Notes from meeting with NICU physician and nurse (tour)

Appointment with Dr. Eisenfeld, NICU physician

He described his role in all of this as the general practioner. He will evaluate Olivia and then call in whatever specialists we need. He was so nice and so soft spoken – I had a hard time hearing him and found myself leaning toward him a lot. Once I mentioned Olivia by name, he referred to her by name the rest of the meeting which was SO comforting to us. He did tell us that if Olivia does have this head disorder, it’s nothing that can’t wait – it would be dealt with at a later time and wouldn’t hold up the cardiac issues.

I asked him the following questions – answers are in italics.

  • Breastfeeding (BF): How will Olivia be fed if latching is an issue or if she is on a ventilator? If I’m not there to BF, will they bottle feed her Breastmilk? How will this affect her learning to BF? They will help facilitate BF – if she is on a ventilator they will feed her via tube or put the breast milk on her tongue to get her to take it. But they will work with me to get this to happen.
  • Maddie Rose: How can we prepare her for seeing Olivia in the NICU? How often can she visit and for how long? He recommended I speak with the Child Life Specialist and Social Worker regarding this. The nursing staff will also help us prepare Maddie Rose. Maddie Rose can visit as often as she would like and stay as long as she would like.
  • After Olivia is born, can Arnie or my mom go with Olivia directly to the NICU? Can we be there while they are doing the cath of her heart? If not, how long will we be away from her before we can see her again? The NICU staff will be in the delivery room and they will stabilize her right there before moving her to the NICU. At that point, either Arnie or my mom can go with her right downstairs. As far as the cath goes – normally parents aren’t there and I should check with Dr. Heller on the length of time it takes to cath her.
  • What are the visiting hours in the NICU? Can I / we stay there all day if we wish? For parents, they can visit anytime – there is no time we aren’t allowed in. We can stay all the time as long as we are taking care of ourselves – eating, sleeping, etc (mostly this was directed at me). Because they need me to be healthy to help Olivia be healthy (which makes sense).
  • Can we view the family room for sleeping? How does the availability work? We saw the family rooms. There are two that have full bathrooms in them (including shower). It’s just a room with a fold out couch and tv and a chair. They are on a first come / first serve basis. During the day, they are available to anyone to nap, etc.
  • Christopher & Cole: Can they visit Olivia in the NICU? He recommends we discuss this with the nursing staff after Olivia’s birth. They normally frown upon this as it can introduce more germs.
  • Visitors: How are they regulated in the NICU? Does one of us have to be present to let someone visit her? Two at a time are allowed at a bedside. Normally one of us has to be with a visitor. However, the nurse told us that we can both be there with both sets of grandparents and Maddie Rose at the same time but if a aunt wants to visit she would have to be escorted by one of us.
  • Is there anything special you need to have on hand for your pump? do they provide milk storage bottles? they will provide the hookups to the pump including their bottles. They have a massive freezer that everything is stored in. They also will rent pumps to have at home if need be. However, I saw at least three in different family rooms we were shown. No need to rent for pumping in the hospital.
  • Is there a pumping room for NICU moms?

    The family rooms are used for this or you can pump right at the bedside

  • Do you have discounted meals for parents of NICU babies? What if Olivia can nurse and I am there for feeding her. There are meal passes available based on “need”. Need to talk to the social worker regarding this.
  • Do you validate parking for parents of NICU babies? Again, he referred us to the social worker about parking passes, etc.
  • Can we leave a list of people with them that it is OK to give updates to by phone? What about approved visitors? They frown upon this as the concern is that a person may get newer information than one of us – and then the concern is the old “telephone” game where we would end up receiving information that was filtered. They rather the nurses give us the information to pass on to family members – so we can filter it if need be.
  • Do you have a Parents of NICU patients support group that meets here at the hospital? There is nothing ongoing. But the social worker can put us in touch with other families.
  • How often do the doctors do rounds? Can we be here when they do and if not how long will we be asked to leave? Will they call us to update us after each rounds or do we have to ask? They are done daily. Weekdays they are done between 10AM-12:30PM and on weekends they are divided up with the sicker babies covered between 8-9:30AM with a break before covering the “healthier babies” between 11:30AM and 12:30PM. However, they are at the bedsides frequently. Updates: can be done either way – it’s handled differently based on a parent’s needs.
  • What are the reasons we may be asked to leave the NICU and how long will we be away from her for each reason? If they are doing a procedure on her, we may be asked to leave for a half hour or so.

Meeting with Ginny Lowry: NICU Nurse

There are 26 beds in the NICU. The NICU is part of CCMC even though we were still in Hartford Hospital. The NICU is split into two sides. To gain access you need to be buzzed in. There is a list of the babies names to identify which side your child is on. The nursing staff is 2:1 in the case of a very sick baby. At most it’s 1:4 in the case of a baby doing quite well. All babies are monitored with screens at bedside and can be viewed as well from the nursing station.

It was extremely quiet in there. No crying. Most babies were sooooo tiny. Olivia is going to be a moose compared to these kids. They had 5 sets of twins when we visited – and they were waiting on another set, PLUS they were expecting triplets to be born yesterday as well! :eek

They promote a lot of skin to skin contact between baby and parents – even if the baby is on a ventilator. They had a lot of “Lazy Boys” setup and the nurse mentioned they were all donated by Bob’s Furniture (which is a furniture chain here in CT). All the nurses will assist in BF’ing and they can bring in a lactation consultant if needed.

There is a “Milk Club” for breastfeeding mom’s that meets once a week in the NICU.

We talked to Ginny a long time about the newest development with Olivia. She’s seen many kids with this disorder and told us not to lose sleep over it. It’s completely fixable and doesn’t affect intelligence, etc.

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