Saturday, July 11, 2009

How to reduce your stress while in the NICU --- These ten simple ways.

Your baby is sick. You're scared. There are machines everywhere and you don't know what is going on or what will happen. As a parent, this could possibly be one of the most stressful situations you will ever be in. How do you cope?

I found staying organized really helped reduce my stress so I could focus all my energy on Wyatt and family and not on distractions. Here are my top ten simple ways to reduce NICU stress:

  1. Bring a book. You will need something to give you a mental break.
  2. Pack a lunch, water and several snacks. Great for the budget and those long after hours.
  3. Have about $5 in change always on you for parking, vending machines, pay phones, etc. ...
  4. Wear very comfortable clothes. You'll be really thankful for this.
  5. Have an extra set of comfortable clothes with you. You'll be REALLY thankful for them when someone poops on your lap or throws up all down the front of you!
  6. Bring a cozy sweater or sweatshirt for yourself. NICUs can be rather cool.
  7. Bring an outfit or item for baby that represents the "normal world" for you both. I saw other moms and dads have cute little outfit on a hangers by baby's bed. I had a mobile and a stuffed giraffe for Wyatt.
  8. Have a pen and notebook with you. Information will be coming at you from everywhere and it will be overwhelming at times. Jotting down notes of what you are told helps you feel in control. Plus the journaling/recording aspect is comforting. It's an instant reminder of how far you've come when you need it at your fingertips.
  9. Have a phone tree in place. It's very nice to know you can call one person with updates and that person will pass them on to the next family member/friend on your list. Sometimes it gets really hard to say the same news over and over again to everyone when all you want to do is be by baby's side.
  10. Have a personal music player filled with whatever sounds that relax you the most.

Everyone has their own personal list and I really wish someone had given me some tips when I started going to the unit. Being uncomfortable or unprepared magnifies stress on an already full stress plate.

Hope this helps! What are/were some of your stress relievers?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's 3:00AM... Why Am I Still Up?

Have you ever experienced this? Wyatt decided to sleep howl again. Not sure why he is doing this, but it really is frustrating. No fair! I want to howl too, but I don't get to do the sleep part. UGH!

Once I got him calmed down, he wakes up and decides it is time to play. So here I am, sitting on the floor in the living room, surrounded by a sea of blocks, rolling a ball back and forth between us. He thinks I'm clapping 'coz he is doing such a fine job. HA! Mommy is clapping to keep herself awake. Silly silly boy. Crazy crazy mommy.

Wahhh, I want my bed!

Over tired. Wyatt is curled up in his cribby and I can't sleep. Ain't that just a peach. sigh

Saturday, July 4, 2009

New FVA Video About Antidepressants and PPHN

I found this very interesting. And frightening.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Soothie, Thumb Sucking And Pacifiers, Oh My!

What's your take on pacifiers or soothers?

There is conflicting emotions and information surrounding a parent's use of these little baby items. Do they ruin the shape of a baby's mouth and mean you will have a HUGE orthodontics bill in the future? Do they make a child stay "baby-like" longer and hinder his/her development socially? Are they portals for germs? Do they inhibit breast feeding because they confuse baby? I'm sure you've heard many more...

Most babies learn to suck their thumbs in the womb. Some, like my little Lila and Wyatt, do not. And that is very frustrating. Why? I had a heck of a time getting them to latch onto both bottles and breast. Lila, of course, had an easier time of it compared to Wyatt, but it still was very hard training her to eat. As I've mentioned before, we had to finger feed her in the NICU for about a week. That is were a thin sterile tube attached to a sterile beaker filled with milk is slipped into the mouth of an infant as they suck on a shielded finger. Some use a full surgical glove and some wear only one finger cut from a non latex glove. Lila and Wyatt looked a little strange doing this; they were such big babies in the NICU next to all the preemies! Lila took off like a house on fire after she got the hang of eating with her mouth. As you know, Wyatt found it rough.

I had to coax Wyatt to suck on a soother. Dr. S and Dr. B needed to see that before giving the green light to feed by mouth. It could be very dangerous if he didn't know what to do with the fluid in his mouth. If it went into his lungs it could drown him, start an infection, etc. . The doctors didn't want me to get my hopes up. Wyatt's brain scan was very bad. He may not have the cognitive ability for that basic motor skill. He may just lay, sleep and eat through a nasal feeding tube for the rest of his life. But I really wanted to try.

The soothers the NICU uses are a medical grade silicone called a soothie. These soothers are tough and could be sterilized over and over again without breakdown. They only had the little tiny purple ones for the preemies; they don't usually get big babies in the NICU. Wyatt has a high palette, and these tiny soothers didn't really work for him. I didn't want to use a regular latex soother or the commercial silicone ones. They cannot be continuously sterilized and after the staph infection scare with Wyatt, NOTHING but medical grade silicone was going into my baby's mouth! I ordered a couple off eBay like the ones in the picture. They are AWESOME.

Now, at almost 13 months, Wyatt's molars are pushing up and he is miserable. At night he will wake up and only breast feeding will get him back to sleep. He doesn't have a soother because I'm afraid he will chomp a piece off and choke. He's got all his other teeth and they are razor sharp. He's bit the top off several bottle nipples already. I've tried teething blankets, soft and quiet teething toys but they don't work for nighttime. Nothing but Momma will do.

So, back to the soother question. I just found out soothie makes a tough teething soother for toddlers called a Super Soothie and I am tempted. The idea of getting a full night's sleep makes me want to run out and buy a box of them.