For those of you who have preemie experience, what do you wish you could have known ahead of starting your journey?
This list is going to sound awful, but bear with me, okay?
I wish I had known:
- That the original research on Kangaroo Care was done in situations where the "NICU" had nothing but blow by oxygen and antibiotics. Consequently, doctors in NICUs today in the developed world are unmoved by the citation. It turns out, in dire, third-world circumstances, kangaroo care improves preemie survival to a level that would cause a NICU in the U.S. to be shut down, if not burned to the ground.
- Despite this, the doctors and nurses were really incredibly supportive of kangarooing... once the baby was breathing reliably, and once I was well enough that they weren't scared I was going to pass out and drop her.
- Mom's recovery is as important as baby's.
- It is often possible to ask for staff you like to be on your baby's team, and for staff you don't like to not be there.
- It's okay to do a thing just because it makes you feel better. Sometimes it is vitally important to do a thing just because it makes you feel better.
- A lot of NICU nurses are big, squishy sentimentalists. They write out birthday cards for the babies in some NICUs. And laminate them. And pack them into a big folder and send them home with you on discharge. They can be convinced to update you on the baby in the middle of the night. Often, they can be convinced to text you baby pictures in the middle of the night.
- Don't bring precious baby clothes to the NICU. Everything gets washed by the hospital linen service. Stuff gets lost.