One of the things I'm going to do in the next couple of months is reflect on Carter's NICU experience. I'm going to start converting and posting video that no one other than Doug and I has seen before. It took me a year to feel like I was ready to do this, but here we go.

The videos below were taken January 13, 2008, almost exactly one year ago. Carter was 5 days old, and his weight had dropped down to its lowest, 1 pound, 12 ounces. He was born January 8, and I was released from the hospital January 11, so I was still recovering from my c-section here. We bought an HD video camera on the 12th, and this was the first day we used it. I took a lot of video of him up close, but it's hard to tell how tiny he is in many of those, oddly enough!

The first video shows us doing kangaroo care, which is when you hold the baby on your chest, skin-to-skin. It was something we would do for hours a day, and it was always the highlight of my day. Here you can really see how small and fragile he was. (Click on the "watch in HD" option for the best picture.)

This one I went back and forth on before deciding to post it. It shows a nurse drawing blood from Carter, something that is clearly uncomfortable for him. Even though it is hard to watch, I decided to post it for a couple of reasons. First, this was Carter's reality, and I think it's important to get a sense of just what these tiny babies go through. He had blood drawn daily in the early weeks, and then twice a week later on. Second, it's interesting to see how they do things like this. The NICU nurses are incredibly skilled. Still, it's hard to hear him cry and to think that even that premature, he was able to process what was happening to him and respond. It was only a couple of decades ago that doctors still believed babies this premature didn't feel pain, and would even perform surgery on them with no anesthesia. Horrible.

At this point, I was still reeling from the whole birth experience, and I don't think it had really sunk in that this was my baby and this was going to be my life for the next two months. He didn't look or feel or act like a baby at all then, and so it was hard for me to think of him as the newborn I'd dreamed of having for so long. I was also still settling into my routine of wake up, pump, go to the hospital, pump, hold Carter, pump, eat lunch, pump, etc., etc. I was still feeling it all out, and when I look at my face in the first video, I see that I have no clue what I'm in for. Interesting.

March 2013

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