The Emotional Impact of Different NICU Configurations

August 22, 2012

The NICU at Community Hospital in Missoula, Montana, was in the very beginning stages of building a new, separate NICU building. So, while we were there, there were roughly eight to 20+ babies in two very small rooms. The incubators were pushed up very tightly next to each other. There was no privacy and I had to pump, and try to breastfeed in front of other parents. It was hard to bond with my sweet girl when there was so much commotion going on. With so many people in one area, they were very strict about who could come into the NICU. My husband and I were the only ones allowed, except for a one time pass for the grandparents.

My parents meeting Kylie for the first time

Even if he was gone for weeks working, I couldn’t have another ‘support’ person. Another thing that still bothers me to this day, is that to get to the NICU, we had to walk through the nursery; where beautiful, chubby, healthy babies were getting cleaned up to go home. It was very difficult to keep from being envious of those families. I would be going into the NICU and would run right into a dad excitedly wheeling his new bundle to his wife’s room, while I had to go back to the NICU to give them two CC’s of pumped breast milk that I’d worked SO hard to express. It was hard to leave those feelings at the door and walk in with my head held high, ready to take on a new day in the NICU life, but I did. The NICU in Missoula has built their new beautiful building and it is nothing less than fabulous; with private rooms and the works! I think of how much easier it would have been for me if I would have actually been able to BE with my baby ALL the time; sleep there, eat there, everything. I have seen pictures of other NICUs and see that a lot of them are this way.How was your NICU set up? Were you on a set NICU schedule? Was privacy a concern to you? How many people were allowed with you to visit your baby?