Have you heard of Kangaroo Mother Care? It’s a method of child-rearing that involves skin-to-skin contact. Studies have shown that kids who are given cuddle treatment like this in infancy tend to perform higher in school and have better behavior as they grow older.
That’s why, when Lesa Brackbill gave birth to twins, her husband took the opportunity to make sure they got the skin-to-skin contact that they deserved.
Photos of this moment soon spread online. While they’re powerful on their own, knowing the full story behind them makes them even more meaningful.
When Lesa Brackbill gave birth to twins, her husband Brennan offered to help out with skin-to-skin contact.
Dad had requested skin-to-skin in the OR from the moment that he stepped foot in the hospital… he must have mentioned…
In May 2018, Lesa gave birth to twin boys via C-section. Afterwards, her husband Brennan volunteered to go shirtless to give them some skin-to-skin contact.
Photos of this taken by Erin Fortney were shared on the “Birth Becomes Her” Facebook page and have since gone viral. Commenters were surprised and overjoyed to see a dad like Brennan volunteer to give his kids skin-to-skin contact. Yet Lesa sees it as no big deal.
This wasn’t the first time Brennan gave a shirtless hug right after birth and, if Lesa has any more kids, it won’t be the last either. Brennan also gave a shirtless hug to their first daughter, Victoria. It’s a memory that will stick with him for the rest of his life.
“He was so passionate [hugging the twins] because he loved the time he had with our daughter, doing skin-to-skin in the operating room,” Lesa told Motherly.
“We didn’t expect to have a C-Section with her, it was just a spur of the moment thing, he agreed to do the skin-to-skin and then he loved it because he got to spend an hour with her when she was first born and they had a really good bonding experience.”
The Brackbills have used the photos’ viral status to spread awareness for Krabbe disease, which took their first child Victoria.
Since the photos have gone viral, the Brackbills have taken the opportunity to spread awareness for Krabbe disease. This terminal, degenerative nervous system condition was responsible for taking Victoria’s life just 20 months after birth.
While the Brackbills would have always valued cuddle time with their children, they now value it even more, “because we can’t hold our daughter anymore,” Lesa explained.
Losing Victoria left a profound impact on Lesa’s life, prompting her to write a book called Even So, Joy: Our Journey through Heartbreak, Hope, and Triumph.
“We want people to be aware of the disease itself, because we didn’t know it existed, we didn’t know we carried it and one in 125 people carry a genetic mutation that causes Krabbe. Newborn screening is so vitally important,” Lesa said.
Lesa hopes that the images of her boys doing skin-to-skin get more parents to try Kangaroo Care for themselves and, more importantly, learn the story of Victoria and what they can do to prevent Krabbe disease.
While Victoria wasn’t diagnosed until she was six months old, the Brackbills now know to look for Krabbe early on to prevent the unthinkable from happening. She was able to get a newborn screening for her twins who seem to be Krabbe free.
While it’s sad that Victoria passed away, it only helped to strengthen the Brackbill’s bond with their twins even more.
“Our experience with her, our journey with her, only amplified our joy with them,” Lesa said.