The Golden Hour • Katie Freeman

36 Weeks

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?


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!