13 Nov 2011

Diaper Backward Spells Repaid...

Diaper backward spells "repaid." Seriously.  I'm being repaid twofold! I must have really put my parents through a lot of crap during my diaper days!

I have been told many a time that as a toddler I used to take off my diapers aftering waking from my naps and would proceed to wipe the poopy ones on bedroom walls at home and the babysitter's.  Oh my! Gross.  I proceeded to teach my younger brother how to carry on the tradition when he was capable.

Talk about karma!  Once the babies were home we were going through about 16-20 diapers a day. It got to the point I was dreaming of diaper change times because that's all it seemed I was doing in the early days.

When it comes down to it, diapers have been a big part of our lives.  I'm not sure that everyone gets excited about the first time a diaper is put on their baby.  I do know that as new parents many are afraid or not sure how to change their baby's first few diapers, but most dive in and figure it out.

When it comes to the NICU experience, a diaper is not always the first thing put on a baby.  Instead it's leads and monitors and sticky tapes, breathing apparatuses and who knows what else? Then the diaper might come.  There may not be a diaper that actually fits this "newborn" baby.

The Stages of Diapers of the Twins: Preemie Small, NB, 1, 2 & currently in 3.
You can see the # "7" written on the Preemie diaper on the left, which I explain in this post.

In all 3 of my cases, my babies were born suddenly and in an ill-prepared hospital without a NICU on site, therefore there were no teeny tiny diapers to put on their tiny new bodies.  In each case, however, the size of the diaper was the least of anyone's worries.

Preemie #1 was transported to an appropriate unit and one of my first memories of him was him spread out on a warming bed in a very big diaper, pretty much swallowing up his lower body and torso.  It was on very loose to avoid irritating his premature skin.

If I thought Preemie #1 was swimming in his first diaper, I was rudely corrected when Preemie #2 and Preemie #3 arrived.  These two were more than 2 pounds less than their big bro.  Finding ourselves in the "wrong" hospital again, they were not equipped with anything less than the standard newborn diapers.

Once the twins arrived at their NICU, on went the tiniest diapers I have ever seen!  Pampers Premature Small.  Wow.  It amazed me that diapers were made this small!  These diapers weigh 7 grams.

How do I know how much a diaper weighs and why do I know this??  Well, in the NICU a baby's bodily functions are monitored every 3 hours or less.  The nurses in the unit will hand write "7" or whatever the weight of each diaper on the front to indicate how much the diaper weighed before the baby did his business in it. 

My Cabbage Patch Kid "Preemie," Circa 1985.
His leg is the same size as my 2 lbs Preemies' diaper!
The "Preemie" is in a NB size diaper rolled up.
Why would we want to weigh the diaper after the baby has worn it?  To be pretty certain that the baby's fluid intake and urine output are balanced.  Bloodwork and other assessments are carried out too in order to monitor the baby's nutrition, but one of the first obvious indicators of  problems appears or does not appear in the diaper.

When it comes to changing a premature or NICU baby's diaper it can be outright terrifying for the parent.  As premature babies' parents we are facing wire leads, tubing, monitors, machines, sticky things, tape, and a fragile baby connected to it all.  We must stand outside the incubator, putting what are most likely gloved hands and arms through two small access holes to be able to work with the baby.  It sucks learning to change a diaper for the first few times for any person or parent, but throw in an incubator and the awkwardness of manoeuvering through all of the wires and the fear of harming the baby and it can be a pretty terrifying, albeit very memorable experience.

Tonight I'm reminiscing about diaper changing for a particularly good reason.  This month is Prematurity Awareness Month in the United States and November 17, 2011 is the First World Prematurity Awareness Day.  A fellow preemie parent is currently working on "40 Diapers. 40 Days," to help create premature birth awareness and raise funds for a NICU in Haiti.  She is painting 40 diapers and taking donations and a silent auction will be held at the end of 40 days.

I know what a scary and trying time the NICU process is, but can only imagine how much more difficult it would be living in a situation where a NICU is not the norm and most likely unattainable for most babies born too soon.

If you can, please visit her site at http://www.thepainteddiaper.com/ and support her along the way.

This Thursday, November 17, please wear purple to show support and help raise Prematurity Awareness!  It's not talked about enough.

Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Carolyn for supporting premature babies everywhere! You are raising awareness and hope...proud to be a fellow preemie Mommy with you!