NICU Day 13: Revolving Nurses

This post is written about June 18, 2013:

I’m growing very impatient with the game of Musical Nurses we are forced to play every twelve hours. They change between night and day shifts at 7 AM and 7 PM. This much I understand, of course; they have to go home at some point. What’s driving me crazy is the constantly having a NEW nurse each day and/or night. The nurses all do things differently. The tasks they have to do are the same, but they all have their own routines, styles, and personalities. Some are super friendly, talk to us, let us know what’s going on without us having to ask, etc. Some are more silent types.

The babies Touch Time schedules are roughly 8, 11, 2, & 5 AM and PM. (Little Bit is on the half hours.) The theory is to do everything at once so the babies can get as much of an undisturbed sleeping stretch as possible because it helps them grow. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but preemies SLEEP. All the time. Touch time includes: blood pressure, temperature, diaper change, clothing/bedding change if necessary (morning & night at least), bathing (every 3 days), taking measurements of the baby, measuring how much food is still in the feeding tube (residuals), and starting their next feed. Sometimes it also includes horrible things like blood draws. They make me feel so guilty.

Touch times can be frustrating with the revolving nurses routine because each nurse has a different level of what they let us participate in. The main goal is that, eventually, we will be in charge of the girls’ care (We’re nowhere close to that point yet!) So, it’s important that we be involved as much as possible to get ready for that. Some nurses let us take the temperatures, change diapers, help with baths, and dress them. Others just do it all themselves and don’t even say anything to us about helping. Those nurses are frustrating because they make me feel like the babies aren’t my babies. During touch time the other day, Little Bit was staring at the nurse changing her instead of me, and it broke my heart a little bit. I had a primal urge to shoulder the nurse out of the way and say, “I’M your mama!” What I did, instead, was reach inside the isolette and hold Little Bit’s hand, but she kept staring at the nurse…


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