Thursday, September 19, 2013

NICU Nurses: Don't Say This

When Vera was born, many of her nurses were "old timers".  They had been in neonatal care since it's inception.  They watched viability age decrease over the years.  They worked shift by shift where technology kept growing and helping premature and very sick infants survive at greater rates.  That must be an awesome thing to reflect upon in a career.

But, please, NICU nurses, please don't tell a mom of a new preemie baby that when you started your career that her baby would not have survived when you started in the field.  Don't say, "We would just provide comfort measures for a baby of this gestation age."  Don't reflect that it was awful watching a 31 weeker back in the day struggle with breathing in his or her few hours of life, or if they managed to survive the respiratory distress syndrome how disabled they'd be.

None of that is helpful to the mom who is looking at her 31 week newborn, hooked up to CPAP to survive, swollen, jaundiced, and getting poked with multiple needles and heel sticks.  She doesn't know how her own infant will do, what long standing effects they will be faced with, or whether her infant will come out healthy and unscathed from such a traumatic event.  To know that her infant would have been left to die in another time of your career is fucking awful.

Let me repeat: It's fucking awful.

Because when it was said to me, I stewed over this for days, with the worst kind of scenario going on in my head, visualizing my little baby struggle for breath and dying.  Because what I was seeing in the present was an infant struggling to breathe despite having all the high tech help possible.  How could it possibly be any worse?  Those words just make it seem that whatever I might be feeling now, it is not worthy of my present day fear.  Because, you know, it could be worse.  And really, I couldn't handle worse.

And, if you want to know how much these sorts of things could effect the mom of a premature infant?  Vera is now a healthy, thriving 2 year old.  I'm still bothered by those words.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! It means a lot you found me and felt it worthy enough to take a few moments to share your thoughts. Spam will not be posted, but feel free to link to your blog or related website.