Laurie, a mom from New Holland, shares the story of her son Luke’s birth and experience in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Women & Babies Hospital.
Luke was my third. I have two daughters as well, both delivered at Women & Babies, and both with pre-term labor. My perinatologist had been with me for my two other pregnancies and he was awesome—very encouraging.
Just prior to my due date, my water broke unexpectedly which required me to be hospitalized and placed on bed rest. Three days later, my doctor was concerned there was not enough fluid around Luke and decided to induce labor.
When Luke’s heart rate dropped, I was told I needed a C-section. I hadn’t had a C-section before, so that was all new to me. The doctor who delivered Luke was great. I also had some of the same nurses that were at my daughters’ births and that was really comforting.
In the NICU of Time
Luke stayed in the NICU for 36 days. When I was in the special care unit for moms, they told us exactly what was going to happen, that Luke would be well cared for, and that I should “leave the worrying to them.”
I appreciated the fact that they were straightforward with me and told me that Luke would not go home before he was 35 weeks gestation. In the NICU, the nurses were sensitive and understanding. Some days I would go in and stay for hours and just sit and talk with the nurses. The nurses explained to me about the importance of skin-to-skin contact for preemies, also known as Kangaroo Care
The first time I held him, they laid Luke on my chest. It was good for him and it was good for me too. He was so small, but we connected instantly. I’ll never forget those days. This hospital is fantastic, that’s all I can say.
A Personal Touch
I stayed in the hospital for four days after my delivery. I was emotionally drained just trying to figure out how I was going to juggle everything with two kids and now a baby in the NICU.
The nurses would come in to check on me and see how I was feeling, and offer encouragement and support. They provided more than just medical care. That went a long way—the human touch they displayed. You can’t teach that; it just happens.
Bonding with Their Baby Brother
What was really nice was that my girls were able to come to the NICU right after Luke was born and see their new brother. Everyone was so accommodating to our family. I would bring them back and the staff would have coloring books and activities for them and a blanket for them to play on. They even let the girls help give Luke a bath.
I truly felt that when we opened the door at Women & Babies on each visit, we were welcome—not just my husband and I, but our entire family. It really helped the girls bond with their brother before he came home a few weeks later.
Nursing a Newborn
The staff at Women & Babies are also very sensitive to the whole breastfeeding piece of the puzzle. They brought in a lactation consultant and she was great. She came in numerous times to help me out, and she was terrific because I didn’t have an easy time nursing Luke.
I think one of the things that people forget is that breastfeeding is not a piece of cake and every baby is different in how they take to it. So I really appreciated the extra help and expertise that was there for me at Women & Babies Hospital.
Close to the Staff
We got to know the staff really well at Women & Babies. My husband, Scott, would go in before work—as early as 4 am—and stay and hold Luke. He got to know the security guys as they let him in each morning.
And everyone knew me by name. I’d come by the nurses’ station, and they’d say, “Hi Mrs. G. How are you doing? Are your girls coming in today? What are they up to?”
They were really interested in me and my family, and didn’t just get right into the clinical details of Luke’s condition. It was just very comfortable in there.
In fact, I look forward to going back to the NICU with Luke so the nurses can see him now. Luke’s a year old and doing great! He’s right on target for where he should be. And I certainly credit some of that to the care he received at Women & Babies.