The day Liam turned a week old it was his 7th day in the NICU. Although as his mom, it felt like the millionth day. At his morning feeding, his nurse told me that he would be getting his first sponge bath today. Immediately I felt angry and devastated, feelings that seemed to consume me a lot that week. I was devastated that it was yet another experience I was being robbed of at home with my brand new little baby. The nurse sensing my feelings because let's be honest, I was probably wearing them on my sleeve because they felt impossible to hide, said that I could participate if I wanted to. Of course I did. I didn't want to miss a single thing and my feelings shifted to suddenly feeling grateful that we were going to get to be a part of it.
Nic and I came back together at his 8:30 feeding that evening. This was always our favorite feeding time with him because it seemed to be the time of day he was the most alert and made the most progress. The room was quiet and dimly lit as it usually was at night. Our favorite night nurse was watching Liam and she greeted us with her usual bubbly smile. She welcomed us to what she called "the baby spa" and explained the sponge bath process. Then she quietly stepped back and let Nic and I take over and share the experience together. Nic laid Liam on a towel and then slid his fingers into Liam's palms. His tiny hands quickly wrapped around and held on for dear life as I began running a warm wash cloth up and down his little legs. He began to cry from the cold so as soon as I was done washing off one part of his body, Nic would cover it with a towel and the cry would diminish to a whimper. After his body was clean I carried him over to the sink where I held his head under the warm running water and ran a brush through his hair. You would have thought he was going to dive into that sink at any moment. He was pushing away from my hands to get closer to the water. It was as if it was his favorite thing in the entire world! It may seem silly, but the whole experience felt like magic to me and so special. I don't have any physical pictures from it but it doesn't matter because those moments are ingrained in my memory.
Liam's first baths at home were equally as special as that first sponge bath in the NICU. Babies don't typically lose their umbilical cord until 10 - 14 days old and by the time we had brought Liam home his was barely hanging on by a thread. Because it still hadn't fallen off, we got to give him his first sponge bath at home. I think we both felt even more grateful for the first experience with the nurse because it made us newbies that much more prepared for this time at home on our own. It went very similar to the first time only this time, we captured the memory in pictures...
I adore this picture of Nic and Liam. Look at how sweet he is with his hands on his face and in his hair!
A couple days later his umbilical cord fell off and heaven knows by that time he had enough very messy diapers to constitute another bath so we gave him his first real bath in the bathroom sink. I'm pretty sure he loved the first 5 minutes but then sort of lost his cool after that because he was hungry. I don't blame him one bit.
Oh my goodness, isn't he the sweetest?! And what better way to finish a first bath then with the one and only Sulley! :)