NICU Restrictions

Are you part of the NICU club? Do you have a child who is still struggling with the effects of being born too soon from preeclampsia? Share your concerns and stories here among parents who have been there.
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NICU Restrictions

Postby aimeejane » Tue Jan 20, 2004 04:01 pm

A post on the ER thread had me did our NICUs compare? I've been very surprised at the broad range of differences from hospital to hospital.

I think we were lucky; we seemed to be in one of the more understanding facilities. Maybe because it's a smaller hospital?

We delivered at a smaller Atlanta-area hospital (but with a Level IV NICU) - I loved it. There were no set visiting hours. One nurse said to me, "If you wake up needing to see your son at 3am, come on over." There were no restrictions on who could visit, either. Just two people at a time, one of whom had to be a parent. Even our chiropractor came to see Nicky! Obviously, we had to scrub up thoroughly, but we weren't required to wear gowns, and we only wore masks if we were sick. We were never shooed away from our child or asked to leave.

We had some communication issues when Kalen was in there [:(!], but for the most part it was a pretty positive experience, especially as a "home away from home" for the two months Nicky lived there.

Aimee - 28
Dh - 30
Ds Nicky - 3/24/00 (28 wks - eclampsia)
Ds Kalen - 7/10/03 (36 weeks - preeclampsia)

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby angelical » Tue Jan 20, 2004 05:06 pm

I think our experience was maybe "down the middle" of what I have heard of.

They had set visiting hours; the NICU was cleared during doctors rounds; and there was a max of 2 visitors (a parent could bring anyone; a grandparent could not 'bring visitors' but they could visit without a parent).

But we could talk freely with most of the nurses (a couple were, well, nevermind) and our resident in charge of Aaron. We only had to wear gowns when we were holding Aaron. We could call the NICU anytime, but they discouraged calls during shift changes.


Sharel & Kevin
Aaron - 28 weeker
Born 5/2/02 due to preeclampsia & HELLP

Our miracle boy is doing great!!

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby annegarrett » Tue Jan 20, 2004 05:42 pm

I remember when they tried to make my husband leave the room after my emergency C-section (AFTER he had watched them remove my internal organs and remove the baby) because there were too many people in the room. He got a little...shall we say...testy...and announced that he had just watched them "eviscerate" his wife and he thought he could handle a lousy BP check and he was not going anywhere. I think sometimes you just have to insist and stand your ground. I don't know--but that is a place to start. When they mention calling security--then maybe step aside. ;) I think you have every right to be there...I would at least attempt to assert that right.

Take care,

Anne Garrett
Executive Director
Preeclampsia Foundation

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby sarab » Tue Jan 20, 2004 06:17 pm

Aimee, it sounds like your NICU was a lot like ours. There were no set visiting hours (some nights I would go visit at 3:00am if I couldn't sleep), we never had to wear gowns for any reason, and anyone could visit so long as me or DH was with them. We weren't allowed to wear masks, their feeling was that if you are feeling sick enough to ask for a mask, then don't come. There was a half hour period in the morning and another at night when we all had to go out during the nurses shift changes, but we could stay during doctor's rounds, in fact they encouraged it. We were there during the summer, so I would imagine that there are tougher restrictions during the winter months.

I was very impressed with our NICU, I thought that everyone there was GREAT! It is a very large teaching hospital, so I expected it to be worse than it was. There are, on average, 50-55 babies there at once, but I never really felt "lost in the crowd". Too bad I can't say the same about MY care at the same hospital...[}:)]

Sara, 23
DH, Scott, 25
Maggie Lylas, 6/9/03, 29 weeks, severe pre-e

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby julie f » Tue Jan 20, 2004 06:20 pm

I think as far as NICU's go, we were lucky as well. The nurses and doctors were so compassionate and patient. Zach's doctor explained everything to me at least twice - once while I was on mag and more than once when I was off...

We were able to visit any hours except during shift change (one hour in the morning and one in the evening). Only two visitors at a time and one had to be a parent. They would take calls from us at all hours and, Zach's doctor asked to be paged with any questions/concerns we might have if he wasn't there at the time. He always responded immediately.

We weren't ever allowed to hold Zach until he was going to heaven, but the nurses always encouraged us to talk to him, sing to him or put our fingertips on his little hands. The night that he died, the nurse helped me change his little diaper and swaddle him and then I was finally able to hold him, my sweet angel.

I am so thankful for those nurses and his doctor. I can't imagine having to deal with uncompassionate or impatient people at a time like that.

Julie (26)
Zachary James, 7/22/03-7/27/03, born at 26wks - severe pe

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby bonnie » Tue Jan 20, 2004 06:32 pm

It's funny that you brought up this topic. DH and I NEVER watch ER, but were "flipping" through the channels and stopped when we realized it was a NICU. We watched for maybe a minute, but the scene was when the parents were there listening to the drs arguing about who was going to call whom/when, etc. We INSTANTLY said "hey, we couldn't stay during "rounds".

To answer the question:
1) we were required to scrub
2) we were required to don a gown
3) we could visit/call any time of day, except during "shift" changes which were 2 times a day. --I can't begin to say how many times I called in the middle of night as I sat in bed, pumping!
4) we could hold Yoni once he was stabilized (1st time was when he was 48 hours old) for a few minutes at a time
5) only 2 visitors at a time, and one needed to be a parent

I must say that our NICU was amazing too. I've decided that these (all NICUs, I guess) are some of the most patient doctors and nurses there are. They not only are dealing with the babies, but also with parents who are clearly upset about their babies being there, no matter what the reason (I guess our babies wouldn't be in a space that's costing thousands of dollars a day if they didn't need to be [;)]). I too must have asked the same question at least 3 or four times. Not once did they put off my questions.

My peri told my dh and I to go out for a nice dinner/movie while Yoni was in the NICU since "these are some of the most experienced and expensive babysitters there are". Of course, I felt too guilty to do it, but we did go for dinner a couple times between visiting him.

Yoni's ima

Yonatan 7/10/2002 (35 weeks PE)

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby angelkat » Tue Jan 20, 2004 08:12 pm

We were truly blessed to have a wonderful NICU. We could come and go as we wanted. We had the same Nurses (Primary Care Nursing) and we were ask to be there durning rounds as we were very much a part of the medical team caring for our daughter. We were TOLD to change diapers get feeds ready and do baths as Katlyne was our daughter not the Nurses and it was important for us to be a HUGE part of her life. They even had a support group for pumping mom's (A free lunch once a week just for support and chatting session). A 10 min phone card was given to us every day to make long distance phone calls, along with landry det to wash our clothes (since I lived close by I didn't use these services). They had small rooms for families to stay if a baby wasn't doing very well, besides having family waiting rooms with chairs that fold out to small single beds.

When it came time to make Katlyne's life decisions it was the Nurses that stood right along side of us, stood next to us when we took our daughter out side for the first time to see the sun light before going to be with Jesus. It was our primary care nurses that after we left the hospital for the last time took Katlyne back upstairs and took pictures of her as they knew we would one day want them. It was the staff of our NICU that came to Katlyne's memorial service and cried as much as we did as parents. I still see our nurses all the time as I am a part of the NICU parent support for new parents coming to the NICU>
(AS you can tell we had a wonderful NICU- just not a wonderful outcome but the only thing I would change if I could would have been the outcome).

Ben and I share Katlyne's tribute with the new residents that start in the NICU at times it can be hard but it's very important for them to know what a parent goes thru and also what it is like for a mom that has been thru PE and wonderful MAG.


Mommy to
Ky (11)
~i~ Katlyne(12/9/02-04/02/03) and little bud (Due 09/11/04)

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby cathyw » Tue Jan 20, 2004 08:45 pm

Our NICU was very strict. Only four people total could see the baby in the NICU. The names of the "chosen four" were written on the incubator. I understand the need for infection control etc (I am a bone marrow transplant RN) but this rule seemed a bit ridiculous to me. The other level III nursery in the area allows unlimited visitors. In my opinion, it is more important to spend time screening visitors for potential illness, controlling noise, making sure the babies are not stressed out etc.

My husband and I definitely loved a small handful of nurses but the majority were not that great (sad to say!). Some frightened me actually. I asked one nurse about the follow-up care our son would need after discharge and she repeatedly said that "we would be taking him to the vet--as in veterinarian--frequently and that the vet would be doing blah, blah, blah!!" When I questioned "vet?" she just laughed and said that she had a lot of dogs. Another nurse who was pregnant remarked to me how stressful it was to work in the NICU while pregnant. She kept having nightmares that she would have one of "these babies" etc. Although I understood where she was coming from, her comment was a little insensitive to say the least.

I always imagined that the NICU nurses would be a little more "warm and fuzzy" in their approach and that they were not. The very first time I went into the NICU to see my baby (two days after my son's birth and the lovely mag), my husband and I were literally yelled at for not calling down to the NICU first to say we were coming. We just stopped dead in our tracks and turned around to leave and then the nurse felt badly. It was totally traumatic!! This nurse actually became our favorite nurse. She must have just been stressed.

We were not allowed in the NICU during change of shift which occured three times per day and during the MD rounds. I never called the NICU because I did not really feel welcome to do that. We had to wash our hands well but not formally scrub. We were not required to wear gowns.

I am grateful for the care my son received and for his good health today but wished the staff was just a little more compassionate. We never gave this feedback to the NICU but my husband's co-worker who also had a son in the NICU wrote a letter suggesting that the staff be a little "nicer". Anyway, I'm not sure why I am rambling on and on, but I have been thinking about that place a lot lately since becoming pregnant with #2!! We will NOT be going to this hospital again and hopefully won't be experiencing another NICU....
Cathy 36
Johnny (born at 32.5 weeks, spent one month in NICU)
EDD #2 08-06-04

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby bhargavidd » Tue Jan 20, 2004 08:49 pm

I guess our NICU is pretty darn good too! Visiting hours are 24 hours, except for shift changes. We can call anytime too. We have to scrub up, but don't have to wear gowns. The only bad part is because it is flu/RSV season, only parents and grandparents can visit for now. I totally understand, though. The nurses are AWESOME. They are keeping us sane! I feel really safe leaving my little muffin there. I never thought I would! Thank God for the NICU!

Mommy to Karuna Sindhu, born 1 pound 3 ounces at 25w6d.

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Re : NICU Restrictions

Postby natan » Tue Jan 20, 2004 10:26 pm

There was alot I was not aware of at the NICU. (Of Course I had trouble paying attention).

For instance, nobody told us about a support group that gets together once a month. I found out from a friend of mine a year later that we could of been in the same support group.[:(!]

I think I needed more psychology support then anything. It was not really there. There were lots of rules my husband was annoyed by.(You can only hold him for 10 min, there was always somebody watching over his shoulder with the evil eye [}:)].

I don't have a mother, so I asked if my brother could come in from my side of family and they said no because we was not "a parent" or "grandparent". My brother still holds a grudge because they would not let him in to see Natan.

Although, I remember, one time I was breast feeding Natan and he still had trouble latching on because he was so small. His face turned blue and stopped moving while I was trying to feed him. He had to low of red blood count. I was so scared and confused, but the head nurse just said to me he is going to be fine. ( While they held that air bag over his mouth to help him breath). I didn't feel like they supported me very much during this incident. I was shocked and horrified, but they treated me like it was nothing to worry about?

We had to switch hospitals. While at NICU at Standford, I noticed that Natan was crying a lot. I didn't know for sure, but I new that there was something wrong, the nurse told me he was colicky (spell?). I insisted that the doctor check him and it turned out he had hernia in both groin areas. It bothered me that a nurse could not tell the difference between pain cry and colicky cry(spell ?). I was only a mother for three month and knew he needed help. [:(]

But he is fine now and I am thankful for that. I will never forget my experiences!![B)]


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