Your First Day in the NICU (What to Expect in the NICU 2)

Since every NICU and baby is different here is a general idea of how the first day will go. Shortly after you give birth (depending on gestation) your child will quickly be whisked off to the NICU with your significant other (or whoever your birthing partner is) in tow. You will be sent off to your room to recover. (I had a fever after birth so I couldn’t see him until 24 hours later.)

When you do see him, depending on gestation he might be hooked to a ventilator. There will be a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of cords. When I saw Bobby for the first time, there was way more cords than baby. The doctors will ask you questions. Try your hardest to remain calm, although easier said than done. You will be told that the first 24 to 48 hours is the toughest.

You can expect to find a lot of people in your child/children’s room throughout the day. They are just trying to get your child stable. DO NOT be afraid to ask questions. They know and understand that you are scared. Besides the occasional bad apple, most of the staff there are great people. You may even walk away with a friend afterwards.

Some of the emotions you might be feeling on this day are a lot of what you would expect. You will probably be confused that you could feel so many conflicting emotions at one time. Mine were all over the place, I think I felt every emotion that a person could in a matter of mere minutes. Embrace your feelings, accept them, but know that it was not your fault. (Trust me, guilt still runs supreme within me.)

So while this is not a definitive what will happen on your first day, this is about what you would expect. They will probably not run any tests yet, until they have made sure that your child is stable. Oh, if your baby is jaundiced, you might also find UV lights in their room. That about sums up your baby’s first day.

What was your first day like?

What is the NICU? (What to Expect in the NICU 1)

If this is your first time having a child in the NICU, or your first child in general, you might be wondering what does NICU stand for anyway? NICU stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Okay you might say, well i know what an ICU is, but what the heck is Neonatal? (Don’t worry I too liked to understand everything that I was hearing.) Neonatal simply means a baby. (Neo- new and natal- pertaining to birth or origin.) So now that we understand what the names mean lets understand what goes on in a NICU.

It is a common misconception that ONLY premature babies are in the NICU, I am here to tell you that even full term babies go in there. Here are list of reasons why a baby might spend some time in this wing of the hospital.

PREMATURITY– Of course, I had to start this list of with this one. Prematurity is the most common reason that a baby will be will the NICU.

ROUGH ENTRY TO WORLD- If there was any complications during the birth, they will often watch them for a while to make sure nothing is wrong with the baby as a result.

JAUNDICE- If your baby has a yellowish tint to their skin, called jaundice. They will send them to the NICU to put your baby under some UV lights. (more detail will be given in the NICU equipment post.)

GENERAL MEDICAL PROBLEMS– Any medical problem that your child may have at birth can prompt some time in the NICU.

The NICU is a place that makes emotions fly for parents. Ultimately, it is the best place for your child to be if there is a medical problem in the early days of their life.

What reason was/is your child in the NICU?

What to Expect in the NICU Series

Let us start at the beginning of our journey. Over the next few weeks we will be doing an A to Z, if you will, of everything NICU related. We will cover everything from your first day to when you might POSSIBLY come home. (SPOILER ALERT: It feels like FOREVER.) Not in the NICU anymore? Feel free to share this with others who are just starting their journey. Links to each article will be added here for easy access.

  1. What is the NICU?
  2. Your First Day in the NICU

Whats one thing you wish you had known more about when you started your journey?

Why prematurity?

You are probably wondering why write a blog on prematurity? Well, the story begins as any other seemingly normal pregnancy. Beautiful healthy baby boy, no complications, and a bright beautiful at least 38 week carry looked to be our future. On January 16, there was some spotting. I had some the week before which prompted an emergency room trip, two weeks in the hospital, and our baby boy coming at 25 weeks. I had two weeks of sitting in a hospital room to prepare myself for this. However, when I went to look for advice, blogs, or anything really, there was not much. What I did find was not neccesarily the brightest either. When I had my baby I was scared and underprepared. I mean I had heard about preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, but an incompetent cervix? That was something that was beyond my comprehension. Speaking of beyond comprehension, my sweet baby boy was 1lb and 6ozs. I was in a world of wonder about how someone so little could survive. Throw in all the medical jargon, procedures, diagnosis, and having to ask to hold my own baby, I felt like I was living someone else’s nightmare. I know what it is like to feel so helpless and lost. That’s where the idea of this blog came in. I made it my mission to learn what I can and to share my experiences so that others may be able to at least feel a little better when in that situation. (We all know we will never feel 100% okay when faced with that scenario.) I hope that through a little laughter and a bit of sarcasm, we can all get through our prematurity journey.

P.S.: It DOES NOT stop when you leave the hospital, even if your friends and (some) family seem to think it does.

I hope you enjoy, and I’m excited (even though I wish I wasn’t) to share this journey with you.