By their mom, Elizabeth M
On July 1, 2014 my husband and I welcomed twin boys into this world at 25 weeks gestation. They were about as small as babies can be with doctors still offering hope of survival. Ford weighed 1 lb 8 oz and Whit weighed 1 lb 12 oz. As you can imagine, the first hours, days and weeks were spent saying many prayers that our sons would survive. The boys had many medical complications that put their lives at risk daily. There were collapsed lungs, meningitis, bowel perforations and blood infections just to name a few. And during those first few weeks all we could do was watch. There wasn’t a lot of touching allowed and the boys were too critically ill to be held.
For the first 40 days of their lives the boys had umbilical lines, which were “life lines”, providing a permanent mechanism for blood transfusions, administration of medicines and nutrients, and drawing blood for labs. If those lines were disturbed during skin to skin, it would have made caring for the boys much more difficult for the medical team and more painful for our boys (multiple heel sticks a day). Once those lines were removed, the doctors gave the all clear for kangaroo care.
By this time, I had already been in contact with Yamile Jackson, inventor of the Kangaroo Zak. Yamile explained how to properly use the Kangaroo Zak and spoke of the importance of kangaroo care. I’ll never forget that moment for the rest of my life–holding my boys for the first time, after waiting 40 days. It was pure bliss. I thought I would be a nervous wreck with tears streaming down, but all I could do was smile. Holding a 2 pound baby on your chest with wires and tubes can be quite intimidating. But I was so thankful that the Kangaroo Zak kept the boys tight and secure against my chest and allowed me to really relax and enjoy holding them. I didn’t have to worry about them slipping down too low or moving the ventilator tubing from the correct spot in their lungs. My husband even did skin to skin with our boys on several occasions and also used the Kangaroo Zak. It was a way for him to really bond with our boys too.
After exactly 4 months in the NICU, our boys were discharged home. I continued skin to skin even after we were home, because it calmed my fears about taking care of these tiny babies, and it visibly relaxed our babies as well. I am so thankful that I was introduced to Yamile and that she was able to support me during our NICU stay and beyond. I am proud to say that our little baby boys are now 20 months old and over 25 pounds each. They have come so far in their short life and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.”