Being pregnant is one of the happiest times of someone’s life. They are bringing a beautiful life into the world. Weather it is for the very first time and making them a first time parent or the second, third, or fourth time bring a child into the world it is still beautiful and a happy time. What people don’t think about is what will happen if my baby comes earlier than planned? What will happen if my baby isn’t developed enough to go home from the hospital right away like we are planning? There are several things that can be factored into why a baby may need to stay long in the hospital before going home. They could have been born premature, they could be jaundice or they could just not have developed enough lungs to be able to breathe on their own. What parents tend to not consider is the fact that this may happen. I know I didn’t think it would happen to me or my unborn baby but it did. I went into labor five weeks early and delivered an underdeveloped baby boy that had to be transferred hospitals and have an extended stay in the NICU. This leads me to the question: What can I expect having a baby in the NICU?
How to Get Informed: Read These Resources
- Colella-Santos, Maria Francisca, et al. “Newborn Hearing Screening And Early Diagnostic In The NICU.” Biomed Research International (2014): 1-11. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 Mar. 2015.
This article talks about how babies that stay in the NICU have a higher chance of having hearing loss compared to those babies who were born at full term and did not need an extended stay in the hospital. The hearing screen helps doctors determine if there is hearing loss or if that baby is more likely to develop hearing loss. Doctors did the hearing screens on babies that stayed in the NICU for longer than 48 hours as they were more likely to have hearing problems.
- Kenney-Lau, Mildred M. “A Guide For Supporting NICU Graduates And Their Families In Early Development.” Pediatric Nursing1 (2014): 47-46. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
This book is used to explain to parents what they can expect once their baby graduates from the NICU. It goes over the basic care guidelines and also what to expect developmentally because NICU babies develop at a different rate than babies that were born full term. The book also goes over real life cases of babies and has quotes from the parents of those babies.
- Wigert, Helena, Michaela Dellenmark Blom, and Kristina Bry. “Parents? experiences of communication with neonatal intensive-care unit staff: an interview study.” BMC Pediatrics 14 (2014): 3. Academic OneFile. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. Wigert, Helena, Michaela Dellenmark Blom, and Kristina Bry. “Parents? experiences of communication with neonatal intensive-care unit staff: an interview study.” BMC Pediatrics 14 (2014): 3. Academic OneFile. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.
This article gives lots of background information how what to expect communication wise from the nurses and doctors in the NICU. They interview some parents about their experience of communications with the nurses and doctors. Also talked about in this article is how much stress it is on a parent to have a baby in the NICU. It is stressful because the parents don’t get to stay there all the time with their baby so good communication between them and the nurses and doctors are even more important.
How to Get Involved
As a community everything is better when we work together. If you are wanting to get involved one thing I would recommend is calling a local hospital or community service place and finding out what they need help with. My middle child, my oldest son, was born five weeks early and needed to stay in the NICU for 10 days before he could go home with us. His lungs were not developed all the way and he needed a little extra help breathing to start off with. While he was staying there all of the tiny babies were stuck wearing newborn size hats because the hospital did not have small enough ones for the premature babies. All of the babies were swimming in the hats that the hospital provided for them. With this in mind I put my hobby of crocheting and knitting to work by crocheting small enough hats for the babies that were staying in the NICU. I am wanting to make a few more hats before I go drop off the hats I have made for them. All of this making of hats has made me feel extremely lucky to be able to provide several babies that haven’t had a good start to life with something that is truly their own.