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.

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Deborah Carlisle Solomon

Deborah Carlisle Solomon on RIE and the Newborn

Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®) is a way of parenting that remained on the periphery of my own parenting until my first child was almost two. During his infancy, I was unsure how to practice RIE alongside attachment parenting (AP), but as he grew increasingly mobile, I was looking for a structured way to discipline, that would be respectful of him as an individual and allow him his own thoughts and ideas.

I began to read blogs and joined a RIE Facebook group for parents with toddlers. Then I discovered a book called, 1, 2, 3 … The Toddler Years: A Practical Guide for Parents & Caregivers, and it completely changed my perspective on my role as a parent. I learned to give my son space to figure things out on his own, and I saw him begin to trust in himself and his own abilities.

Deborah Carlisle Solomon

Deborah Carlisle Solomon

A year later when I was pregnant with my daughter and seeking resources on how best to use RIE from birth, I discovered Deborah Carlisle Solomon’s book, Baby Knows Best. What I was taught in Baby Knows Best enabled me to feel confident in practicing RIE with my new baby. It was especially helpful after the delivery, when I didn’t have the energy to adhere as closely to the tenants of attachment parenting.

Baby Knows Best educates about RIE from birth to 2 years old. It walks us through caring for our newborn, managing infant sleep, and even how to support developmental milestones naturally through freedom of movement.

Deborah is a leader in the field of child development and I’m overjoyed to share her wisdom on the topic of RIE and the newborn.

Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®)

For families unfamiliar with RIE, how would you summarize the philosophy succinctly?  

RIE® is a way of being with and caring for a baby that supports the baby to feel more peaceful and secure. When a baby feels peaceful and secure, he is easier to care for and this creates greater harmony for the whole family.

Magda Gerber co-founded RIE in 1978 with pediatric neurologist Dr. Tom Forrest. Her Educaring® Approach is comprehensive and addresses all aspects of a baby’s development and daily life. It includes gross motor, fine motor and socio-emotional development of the baby; respectful, attuned caregiving practices; sensitive observation of the baby to understand his needs; the importance of play and appropriate play environments; and consistency and clearly defined limits and expectations to develop discipline, among other topics.

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Dr. Kolleen Gregory Focus Chiropractic

Bodywork for Babies with Dr. Kolleen Gregory of Focus Chiropractic

Dr. Kolleen Gregory specializes in infants, children and pregnancy at Focus Chiropractic, the family practice she founded with her husband Dr. Richard Gregory.

I met Dr. Kolleen and Dr. Richard during my second pregnancy, when I visited their practice due to pregnancy related discomfort. After experiencing sciatica and symphysis pubis dysfunction during my first pregnancy, I wanted to take preventative steps to avoid that happening again. Chiropractic care helped me stay pain free and active, so I could care for my young son, while pregnant with my daughter.

Dr. Kolleen Gregory

Many people do not associate body work or chiropractic care with infants. However, an initial assessment can benefit all newborns to make certain they aren’t restricted or misaligned. It’s more common than we tend to think. During my years working as a Doula, I have seen newborns with feeding issues, gassy tummies and reflux symptoms that improved after receiving gentle body adjustments. Often babies who have had difficult births, or who are twins, can benefit from this type of body work. Babies who feel comfortable in their bodies, are relaxed, and they transition into life outside the womb with more ease.

For more information about Dr. Kolleen, Dr. Richard and Focus Chiropractic, please visit their website, and follow them on Instagram.

Chiropractic Education

What type of education does a chiropractor have and what kind of special training do they receive to treat infants?

Most chiropractic colleges take about four years to complete, depending on whether they are on a semester or trimesters schedule. A Bachelor of Science is required before enrolling into a program. General chiropractic adjusting education covers how to treat patients from newborn to 100 year olds.

I trained under and have a fellowship with The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). This is a postgraduate course, which we take in addition to our regular professional training. The course covers newborn to adolescent adjusting, as well as therapeutic techniques such as cranio-sacral therapy and the sacral occipital technique. In addition, we learn how to provide pregnancy and postpartum care, including the Webster technique.

We continue to train with the ICPA annually. Last year we traveled to Chicago, to train with one of the prominent pediatric specialists in Chiropractic, Dr. Martin Rosen, who specializes in cranial work with newborns. It is very exciting to continue to learn from the best in the field and this allows us to provide families with the very best care possible. Doctors of Chiropractic who are members of the ICPA have taken postgraduate classes on specific techniques for pregnant mothers, infants and children to enhance their knowledge and skills in this field.

Common Misconceptions

What is a common misconception about chiropractic care you often find yourself educating people about?

The most common misconception about chiropractic care is that babies are adjusted the same way adults are. It’s just not true, nor is it true in any other health field. Children, especially infants, are physically and structurally different than adults. Adults have 206 bones, while infants are born with 300 bones! Adults have dense skeletal bones; children have malleable “softer” bones. These differences go on and on. Chiropractors who specialize in pediatric care use very gentle and effective techniques designed specifically for infants.

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Preparing for a VBAC with Hypnobirthing

Although down from a high of 32.9% in 2009, cesarean births in the United States have risen from 5% in 1970 to 31.9% in 2016, which was the last year of national statistics posted by the CDC.

With this rise has also come the increase in mothers with previous cesareans educating themselves about TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean) and VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean delivery). While every trial of labor after cesarean won’t end in a vaginal delivery, the success rates for VBAC, according to the ACOG Practice Bulletin published in November 2017, are 60-80%.

Renee Bradfield, HPCE, of The Birth Space, is a certified hypnobirthing teacher and postnatal doula in Australia. She is the mother of two, the second of which was delivered during a TOLOC that resulted in a successful VBAC. Renee and I connected via Instagram where I stumbled upon a link to her moving VBAC birth story.

Preparing for VBAC | Renee Bradfield, Certified Hypnobirthing Practitioner

Here, she shares some tips for preparing for a successful VBAC, as well as how she utilized Hynpobirthing during her own pregnancy and delivery.

Choosing a VBAC

I’ve known many moms who would like to try for a VBAC and get overwhelmed with all of the planning, especially conflicting information. Once you made the decision to have a VBAC, what did you do next?

Once I had read all the current evidence and decided a VBAC was the safest option, I joined support groups online and read every birth story, I read books (Juju Sundin, Ina May, Grantly Dick-Read) and started to prepare my mind with self-hypnosis tracks.

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