Monday, November 27, 2017

Pampers Introduces A New Flat Diaper for Preemies Weighing as Little as 1 Pound #LittlestFighters #ad

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and November 17 was Prematurity Awareness Day. My boy was born on the edge of the technical definition of full-term, but his first couple of weeks of life, when he really should have still been cooking, were fraught with concerns over his low birth weight and low, unstable blood sugar. We spent those weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), surrounded by worried and loving parents, amazing nurses and doctors, and beautiful, tiny, determined babies. It was moving and eye-opening. And scary too.

My pregnancy wasn't particularly bad or high risk. I was considered "older" for a first pregnancy, so I received lots of tests and attention to make sure everything was on track. I did have issues with eating for the first four months and was losing weight as my baby was gaining. Medication eventually corrected my appetite. At no point was anyone concerned with his growth rate or health. An ultrasound at 32 weeks looked good, and the obstetrician said Michael appeared right on track for a 7-8 pound birth.

Do you sense a big "BUT" coming?

At 37 weeks, January 9, a Monday, I was at work and felt miserable. Miserable. My back was killing me. My most recent pre-natal appointment the previous week had confirmed my baby had dropped and his head was engaged and ready for the big day. I was waddling like you wouldn't believe. And one of my co-workers looked at me and said, "This is it." Pfft. First baby. Three weeks to go. I was going to work for another two weeks and train my replacement, easy.

That night my water broke.

My birth story is a long one, with pretty much no dignity (is there ever?) but the short version is - neither my body nor Michael were apparently ready, and labour did not come. Because my water had broken, I was induced. At every contraction, Michael's heart rate dropped. Eventually he was born by urgent C-section, with me heavily sedated, at 5:20pm, December 10, to the sounds of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" on my OB's iPod. Oi! Michael was 5lbs. 2 oz. Not dangerously small, but officially "low birth weight" small and unbelievably tiny to me.

In the recovery room, the nurse noticed him shaking and tested his blood sugar. I can't remember the exact number now, but it was low enough for a neonatal paediatrician to come running. Michael was whisked away to the level 3 NICU at 10:15 that night. (Yes, these are the details you remember.)

Michael is about 5 days old in this image. He had moved up the Level 2 NICU and put on some weight.

The next morning I was wheeled into the NICU to see him. It was overwhelming to enter that room, surrounded by incredibly tiny babies, encased in isolettes, with tubes and monitors, and beeping and so many scary things. I found my boy, who looked pretty big compared to some of his neighbours, but still so tiny and fragile. I wasn't allowed to hold him, but I could touch him, and they did want me to change his diaper. I don't think I will ever forget the fear I felt, reaching in through the openings in his isolette, trying to wipe his tiny little bottom, and then covering half his body with the tiniest diaper available, still so much too big for him. It was a Pampers Swaddlers, in, I believe, a size 0, and still too big.

On day 3 he moved to the Level 2 NICU. I was pumping breast milk for him, and some days, if he was strong enough, I was allowed to nurse. Michael was nourished with a combination of my breast milk and formula through a tube in his nose going down to his belly (an NG Tube, for the uninitiated). He spent about a week with intravenous lipids (fats) as well. It was all very frightening, but after 15 days we were able to take him home, where he nursed like a champion and continued to grow and thrive. He's still the skinniest kid I know, but he's tall and healthy and awesome.

Many of the babies in those NICUs were born much earlier and much smaller than Michael. My friend's triplets were there at the same time, actually. She was due a week or so after me, and delivered at 25 weeks, on Hallowe'en. Such tiny, perfect, little girls. Around the world approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely every year. That's a huge number of tiny, tiny bottoms! And many of those smallest infants have special medical issues, sensitivities, and concerns to be addressed. Many have to undergo surgeries, leaving delicate areas working to heal.

With this in mind, Pampers has been working with NICU nurses to develop a new diapering option to address those special needs. The result is a new flat diaper, available only in the NICU. This new diaper offers the same softness, absorbency and skin protection found in any Pampers diaper, but with no elastic leg cuffs, which could irritate a preemie's extra-sensitive skin, or surgery incisions. The diapers are fragrance-free and are designed with all-around absorbency to provide equal protection in the front and back, allowing diapering in any position. They also include an Absorb Away Liner, which pulls wetness and mess away from baby’s skin to help them stay dry and comfortable. This is a great step forward in preemie care, and I know tiny babies and their parents will appreciate the comfort these new preemie diapers will bring.

In celebration of all these littlest fighters, Pampers is proud to introduce this new flat diaper to the world during Prematurity Awareness Month. This 30 second video shows the diaper in action. And some amazingly adorable babies. Please watch! For each share of your own #LittlestFighters story on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, Pampers will also donate $5 (up to $10,000) to Graham’s Foundation.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Pampers. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own, or those of my family. Pampers was always our diaper of choice for our baby Boo, from the NICU through to toilet training.

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