Monday, June 22, 2009

NICU Admissions are Terrifying Experiences for NICU Parents

Research is slowly being published to support what NICU Parents have known all along—that the NICU experience is a terrifying and often traumatic event for those involved.

I shared some of my thoughts on the terrifying response to the NICU in the research paper that I wrote "Identifying, Understanding, and Working with Grieving Parents in the NICU, Part I: Identifying and Understanding Loss and the Grief Response" published in Neonatal Network:
A NICU admission is a stressful time for the family personally, psychologically, and economically. The high-tech NICU environment is unfamiliar and intimidating for most parents.

The instruments, incubators, intravenous equipment, respirators, procedures, monitors, hospital jargon, lights, alarms, smells, and sounds can be terrifying for those unfamiliar with the intensive care setting.
NICU - An Alien Environment
I used this photo of an Alien Incubator in the presentation that I gave on "Grief in the NICU: Identifying, Understanding and Helping Grieving Parents" for the "Managing the Spectrum of Maternal Mental Health Issues from Conception through the Neonatal Experience" at the HHC Perinatal Conference held at Jacobi Medical Center.

I think this alien image really helps to convey to the NICU staff how many NICU parents are viewing the NICU experience. I used the image to be a reminder that for most people the NICU Staff's normal work place is a alien environment.

The NICU experience was a very foreign one for me as well. Even though I was used to being in the adult ICU, as a physician, the neonatal experience was like entering a foreign country or an alien science experiment.

Helping the NICU Parent
NICU professionals can be invaluable sources of support for NICU parents as they struggle to come to grips with the reality of having a baby in the NICU.

Providing orientations to the NICU—from basic hand washing and gowning techniques to explaining all of the 'bells and whistles' in the NICU equipment—can go a very long way in helping NICU parents adjust to this strange world in which their child is living.

What NICU Parents can Do
NICU Parents can become more comfortable with the strange NICU environment by asking questions about their newborn, getting involved with caring for their NICU baby and taking time to find out how the NICU works.

Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the NICU will help NICU parents learn how to function in this strange new environment. In time, you may even discover that you are able to help explain the procedures and equipment to other terrified NICU parents.

Dyer KA. Identifying, Understanding, and Working with Grieving Parents in the NICU, Part I: Identifying and Understanding Loss and the Grief Response. Neonatal Network May/June 2005; 24(4):35-46.

Image Source: Steve Jurvetson. Alien Incubator. Creative Commons.

Friday, June 12, 2009

CaringBridge Connect NICU Parents with Their Families

Another helpful resource for connecting NICU Parents with their Families is CaringBridge.

CaringBridge® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit web service that connects family and friends during a critical illness, treatment or recovery.

Like CarePages, CaringBridge is another way of helping NICU parents stay connected with family and friends by creating a free, personalized web page.

What is a CaringBridge Web Page?

A CaringBridge web page is an easy way to keep loved ones informed during difficult times. Each CaringBridge website includes:

  • Patient care journal to update family and friends
  • Guestbook for messages
  • Photo gallery
  • Free online support for using the service
Some of the benefits of CaringBridge over other connecting web pages is that CaringBridge pages are offered in both English and Spanish. In addition they do not have banner ads or pop–ups.

You can read More about CaringBridge at the article on Type-A Mom.

A related article is on the Type-A Mom site under the NICU section of Mom Stages.


Dyer K. 2009. Becoming an Empowered NICU Parent. NICU Parent Support Blog.
Dyer K. 2008. NICU Parent Support CarePages. NICU Parent Support Blog.
Dyer K. 2008. Creating a Circle of Healing and Support. NICU Parent Support Blog.
Dyer K. 2007. CarePages - Connect, Share, Care NICU Parent Support Blog.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Zorbitz Lucky Karma Beads and Charms Help Focus Intentions

I know that if the Zorbits Lucky Lucky Karma Bracelets Karma Bracelets and Feng Shui Luck Charms were available when my youngest was in the NICU, we would have used them as another way to focus our energy and our intentions on her healing.

Like the Water Blessing Labels, the Zorbitz products provide positive affirmations and inspirational messages to help you focus your intentions. With NICU Parents trying to focus on love, health and miracles, wearing or hanging one of these products can work as a reminder of your intentions.

Even if you don't believe that there is any inherent power in the beads or the gemstones, what can change is yourself. The bracelet and luck charm can serve as a reminder to focus your thoughts and energy on positive words and intentions like health, love, miracles and strength.

Lucky Karma Bracelets
These are the bracelets that would have the best intentions for NICU parents.
I own many of the Lucky Karma Bracelets and have given many of these lucky bracelets to friends and family.

Feng Shui Luck Charms
These are the luck charms that would have the best intentions for NICU parents.
I also own several of the Lucky Charms and have two hanging in the car and around the house. After hanging up an Unexpected Miracles Luck Charm in the car, I was able to solve the problem that I'd been having with my computer. The miracle was that I did not have to get an entirely new computer.

More about Zorbitz
The company products bring earth's gems and woods to give people the earth's healing qualities needed in your everyday life. They believe that everyone needs Zorbitz whether it's for love, health, wealth, or even an unexpected miracle.

Zorbitz is 100% women owned and determined to make a difference and the company believes in giving back. Zorbitz has contributed over $60,000 to charities around the world.