The first part of this you've seen, read, or heard before.
What you see in this picture is from the darkest time in our lives. I don't voluntarily talk about it very often. I guess I should. Perhaps it would help other parents, I don't know.
On September 27, 2001, our son Hogan Charles Nance came into, and changed our lives forever.
He arrived 2+ months early. He weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces. I loved him the moment I saw him; and just as soon, I had to give him away.
You see, "preemies" don't get to go home with their moms and dads from the hospital. They're lives are in the balance-daily, hourly, minute to minute-in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit. Once Hogan was born, I was allowed to walk him to the NICU, and then I had to leave. The angels that worked in that NICU had a job to do...save my son's life, and I was just getting in the way.
At the time, Debbie and I were doing a morning radio show in Augusta, Georgia. So, here was our schedule: Get up at 2:30am. Get the hospital by 3:30. I get to hold the baby until 4:30. Then we go to work. At 11am we're back at the hospital. Debbie holds the baby until 12-12:30. We go home. And have to leave our baby behind.
It is heart-breaking and soul-crushing. And the ride is not smooth. There were good days and bad days. There were infections and blood transfusions. There were unexpected weight losses. And there were first smiles when he recognized us at 3:30 in the morning. There was a night in November when Debbie fed him for the first time.
The picture above is when Hogan was a month old...and still weighed about 3 pounds.
One of the things that REALLY helps in the development of preemies is skin-to-skin contact. When we were going through it it was called, "Kangaroo Care."
Debbie and I both did it every chance we could.
HOWEVER, NICU units everywhere are in need of baby cuddlers for when their parents can't be with them. Skin-to-skin contact helps preemies develop better sleeping habits and cuddled babies are more attentive than babies who aren't cuddled.
Ddid you know you can volunteer at your local hospital to be a baby cuddler if they offer the program. Would you consider volunteering to be a baby cuddler?
Would you consider being an angel for a child and their family?