Thursday, May 15, 2014

International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day

I am re-posting this from 2 years ago in celebration of Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin) contact.  This is the area that truly drives my nursing practice and I wouldn't change it for the world.  While the years have changed and I have corrected my certifying body for this posting the information is still correct and powerful.  I speak even more passionately about it now that I did then, I truly believe (and know) that every infant should receive this powerful therapy.

If, you feel that you've read this before and do not want to revisit it, let me leave you with the one statement I would make if that's all I was able to say about Kangaroo Care:
KC is essential to ALL infants because it recreates the uterine environment better than any technology.

TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

Happy International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day!

Happy International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day!!

For those of you confused right now, I have finally made it to the blog to talk about my work.  Most of you know that I'm a Neonatal ICU nurse.  I have done this since nursing school graduation, almost 7 years ago.  I love this field.  It's challenging, heart wrenching, sad at times and joyous at others, and incredibly rewarding.  Even more challenging is that the facility where I work is a referral and surgical center too so we see the sickest of the sick and the smallest that you can imagine up and everything else that comes before that too.

In working at my facility and learning neonatal medicine I have grown and expanded and I have a committee that I run (and have now run for three years) to help address issues in one area of neonatal care.  I chair my facilities Kangaroo Care Committee and have also become a Certified Kangaroo Care Provider from the United States Institute for Kangaroo Care who actively participates with the World Health Organization's International Network of Kangaroo Care Providers.

Kangaroo Care is a wonderful practice where a parent holds their infant in direct skin-to-skin contact on their chest.  The infant wears a diaper and a hat (hat as necessary) and then both are covered in some manner. (A blanket, a wrap, etc)

From everything I've learned about kangaroo care I could speak non-stop for hours about it.  It is so wonderful that you can call it a medical treatment that the parents can provide.  Kangaroo Care promotes bonding, better thermoregulation in infants (better temperature control), improved brain growth, improved brain development, improved overall growth, increased parent-infant bonding, increased parent confidence, better pain control for both infant and mother (no information available for pain control in fathers), improved breast milk production, improved breast milk content (a richer better quality milk), improved amount of infant sleep, decreased incidence of depression and more benefits being discovered daily.  Just to name a few of the simpler ones.

I'm really keeping this very basic.  I'm not going into the history of kangaroo care, or the over 400 studies available for it.  I'm not going into the high-tech ICU environment versus lower tech and third-work country practices.  I could tell you about how the skin makes antibodies and helps the infant receive them.  I could tell you why the skin of the chest is so receptive for this care.  I could break it down further into how a mother's body works differently from a father's body works differently from another family member's body, etc. Where I work we keep kangaroo care exclusively for mom's and dad's.  There's just too much going on to allow it to spread to all, it's the one thing we can offer a parent that can first help them to feel that they are truly being a parent and that the experience is not taken away from them.  But in tragic or extenuating circumstances, the benefits are known to apply to all who practice in kangaroo care.

Kangaroo Care is practiced differently depending on age and stability of the infant.  Healthy infants out of the hospital, using a wrap and walking around is fine.  Preterm infants that are stable, depends on age and ability to feed.  Sick infants of any age do best when the Kangaroo Care provider is laying back (we use zero gravity loungers for our parents) as it allows for the infant's heart and lungs to function at their best.  All methods of performing Kangaroo Care involve direct skin-to-skin contact.

More importantly Kangaroo Care is important for ALL infants.  So much so, that when I became a certified provider I was pregnant and completely changed my plan for how I was going to care for Ann.  See:
Please forgive the picture.  It's a really bad one but I was trying to put it on record that we did Kangaroo Care at home.  But I would have never purchased the wrap and I would not have thought to provide it at home had I not learned so much about it.

There is so much out there about Kangaroo Care:
A picture of a preemie in Kangaroo Care here in the United States:
Article from my local paper about a mom in our area 

Some reputable Kangaroo Care sites:
United States Institute for Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo Care information from the March of Dimes

A booklet from the World Health Organization:
Kangaroo Mother Care: A Practical Guide

So spread the word, share with others how powerful simple holding skin to skin can be for infants of any age and parents.  It's amazing what can be done by the human body!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Throw Another One on the pile

I have been asked to share Ann singing this so here we are. She's still a little self conscious but she asked to do it for her Aunt....

Othdr things happening today is art and craft time:
Don't know where she gets it from ;)  
I'm off to sew...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coming back...

We have made it through to Easter!  Besides the religious meaning in it all (and I'm not minimizing that) what it means for many is that I am now signing back into facebook.  Mid-February brought a few different situations that I found myself caught up with being on that site constantly and felt it best for my mental health to stop immediately and I gave up facebook for Lent.  Then, I started my penance at least 1 week early because I wasn't paying close attention to the calendar and thought Ash Wednesday was earlier than it was this year.

What I learned was that it was good to give it up for my peace of mind and great for productivity (finished a couple projects) it was bad as I missed seeing and showing support for some of my extended family (I love you all and you've been in my thoughts!) as well as some people who are chosen family.  So, I have found that I can't call it complete quits on facebook but that I can limit myself to once or twice a week so that I'm not sucked into neglecting my needs in real life.

That said it is time to share a little.

Ann recieved a camera for her birthday and I'm just now downloading the pictures from the microsd card I put in it (but thinking about it I do believe there may be some stored on the camera itself that I need to get off.  I will have to do that next time.)

Here's just a sampling of photos from this budding photographer:

From fuzzy trips to the aquarium:

With some pictures fortunate enough to be not so fuzzy:
 She was so proud of taking this picture:

Her own camera being turned on her:

To capturing daddy:

And Ann's unique version of the selfie (I can't tell you how many pictures of her legs, feet, and shoes I found...)

A trip to Atlanta:

And me:

Another unique selfie:

And a trip to Savannah:

To finding things in the yard:

And another reason that I love digital cameras, so that I don't have to spend money developing pictures that are nothing but black and pictures of toys (although, this really makes me laugh, because she's just copying me and when I take pictures of my projects):

Plus, it makes her feel good when we go to see special things, like the mermaids at the aquarium:

Now that I have her photos out of the way.  I have been told that grandparents are expecting a few photos from me.  So, here are photos from today:

We have graduated to a bike and took it on a first ride around the neighborhood today:

Took a break at our pond to watch a family of ducks:

Earlier in the day I took her to the beach to attempt pictures in the dress that I made for her for Easter.  Here are some of the ones that made me smile while I work on editing to get our "formal" ones:

And that does us for now!  I'll be back at some point with more.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Birthday Wishes, and a small catch up...

Before I do anything else, I must wish happy birthday to two of my sisters - Tameeka and Kelly!  Best wishes to you both and here are two videos (in order that they were shot) to wish you a happy birthday.

First, just wishes and singing:

Second, singing and a dance:


It seems, in giving up on posting everyday through January I let real life take over and have not kept up with what has been going on in the down time here in our household.

There have been arts and crafts that I've been finishing

(I apologize if I ruin the birthday surprise before it gets to the house Tameeka.  That one is your's.  I don't have a picture of Kelly's present)

There have also been two trips - one to family and one to Savannah.  Here a just a few of the pictures from those:

The long and short of it is that I have to get better at blogging again.  But there is a lot going on in our world and things I need to catch up on.  While work remains busy for both Chad and I we are doing plenty in our down time that I now want to share again.

I won't make any promises as to when that will be.  And after Easter I will be back on facebook (I gave it up for Lent).  But I hope to share more of the silliness and day to day things that we do in our time when we don't have to be so serious.