Being on the neonatal unit is a tough thing to endure. The journey takes its toll physically as well as emotionally. In the very early days there will be lots of words that are either completely new to you or there will be words you’ve heard but they have never had a relevance to you until now. In this blog we will look at what D is for.

NICU terms

Desaturations: The oxygen levels in the blood drop below the desired levels.

Distended Abdomen: The appearance of a swollen or large abdomen.

Name that emotion, D is for…

Defeated – It is a tough journey for however long you end up being on the neonatal unit and some days you will feel completely and utterly defeated. It’s important to remember that not everyday will feel like this. If you need to lean on the staff or your family for support, then reach out to them.

Delirious – one definition I came across described this as ”a more or less temporary disorder of the mental faculties”. The neonatal unit is the last place you want to be with your baby and it affects different people in different ways. If delirium is your coping mechanism then go with the flow. No one will blame. When you are told that you can finally go home you will find yourself being deliriously happy.

Devastated – It’s a really tough journey whether you are on the neonatal unit for 1 day or 100 days. To start with you may feel devastated that the neonatal unit is your babies welcome party into the world and not how you imagined with loving family and friends surrounding them. The nurses and doctors however are completely on yours and your baby’s side and they will be in your corner for the whole of your stay.

Devotion – like any parent to a baby you will feel a strong sense of love and devotion. It doesn’t happen straight away for some parents, don’t feel bad if this is you. Some parents struggle to bond with their baby, it can be difficult to connect through a plastic box. If you feel really low and like your bond just isn’t there for a while then talk to the nurses, they will be able to help.

Me cuddling my little boy for the first time
Me cuddling my little boy for the first time

Feel what you need to feel

Distressed – you will see, hear and feel things that will be distressing to you. Asking questions will help alleviate some of the distress

Dread – phone calls when you are not at the hospital will probably be the biggest thing you will dread. You will have a deep-rooted fear when taking the call that it might be bad news. Take the calls though, never avoid them.

Drained – you might feel like you’re not actually doing very much. You sit with your baby, occasionally go and eat or express. You forget that you are recovering from birth and that the emotional rollercoaster of the neonatal unit really takes its toll.

Down – there will be down days but don’t feel it will always be like that, there will be up days too. If you get stuck feeling down for a while then ask for help.

Our biggest piece of advice is to not bury any of your feelings. Feel what you need to feel and tell who you need to tell. We hope you have found this blog useful for all terminology that D is for.

We are not medically trained. All medical definitions are taken from the NHS or Public Health England websites.

If you would like the friendship and support of other preemie parents then join our group the Preemie Support Village over on Facebook.

Did you see our last blog on Preemie sleep issues?