Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 15: 26 days of March of Dimes

In the NICU


  • In the NICU, your baby gets special medical care.
  • Get to know the NICU staff who take care of your baby.
  • Ask questions and get involved in your baby's care. 

Which babies need care in the NICU?

Many babies are admitted to NICUs. Here are some of the reasons:
Birth defects can include problems with the heart, body chemistry (metabolism) or structural systems of the newborn.

Becoming a parent in the NICU


You've had a premature or sick baby. If your baby was premature, most likely you are still reeling from the shock of your baby's arrival weeks or months before your due date. You may never have fully adjusted to being pregnant, much less being a new parent. You may feel distant from your baby--and the busy, hectic newborn intensive care unit (NICU) environment doesn't make it any easier. But this is an important time for you and your baby to get to know each other and for you to gradually take on your role as mom or dad.

Coping with the NICU roller coaster

For many families, a baby's NICU stay is like a roller coaster ride, with ups and downs, triumphs and setbacks. Of course, the parents are also along for the ride. The following tips can help you deal with your baby's ups and downs.
  • Give yourself permission to cry and feel overwhelmed. You may be concerned that if you let your feelings flow, you’ll never be able to pull yourself back together. But you will. Allow yourself to feel this release of emotion.
  • Establish a routine. Find a way to balance work, home life and visiting the hospital. Allow yourself to leave your baby's side when you are comfortable doing so. Your baby needs you, but it's also important to have time for yourself, with your partner and with your other children. Also take time to do things you enjoy, such as exercise. These restful breaks will help you find the strength to keep going.
  • Connect with other NICU parents. These parents share many of your feelings and struggles. Share your experiences, informally or in a support group. Ask NICU staff if there are graduate NICU parents with whom you can connect for support.
  • You also can connect with others who understand what you’re going through at the March of Dimes website, Share Your Story. This online community was created especially for families who have faced the frightening experience of having a baby born early or with a health condition. You can ask questions, participate in online chats, share your own story by creating a blog, and read about other babies with similar health challenges.
  • Explore your spiritual side. It might be helpful for you to reflect and lean on your personal spiritual perspective. You may find comfort speaking with a pastor, priest, rabbi, minister or imam. It is normal for this experience to challenge your religious and spiritual beliefs. In any case, remember that prayer, meditation or quiet reflection can help you find emotional strength and hope, and can guide you through this challenging time.
  • Keep a journal. Expressing your feelings on paper can help you cope with and move through them. A journal also strengthens your hope and patience, by reminding you how far you and your baby have come.
  • Vent your frustrations. If your baby has a setback, you may be plunged back into fear and anxiety. Voice your fears, and hope for the best.
  • Celebrate when you can. When your baby makes progress, dare to experience the joy.
  • Accept the support of others, however clumsy it may seem. Let people know how they can best help you.
  • Accept that you and your partner will react differently. Share your experiences and listen with empathy so that you can feel supported. 
source: http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/in-the-nicu.aspx


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