By Ally Filinski
I don't think I will ever forget the day the nurse asked us if we wanted to change Isabelle's nappy. The first thing I thought and I'm pretty sure Greg did too was, OMG want if I break her when I lift her legs up? For any full term baby, this isn't a problem, but when your baby is only 29 weeks gestation and only weighing around 1.2kgs its very daunting. Greg didn't want to do it first so I got in there and had a go, with the nurses help though. She was soooo tiny, I reckon one of her bum cheeks was the size of a 20c piece. But first we clean the eyes, you start from head to toe, that way you aren't wiping their butt then cleaning their mouth
So you get the cotton balls and saliene water, then you get the cotton tips and use sterilised water to clean their mouth. When they are on CPAP they have to keep their mouths closed, and due to the humidity that is being blown through the tubes, they build up saliva bubbles and it gets stuck around the feeding tube tape on their chin. Once thats all cleaned up and they are smoochable, you change their nappy. You do this every time they are fed, which is every two hours in the beginning. Oh and their ears, they have no cartilage in them, they would literally be like flat pancakes on the side of their heads. So I would get my nail and peel them forward and massage them so they bounced back into shape. And then give them a head massage. If there's one thing that both the girls loves it's a head massage. It relaxes them and they will start to smile. That's about the only good thing to come from what happens in there, I will explain some other time how it took me almost 8 months with Isabelle to break the hospital cycle.
Though one thing you don't do is turn them over, they lay prone (on their tummy's) mainly because their organs are too heavy and can squash arteries and airways. Or on their side and their heads are rotated from side to side each time they are fed, to prevent flat head. So the nurses do this for you, which is great because there are so many wires and tubes and I didn't want to mess them up or ruin any of them. I always made sure my girls where as clean as they could be and look ever so sweet. I mean if they have to live in an incubator and then a crib in hospital and I can't show them off to anyone, then they may as well look good for the nurses and doctors. I would go to the clothing cupboard and pick out the cutest outfits which where soooo tiny and dress them up. The pic is of what Isabelle first wore when she was admitted, there is even dried blood on her top that I am never going to wash off. There are the little nappies that they wore, but even those where too big for them.
I would always make sure I was there to do their cares, it makes you feel like a mum. It is the smallest things in life that makes the biggest impact, and for those few little minutes that I got every couple of hours was something no one could take away from me.