One of the greatest comforts for me is the touch of another person. Whether it’s a hug, holding their hand, a pat on the back, or just sitting close enough to feel that person beside me, someone else’s presence is very reassuring. Their touch can give me confidence, take away fear, relieve worry; it lets me know I’m not alone, someone else cares. It’s much more healing than any words could be.
When James was born I was afraid of many things. Touching him was pretty high on that list of fears. It hurts me to say I was afraid to touch my baby, even now, but he was so tiny and fragile. I didn’t want to risk causing him any more pain than he was already feeling. It took some time, and lots of reassuring from his nurses and therapists, but I learned how important touch was for James too.
All of the same comforts I receive from touch, James needed. We couldn’t hold him for a long time, but we could let him know we were there by giving him our finger to hold, touching his foot, and letting him feel our presence. For quite a while, touch was the only means we had of showing our love to James. I truly believe he felt it. He seemed to thrive on our touch and sought it out with his tiny hands and feet. We could see evidence of our touch helping James on his monitors. Often time his heart rate would even out, and his oxygen saturation would increase. It was an amazing experience, and one that helped us bond with our sweet baby. He responded to us. As tiny as he was, he knew we were there and it comforted him. We couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
I know all NICU’s are different in what they allow and recommend for their babies. I’m so grateful for where we were. The nurses and therapists who encouraged us to touch James gave us more than they’ll ever know. I will forever be thankful for each one of them.