When our youngest was born, we spent six days in the neonatal intensive care unit. While a lot of parents have done their tour there, I don’t think anyone has ever really enjoyed that time. The joy that is supposed to come from having a fresh baby is a tainted, by tubes, machines, incubators and such.
As long as we were allowed in the room, and sometimes even when we were not, my wife and I were with our little one while in intensive care. We would take sleeping shifts and we had great support from friends, family, and grandparents.
There were some kids in there though – the parents would just kind of walk through and visit once a day, like a museum exhibit. Every parent has their story and their way of coping, so I’m not judging – but leaving our baby in the hospital without one of us at the bedside, is just not something I could ever do. Unfortunately, there were some kids who only had the hospital staff to rely on. Nurses and doctors do a great job, but they can’t be emotionally invested in a child the same as a parent – it would burn them right out.
When I was a kid, my mom used to say something like “You need 10 hugs a day to survive.” I kinda thought it was just a ploy for hugs, until I had kids of my own. I started to understand that kids need to be hugged, and parents will never ever get too many hugs from their kids.
Then I saw this article about the “No Baby Unhugged” program at Victoria General Hospital, I couldn’t have been more excited. Not because it affects me personally, but because when I was in the NICU, I wanted to go and hug the babies who didn’t have their parents there with them. With this program – sponsored by a diaper company of course, babies will get all the hugs they need.
“The health authority says vulnerable babies who participate in the program can experience benefits such as stabilized heart rates and body temperature, faster weight gain, improved oxygen levels and better tolerance to pain.”