In the ICU... Is there a hospital etiquette?

Quisha - posted on 04/20/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Is there an etiquette for staying in the ICU with your child? I don't want to bother nurses or seem like an overbaring mom.

I'm a first-time, new mom and of course I feel as though I know my child best. My newborn is in the ICU because she has heart disease. They are adjusting medications and she's doing great. I am on maternity leave so when I have a chance I will run errands or make myself go out for lunch or to simply regain my sanity (it can be an emotional place). There are sleeping spaces and I've slept here once, but out of a full week I've gone home all the other nights.

I feel like the nurses sometimes either don't want me here, get annoyed that I'm here.. or.. think I'm watching their every move. They're all nice enough, but after awhile I think they feel like I'm in the way. I'm just here because I want to be close to my daughter. I'm out of the way, I have my laptop, a book, my bible, or magazines or something. I was told by one very nice nurse that they've been "burned" by "mean moms" or "crazy moms" so some of them have their guards up.

Has anyone been in the ICU with their child and dealt with this feeling before? My mom keeps telling me "you're allowed to be there as much as you want, that's your child". I know she's right, I just tend to not want to make others feel uncomfortable...

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Katie - posted on 04/21/2013

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You're not in the way. I can pretty much guarantee that they save their judgment for parents they think are running away from a problem, or being more of a pain than they are being helpful. (I had twins in the NICU for over 2 months.)
I found that the feeling I was getting from the nurses changed when I started staying 12-16 hours a day at the hospital (and I had no where to sleep until the last 16 days, and I lived there--never leaving). I asked what I could do to help. I let them know that I wanted to be part of their care, not just a person standing on the sidelines getting in their way. (Because, honestly, if you're not helping them, you ARE in their way.)

That is YOUR child. Be there. Never EVER apologize to an adult for doing what's best for a child. Not ever. (And that's advice you need to carry as long as you're a mom, not just in the ICU.)

I hope your little one is out soon, and that you're all home where she'll thrive. xo

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