Hello, and welcome to Central. Having a baby in the NICU is an experience unlike any other. It's an experience that most people will never know. But if you're here, you're probably in the unfortunate position of having an infant separated from you while being admitted to the NICU, or knowing someone who does.
Welcome, and allow me to share my thoughts on why I created NICU Central.
To cover the topic of "having a baby in the NICU" is in many ways difficult, because the range of reasons for having a baby in the NICU is so vast: Sometimes babies are in the NICU for relatively simple issues such as jaundice, mild birth distress, blood sugar issues, or the like.
Many others have much more intense diagnoses such as extreme prematurity, heart conditions, genetic conditions, serious infections, drug withdrawal, birth trauma, neurologic conditions, and many more. Some conditions are temporary, short-term. Others are life-long.
How can you find common ground among NICU families, when your reasons for experiencing the NICU are so varied?
The world inside the NICU is so unique and so unifying, though, because of this simple fact: everyone here has a baby whom they wish was healthy and strong and home with them, but who instead is sick and separated from them. Because of this, every parent feels a certain level of loss, worry and grief.
The NICU is a universe unto itself, and here at NICU Central, we'll delve into a huge range of topics that many NICU parents will relate to - grief, breastfeeding struggles, trust-building with hospital staff, jealousy of healthier babies and "better" births, coping with set-backs, and many more. I also hope to point you to research that is relevant to what your infant is going through, as well as inspire you to become your infant's advocate.
My goals in beginning this journey into the world of the NICU are threefold:
1. Share insight from my experience as a NICU RN of 15 years - comfort, explanation, insight, tips & tricks for surviving the NICU. (I will not make any medical advice, this is not a place for answers for specific medical situations.)
2. Share the words and knowledge of others in the world of the NICU, whether by spotlighting useful blogs, sharing other families' stories, or linking to important research. NICU Central is a place to discover more resources, more support, more inspiration.
3. Create the potential, through connecting families and sharing ideas, for new ideas to be brought to light, for generating real and practical ideas about improving the overall experience of having a baby in the NICU.
I have spent over 15 years in the NICU, at several wonderful community hospitals. I have not worked in larger regional settings, and there is much I still have to learn. I'm here to tell you, and I'm sure I'll say it again, I am not an expert. I look to parents, other nurses, doctors, and therapists to continually learn about what is new, and what works well in NICU's around the world. And yet, I have spent 15 years in the NICU, and do have intimate knowledge of what the experience is like. And what I love to focus on is the parent's experience. I love teaching parents, and helping them get their new family off to the best start possible, given the circumstances.
So, whether you have a one week NICU hospitalization on your horizon, or your infant is facing life-threatening illness, or somewhere in between, I hope you'll find comfort here, some guidance, some camaraderie, some consolation, some laughs and support.
PS I am still an RN in practice, and with a family of my own and a job. Needless to say, I am not the blogger who can respond daily, post daily, as much as I wish I could. But I'll be putting my energy here, in the hopes it turns out to be a tremendously worthwhile site for everyone having a NICU experience.