NICU Journey Wishes–A Parenting Perspective

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 10 Things I want the NICU staff to know while my baby is in your care:

1. I need to be present. Please do not tell me to go home and rest. If I say I need to be here, then I need to be here. My heart is sleeping in that incubator, my hands are empty, and my head can only feel clear if I am by my baby’s bedside.

2. I am grieving. This is not what I had planned and dreamed about. My hopes for a healthy and natural delivery were crushed by the early arrival of my child. Please be patient and kind while I try to grasp what all this means, and while I mourn the loss of a normal pregnancy and delivery. This is supposed to be a happy time. I will get there but if I am not ready yet, please understand.

3. I feel lost. The NICU is somewhere I never expected to be and seeing my baby struggle is the hardest thing I have had to face as a parent. This so-called roller coaster ride is tough on me emotionally. Please be there for me if I need you. You may not know what to say and that’s okay. Just knowing that I have your support if I need it can make all the difference to me on the hard days.

4. I need to be part of my baby’s team. I may not be a medical professional, and this may be the first premature baby I have been around, but this is my preemie and I need to be included in the care and decision making on a daily basis. Please respect this important aspect and see my baby not only as your patient, but as a child that is loved beyond measure.

5. I will learn. I may not completely understand everything that is going on. If I don’t, teach me. I am willing to learn. I NEED to learn. Please take the time to help me understand what I need to know so that I can be the very best advocate for my baby, not only while in your care in the NICU, but what I need to know to meet my baby’s needs once we are discharged from the hospital.

 6. Let me be a parent. I know I may take more time to do the little things like change a diaper or take a temperature, but if you allow me to do these tasks for my baby, I will feel more connected and comfortable. Being able to participate and be present in these moments will be my memories, memories I will cherish for a lifetime. This may seem minimal to you, but it is important to me and my baby. Holding my baby is an essential aspect of our journey and kangaroo care is crucial for my baby’s development. Please help and encourage me to have this special bonding time with my baby whenever it is possible.

 7. Please be consistent. I understand that the NICU is has a vast majority of staff; from nurses with different backgrounds and philosophies, to doctors and therapists who I may only see from time to time, but if you can all get on the same page when it comes to the care of my baby, I won’t feel so lost and confused when it comes to the expectations and the goals for me and my child.

8. I need to trust you. I have handed over the most precious gift that I have been given, to you. I know that you are only human too, but I need to know that you will do everything in your power to make my baby well, to grow and to succeed. Please treat my child like they are one of your own and know that I will be forever grateful for the love and care you show while you work.

9. I have hope. I don’t really want to hear about statistics. They scare me. They cut the thread that ties my hopes to my dreams. I understand I need to know when things are bad, but please remember I also need to know when things are good. Please don’t just break the bad news to me but help me mend my heart with the happy stuff too.

10. I thank you. For every bit of what you do. For every aspect of what you give. For every day of yours you dedicate to my child. The NICU is tough and no parent wants to be stuck behind its doors, but I am happy that it exists, that you are here, and that you work hard every day not only to make my baby survive, but to thrive.




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Jul 25, 2013 19:53