Touch

posted in: Babies, Motherhood, Twins 62 comments

On any given day, I have a baby in my arms 95.64% of the time. I’m no mathematician and I haven’t logged in actual hours, but it sure feels that way. Now, this is not a complaint. When you have twins, chances of having a baby in your arms is fairly high. Heck, having just one baby pretty much means you should not expect to be hands-free for the first three months, minimum. 

Baby boy on chest

The first two weeks of my twins’ lives were spent in Neonatal Intensive Care. That is no way to start life, but there you have it. Premature babies do not get to go cuddle with Mom within minutes/ hours of being born. They don’t get put to the breast. The only hands touching them are hands of doctors and nurses. The only touches they get are from these good folk administering something into their tiny bodies, or hooking them up to machines and IVs. The hands that change their diapers or give them cup feeds (if they’re off the feeding tube), are hands of nurses, not Mom. 

I spent a lot of time in NICU. The first couple of days, I watched them in incubators, too scared to touch them, too scared not to. I had to ask a nurse every time I wanted to hold either one of them. The process of moving them from incubator to my arms usually took at least five minutes, given that we had to navigate wires and tubes. 

As they grew stronger, I took every second I had in NICU, to hold each of my babies. I put them on my chest, having been advised by the kind nurses that kangaroo care helps babies get stronger. The remaining time I had before I rushed off home to my older kids, were spent breastfeeding. (Side note: breastfeeding preemies is really hard.)

There have been studies and articles and old wives tales about what touch can do for babies. But no one told me about what touch does for mothers. 

Baby girl in arms

Baby boy in arms

I don’t think I would have survived those two weeks, if I couldn’t touch them. Each finger on their smooth skin, unmarred by needles, was a balm to my soul. Each cuddle healed my heart, hurting and guilty for birthing them early (and I know it’s not my fault as such). Each nursing session made me feel like I was helping them on their way to getting stronger. Every touch made me feel closer to them, especially the nights when I went to bed, full and aching breasts reminding me that my babies were not at home. 

So yes, I have a baby (or two) in my arms most of the time now: I eat, type, and work with one hand regularly, and by golly, am I grateful for that. 

Two in my arms

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Alison
Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).
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  • October 20, 2014 Janine Huldie

    Aww, your babies are absolutely adorable and I totally remember those first days with my own girls soaking every minute of snuggles and cuddles. Best feeling and agree nothing could ever indeed compare πŸ˜‰

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Janine. πŸ™‚
      Oh yes, the best feeling. Cannot. Get. Enough.

  • October 20, 2014 Sarah

    Ah! That last photo is so so so awesome. I am so glad to hear your babies are home with you now. I couldn’t have survived without a baby carrier — do they make them that hold twins?
    Sarah recently wrote…Cooking School: Back-Pocket RecipesMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Yes, there are carriers for twins, but they’re not readily available in Malaysia. They’re too tiny for carriers now though, so we’ll wait and see. πŸ™‚

  • October 20, 2014 Christine

    So true how powerful touch can be for our soul. Your babies are beautiful and I love the last picture.
    Christine recently wrote…High Five Friday – Fall EditionMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Yes! And thank you, truly.

  • October 20, 2014 Kimberly

    After the experience I had with my last delivery, this hit me hard. Touching and holding my baby, even now, does so much to heal my heart. So yes, I totally agree with you. It helps our little ones but it absolutely helps us too.

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Oh hon. I know. Hold your precious baby close. xoxo

  • October 20, 2014 alexandra

    The perspective of having done without. It changes things, and though people say that we love and appreciate what we have without having had life without, and that’s true — it’s the experience of the not having them home, that makes home with them surreal. None of mine were take home babies, they were all three in NICU, and though it is a wonderful event to bring any baby home, to do it after waiting and wondering when, makes everything like a heart bursting from too small a space. SO GLAD THEY’RE HOME, A.

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Yes, yes and yes. Thank you. I’m glad too. Home is where they belong and need to be. xo

  • October 20, 2014 Andrea

    Oh my goodness, that last picture of you and your babies… perfection. You are at total peace.

    I love what you said about touching babies as being good for mothers. It is so true. I remember days of not being able to keep my hands off my babies. Still have those days.
    Andrea recently wrote…Eleven Favorites: Old-School BloggingMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Peace – yes! That’s how I’ve been feeling since they’ve been home.

  • October 20, 2014 Shannon

    I cannot get enough of those babies. They are beautiful. And so is their Mama.
    Shannon recently wrote…Don’t Freak Out and Don’t Go Fetal.My Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      I can’t either. And thank you. xo

  • October 20, 2014 Kerstin

    So true! I remember the baby days. And I still love to hug my kids! So glad you’re getting ample hugging and holding time now! xo
    Kerstin recently wrote…Get the Behavior you Want… A ReviewMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Hugging is healing!!

  • October 20, 2014 Greta

    Ahhh, the baby touch. I miss it so.
    Greta recently wrote…Project 365: Week 42My Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Wanna come over and hold mine?

  • October 20, 2014 Michele

    What a beautiful look of contentment! So glad the babies are home and in your arms. And kudos for finding time (and hands) to write — I’m loving these update posts.
    Michele recently wrote…Attitude AdjustmentMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      When I have time and hands, I bang these pieces out! πŸ™‚

  • October 20, 2014 Leigh Ann

    It’s so true. I loved kangaroo care with my babies. And yes, the whole process of getting from isolette to my arms took forever.

    Even now I crave their touch and hugs and hand holding. πŸ™‚
    Leigh Ann recently wrote…36My Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      I so do not miss the NICU πŸ™‚

  • October 21, 2014 Jennifer

    I remember the first time holding my babies. I felt so complete. It is still that way. I’ll reach out and hold their hand or rub their face or squeeze a leg. Just that touch reminds me of what it’s all about.
    Jennifer recently wrote…31 Days of Pie – Easy Meringue TipsMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Yes, complete! That is what it is.

  • October 21, 2014 Kimberly

    I am beginning to wonder if you’re a vampire because you’re on social media around the clock like a boss…wait…you’re a mom…yes sleep isn’t in your vocabulary until they’re 18 years old (so I’ve heard). Ok you’re not a vampire.
    I didn’t connect with my son for months so I didn’t get to have that fuzzy feeling holding him like that. So soak it up momma πŸ™‚ PS. You must have some serious pipes going on carrying two babes!
    xoxo
    Kimberly recently wrote…Trouble With The MedsMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      I AM up all hours! πŸ™‚
      I’m sorry you didn’t get that experience, hon. Love you. xoxo

  • October 21, 2014 Elaine A.

    I know you are loving this time with them, after having to see them in the NICU. You ARE such a good Mom, Alison. And I’m so glad the sweet touches are making you feel just as good as they are making them feel. And I adore all the photos you share! So precious…
    Elaine A. recently wrote…Hey Ellen!My Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Aw, thank you Elaine. Yes, my relief at having them home is palpable, isn’t it?

  • October 21, 2014 tracy

    So true – that power of touch. It’s like no other. Love yous. xo
    tracy recently wrote…I Qualified For Boston Marathon – Twin Citites Marathon RecapMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      I love you too!!

  • October 21, 2014 Britt

    Oh your babies are just so beautiful!! You are so right that no one ever discusses the need for touch for the mom but I think it is essential.
    Britt recently wrote…Fitness Magazine Meet & TweetMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Britt! I can’t wait for you to experience this touch thing I’m talking about πŸ™‚

  • October 21, 2014 Amber

    Aw. So sweet.

    I still love cuddling my babies. And they are 7 and 12 now.
    Amber recently wrote…A Date With My SonMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      I don’t think I’ll ever stop cuddling my kids, no matter their age. πŸ™‚

  • October 21, 2014 Tamara

    They are so adorable.
    I was in the NICU for a week. And I had the 8.5 pounder next to 25-weekers. It was.. sobering. Exhausting. Terrifying.
    And those moments when I could touch him, whisper to him, and tell him about the life we would have together, was the most healing thing I know.
    And we now do have that life together!
    Tamara recently wrote…I Have Happy Tears.My Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      I love watching your life with Des and Scarlet!!
      Even though my babies were small, there were actually smaller babies in NICU. Which was also sobering.

  • October 22, 2014 Yum Yucky

    My own baby girl was in NICU for 5 days and it felt like forever. Two weeks must have felt like eternity. You are one tough cookie, momma. Your babies are precious.
    Yum Yucky recently wrote…Bacon and Eggs Trick That Saves On CaloriesMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      It did feel like eternity. And since they’ve been home, time has passed by so quickly! πŸ™‚

  • October 22, 2014 Natalie

    I just love the last photo of you and the twins, and I’m so glad they are getting stronger! πŸ˜‰

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Natalie! I am too.

  • October 22, 2014 My Inner Chick

    O,
    my heart is overflowing <3 xxxxx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…10 Things That Effing Electrify MeMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for your love, Kim! xo

  • October 22, 2014 Julia

    Touch is so important. Even now that Jack is older just hugging him or laying with him is so vital to both of us. I think it’s that way in most relationships, like in marriage.
    Julia recently wrote…The Big Boy BedMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Yes, it absolutely is important for all relationships.

  • October 22, 2014 Nina

    Beautiful statement of gratitude! Love those snuggly shots.
    Nina recently wrote…Friendship Advice: October ColumnMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Nina!

  • October 22, 2014 Amanda Jillian

    They are beautiful and it hurts so much having babies in the NICU but you made it.
    Amanda Jillian recently wrote…Bright and BoldMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Yes! I feel like we ‘graduated’. πŸ™‚

  • October 22, 2014 Jennie Goutet

    This post was very soothing for me – to see you and your babies. The photos are so magnificent, you can also smell the new baby smell and remember that precious warm weight. And how insightful is that – that touch heals the mom too. I never thought about it, but it does.
    Jennie Goutet recently wrote…Jesus. Rock Star.My Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Aw, thank you Jennie.

  • October 23, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    This is soo precious! Glad you’re a happy momma and happy to hear your babies are doing great πŸ™‚ Take Care and enjoy the warmth in your arms! Take Care Alison -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…Breast Cancer Awareness MonthMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      I am, thank you!

  • October 23, 2014 Stacey

    Oh my goodness! Look at those little sweethearts! Congratulations!
    Stacey recently wrote…A Most Anticipated Picture Book and moreMy Profile

    • October 23, 2014 Alison

      Thanks Stacey!

  • October 23, 2014 Robbie

    What amazing, beautiful miracles. All humans need touch.
    Robbie recently wrote…Monday Listicles: UnforgettableMy Profile

    • October 24, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Robbie!

  • The act of hugging and touching my children is an essential to get me through the day, because when I tell my daughters ‘I love you’ I know I’m doing the right thing.
    Your babies are beautiful.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…Blast from the past: Belgian SpeculoosMy Profile

    • October 28, 2014 Alison

      Yes, that’s right! And thank you.

  • October 25, 2014 heidi

    That is a whole lot of cute right there. They are just so sweet. I’m so glad all of you are okay, safe and healthy. And in your arms. I loved what you said about what touch does for mothers. Just yesterday I called my 11 year old girl down from her room to give me a snuggle.

    • October 28, 2014 Alison

      Aw, that’s so sweet! And thank you, Heidi.

  • October 28, 2014 Rebecca

    Did you read the article of the mom who had her baby, who was pronounced dead by doctors after it couldn’t be resuscitated, so she held the baby on her chest and put a little breast milk on her baby’s tongue and after two hours of holding/grieving her baby, it began breathing?? It’s fairly recent, but needless to say touch is everything. And your lucky to touch those angels of yours. It’s so beautiful to see you with them, you make one seriously fab mother
    Rebecca recently wrote…Moms In Da ClubMy Profile

    • October 28, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, I have. It’s amazing. Truly.

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Alison Profile PictureI'm Alison. Writer, a mother of four (two boys and boy/ girl twins), social media enthusiast and book lover. A believer in the power of chocolate and hugs. Chugging coffee as I type. Want to know more?

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