I'm in sort of a unique position, because I know already (I'm 22 weeks) that there's a good probability that my baby will be in the NICU. I have little c antibody isoimmunization, which can result in hemolytic disease and may also require baby to be delivered early if she shows signs of anemia. Even if she is born full-term, there's a good chance she'll need a transfusion or have severe jaundice. I'm trying to plan ahead to do what I can to minimize trauma to me and my baby, as well as DH and DS (2.5).
I will be giving birth at a hospital which has a Level III NICU. I also plan to meet with the neonatal doc(s) to discuss some of my concerns with them.
But what questions should I ask?? What do you wish you had known or could have done differently? Any suggestions on what not to do?
Married to my loving hubby, proud mama to Ethan (9/09) and Rowyn (7/12) and aspiring homesteader
Missing my twins, Owen and Sophia, born too soon, July 2011
I had a consult with a neonatal doc, which I found unhelpful. He wasn't very personable and just ran through a bunch of possible complications and statistics, which I wasn't in a place to deal with. I think the information that you find helpful really depends on your personality, so it's worth thinking about what you want before you meet with anyone. For some people all info is power, for me I really didn't want to think about complications that might or might not happen. It sounds like you already have specific questions, which is great-you might also want to make sure that you have someone else with you when you meet with the doc so that one of you can take notes.
Stuff I would ask:
1) How can you communicate with the doctors. In our NICU a lot of communication happened through the nurses, which was fine most of the time. Sometimes I felt like different nurses told me different things, or they didn't give a complete explanation. Also the nurses sometimes presented things as absolute policy, while the doctors were more willing to make exceptions. I could sit in on rounds for my baby or schedule a meeting with the doctors as I felt necessary.
2) I would ask to talk to the charge nurse or NICU social worker about the NICU policies-for example what is the visitation policy, how will they contact you if they need you, do they offer any extras or support services (we got 2 free parking passes), do they assign primary nurses, can you request a particular nurse.
3) Pumping and breastfeeding (if you plan to do so). Are they set up so that you can pump at bedside, where can you pump, will the LC work with you in the NICU, how do you get in touch with the LCs, when can you start practice breastfeeding.
4) We used donor blood in the NICU, but if that is something you are concerned about, you might ask if someone in the family can donate and how long the screening process will take.
Good luck, I hope that baby stays in as long as possible!
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