to be with you at your birth.

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The picture Kate took. My favorite.

That photo Kate took is still one of my favorites. It will be for the rest of my life. It is such an explicit reminder of London’s beginning. That day I barely had to provide support with one hand to hold London up on my chest. She is wearing the smallest diaper available at the NICU. We have a couple of those diapers (clean ones) in our keepsakes bag from the NICU. When we show them off, most women compare the size of the diaper to a maxi pad. Folded up, the diaper is about the size of a kleenex, albeit slightly thicker.

The first picture of all three of us with London out of her isolette was sent out to everybody that night we got home. From February 11th on, there was not a day in the NICU for London when she was not held by one of us. Another of my favorite pictures is below.

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When Kate held London for the first time was when Kate transcended all previous definitions of beauty I held. It’s a moment that will be with me for the rest of my days.

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