The best thing a dad can do for his baby in the NICU is kangaroo care. Mom’s got the breast milk covered, so dad needs to, again, man up, take his shirt off (or unbutton the shirt until it’s open), grab his baby, and sit in a chair for a few hours. When kangaroo care was explained to me, it was emphasized that the most beneficial kangaroo care is skin-t0-skin and that some dads are a little hesitant about taking their shirt off to do this. This was not the only time I heard of machismo getting in the way of taking care of a baby. (That is a whole other topic that I would like to address in later posts.)
After two weeks of London’s life, we were allowed to do kangaroo care with her. Of course, mom got the honors, but I worked my kangaroo care in when Kate had to hook up to the breast pump.
For the next couple of weeks London was small enough to tuck into Kate’s shirt. I thought that was the cutest. The two of them were so happy together during kangaroo care. I could not stop smiling whenever I would look at them. It was such a peaceful scene that I too could fall asleep even though I had been drinking iced coffee since I got up.
The most challenging part about kangaroo care is the management of the tubes and wires when you are moving from isolette to recliner. Once the transfer is complete, you get to enjoy the easiest part about kangaroo care, falling asleep.
Not the sharpest picture, but look at Kate, my sweet Kate. Whatever was happening that day with London, as soon as she got on mom’s chest she was doing better and every single time Kate looked like she was having the time of her life. Beaming. So proud.
I did not always take my shirt off when I held London, especially toward the end because we would be switching so often between reading and sleeping on my chest. This was the day of London’s discharge from the NICU. Getting ready that morning at home, I grabbed this purple t-shirt, knowing I had worn it the night London was born, and now the day London came home. I still think of that every time I reach for this shirt in my closet.
A lot of aspiring writers ask professional writers how they do the work they do? What do you start with? And a common response is, “Butt in chair.” The time to write was not while London was in the NICU, but it was the time to do the most important job I will ever have, which still required my “butt in chair.” This was my view for 109 days, I could not leave it the day of her discharge from the NICU without taking a point-of-view picture. Looking at it now takes me right back to that pod, from where we left the hospital together for the first time.