Posts Tagged ‘neonatal intensive care unit’

A father’s role in the NICU

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

NICU dadYour beautiful baby has arrived. But he or she was born prematurely or is sick, and needs special care. Your joy over your baby’s birth may be mixed with worry and heartache. This is not how you expected fatherhood to begin.

The birth of a premature or sick baby is stressful and difficult for all family members. But it can be especially rough on you. You may worry about your baby and your partner, as well as other children at home, demands from your job and financial concerns. While each father develops his own way of coping with the birth of a premature or sick infant, this information may help make this difficult time a bit easier.

You may feel many conflicting emotions after your baby is born. These emotions, from anxiety and fear to anger and resentment, love and pride, helplessness and hope, can be very intense. All of the feelings are normal and most men experience some of them. As your baby gets stronger, your negative feelings may lessen. Expect this to be an emotional roller coaster ride for a while.

Keep in mind that the birth of a sick child can put stress on the relationship between you and your partner, as well as your relationships with other family members. It’s important to share your feelings with your partner through your baby’s illness, so that you can support each other and come through this experience a stronger team.

Read more about keeping your relationship strong, ways to help your partner and your baby, how to let others help you and how to take care of yourself in our article for dads. Being a NICU dad can be difficult, especially if your baby is very sick. You should take pride in all the things you do to help your baby and your partner, and realize that you are making a difference.

Levels of hospital care

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Have you ever wondered what a Level I, II, or III hospital is? How will you know which is right for you when the time comes to deliver? Dr. Siobhan Dolan explains how hospital nurseries are classified in the new March of Dimes book Healthy Mom Healthy Baby.

“Every hospital with a maternity department must have a nursery, a unit devoted to newborn care. Some provide more extensive care than others. Hospital nurseries are classified by the kind of care they offer:

Level I – Well-newborn nurseries that provide a basic level of medical care to low-risk and healthy newborns.

Level II – Special-care nurseries that can care for infants who are moderately ill or born a few weeks early with health problems that are expected to improve rapidly.

Level III – Neonatal Intensive care units (NICUs) with highly trained providers and advanced equipment to provide complex care, surgery, and life support for infants who are critically ill, very small, or very premature.

“If you are having a healthy low-risk pregnancy, it is not necessary to make special arrangements to give birth in a hospital with a level II or III nursery. However, if you are having pregnancy complications, or your baby has a known or suspected health problem, talk with your provider about whether choosing a hospital with a higher level of newborn care is a good idea.”

You can read more about Dr. Dolan’s book, and even order a copy, at this link.

Meet Nina – our 2013 National Ambassador

Monday, January 7th, 2013

nina-centofanti1Chris and Vince Centofanti thought they knew all about preterm birth. She was a neonatal nurse-practitioner caring for critically ill babies, and he worked for GE Healthcare’s Maternal-Infant Care division, providing specialized medical equipment to hospitals. But then their own baby, Nina, was born nine weeks early, weighing less than three pounds.  She suffered from respiratory distress and spent her first five weeks fighting for life in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU).

“I can’t tell you how difficult it was, seeing our own little girl lying in the NICU, fighting for life. All our hopes and dreams for her hung in the balance,” says Chris Centofanti.  “As a nurse-practitioner I’ve seen many other parents in this situation, and now I know exactly how they feel.” “I never expected that my own daughter would have to be cared for in a NICU with the equipment I had provided to the hospital,” says Vince Centofanti.

While pregnant with Nina, Chris felt unwell at 31 weeks and went to the hospital. She was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome, a form of high blood pressure with elevated liver enzymes and a low blood platelet count. It is a rare, but potentially life-threatening illness that typically occurs late in pregnancy. The only treatment is to deliver the baby as soon as possible. For the next 48 hours, Chris was treated with steroids to help develop baby Nina’s lungs before birth. At birth, Nina was immediately transferred to the NICU, where she spent the next five weeks.

In addition to Nina, the Centofantis have an older son Nick, and a second daughter, Mia, who was born at 35 weeks of pregnancy, thanks in part to weekly progesterone treatments which reduced the risk of Chris going into premature labor. “Even though things didn’t go as planned, we’ve been blessed with three healthy children, thanks in large part to the work of the March of Dimes.  Just a few years ago, the outcome might be been very different,” says Chris.  She adds, “Thanks to the care that Nina received, and the support of the March of Dimes for research and treatment, now we also know the relief and joy parents feel when their child survives and becomes healthy enough to leave the NICU and go home.”

Today Nina Centofanti has grown into an active 7-year-old who loves to dance, climb trees and turn handsprings. She has been named the March of Dimes 2013 National Ambassador. As ambassador, Nina and her family will travel the United States visiting public officials and corporate sponsors, and encouraging people to participate in the March of Dimes’ largest fundraiser, March for Babies. The money raised supports community programs that help moms have healthy, full term pregnancies, and funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten babies’ lives.

“Serving as the National Ambassador family is a way for us to show our appreciation for our children’s good health, and serve as advocates for lifesaving March of Dimes programs,” says Vince.  “The March of Dimes has provided 75 years of support for research, treatments, educational and prenatal care programs that has saved lives, reduced the suffering, and improved the quality of life for countless children and the parents who love them. My daughter Nina is one of their success stories; a perfect example of what March of Dimes efforts have accomplished.”

Chat on micropreemies

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

mom-and-preemiePlease join us Friday, November 9th, at 2 PM ET for a #preemiechat about micropreemies, babies born at less than 28 weeks and weighing less than 800 grams. Our guest will be Amanda Knickerbocker, @micropreemie, whose daughter spent over 200 days in the NICU.

Meet us on Twitter and share your experiences and challenges. Ask questions. Help other parents currently surviving the NICU rollercoaster with tips on things that really helped you survive those long days, weeks, months. We hope to see you then.