Our babies were in the NICU for 15 days. NEVER would I had ever imagined I would have a child in the NICU. I actually completely skipped the entire chapter that covered everything about the NICU in a twin book I read. I seriously did not believe this would ever be me.
Although we had a pretty smooth run with the NICU, here is some advice for any that might have little ones in the hospital.
1. Take those car seats out of the car as soon as possible. I really wish ours were not still in the car when I came home from the hospital. It was an awful reminder of the fact that we didn't have them with us.
2. Visit often, but also don't overdo it. I went once or twice a day. I've hard of parents who basically lived there. They would pack up three meals, bring a pillow and blanket, and seriously camp out next to the isolette for 12 hours or more. The neonatologist called me once a day to update me on the babies' progress, and I had to trust that my babies were in good hands while I was away. This leads me to the next point:
3. GET REST. I cannot stress this enough. You're dealing with so many things, physically and emotionally - give your body and mind a break, and sleep! Its quite the love/hate relationship. You'll feel guilty because your babies are in the hospital, but really, take advantage of the help and get some rest to recover faster.
4. Be kind to the nurses, but also stand up to them if necessary. Scott was so impressive to me when I first went to the NICU. He knew the nurses names, their shifts, and all the medical lingo. He could rattle off to me our babies' stats and knew what numbers were good and bad. These people are taking care of your children - learn their names and ask them about their lives.
That being said, YOU are the parents. Ask questions, get answers, and take charge. At one point they wouldn't let Scott hold the babies unless he did skin-to-skin. For some reason I was allowed to hold them without doing skin-to-skin, but Scott wasn't. The next time we went in, I spoke to the charge nurse, and asked that they respected our wishes and let my husband hold his own darn children.
5. Be prepared to panic when your babies are given the OK. Scott and I went in to visit the babies on a Friday afternoon, and the nurse asked us to bring back the car seats because our babies were being discharged that evening. We were thrilled, but quickly began to panic. After so many days of praying for our babies to come home, we were suddenly and completely freaked out.