Nov 192012

“So can you tell me what exactly is bothering you?” – NICU nurse to a mother who had just seen her day-old baby for the first time and been told that her baby may not survive.

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 November 19, 2012  L&D Nurse, newborn, NICU, postpartum  Add comments

  15 Responses to ““So Can You Tell Me Exactly What Is Bothering You?””

  1. the child I carried inside me for 9 months may not make it, and I’m talking to a nurse who doesn’t care. That’s what bothering me!

  2. Why am I upset? Gee, that’s a toughy! Maybe we should call Captain Obvious?

  3. The only thing I can think of is maybe someone told her this about her baby, maybe after delivery while they rushed baby away, but the nicu nurse she spoke to didnt have that knowledge. Meaning maybe baby was doing fairly well after all?

    • I agree that this might have been what happened. When my baby was in the NICU after being born at 31 weeks, I was extremely emotional and the nurses always wanted to help me in any way they could. Well, most of them, anyway. This is sort of how they asked: “Can you tell me exactly what is bothering you?” This way they knew what to do to help. But they said it kindly. I hope this NICU nurse didn’t know that the mother had been told that her baby might not survive.

      And to the OP — I hope your little one is doing great today!

  4. OP, it sounds like you went through a nightmare. I’m sorry this NICU nurse had no clue.

  5. In first reading this, it does come across as really insensitive and kind of foolish. Odds are, that’s the case since it was submitted here. But in reading through it a couple of times, I wonder… do you think maybe the nurse was (very poorly) trying to find out what the mother was MOST concerned about so she would know which of the child’s issues/problems to explain first? I don’t know, just another possible interpretation of it.

    • As a NICU nurse, I agree with this – parents are upset about a lot, especially in the first days. And really, what I would “think” they’d be upset about isn’t what is most concerning to them. Parents are usually concerned about feedings, diaperings, etc but I’m worried about respiratory status, etc. This nurse was probably just trying to hone in to figure out what to explain first.

  6. My son had Meuconeum Aspiration Syndrome (lungs full of the goopy first poop) so he was flown by helicopter to the city a few hours after birth. I was transported by ambulance the next day.
    I was wheeled in to see my baby with NO warning, to find him unconscious, plugged into about 20 different tubes and wires, and the high-frequency ventilation shook his little body like a doll. My first thought was “oh he died.” and I crumbled into a ball of tears.
    I couldn’t not form thoughts, let alone words, so I asked my dad to speak to the Registrar and nurse so i could just listen. They talked about how the doctor had worked on my baby’s blood pressure and heart rate and stuff all night, and that it was very close, and he was still VERY high risk of not making it through the next few days.
    I was shattered, and just sobbing.

    The nurse then looked at me and asked what was upsetting me. (I cant remember exact wording)
    I just gaped at her.

    Thank CAKE my mum snapped “She’s been through a bloody lot today, I think she’s probably upset about everything in general. OK?”

    • I’m so glad you had your Momma with you for support! Is your baby son okay now?

    • A friend of mine lost a baby due to meconium. So thankful your baby is healthy!!

    • I’m glad your mom was there, but I’m so sorry it happened in the first place! My 1st had a sever Mec Asp too and those high frequency vents *are* scary! The first time I saw those I was just (terrifyingly) amazed it didn’t pop those little lungs! Doctors/nurses/someone in the hospital needs to make sure incoming parents know what to expect!

      • definitely!
        When his dad came to see him i showed him the page in the little booklet from the NICU (that i received after i saw him) with all the different leads and tubes and stuff, and I said “yeah, he’s pretty much got ALL of these, ok? It looks kind of terrifying, but I know what they all do now, so tell me if you want to know something.”

  7. I forgot to say, My baby did a LOT better than anyone expected. He was off the muscle relaxants (that made him asleep) at the end of the week, and the ventilater soon after. We left the hospital when he was 3 weeks old :) no lasting problems at all.

  8. As a friend of mine once said:

    “Comments like this just make me want to high that person. With a chair. To the face.”

    Not that I condone violence, but you know, this nurse is kinda asking to be totally unloaded on, at the very least verbally.

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