The NICU

March 5, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (1)

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can be a scary place.  After Amy gave birth we didn’t get to see our boys for a few hours.  Alex was having real difficulty breathing and Danny was really small.  When we finally got to go in, it was a little much.

Alex on a ventilator

That sight made us feel helpless, sad and worried.  We tried to comfort Alex, but stroking his legs was just getting him more worked up.  Thankfully, the amazing staff at the NICU gave me the first of many helpful tips.  Once I squeezed Alex’s hips and gently rocked him, he calmed right down.  Newborn babies want to feel the familiar security and tightness of the womb.

The NICU has a lot of equipment and machines that go *ping*, but the doctors and nurses take the time to calm the parents and explain what is going on and what each device does.  Otherwise, a parent might start to panic when a bell goes off and one’s baby is in something like this:

Danny under Bili lights in an isolette

or this:

Alex on a c-pap

These are all pretty standard.  The blue lights fight jaundice – an elevated bilireuben (red blood cell count) that causes the baby to turn yellow.  The c-pap is used to create a positive lung pressure so baby can breathe easier.  Alex really did not like the c-pap.  The isolette helps control temperature and exposure to infection.  They also have warming beds which are open cribs with a heating element above blowing warm air down on baby.  It’s the same concept as the french fry warmer at McDonald’s.

The babies’ respiration, heart rate and blood oxygen levels are constantly monitored and the kids have leads attached to their chests, back and feet.  Sometimes they have an IV.  Sometimes a nasal cannula for oxygen flow.  Usually a NG tube up their nose for feeding.  Often baby pulls out one or all of these.  Alex went through five or six IVs.

In our case, the NICU is harder on the parents than the children.  The boys are improving all the time.  Amy and I are learning how to care for them, feed them, bathe them, etc, in a relatively consequence-free environment.

We cannot possibly convey the extent of our gratitude to all the nurses and doctors in the NICU who made this situation as comfortable as possible for the boys and us.  Thanks for letting us spend so much time underfoot and for teaching us so much.  Thank you most of all for the wonderful care you gave our boys.

Alex (left) & Danny


One Response to “The NICU”

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  1. Comment by Kendra — March 20, 2010 at 5:36 pm  

    Loving the blog!!!! Thanks for letting me come to see you guys Friday. So proud of you and for you both!!!! Keira can’t wait to see her new cousins!!!