After several years of trying to get pregnant, my husband and I were finally going to be parents. I found out in January 2010 that I was expecting. It was the most amazing feeling ever. Other than sleeping through most of the first trimester, my pregnancy was perfect and I was glowing.
It was the week after my baby shower in July 2010 when my body became very swollen. I immediately made an appointment with my obstetrician, who after routine tests, told me that I was suffering from preeclampsia. My blood pressure was too high and I had a significant amount of protein in my urine. My perfect pregnancy had shifted to a high risk one. However, I was told that it was manageable. I was put on bed rest along with a low-sodium diet. A few days later, I was back in the hospital. This time I was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia. My blood pressure was now close to 160 and my protein count had quadrupled. The only cure for me and my unborn child was delivery.
Kabir was born at 28 weeks old, 2 pounds and 13 inches long. I was so delusional from the magnesium sulfate that I don't remember much about the day. When I first saw Kabir, he was covered with wires, tubes and patches. All I wanted to do was hold him. I was too scared to ask anyone if it was possible in fear that a wire or patch might fall off or that he would be too cold if he was taken out of the isolette. So, I just stared at him from my chair. A few days went by when a NICU nurse asked me if I wanted to "kangaroo" Kabir. Upon seeing my perplexed look, she explained to me how kangaroo care is a method of holding a baby that involves skin-to-skin contact. She encouraged me to read the book Kangaroo Care by Susan M. Luddington-Hoe. What an inspiring book it was. It changed my life as a NICU parent. From that day forward, I visited Kabir every day and held him for hours. I held him close so he could hear my heart beat. I sang to him. I read to him. I talked to him. I did everything that I would have done had he still been inside me. Seeing how effective it was, my husband began to kangaroo Kabir too. One by one, the wires and tubes were removed. Kabir's heart rate stabilized, he developed a more regular breathing pattern and he was gaining steady weight. He even wore his first sleeper at just 4 weeks old. It was September 12, 2011 when Kabir came home. It was exactly 3 weeks earlier than his anticipated homecoming. I truly believe that the kangaroo care that my husband and I gave to Kabir accelerated his progress. I admit that I still try to kangaroo Kabir, but it's definitely harder now that he is 18 months old, 24 pounds and 33 inches long.