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Leaving baby in the NICU?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
We knew baby would need to be in the NICU for 3-4 weeks after birth. He had surgery yesterday to fix his intestines and it went well. He is jaundice and is under the bili lights and on a bili blanket. They let us hold him for about an hour a few times a day, but no more right now because of the bili lights.

I'm dead tired. There is no room at the Ronald McDonald House yet so I can stay in a parent room at the NICU, but can't leave stuff in there during the day. So I'm hauling stuff back and forth and all around - after being on bedrest for three months. Hubby is back at work. DS, my four year old, is missing me terribly. I want to sleep in my own bed and shower in my own shower.

NEVER did we even contemplate leaving baby here alone (at least in the city alone) as we live about an hour away. But part of me is thinking of going home tonight and coming back in the morning. But then I feel guilty, baby would be so far away!

What to do?? I just want this over with and baby home with us!!
post #2 of 19
I remember that time well. It was awful and then it was over. I was so sore and miserable and hurting. How long will your baby be in the NICU?

I know you can't imagine leaving a baby in the NICU, and neither could I, so I didn't... But, I didn't have another child at home, missing me terribly. In your situation, I think I would go home, take a shower, a longish nap with my son, reconnect with real life and then go back up to the NICU. When you need a break, you should take one. Is there someone who can sit with the baby while you're at home?

Huge, comforting hugs for you. I remember those moments so clearly.
post #3 of 19
Mama, sounds like you need to get some rest. Go home for the night. You can call the NICU as often as you want and ask for a status update.

Could DH possibly spend a few hours in the NICU tonight? Yes, he will be tired tomorrow, but then you would know that someone was there for at least a few hours. Does the NICU allow anyone else to be there? Could a grandparent sit with baby for a few hours tonight?

You will feel MUCH better when you've had a few hours of sleep in your own bed.
post #4 of 19
mama.

When dd1 was in nicu we lived just around the corner. Once I had a good pump at home I would walk home everyday about midnight and go back about 7AM. Ds1 was almost 2 and he was with a friend during the day until my mom could get to town a few days later. (dd was a premie, my mom was on vacation, we lived overseas) We all do our best but I needed some sleep to be of any use at all.
post #5 of 19
big hugs mama. thankfully we only had to spend a fwe nights in a hotel be4 we were able to get into the rm house, and then i still didnt stay there and rest as much as i probably should have. perhaps if i would have listened and taken it easy i would have not kept having labile bps even now still at 6 wks pp (i am not saying leave baby erios, i'm saying do what will help u get the most rest. we didnt have a parent room i could stay in at tiether hosp, once we got him here to the local hosp there was a room i used most of the time (the "bonding" room) but if someone else needed it to pump etc i couldnt be in there, and there was no room to lay down or anything- just a soft chair, a hard chair, a sink, a tv, and room for the baby's bassinette thing. i'd stay ther during the day pumpoing round the clock then come back here to the inlaws home (we're staying with them til we get back on our feet financially and get thigns fixed at our home ot make it liveable and safe again (mold problem, flooring needs repaired etc+ it is a complete mess from when i wa son bedrest so long and neither hub nor i was home enough to clean uo since dh was always having to take me to an appointment somewhere the times he was off.) anyways, all that to say i'd go home and come back the next day since you do have anothe kidod to take care of, and you need your rest too,.
post #6 of 19
I guess I'm in the minority here. My son was born at 30 weeks with little to no warning. I didn't spend all day at the hospital with him. I had to go home to get the house ready for him. We didn't have much done because we thought we had more time. We would visit him everyday and spend time with him and I hated leaving, but I knew I had to ready myself and prepare for when he comes home. I knew the best thing for him to do was rest in the NICU and get as much sleep as possible and the best thing for my milk was to rest and reduce the stress as much as possible. We lived about 45 mins. away and I hated leaving, but he was in the best care. I called for updates, and thankfully, there really weren't any. I just kept thinking I need to rest and prepare for him.

You can't feel guilty for decisions you make. He is where he needs to be and doing what he needs to do. There is no point is beating yourself up for needing to take some time to recharge and relax. One of the things that helped me leave him was a cuddly the NICU gave us. We would sleep with it and rub our scent on it. When we visited we would leave it with him so he had our scent even when we weren't around.

Everything will work out.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by the2amigos View Post
NEVER did we even contemplate leaving baby here alone (at least in the city alone) as we live about an hour away. But part of me is thinking of going home tonight and coming back in the morning. But then I feel guilty, baby would be so far away!

What to do?? I just want this over with and baby home with us!!
mama. Do not feel bad about going home. Your LO is in good hands and you both need your rest.

When DD was born the most I could do was 2 4-hour visits with a nap in between. Huz took a 3rd shift in the evening by himself. Could your Huz spend some time there while you're home at night? Could you stick a stuffed animal in your bra for a while and then leave it in his box?

Go home and get some sleep!
post #8 of 19
We lived about half an hour away from DD's NICU, and I went home every night. I stayed at the hospital from 8 am until 8 pm.

I would seriously consider spending a night (or a few nights) at home. As long as you're set up with a pump (if you're pumping) then you should be fine. Your baby will also be fine - he knows you're there for him.

Best of luck.
post #9 of 19
I JUST went through the same thing. I had my second prem baby 3 weeks ago. She had to be in the NICU for 2 weeks( not as long as my 1st thank goodness). But it was so hard for me to leave her every night. But I have a 2 year old at home who needs me too. I felt so torn between being in the NICU with her or at home with my boy. It was so hard on my 2 year old. It has been him and I every day since he was born. The most time apart from me was maybe 3 hours. When I would leave in the evenings to go back to the hospital for another feeding he would cry at the door " No MOMMY NO MOMMY' It was a sound and look of disappointment from him that I will never forget, EVER!!!...So one day I chose to have the NICU nurses feed her from the bottle instead of breast so I could spend the day with my son. As I saw it he knew I was not there and she had no idea if I was there or not. It was a hard decision but I had to make it for both my son and myself. We are all home safe and sound with no ill effects on her for me not being there 24/7 with her. You need to go home, be it for 1 night. Re group, be with your other kids and rest. I know no matter what you will feel guilt but you also will realise it won't hurt them. They are in the NICU, one of the safest places for them to be. 24 hour care. Hugs and be strong it will end soon!!!.....
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies!! I didn't go home, but they did get us into a Marriott Residence Inn...a FREE room with full kitchen (including dishwasher!), living room and bedroom. So DS1 stayed with me there last night and we went out for supper. It was great to snuggle with him and have some down time. I'm trying to get over feeling guilty not being with DS2 all.the.time. It isn't realistic for 4 weeks when I have another LO.

Pumping is going great!! : So that is another highlight of my last day or two!

In the future I'll stay at a Marriott hotel just because of this nice benefit they provide to families in need (even though likely they get a write off).
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by princess_tre View Post
I guess I'm in the minority here. My son was born at 30 weeks with little to no warning. I didn't spend all day at the hospital with him. I had to go home to get the house ready for him. We didn't have much done because we thought we had more time. We would visit him everyday and spend time with him and I hated leaving, but I knew I had to ready myself and prepare for when he comes home. I knew the best thing for him to do was rest in the NICU and get as much sleep as possible and the best thing for my milk was to rest and reduce the stress as much as possible. We lived about 45 mins. away and I hated leaving, but he was in the best care. I called for updates, and thankfully, there really weren't any. I just kept thinking I need to rest and prepare for him.

You can't feel guilty for decisions you make. He is where he needs to be and doing what he needs to do. There is no point is beating yourself up for needing to take some time to recharge and relax. One of the things that helped me leave him was a cuddly the NICU gave us. We would sleep with it and rub our scent on it. When we visited we would leave it with him so he had our scent even when we weren't around.

Everything will work out.
I was the same way. I knew that getting as much rest as I could was very important for my recovery, as my blood pressure was still high. I spent a lot of time in the NICU, but the chairs were very uncomfortable to sit in all day, and most of the 6 weeks DS was there, I could only hold him during feeding times, so being there all day was extremely stressful for me, especially with all the apnea and bradycardias he had.
post #12 of 19
I didn't spend every minute of every day in the NICU, either. My girls were there for 9 weeks, and we lived 25 minutes away. We would do what we had to do around the house in the mornings, and then go to the NICU at or just after lunch, and stay there until nearly midnight most days. Then go home and repeat. We couldn't hold them the entire time we were there (and not at all for the first few weeks) and it was just exhausting. It felt awful to leave each day, but we did. I called for updates when I woke up at night to pump and first thing in the morning.

I think if you start beating yourself up for not spending every waking minute in the hospital, you're setting an impossible standard and you're going to end up in a pretty rough place.
post #13 of 19
When I had MAggie, my dd1 Liz was 3 1/2. She was fine with her grandparents etc, but while at the nicu, I felt guilty for leaving her and while home, I so missed my baby at the nicu.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by OGirlieMama View Post
I didn't spend every minute of every day in the NICU, either. My girls were there for 9 weeks, and we lived 25 minutes away. We would do what we had to do around the house in the mornings, and then go to the NICU at or just after lunch, and stay there until nearly midnight most days. Then go home and repeat. We couldn't hold them the entire time we were there (and not at all for the first few weeks) and it was just exhausting. It felt awful to leave each day, but we did. I called for updates when I woke up at night to pump and first thing in the morning.

I think if you start beating yourself up for not spending every waking minute in the hospital, you're setting an impossible standard and you're going to end up in a pretty rough place.
This is what I did. I'd get there in time for the 3:00 feeding and leave around 11 or 12 at night. I'd get some great sleep in my own bed (snuggling with my cats b/c we didn't have other children and dh was in Iraq), get up around 10 the next morning and do it all over again.

Don't wear yourself out. There is nothing wrong with going home.
post #15 of 19
When JT was in the NICU, I went home everynight. We have 3 other children and I needed to be with them too. Our NICU would call us in the middle of the night if they needed to so I didn't really worry about not being there.

Take care of yourself mama, so you will be rested and ready to take care of that sweet baby when its time to go home.
post #16 of 19
I too had other children at home. My baby was only there nine days and DH was able to take off the whole time, thankfully. I went up in the mornings and then went home in the afternoons. DH was back and forth also. When you have multiple kids, your time is divided, always. It's okay to not be there all the time- your other kiddo needs you too. It's hard, because you always think of and miss the one you are not with! Your oldest will understand on some level and so will the baby.

Is there a trusted, loving adult who can watch your oldest? Maybe even a college student? Perhaps you can work out some sort of sced, where someone else watches him while you are at the NICU part of the day and then you are home the rest of the day. We really tried to give our oldest two time when both Mommy and Daddy were home, like the evening meal together.

Remember to take care of your health because if you get sick, you can't go to the NICU and it's hard to take care of your other kiddos too.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by the2amigos View Post
Thanks for all the replies!! I didn't go home, but they did get us into a Marriott Residence Inn...a FREE room with full kitchen (including dishwasher!), living room and bedroom. So DS1 stayed with me there last night and we went out for supper. It was great to snuggle with him and have some down time. I'm trying to get over feeling guilty not being with DS2 all.the.time. It isn't realistic for 4 weeks when I have another LO.

Pumping is going great!! : So that is another highlight of my last day or two!

In the future I'll stay at a Marriott hotel just because of this nice benefit they provide to families in need (even though likely they get a write off).
Mama, that is AWESOME! How lucky that you have that available to you. And congrats on the pumping.
post #18 of 19
We left our baby sometimes during the night. It was hard, but we had children at home and like you I needed to recover after many months of bed rest. I had a pump and home and I would still wake up to pump every 3-4 hours. I decided to go home in the first weeks before I could begin breastfeeding our son (born at 31 weeks) because I knew that once he was ready to breastfeed (33 weeks in our case), I would need to be at the hospital more or less around the clock.

I know it's hard, but it's okay to leave. Give the nurses your cell phone or home phone number and tell them to call anytime. If you wake up in the middle of the night, call and check in. It's okay to go sleep at home...it does not make you a bad mom. It's important for you to recover so you are ready to bring your baby home soon.
post #19 of 19
I know its hard but at least you are spending most of your time there. Take a break, get some rest. I'm sure the NICU staff will keep him comfy.

I had to be gone all but 4 hours a day. I had 3 kids at home, my then husband was working all day, and we couldn't afford a sitter. As such, I'd wait until he got home, go to the hospital until about 11 at night and then head home. I couldnt sleep at all in the hospital or I would've stayed. It tore me up so much, especially once he started getting more aware and awake. But, once he came home, there was no issue with bonding or anything. I just cried...a lot...before then.
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