A.T. asks from Puyallup, WA on April 07, 2009
Friend's Baby in ICU- How Do I Best Support Her?
My girlfriend just had baby #3 on Sunday. He is having some complications and they are meeting with the surgeons tomorrow. I have the start of a cold, possibly allergies. As much as I want to be there to support her and see the baby(she put me on her list to have access to go see the baby), I don't want to put the baby at a higher risk with my germs. How do I be supportive from afar when I know she needs me there? I appreciate your input, thanks!
Z.A. answers from Seattle on April 07, 2009
Some general ideas:
- Phoning (even if she can't answer, if she checks her messages the "Heya Love, I was just thinking of you and wishing I didn't have this stupid cold so I could be there with you. Call me if you have the time and energy. Otherwise, know I love you!!!")
- Call the NICU/PICU and ask one of the nurses to see what/if you can send anything
- Sending Lunch (the hosp will have a list of restraunts that deliver to the hosp)
- Sending Flowers (ummm...these aren't allowed in many NICU's/PICU's...but if you send them to her home, she'll get the thought without the hassle of having to drive them home)
- Volunteering to pick up clothes/toiletries and drop them off with reception so you don't share your cold.
Depending on your level of friendship
- If you don't know already: Talk with her or her relatives to find out if this is going to be a huge financial burden for your friend. If so, you might organize a drive/event/bakesale/what-have-you with her or your church/school/neighborhood etc. to help them cover expenses. Even with insurance (especially so with some, not so much with others) NICU & Surgeries can run into thousands of dollars. If either is having to take time off work it can make is worse. While most people would never want to take a check from one person, having it be a community outpouring changes the ball-game.
Caveat for most of the above:
I'm one of those people who likes to be left alone at time of crisis. Loved from afar. I like to know that people are thinking of me...but I quite frankly don't want to be bothered by them when I'm busy trying to keep from losing my mind. When i have the time, I call and unload on those few unfortunates I turn to on a regular basis to vent/cry/get distracted by/bounce ideas off of.
Some people are like me. Others crave the opposite and feel abandoned/alone when friends keep their distance. If you haven't been with this friend through a crisis before, you might want to start out slowly and gauge their reactions.
Bless you for your kindness, and KUDOS!!!! to you for not taking your cold to the NICU/PICU. I wish more people had your common sense.
4 moms found this helpful
J.C. answers from Portland on April 08, 2009
My son was premature and spent his first month in the NICU. He was our first, so it was a bit easier to manage, but many families there had older children and it was very tough on them.
You are right to stay away from the baby until you are fully healthy (I'm also a nurse!) so my advice would be to try and help her manage her outside life while her son is in the hospital. Insist if you have to! We are sometimes odd creatures and feel bad or guilty about accepting help from others. She will appreciate this more than you can imagine.
Offer to run errands, do her grocery shopping, if her other kids have activities that they need to be taken to, be their chauffer. Visit HER in the hospital lounge, bring her good coffee or tea, lunch or dinner, anything to give her a break from hospital food. Ask if the older kids can come spend the night at your house and/or include them in your Easter plans. Your friend probably doesn't have time to do Easter baskets or Easter egg hunts right now.
Your friend needs to be able to fully concentrate on her son, but it's really hard when you have other children. You want to be at the hospital ALL of the time, but you don't want to neglect your older children.
My prayers go out to your friend and her family. I hope that her son is healthy and home very soon.
2 moms found this helpful
N.Z. answers from Portland on April 08, 2009
Let her know your fears about the germs. Then offer to cook, help out at home, whatever it takes to make things easier for her to be with her baby. She'll know you care.
1 mom found this helpful
M.L. answers from Seattle on April 08, 2009
Let her know that you may have a cold and don't want to take a chance of infecting the new baby until you know if it's a cold or allergies. Then maybe offer to do some chores at her house or cook a couple meals for the rest of her family. Maybe watch the two older kids while she and her husband spend some time at the hospital with the new baby. Then you're still being very supportive without taking a chance on making the new baby sick. Ask her also how you can be most supportive and what you can do to help while they're spending time at the hospital.
You might also offer to take the older two to an egg hunt this weekend if possible. That will give them some extra attention that they may need, but also a fun distraction for them away from the hospital. You can check rubyslipperguide.com, redtricycle.com, parentmap.com, and the local newspaper for ideas. I know there's an egg hunt in Sumner on Saturday morning at 9, but I don't know where.
E.K. answers from Portland on April 08, 2009
I'd probably focus my attention on the other 2 kids and their needs. Not knowing thier ages, but just having someone to do all the running, school, groceries, dinner, ect... while she's with her new little one would probably be a great help.
J.S. answers from Seattle on April 08, 2009
A. - When my first baby was in NICU we weren't allowed to have any visitors except immediate family who were not sick. I would have loved if my friends and family had called me to check in. I wanted someone to care that after watching my daughter sleep for an hour she twitched and smiled a little, or squeezed my finger, or whatever thing it was that would be inconsequential to anyone else but was my whole world at that moment.
Try to imagine being inside the same room and halls all day and put yourself in her shoes just as best as possible while you talk to her, and then just be available to listen and praise, cry, or pray with her - whatever your friend needs at that time. She won't say it, but will appreciate you not coming while you're ill. And she will REALLY appreciate someone who is so obviously remembering her through out the day. If you text, you could just have a phrase or some special words you send her when you think of her. She doesn't need to respond, just receive the message.
S.J. answers from Eugene on April 08, 2009
My son was in the NICU for almost a month and the absolute best thing people did for us was to bring food to our house so when we got home from visiting the baby at the hospital we didn't have to worry about what we were going to eat.
J.C. answers from Seattle on April 08, 2009
Oh bless you both for wanting to really help and for NOT sharing germs --- what a good friend you are, A.--
. Thirty-three years ago my boy was in an ICU --- ( he's fine- God be praised) -- and here's some ideas:
1. Do something nice for her older 2 --- send over a pizza if they like that - or send in some not-too-sweet treats or some little but fun toys
2 Make something wonderful for her to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner -- you can make something that has to be cooked- so wont' carry any germs --
3 Take something to the hospital staff that are caring for her and the baby--- these people become instant angels and to help her care for them would be so kind
4. if you know what her tastes are- a music cd??? ( I don't '''' speak'' i-pods, sorry- dont understand em)
5. Tell her daily that just as this week we ''walk'' with
God in His great gift to us --- so you walk in prayer with her as she moves - one step at a time.
I'll certainly '' put you and yours'' on my prayer list.
aka- old Mom