Eliza Grace was born on March 15, 2006, at 26 weeks, 4 days, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces and measuring just 11.5 inches long. She is the light of my soul and this is the story of our life in the big city.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

For Parents on NICU Trauma May Last

This recent article in the New York Times is right on the money. I don't think the results of the study come as any surprise to those of us who spent more than our fair share of time in the NICU.

One interesting part of the study noted that:

Some hospitals pair parents of premature babies in intensive care with those who have been through the experience. One study found that 16 weeks after childbirth, mothers who were matched with NICU veterans had less anxiety and depression, and felt they had more social support, than mothers in a control group.

Which begs the question then, why do so many NICUs lack a parent support group? There are many NICU parents who spent weeks or months in the NICU with their children who would be more than willing to volunteer for a support group, yet there seems to be resistance by the hospitals to parent support groups.

When a baby enters the NICU, the NICU gets more than one patient. It gets the baby and the baby's parent(s). The NICU staff is well trained to care for the baby and they do that admirably. But who is there to care for and support the parent(s)? While the NICU staff can guide the parents through the medical aspects of life in the NICU and lend a shoulder to lean on, only a veteran parent can really know what the new parents are experiencing.

So why would any hospital resist having a NICU parent support group?


Jenn said...

I'm a NICU nurse and at the hospital i work at, the March of Dimes is starting some support groups. I hope it goes well. It seems like a great idea.

Sarah said...

Ours used to have a support group, but no one came back regularly to run it. Erik and I tried but no one really showed up. We did get in touch with a woman who came to talk to us though, and she has kept in touch with us to this day. She was a huge help.

Judith and Jason said...

i have to admit I am totally different than I was when the triplets were in the NICU. They had a scrap booking NICU parent thing that meet once a week, the nurses and staff tried and tried to get me to go and I wanted nothing to do with it...I had my blog and that was my outlet. I even remember NICU grads coming back to see the staff and the nurses telling me about the 1 pound baby who was coming in for a visit. I wanted nothing to do with that. Did not wanna chat it up with the parents. Did not wanna leave my babies...Did not wanna hear their happy endings b/c honestly did not know if I was going to get one.
Now I feel differently about the NICU support group of parents.I am all for them and wonder if our NICU does anything anymore...
But I wonder if it has to do with my outcome, even though I buried Nina's sisters...

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...

I agree with you Judith, I am not sure if I would have wanted a "touchy-feely" support group. The one a few of us are tyring to start is more of a "hey, here we are,we have free coffee, stop in if you want to talk" and then to maybe host a specific topics every so often on subjects like going home, specialists, insurance,etc.