So, September is NICU Awareness month and little did I or my family know that we were going to have a baby in the NICU during this month.
My newest grand baby Delilah was born on 8/23 and had what is called an Intestinal Artesia, she was taken from her mom about 12 hours after birth and had an x-ray that showed she needed immediate surgery. On 8/25 she had that surgery and has been in the NICU since.
I have to say that it has been a very hard road for our family, and I know it is even harder for her mommy and daddy, but we are sticking together and doing the best we can. Delilah will probably be able to come home in a few weeks if all goes according to plan.
This experience has led me to this post. Here are some things that we noticed us and other NICU parents could use, and a few things we don’t.
- congratulations! This was a big one, when the baby was taken into the NICU, suddenly nobody told her parents congratulations anymore. Everyone was focused on the fact that she was sick, and did not acknowledge what a wonderful blessing she is!
- Meals. This sounds strange but, when you are released from the hospital around here most people will bring a meal and come and visit and make things a little easier on mom for the first couple of weeks. When your baby is in the NICU, I think you need this even more. All of us have eaten too many drive thru meals and after a long day of commuting to the hospital taking care of the baby, it would still be nice to have something to heat up for dinner.
- A ride. New mommy’s are not supposed to drive right away, and in our case it was no big deal we all had enough drivers for some mommy needs a ride to see their baby every day!
- Visitors. Come see the parents at home just like you would if they brought the baby home. They need company, and conversation and someone to talk to. Just visit.
- Phone calls or texts. Ask about the baby, find out whats going on, what is the status, how are they doing all of those things happen for the first three days and then its like everyone goes back to their business. This is a HARD often LONG road. Support is really important
- Take care of the siblings. Take them to the park, bring them an active toy they can do while at the hospital, talk to them about their new baby brother or sister. Mom and Dad are tired and overwhelmed, help them out with the older kids.
- Magazines or Puzzle books. Some of the time we spend in the NICU we are just watching the baby sleep a nice magazine would be awesome.
- Snack bag! This would have been so great! We are always in the car. Having some snacks maybe a water bottle already together for the journey is awesome.
- Mom care. Ask how the mom is feeling physically, talk about her labor and delivery like you would with any other new mom. Don’t forget she just had a beautiful baby!
- LOVE! Don’t forget to just love on them. Parents going through this are under a tremendous amount of pressure. They need hugs, and just some extra TLC. Love on them and let them know they are doing a great job!
Now, some of the don’ts that I noticed pretty quickly from all the NICU parents.
- No stuffed animals. We cannot take them into the baby, they are not allowed in the ICU at all so please don’t bring them for us.
- Sad stories. Please, please, please do not tell the parents of a NICU baby the sad outcome of another baby you know. Hopeful, wonderful, positive stories about anything is what is needed. Parents are scared enough.
- Don’t act like the baby does not exist. I have seen this first hand and it is strange to me. Talk about them mention their name let the parents talk about the baby.
This is a very rough time in our life and it has tested every one of us in a unique way. I hope that this list helps you know what you can do to try to help the parents get through this very hard time.
Do you have other ideas? Did you have a baby in the NICU and find anything that would have helped you? I would I would love to hear it!
photo credit: Incubadoras 01838 via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMAG0232 via photopin (license)