Thursday, November 12, 2009

The NICU Experience

Actually, I'm writing this for anyone who may be surfing the net and may have to go through the NICU experience, or is just interested. First off, I have to say that although our experience was tiring and seemed to last forever, we were very fortunate. As the doctor put it, our babies were not unhealthy, they were just small and needed to grow up a bit. After the first couple nights, they were what are called Feeder Growers, which is the last stage before going home. They spent almost two weeks at Shawnee Mission Medical, under the care of a very professional and loving staff. We thank the world for their help.

So, fortunately, we cannot speak for those of you whose babies were very early, or have/had difficulties. We cannot imagine your worry and frustration. But we do know how much you love your babies, and how you just want them to be safe and home.

Our first recommendation; get to know your nurses. They are your 24-7 update line. They are serious, and can be intense, but they know their stuff and really are amazing. Plus, they usually have some good stories.

Second, don't be afraid to hold your babies if you can. Step in there and help with feedings. Change their diapers. Talk to them. Tell them stories. Sing to them. Let them know that their parents love them.

Third, and this one is extremely difficult, don't pay too much attention to the monitors all of the time. Have the nurses inform you on what they mean, and when you should be concerned. In our case, our babies would fall into deep sleep and they would almost stop breathing so we would have to wake them up. It didn't take long before I found myself staring at the monitors. About four days, that was the amount of time it took for me to realize that the nurses are not going to let anything happen to my little girls. Eventually, you learn to quickly asses the numbers and beeps, look at the baby to make sure they are fine, and go back to doing whatever you were doing. But, I won't lie. You won't forget the beeps after you leave.

Fourth, take breaks. Get your rest. Be there when you can, but be healthy so you can enjoy them when the big day comes.

Ok, that's enough for now. I'm posting a video of our experience. Like I said, our babies were healthy, but I hope our experience can help you in some way.

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