Vicky Athanasiadou / 24 Weeks 3 Days

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks, to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Vicky shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I constantly dreamed of breastfeeding him.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

24w+3

What was your baby’s birth weight?

850g

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

Yes, I saw him and then they rushed him to the NICU.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

At birth and then again more than 24 hours later when I was able to stand up and walk to the NICU.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Very clearly.

How many days old was your baby when you held him the first time?

42 days old.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

It was the best day of my life so far!

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

It’s worth the wait!

Carrita Flie / 26 Weeks

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks, to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Carrita shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

After having two miscarriages, I just prayed that I’d be able to give birth to strong and healthy baby. I prayed for a full term pregnancy and no complications.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

26

What was your baby’s birth weight?

1lb 13oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

No.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Absolutely. I remember it vividly.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

I saw him the day after giving birth and it was 19 days before I could hold him.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

I was ecstatic but terrified at the same time. He was so fragile and full of wires.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

I know that it’s incredibly hard, but the moment you finally hold them it will be unforgettable!

Paula Cruz / 27 Weeks

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour or Magical Hour as it’s sometimes called is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Paula shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I thought the first time meeting Cédrik would be in the delivery room with the doctor putting him on my chest so we could bond while my husband would be hugging us after cutting the umbilical cord.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

27 weeks

What was your baby’s birth weight?

720 g

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

No, I wasn’t aware in the moment of birth, I lost too much blood and probably passed out.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

48 hours after in the incubator.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Yes, it was 3 days after he was born and he was doing his “solarium” 😀 UV lights for the skin and I touched his feet.

How many days old was your baby when you held him the first time?

It was 21 days after he was born and I for some reason decided on that day to go a little bit prettier to the hospital and when we arrived there the nurse asked if I wanted to hold him, I had no fear or concerns I just wanted to hold him finally.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

It felt right it felt warm and loving a great accomplishment.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

It will happen sooner then you expect but it will happen. Don’t worry about anything, just enjoy the moment, take as many pictures as you can, and keep something that’s allowed in the incubator in your bra, so when you leave, he or she will still feel you around.

Noemi Becerra / 27 Weeks

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks, to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Noemi shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I just wanted to see her. See her moving and breathing. All I saw was beauty and a miracle.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

27

What was your baby’s birth weight?

2 lbs 3 oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

No

When did you see your baby for the first time?

On day two after birth.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Yes

How many days old was your baby when you held her the first time?

On day 3 after birth.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

I felt complete. I cried.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

You’re not alone. There are so many moms feeling what you feel. Look for support in other NICU mommies. And don’t give up. Never lose faith. Stay strong… You’re baby is stronger than you think. They were born fighters and they will conquer the world.

Katie Freeman / 36 Weeks

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks, to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Katie shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I was planning to have a repeat section, I hoped for the opportunity to transition to skin-to-skin ASAP. My baby came out at 60% O2 sat, was immediately put on oxygen.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

36

What was your baby’s birth weight?

6 lb 4 oz

When did you see your baby for the first time?

Saw baby right after birth, it was 18 hours later I was able to visit her in the NICU.

Were you able to touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

Yes, momentarily, I was able to hold her for 1 minute before she was taken to the NICU.

How many days old was your baby the next time you were able to hold her?

2 days

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

Uncertain, amazing, scary, complicated. However, I was then informed that she got too cold while I was holding her and they would need to be more careful next time, which shook my confidence.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

You are his/her mom no matter what they are going through. Lean into this time and know that every little thing you can do to help is an act of love. Learn everything you can now so that when you can hold her, when you take her home when you have to manage her health independently, you are ready. Soak it all in, and don’t be afraid to cry. Processing your emotions now is so important!

Ashley Willis / 31 Weeks

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies, we often wait for days, and sometimes weeks to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Ashley shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I hoped that he would be born and be immediately put on my chest so that I could love on him.

31 weeker preemie

The first picture of Alexander.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

31 weeks

What was your baby’s birth weight?

4lb 6.4 oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

I saw him for a second but did not get to hold or touch him.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

I saw him when he was born but didn’t really get to see him until he was 24 hours old.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Yes! It was when I saw him when he was 24 hours old.

The first time I got to touch him.

How many days old was your baby when you held him the first time?

I held my son when he was 7 days old for the first time.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

It was overwhelming and scary. He had so many wires and tubes and was so small.

The first time I held Alexander.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

Take pictures!!! You’ll treasure those forever!

This is us now!

Merrissa Shutt / 28 Weeks 5 Days

The Golden Hour

Merrissa welcomed her baby girl prematurely after being induced due to preeclampsia.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I imagined immediately holding her and having skin-to-skin time. I was looking forward to begin breast feeding, bonding with her, and having that time to memorize every little feature on her face.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

28 weeks

What was your baby’s birth weight?

7lbs 15.5oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

No, I was not.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

I briefly got to hold her before they took her to the NICU to prep for transporting her to a higher level NICU hospital.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

I was able to briefly touch her before they transported her, after that I was kept at the birth hospital for 2 days before I could go to the hospital she was at. Then the moment I was able to go see her, I was bombarded with doctors.

How many days old was your baby when you held him/her the first time?

3 days

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

Overwhelming. Scared. There were tons of cords and wires and I was angry she was in pain.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

That it’s ok to be angry, but your baby will know who you are. That even though it feels like a piece is missing right now, you will have lots of time to make up for it. Your baby will not forget you.

Amber Vogler / 30 Weeks 6 Days

The Golden Hour

Amber Vogler gave birth to identical twin girls prematurely.

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies, we often wait for days, and sometimes weeks to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Amber share’s her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your babies for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I hoped to deliver VBAC, healthy babies I could cuddle and take home. Everything would be picture perfect. And my family would be complete.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

30 weeks and 6 days

What were your babies’ birth weights?

3lbs 3oz and 3lbs 2oz

When did you see your babies for the first time?

For a brief second after the c-section, and then 12-hours later.

Do you remember the first time you touched your babies?

Yes. I held their little hands on my finger.

Were you able hold your babies immediately after the birth?

No, I held one after my catheter was removed at 12 hours. And the other 2 days later when she was a little more stable.

How did it feel, to finally hold your babies in your arms?

Relieved to hold my baby that was breathing on her own. Scared to hold my baby on cpap.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

It gets better. Just being there for your baby is all they need. When their little body is ready you will get to hold them.

Ashley Doelling / 28 weeks and 5 days

Ashley Doelling / 28 weeks 5 days

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

Mothers of preemies often wait days, and sometimes weeks to hold their babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Ashley Doelling is a Kansas City, MO-based Postpartum Doula, and mother of 2.

Read More