Skin to skin contact of a newborn child and the soft touch of a human has been known to have healing effects on babies. It’s the comfort from the warmth of their skin and the sound of the heartbeat, and this is especially true for premature babies as well.
Parents of premature babies in the NICU are often troubled with feelings of guilt when life demands them to their other children at home; they worry and are faced with tremendous guilt upon leaving the NICU.
For the past 12 years, David Deutchman has volunteered his time at Childrens Healthcare Hospital in Atlanta. After retirement, we started volunteering his time in the pediatrics until at the hospital where he was quickly asked to volunteer in the NICU where he holds and provides comfort to the babies, while the parents aren’t able to be there.
David has held more than a thousand babies over the years, and beyond that, he’s held a lot of parents hands and even offered them his shoulder to cry on during times of uncertainty, to prove comfort not only to the children, but the parents as well, and holding moms hand is just as important as holding their baby, David says.
David, is a 82 year old married man with children and grandchildren of his own, he describes this experience as gratifying as he is not only helping the children and the parents, but at the same time it is blessing him! David says when he drives into the parking lot daily, he doesn’t know who he’ll meet, or what challenges he might be faced with, but he enjoys making sure people are taken care of and comfort is given. He says the 12 years have flown by, and he doesn’t plan on quitting is position as “ICU Grandpa” anytime soon!
David further explains the benefit to him, it’s is just not crying babies and you try to comfort to console them. It is the connection, when he puts the baby against his chest, on his heartbeat; there is soothing benefit there for both him and baby.
Every night, Logan’s mother leaves the hospital to go home and be with her daughter. Logan was born prematurely at 25 weeks. So naturally mom is nervous and anxious at the same time until she arrives back at the hospital the next morning.
Her fears and anxiety have been laid to rest when she walks into the NICU and found David holding her son. David, with his gentle soul smiled at her and introduced himself as the “ICU Grandpa”.
Fighting back tears of joy, mom started taking pictures of little Logan and David, the ICU Grandpa which capture the precious moments of this gentle man who volunteers his time holding NICU babies and providing strength to their parents as well.