I didn’t think it would happen but I fell in love with my Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies. Here’s how it went down:
out prior to the beginning of the rotation: From the Intern finishing
up her rotation: “everyone just survives this rotation, be prepared to
write lots of total parenteral nutrition orders (TPN).” Sign out ended
with me congratulating myself that I hadn’t started crying just hearing
how sick some of my new patients were.
1: Examining those tiny babies had to be the scariest thing I have done
in my life. I’m used to 6 pound babies in newborn nursery, not 1 pound
babies who are ventilated and in incubators. I made it, my patients made
it. I’m used to talking about urine and stool counts and giving breast
feeding advice. I’m not used to talking about glucose infusion rates,
assist control ventilation, bubbles CPAP, and making split second
decisions based upon arterial blood gases and urinary output.
1 - 2: struggled with patient management, presentations, note writing
(many nights I finished around 10pm), and TPN. Struggled with missing
3 - 4: started getting used to the routine and began enjoying
deliveries (dry, stimulate, and ventilate). I also began enjoying the
daily mechanics of managing my “feeders and growers” and even got to do a
really cool creamatocrit to assess the nutritional content of a
patient’s maternal breast milk. Surprisingly, I also started to really
like managing my complicated patients and the daily brainstorming that
goes on with our consultant specialties. Establishing relationships with
the parents was really the best thing about this time and the staff who
work in the unit are outstanding and know their trade exceedingly well.
On the homefront, I still had not gotten used to the lack of sleep and
was really started feeling badly about how junky our house was becoming
and how my husband had essentially become a single father.
5: started feeling the first tinges of confidence or was that my upper
respiratory illness superimposed with sinusitis and a head full of
medicine? I guess I’ll never know, but I was sad on my last day. Sad
that I had to sign out to another Resident (who I totally trust but
still they are “MY” patients and families). Sad that I was just starting
to become confident and then bam, on to the next rotation. Sad that I
wouldn’t see the daily progression of the little itty bitty babies who
had surprisingly stolen my heart.