Yesterday was Fathers Day.
In neonatal intensive care units across the country fathers spent the day sat beside incubators – sat waiting, watching and hoping for a precious hold with their tiny baby.
The Smallest Things dedicated the week to sharing stories and raising awareness of the journeys that dads take through neonatal care. Dads do NICU too, and often tread the first steps of the journey by themselves; visiting their fragile babies alone whilst mothers recover from traumatic births and surgery.
Jonathan writes movingly about the first time he visited his son…
“My wife came back to recovery but was too ill to make the journey to the other side of the building where Ethan was being cared for, so I made the trip alone. I couldn’t make my mind up whether to walk quickly or slowly as the excitement of having a son was tainted by my worries over what I was going to see. What I found was a strange, almost alien like red/purple 800g dot in a white eye mask and a pink wool hat, no bigger than my hand with a myriad of wires and tubes as attachments. But he was also the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.” ……. From A NICU Dads Experience
Dads do Kangaroo Care
Fathers shared beautiful pictures of Kangaroo Care and we decided that there are simply not enough pictures of dads in neonatal care, let alone pictures demonstrating and encouraging skin-to-skin time for NICU dads. Darren wrote honestly about how sacred he was of holding his twin daughters, how initially he avoided skin-to-skin care. That changed though when he held them for the first time….
“By then I was a little more open to the idea of holding them and my heart completely melted. Any apprehensions I felt when being handed my two miracles was gone the minute I held them. I spoke to them and as I did each one looked up at me. My heart melted every time I saw that and still does when I look over the pictures of the occasion. I also believe that my bond with my daughters was established at that very moment”. …. From Daddy’s NICU Twins
Our #DadsDoNICU week may have come to an end, but we will continue to write about fathers in NICU and will continue to share photos encouraging skin-to-skin care with dads… here are a few to keep us going x