Deb and Becky Discenza (Virginia, USA)
by Deb Discenza, mom of Becky.
As a leader in the preemie community I started out as that scared preemie mom in the NICU. Terrified to touch my daughter in the incubator, fearful to change her diaper, and thinking that I was the worst mother on the planet it was Kangaroo Care that saved us.
The only reason I knew about it was my mother in-law mentioned it early on in the NICU stay. So I kept asking the nurses if I could do Kangaroo Care, not having a clue what it was and where in the world the "kangaroo" existed in this cold, sterile space. Then I realized it was me.
The day came and I was placed in a kangaroo care lounger and unbuttoned my shirt to have the nurse place my daughter on my chest. My husband documented the session and could not stop talking about how amazing our daughter's face was at that moment. As I got used to Becky on my chest and my body warmed her, I very quickly found myself feeling more confident and more like a mother. It was after that that I found out the huge benefits to my daughter in terms of her health, weight-gain and well-being.
I was hooked.
Well after discharge many months later, my first Mother's Day was spent Kangarooing my daughter after her feeding and prior to her nap. I had gone full circle from nervous mother to blissful mother and I believe Kangaroo Care made a massive difference for our family. It is one of the very first things I bring up to parents as I support them worldwide. We need to be bringing parents and baby together, not separating them. Doing the latter will only cause irreparable harm for the short-term and the long-term.
I have seen this happen time and again.
Deb Discenza is mother to Becky, a 30-weeker preemie born in 2014. Deb went on to create Preemie Magazine a free publication for parents and professionals in the community which had a national partnership with the March of Dimes. She is now head of PreemieWorld (www.PreemieWorld.com), a company devoted to educational products for parents and pros including her book The Preemie Parent's Survival Guide to the NICU and two monthly newsletters, Preemie Family and Preemie Pro. She is also the founder and the moderator of the global Inspire Preemie Community which has over 42,000 parents of preemies, adult preemies, and more at http://preemie.inspire.com Deb sits on various boards and committees, writes for various medical journals and is a founding member of the Preemie Parent Alliance (www.PreemieParentAlliance.org