So, without further ado, here are some of the things I've learned from working in the NICU for one year.
(Please be advised that these are my thoughts and no one else's. We all know how opinionated I am ;)...)
My first day of work, July 11, 2011!
4. Losing a baby is still hard.
5. My favorite thing to do on my shift is cuddle a sleeping baby after a feed.
(like this except with scrubs on, hair pulled back, yellow gown on, and a NICU baby, not a friends healthy newborn, ha!)
6. Many residents have no idea what they are doing. Bless their hearts.
8. There is no such thing as self-scheduling. You can try, but the scheduling gods will laugh at you ;)
9. A sense of humor is a must. A huge must. (Real life example: Dr.- "This baby has a yeast infection." Mother of Baby- "Yes, I figured....I ate a lot of bread while I was pregnant."No lie- that really happened.)
10. The NICU is an intensive care unit. There is death. But most babies are extremely resilient and it makes my heart happy to see them go home!
11. I feel like I have been there forever and like I just started. And I still have so much to learn. But I do know I am capable.
I've been pooped on, peed on, puked on, and bled on. I've changed thousands of diapers, described poop in hundreds of different ways (seedy, mustard yellow? banana milkshake anyone?), given plenty of baby baths, comforted grieving parents,and missed lunch breaks. I've fed thousands of bottles, NG/OG feeds, and G-tube feeds, changed many baby outfits (color coordinated!), and bedding. I've been in code situations and said "goodbye" to many patients as they felt fresh air for the first time. I've hung plenty of fluids, untangled IVtubing (multiple times a night...), and become a strong advocate for my patients. I've laughed until my cheeks hurt (I love some of the people I work with!), I've cried over sad things and things that have made me angry. And I love these babies. They aren't "mine" but I care for them like they are and I can't wait to see what the next year holds!