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#1 of 8 Old 06-14-2010, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I am posting this here as I have never had PPD with my other two and I am chalking all this weepiness up to having a baby in NICU and being away from my family.

How much did you all cry and how long did it go on for? I don't cry all day or anything but I do break down frequently. Especially if I am leaving the hospital or my other children. Then I break down if I think about how my DD must be feeling not having me all the time. Or when I am in one place and start thinking about the child/ren that aren't with me. I also cry when my DH leaves. How long will this go on? Is this normal?

How do you bond with your baby when the nurses don't want you to hold him except twice a day? They don't want me to "tire him out". The Dr's are saying try to nurse him at every other feeding but the nurses are saying "You dont want to push him, it will do no good. He needs rest and to conserve his calories". Well, him laying on me or in that isolet... is there really that big of a difference? Then they throw the "He can't keep his body temp up, so he needs to be in the controlled environment." SO, I took his temp and then got him out. Kangarooed him for 45 min to an hour then put him back and took his temp and it was the same the first time and then .2 degrees lower the second time. So, really that is not a great argument. Why are these nurses so territorial over MY baby. Why do i feel like he isn't even mine? Perhaps its because I have to ask to do everything. I am tired of hearing them all say "It makes is *so* much easier when parents cooperate and don't have the thats my baby attitude and do whatever they want." I just want to take my little guy home and I can't do that until he feeds on his own... how can he eat on his own if they wont let us try regularly? Plus he sleeps a lot and when he is sleeping that is "no touch baby" time... I am ready to pull my hair out!

I am still trying to figure out how to care for my baby in the way I feel best but not to step on the toes of the nurses... I hate confrontation and it would be a hotter hell here if they all hated me. Maybe that is faulty thinking on part. I just dont know what is the right thing to do. This whole situation is so messed up and hard, I want it to be a thing of the past but I know I still have a good 2 or 3 more weeks a head of us. Especially with their 'no touching baby rules'.

They are also talking about fortifying my breast milk so it has more calories. I though my breast milk (especially since he was preterm) has the calories needed. Any thoughts and feeling on this? On one hand I just want to take my little guy home but on the other mixing stuff with my breast milk dont sound like a fabulous idea.

A wife to A, unschoolen mom to C (7), T (3) & little A (9 months).
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#2 of 8 Old 06-14-2010, 10:26 AM
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How early was babe? If the doctor is saying it's okay to hold and nurse, have him write that in an order for his chart so the nurses HAVE to obey it. And honestly, if you're comfortable with the wires and tubes (if there are any), just take him out and hold him. It's YOUR baby, not theirs. My first was born at 31 weeks, and once he was off the respirator/CPAP and bili lights I just up and took him out whenever I felt like it without asking for permission. Talk to the doctors, tell them what's going on, and see if they'll go to bat for you. But you may just end up having to suck it up and piss off the nurses a little bit. And if you find that there are certain nurses that you clash with, definitely talk to the doctor or the nursing supervisor and ask that they not be assigned to your son.

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#3 of 8 Old 06-14-2010, 06:42 PM
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oh mama! i could have written that exact post 3 months ago.

first, this isn't PPD. this is the totally normal post birth hormone stew that every mom feels, except that in your case, you do have lots to be sad about. cry as much as you need to. your milk is also probably still coming in right now... i'm pretty sure i spent my baby's entire NICU stay in tears at some point in the day! i cried while holding her, i cried when the nurses talked to me, i cried while trying to sleep on that terrible fold out cot in my room, i cried when i had to leave. so yeah, totally normal.

i feel you on the b**chy nurses too. OMG i wanted to slap about half of them. i don't think they do it on purpose, but i do think they don't always really think about what it would be like if a bunch of random strangers took charge of their kids and started telling them what to do. kangaroo care is very very important, but i also had some nurses telling me it wasn't good for them.

now, being manhandled and fussed with isn't that great for a preemie because their nervous systems are so immature, but laying nice and warm on mama's tummy can't be bad. i used to take in my plush bathrobe and put her against my skin with my hospital gown (i usually changed out of street clothes so i could pump easily) and robe over top. she was always toasty warm and never had any decels or anything while lying on me. just try not to move him around too much or stroke him a lot... think about what the womb environment would be like in terms of sensation and try to copy it.

i think you just have to try to ignore the nurses a bit, and follow your gut. this situation is not going to be perfect, you just need to get through it as best you can until you can go home. i also really worried about what the nurses were telling me to do, but once i saw their routines and felt a bit more comfortable, i just took charge of her care. i never asked before taking her out and towards the end, usually made my own decisions about when to feed and charge her. but you're a bit far from that i think. but hold that baby! it'll make you feel a million times better.
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#4 of 8 Old 06-15-2010, 02:32 PM
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Once my ds was fairly stable (after about the 34-ish week point), I just took him out whenever I wanted. But, on that same token, I knew that there were times that he just needed the quiet, dark, stillness of the isolette. I'd take him out 2-3 times and hold him for about an hour each time (I generally was at the NICU from 2 pm to 12 am). None of the nurses ever said anything to me.

Eating by mouth is really a big calorie burner for wee babies, so I understand them trying to work that into his life little by little. I think we started doing nutrative feeds in his 34th or 35th week and we started at once a day.

As far as the fortification goes, I let them. I just felt like his body was working so hard to catch up that the extra calories would only help that. Not to mention that, depending on gestation at birth, some need more nutrients/minerals that breastmilk can give (even the super powered preemie breastmilk).

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#5 of 8 Old 06-15-2010, 02:55 PM
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It would help to know how old your babe is, and how early. But that's kind of for specifics.

In terms of the crying - I'm not sold on "it isn't PPD, it's just normal post-partum stuff" thing. If it's making your life more difficult, get help with it now. Mothers of premature babies frequently suffer from depression and anxiety, which is why NICUs so often have social workers on staff. When my daughter was in the NICU, they were able to send a counselor to sit with me by her crib and talk to me. It really helped. I would ask the staff on the unit what resources there are.

Second - oh honey, I could come slap your nurses for you. Really. It is your baby. You should be taking some kind of possession. DON'T BE AFRAID TO STEP ON THEIR TOES!!! I agree with the suggestion that you talk to the neonatalogist in charge of your son's case and get orders written into his chart regarding holding. I will warn you that some NICUs leave these decisions up to the nurses, in which case, you want to find the nurses most up-to-date on and in favor of kangaroo care and recruit them to your case. The process of going from isolette to arms and back again is exhausting to babies, but being in your arms is good for the babe. You don't want to be taking him out and putting him back all the time, you want nice, long stretches in the recliner chair. (And if your son is on bili lights, or a respirator, they're right to limit his time out. If not, full speed ahead with kangarooing.) If the doctor's advise nursing at every other feeding, that is a pretty aggressive schedule for a preemie (we started off at once a day), but absolutely get it written in his chart and try it. They can always top him off via gavage tube.

My daughter was born at 32 weeks, and while she was in the isolette, they encouraged us to lay our hands on her - open the port holes, and cup the top of her head and her legs and feet with our hands. You want the touch to be gentle, but steady. No stroking, because that does upset the baby at this stage. Just hold. You should be able to do that even if your son is asleep.

I would encourage you to fortify breast milk. Most babies spend the last trimester building up stores of fat, and preemies don't get the chance. The more fat they can layer on, the easier time they have regulating body temperatures, so we do try to get as many calories into them as possible. We supplemented until DD had been out of the womb for about three months, and then we were able to stop. Some people carry on with it longer.

I know this is hard, mama. Hang in there - it will get better.
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#6 of 8 Old 06-16-2010, 02:13 PM
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I had a 32-weeker in NICU, except in Brazil so everything was in Portuguese and I couldn't really speak with the nurses!! I agree with everything everyone else said. Maybe you could find some info on Kangaroo Care to give to the nursing staff? But having a baby in the NICU is hard. You may be experiencing PPD as it's very, very common, but you're also just in a really emotionally difficult situation--either way, it is important to take care of yourself. The days my baby spent in the NICU were the hardest days of my life so far. Hugs to you and your sweet little baby. (And fight, Mama, fight!)

Tamara: Aspiring doula, partner to Brazilian musician, mom to THREE GIRLIES!
(4/01, 6/07, & 12/09)
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#7 of 8 Old 06-24-2010, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry I haven't responded sooner. Life has been crazy as you all can imagine and know. Things are much better here and I took you alls advice. It was kind of odd... once I owned him (so to speak) and let them know I was going to do what I was going to do, they all backed off and almost seemed relieved like they were thinking "great, she can do this." Most of my nurses have been really great and understanding, with the exception of the old school nurses. Thank you all so much.

Asher was born at 32 weeks. He is 35 weeks and 1 day as of today. He has really progressed quickly. Vent was removed at 24 hours, oxygen lasted about 12 hours after that. ABG removed in 3 days, temp probe removed at 6 days, stayed under the bili lights for 5 days, UV removed at one week, pulse oxygen sensor removed at 10 days. He started to bottle of breast milk 9 days ago and then started breastfeeding really well yesterday. He is now up to 3.13 oz and if he gains another oz tonight he will be moved into an open crib and see if he can maintain his body temperature and if he dies that and gains another oz, we will be able to go home Saturday!! I am trying not to get to excited but I am hopeful, we really really need to go home. Thanks for everything ladies, I am sure more questions are to come, actually I am getting ready to post one. You all are a great help.

A wife to A, unschoolen mom to C (7), T (3) & little A (9 months).
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#8 of 8 Old 07-18-2010, 08:44 AM
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I'm glad to hear your baby is doing so well. I can't really respond to your questions, as my DD was born at 27 weeks, and that is a whole different ball game compared to 32 weeks. It took us almost 2 months to get off the vent, even! I will say to not be surprised if you go home on the fortifyed breast milk -- we FINALLY came home last week and are still on it at 40 weeks gestation.

Also, don't be discouraged if it takes him a few days to get the hang of feeding -- and then again, when you come home, he'll probably relapse for a couple of days until he adjusts.

I really hope he was able to come home yesterday -- make SURE you stay inside and don't take him out for as long as possible. I can't tell you how many babies ended up back in the hospital after discharge because their parents just took them out and about like normal babies.

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