A little peek into the NICU. This video was taken when James was just over two months old. Assessments like this one were done every three hours throughout the day and night. This was referred to as a “touch time” and was the best time for us to interact with James. They grouped his care and tried to do everything he needed during these touch times, so he would have large blocks of time when he was undisturbed and could rest, heal, and grow. During these assessments his nurses would check his vitals, check his lines, do blood draws, give meds, feed him, change his diaper, empty his ostomy bag, change his position, and, once a day, weigh him.
Any amount of sound, light, and touch could become over-stimulating for James pretty quickly. We watched his body cues closely, and did our best to comfort him. At one point during the video he puts his hand across his forehead, referred to as a stop-sign. Other cues included hiccups, oxygen desaturations, increased heart rate, and of course grimacing and crying.
Assessments were very hard to watch at first, but became easier as I grew more confident in providing comfort and assisting in little ways with his care. We could check his temperature, change his diaper, and hold the syringe for feeding. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was the only “mothering” I could do, so of course I tried. Even in this video, after more than two months in the NICU, I was nervous about changing his diaper. A simple diaper change becomes so much more than that when your baby is hooked up to machinery, and there’s an ostomy bag in the way.
I’m so thankful we have lots and lots of photos and many videos of James’ days in the NICU. Looking back helps me to be mindful of just how far he’s come. He truly is an amazing little guy!