The NICU can be a very isolating and lonely place.
I am not saying you are really ever alone in the NICU. How could you be with all the nurses, doctors, specialists, social workers, general staff, lactation consultants, other parents, other preemies, etc. all around you. But even in a place so full of people, the NICU can be very lonely.
The best way to “fix” that is to find you a primary nurse that not only takes great care of your baby, but also of you. For those that have yet to learn what a primary nurse is, allow me to open your eyes.
The Primary Nurse is the one who is assigned to care for your child. They are the front lines of your baby’s care. They are there with your baby more than anyone- even you the parent. They know your kid as well as you do. They understand the difference between a post feeding brady and a “we better get help in here” brady. They know when your baby moves a little to the left it means they have gas, and a little to the right, they are hungry. This is the person who can tell the difference between a normal diaper and a “I better order an ultrasound” diaper. And that is just what they do for your baby.
Your Primary Nurse also knows you. They can tell when you are having a hard time and need a little extra attention. They know when you are worried and can calm you down. If you are lucky, they can tell when you need to go home and are comfortable enough with you to tell you to get out.
The Primary Nurse is, without a doubt, the most important person to find in the NICU.
I was blessed with possibly the best Primary Nurse ever. She was with me 4 days a week from 8-3pm. She had my sense of humor. She had my bluntness. She loved me and my son like no other. Without her I would have gone mad in the NICU. Instead, I thrived. I have Laura. Sam had Laura. Hell… we still have Auntie Laura.
There is so much advice people give when it comes to the NICU, but none is more important than telling you to find your Primary Nurse.
So, on this Neonatal Nurses Day I tell anyone who is listening to find your own Laura – and treat that nurse like the lifesaving superhero they are.