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The new mum was devastated to learn of NICU staff’s disapproval of her and her husband…

A distraught mum-of-two has shared her anger and hurt after discovering a judgemental note from NICU staff while her premature baby was in their care. The mum found a number of comments in her medical notes after her baby’s birth that criticised her and her husband for being inattentive.

Not Good Enough

The new mum said she couldn’t believe what she found when she requested her baby’s medical notes after they were discharged. “I’m in tears. Requested my baby’s medical notes after a prem birth. Found a part where they started a visiting log as they felt we didn’t stay on the ward long enough, that I wasn’t talkative enough and that my husband rarely visited” she wrote.

“I don’t drive and I have an older child with disabilities. My husband works, and at that time was working night shifts. They KNEW this.” The mum said she felt personally attacked. “I feel distraught at the notion that at my most vulnerable, when I was trying my best, I was judged as somehow not good enough,” she told the forum.

A Difficult Time

Parents who had also experienced the stress and trauma of having a child in the NICU were quick to rush to the mum’s defence.

“I had an experience of very judgemental NICU staff too,” said one. “They seemed to have very rigid ideas of what normal was and no concept that some families have little extended support.”

Others, however, were more critical of the family’s approach.

“They want you to be on the ward helping to care for the baby,” one commenter wrote. “They wrote down your visits because they were concerned. Nothing wrong in that.”

Did your child spend time in the NICU? What was your experience? Share your story in the comments!

  • I am so thankful that judgements like that were not available when my premi baby was born. I already had two children at home and my husband was in hospital with a burst appendix. Both my baby and I had to have blood transfusions after her birth and both of us nearly died. She had to stay at the hospital until she gained weight to 6kg and we none of us were allowed to touch her, pick her up or cuddle her, but I delivered breast milk for her every day. As the time went on, I just couldn’t go into the ward as it was too distressful for me to only be able to look at her, and not touch her and she was in the hospital for 6 months after her birth. Eventually the staff said she could come home, but by then I had other people delivering my breast milk and I couldn’t go to see her as I felt so bad in myself.

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  • Depends how they were written

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  • It depends how the notes were actually written – notes should be objective rather than subjective, without seeing the notes hard to know if it was judgemental or just facts written objectively.

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  • I have never experienced in NICU. This is really disappointing as a new mum.

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  • How distressing for you especially since they don’t know the full circumstances. I wonder how they would have felt if you went there and took your child with disabilities with you, or your husband dropped in as soon as he finished work. Don’t take any notice of them.

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  • What a terrible and heart wrenching situation ….

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  • My second daughter was in NICU for one night and day – she had been in the SCN at the hospital she was born in before abs after that.
    I didn’t visit her at all while she was over at the other hospital in the NICU. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was still in my own hospital recovering from her birth. And I was told I would have to check myself out from my hospital in order to visit her and wouldn’t be allowed back when she returned (she went to NICU) for specialised testing that couldn’t be done at our hospital.
    I wanted to be there with her but simply couldn’t. And my husband didn’t visit as he was also trying to take care of our two year old as well.
    Hare to think what comments might have been written about us from the NICU staff…

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  • I haven’t experienced Nicu personally, I understand though that doctors and nurses do need to take notes on things like that, it’s their job. There are some cases where people may not come back or other cases where the department of family and children welfare need to be involved it’s that kind of information that is important.
    I also understand how hard it must have been for that mum to feel attacked and shamed by those notes. But also in saying that, her newborn baby needed her to be there as much as she could.
    As a parent, she should have the responsibility of driving herself, or finding other ways of transport to be there for her newborn.

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  • Awww, this is terrible. This family is so vulnerable and to read and learn this would have just added to the situation.

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  • As someone who works in this field, that’s kind of disgusting to hear.


    • Yes, there’s no excuse for this type of behaviour. It’s not professional either.

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  • I can only imagine the stress of the whole situation for any parents. Especially if they have a special needs child already at home. I think whilst they possibly needed to note the parents visits they could have discussed how the parents were coping, for some the whole seeing your baby in the hospital may be too overwhelming and a simple discussion could have gone a long way.

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  • Both my girls went into special care and NICU as they were premmie.
    For both I was there at 4-5am in the morning and stayed until 8-9pm. Of course I did pop out for lunch or to have a coffee when they were asleep but they were MY babies.. not the nurses. I wanted to be there as much as I could even if there wasn’t much I could actually do.. just having a bit of skin to skin or tube feeding and nappy changes. Anything I could do to start that bonding process I wanted to do it.
    My first I was persuaded more to do things by the nurses as I didn’t know any better..
    however by my second I had researched and spoken to many mums so advocated for myself more even after 1 nurse tried to be a bit pushy.
    Overall 95% of my time in special care and with the nurses was good.

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  • I wasn’t in the NICU ward but I did have a judgemental nurse- I was reprimanded for not waking my daughter to feed. I was a new mum and after a difficult birth let her sleep. I was almost in tears.


    • Aw bless ! Nurses can have quite a traditional and rigid view about how things should be done

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  • I’m sure these parents were doing what they could do visit and care for their child. The NICU staff have a duty of care to record their observations even if hurtful to families. Can’t win this one.

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  • Very upsetting for the parents who are doing there best under difficult circumstances. The nurse should have been more understanding and kinder.

    Reply

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