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...[}:)]
DH, Scott, 25
Maggie Lylas, 6/9/03, 29 weeks, severe pre-e