Our NICU was great. 24 hour visiting, max 2 people at a time, one of whom had to be a parent. No gowns, just hand scrubbing. We were encouraged to be there for doctors rounds. There were 2 'quiet' hours a day, during shift changes when you were not allowed in there, but even that was flexible if the need arose. Ellie was Christened during a quiet hour.
We were encouraged to containment hold Ellie from the 2nd day (she was stable from the start), and by day 6 Ellie had her first cuddles with both of us. After that we had lots of 'kangaroo care' and were shown how to lift her out of the incubator for that. We always had a nurse to help us with the monitor wires etc, but we lifted Ellie out from about 10 days old. We changed nappies and topped and tailed her from less than 1wk old. The attitude was that Ellie was our baby and we should do as much as possible for her. We also tubefed her with assistance. We were also encourage to hold Ellie after the nurses had done the 'nasty' things to her, so she knew we only did 'nice' things!
When Ellie was taken ill they were wonderful, and we were given a room to stay in, with meals provided (not that we were interested in eating). The doctors and nurses were so caring, and they even looked after us after Ellie died at 5am. Ellie's nurse was assigned to us for the day, and we were able to stay in the room at the hospital until we were ready to leave. They took photos for us, and even gave us a disposable camera so we could take photos of our own.
The strange thing about this experience is that I was dreading going to this hospital. I had moved house 3 years previously but had not changed my Dr as I worked 30 miles from home and it was actually easier to get to a DR closer to work. The hospital who looked after most of my antenatal care was in an affluent area and the one where I actually had Ellie was in a slightly 'rough' area. I am soooo grateful that Ellie wasnt born at the first one, I have since discovered that we would have been separated immediately due to lack of NICU beds in the 'affluent' area!
DD Eleanor Susan (Ellie)
born at 27wks severe PE
24 July 03 - 20 August 03