A Day in The Life of a NICU Nurse

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‘Oh wow what a lovely job, cuddling babies all day’ says a Mum when I tell her that I am a NICU nurse. Well yes it is, a great job. A privilege and a huge responsibility. But it’s also an emotional roller coaster. Knowing the life of these delicate babies is often held in my hands.

The NICU can be a loud busy place. Walking through the door you are often met with a barrage of alarms and a flurry of activity. Not all mornings start like that, sometimes there is time to take a breath. But other days you hit the ground running. These little people have you on the hop before you even begin. Such fragile little things that even the most stable on the unit can take a turn for the worse in the blink of an eye. I watch them like a hawk, respond to their needs. Turn them, snuggle them into tiny nests. Providing comfort care when the outside world all becomes too much for their preemie brains to take.

I watch in wonderment as their tiny bodies fight to maintain themselves. Encouraging their parents, supporting them in this most trying of times. Comforting their families as we ride this roller coaster together. The ups and downs of being born to soon. I explain the technical interventions required to keep their precious baby breathing and growing.

I Spend time with Mum, enable her to hold even the sickest of babies. Calm her when her breast milk starts to dry up through the stress of being in the NICU. Feeding her baby is one of her most important roles, but it’s not easy. She is in the unit every day, keeping her vigil by the bedside, she won’t eat properly or sleep properly. Feeling guilty, desperate and alone – my support to her is almost as critical as that to her baby. Bonds are created with families, they are trusting you with the most precious thing in their lives.

The ward round comes and the doctors make their plans. Plans that effect the whole family. Mostly there is hope but sometimes there is none. Hard decisions are made. Babies and their families keep coming. Some have completed their journey and we are waving them out the door. Home to a normal life, after the longest of roads travelled. Others are moving elsewhere requiring treatments we cannot provide or stepping down to local units. Completing that final phase of feeding and growing.

Of course there are cuddles. A break from the routine of caring for the sickest babies. A quick snuggle with a feed whilst Mum gets some rest. It is short-lived. The page has gone another baby needs the team. We race down the corridor, emergency bag in hand. Sometimes we know what to expect when we arrive. We know that this is a premature baby that will require our support. Other times it’s a term baby who hasn’t delivered as expected. The adrenaline rushes through your veins, it’s not excitement, it is a fight or flight response. I am trained for this, technically I know what needs to be done. But I never feel relaxed, this young life deserves my all, the best of my abilities. This family is counting on us.

There are times when as a team we are shocked to the core after events. You can’t help but become emotionally involved with these tiny babies and their families. Whilst everyone maintains their professionalism, ultimately it is the compassion and empathy that we feel that makes us the doctors and nurses we are. In the hardest of circumstances we are there for each other, who else could understand what this job does to a person? Tea and coffee are drunk by the bucket load and biscuits are consumed in vast quantities.


Yes this job is a privilege. It can be both beautiful and terrifying in equal measure. Watching these babies grow, flourish and eventually go home with their parents is one of the most satisfying parts. The journey is hard, for everyone. As a nurse it is technically challenging and emotionally wearing. I can’t imagine doing it without the amazing team of doctors and nurses around me.

After 12 long hours the day is finished. Notes are written, babies are tucked into their beds. But the NICU doesn’t sleep. The next shift is here. Their turn to ride this train. Continually watching, responding, comforting and caring for the babies and their families. For me its time to return to my own family, to try to decompress from the events of the day. Do I spend the day cuddling babies? Sometimes; but there is a lot more to a day in the life of a NICU nurse.

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The Dad of Design: Children & Chores

Unfortunately, as parents, household chores are unavoidable. Our children are unbelievably messy. It feels as though no matter how hard we try, cleanliness is an impossible thing to achieve. Even after spending hours with a vacuum cleaner attached to the arm, the kids still have the ability to destroy all of the hard work that we’ve done. It doesn’t take them long at all (Sometimes minutes!). It drives me MAD.

mess
condesign / Pixabay
I have no problem with toys being over the floor during the day. Because after all, ‘A messy home is a happy home’. However, toy mess is one thing. But food mess is a completely different kettle of fish.
No matter what food the kids eat, I can almost guarantee that most of it will end up on the floor. Of course, the toddler is the worst. But to be honest, the twins aren’t much better. I can’t stand food mess. Whether it’s crumbs over the carpet, sweets down the edge of the sofa or banana skins left on the coffee table. It’s gross. The kids however, don’t seem to care! This is what I want to change.
The twins are 8 years old now and I want them to start realising the hard-work that goes into cleaning up after them. My partner and I ensure that they clean their rooms regularly. (Although most of the time they just shove it under their bed). We get the toddler to clean up her toys after she’s finished playing with them. As they get older, I slowly intend to introduce them to new chores. I hope that it will embed a sense of responsibility into the kids and in turn, improve their independence.
At what age do you/did you begin to introduce your children to chores?

 Introducing The Dad of Design

Our guest blogger this week is Nick from The Dad of Design. A father of three, all daughters and a designer on the side! Nick is a really fresh face on the blogging scene. We like his honest writing style about every day things. You can find The Dad of Design on Twitter, pop over and say Hi! Don’t forget to tell him Pudding sent you 🙂

Are Dad’s Second Class Parents?

I read so many blogging articles about how hard it is being a Mum, what an uphill struggle it can be raising small children. It would seem that the main responsibility falls on the Mother, from clothing the baby, to counselling teenagers us Mum’s seem to do it all. But do we? My other half gets pretty irritated about what he calls the ‘martyrdom of Motherhood’. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that he doesn’t appreciate all the things Mothers do, but he feels that most Dad’s don’t get the credit they deserve. Are all of us Mum’s just so wrapped up in our own day-to-day struggles of weaning, potty training and mini meltdowns that we don’t always appreciate what Dad’s are doing?

Dad cuddling baby
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

With Fathers Day around the corner, it seems a good time to stand back and look at the Modern Dad’s role, where doe he fit into a society that seems overly Mummy-centric? We seem to have recently taken to putting motherhood on a pedestal, but women have been Mothers for years. Maybe it is the sudden surge on social media of Mum’s sharing their stories that has highlighted the often thankless tasks that Mum’s do. Yet society is changing, I hear more and more of Dad’s staying home to care for children and what about all those Dad’s who have split from partners and have the children at weekends. Surely they are going through the same things, yet we hear so little from them. Is it that Dad’s are quietly getting on with raising their children away from the spotlight, or could it be that Dad’s have a totally different style of parenting meaning that the things that we as women struggle to deal with they simply don’t have to contend with.

This got me thinking about what Pudding & Pie get up to with their Dad when I am on shift. I have had people ask how Mr Pud copes when I go to work for 13 hours – what a question, of course he copes they are his children. Like a Al Ferguson from The Dad Network said, it’s called ‘Parenting not Babysitting’! I don’t know whether it’s because he is calmer, or because being with Daddy is a novelty but the kids automatically seem to behave better. They seem to understand that certain behaviours jut will not be tolerated so they don’t even try it. General tasks do seem easier just by the fact that Dad is a man, things like negotiating a trip out for example. The male brain doesn’t seem to sweat the small stuff, if I take the kids out, I like to be prepared for every eventuality. Not so Dad, he packs essentials, milk, nappies and his wallet. He doesn’t plan the route, or where they will eat for lunch, he flies by the seat of his pants, working on the mood of the kids and his own. It doesn’t stress him if he is out and he needs something he hasn’t got, he goes and buys what he needs. Even simple things like there is no lift, well that’s no issue, ‘I’am Man I will carry the pram up 3 flights of stairs’! I think the male brain is just wired totally different – they don’t get that ‘Mum Guilt’, they are not striving for that unobtainable perfect parenting that drives us as women round the twist.

Dad and Child at the Beach
cocoparisienne / Pixabay

Ok so he can cope with the kids you all cry – but what about the other household stuff? Well we laugh about Pink and Blue jobs in this house. In all honesty there is no job that is only pink or blue. We are a modern couple with modern values, we are not living out some 1950’s sitcom. I am more than capable of mowing the lawn, unblocking the loo, painting the house and organising the household bills. Equally so my other half is a great cook, can work the washing machine and has a hoovering obsession. What?! Yes he is exceptionally domesticated, maybe he is a rarity but I would imagine that in a society that marries later and later that most men will spend a proportion of their time living on their own before moving in with a girlfriend. How do we as women think they all survived before we came along? My other half spent 9 years living on his own before we met, of course he can an iron his own work uniform! When I head out to work I am safe in the knowledge that not only will the kids be fine but that the house will be cleaned, the washing will be done and there will be a hot meal and a glass of wine waiting for me on my return. What more can a girl ask for?

Male Nurse
TheHilaryClark / Pixabay

On top of being a great Dad and Husband, my other half also holds down a very responsible job. The stress of this job and the ridiculous shift patterns can really take its toll on family life. Not to mention the ever-growing concern that Mr Hunt and his band of cronies will be after our unsociable hours pay before long. A house of two nurses, is not exactly a cash rich environment so while I may end up juggling the childcare to fit round our shifts, my other half is juggling our finances around to cover the cost of raising a small family. I can feel him in bed at night worrying next to me about whether he will need to work any extra shifts and if so will there be time to do this? He misses his kids when he goes to work, his days are 14 hours long by the time he has commuted, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the shifts that run over or the on-calls he has to work. There already seems to be a lot going on in a Dad’s world doesn’t there? Of course he does moan about all these things, I mean after all he is only human! But I can see why he gets on his high-horse about the perceived idolisation of Mothers.

He is doing the same job as me, without the support network of other Dads or the majority of society it would seem. I think as Mum’s we forget that most of us are pretty lucky to have other Mum friends, someone to bounce ideas off or just to meet up with for an hour on those days when the kids are driving you nuts. But I don’t think men have it so easy – its pretty hard to make Dad friends unless your school friends have kids. Most baby classes are filled with Mum’s and I think most men would feel uncomfortable approaching a woman they had never met before and suggesting a play date! When I go out with the kids, people usually stop and talk to me, especially if one of the little darlings is being a little less well-behaved than is socially acceptable. I don’t think a Dad would get quite the same level of support from strangers.

Dad and Baby on Beach
reneasmussen / Pixabay

Personally I do think that Dad’s get a bit of a rough deal, they are definitely seen as the second class parent, a bit of an after thought. In a society that is trying to promote parental leave and equality we need to take sometime to celebrate Dad’s. Parenting is a partnership, he may not be there to change every nappy, dry every tear or wash paint off the dog. But whether you live together or apart raising your kids is a joint effort and both parties need recognition for their role. I am not saying all Dad’s are amazing, but remember not all Mum’s are amazing either! Maybe if as a collective we all spent a little less time looking at whats Dad’s don’t do and a bit more time focusing on what they do do we could appreciate them more. As women we do have the propensity to take over and try to do it all, Super Mum, Loving Wife, Best Friend, but you know what? We really don’t have to. If we could just accept that things don’t always have to be done a certain way and let Dad’s step up to the parenting plate then maybe we wouldn’t need society to blow our Mothering trumpets and we could celebrate parenting equality.

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This Mum's Life

Gifts: That only a DAD would buy!

My lovely other half Mr Pud is a pretty damn good Dad, he can survive 13 hours with the kids whilst I work, even managing to keep up with the washing, shopping and making me dinner. What a good egg I hear you cheer! Well yes you are right he is 😊 However, this intelligent, sexy super Dad (he paid me to say that) has a major failing… His ability to buy an inappropriate gift is PHENOMENAL! He always buys presents with the best intentions, wanting to give the kids the things they want – it’s a shame that he doesn’t use his noggin when deciding to buy them! Age appropriate means very little to Mr Pud and this usually ends in potentially dangerous weapons being wielded in the house and me having to make up ridiculous rules like ‘no light sabers in Mummy’s bedroom’ and ‘you do not poke your sister with a wand’ – who knows what our neighbours must think as I scream these ridiculous rules out at various points during the day!

Dad present - Harry Potter Wand
The worlds most dangerous Dad present ever!

I have to say the winning inappropriate present does have to be the replica Harry Potter wand – it even said on the box this is not a toy! But Pie can’t read and Mr Pud doesn’t care, I knew this bloody wand would be a mistake!! It’s around 9 inches long, made of porcelain and has a metal rod running through it (I know this because bits of the porcelain have fallen off) does this sound like the sort of thing you would want to arm a 3 year old with?!?! Pie LOVES this wand, it has to go everywhere, to begin with he even slept with it! Watching Harry Potter on TV now requires him to jump off the sofa pointing said wand and shouting out various spells. If I have to sit and watch it too I have to add more wand rules in ‘don’t point that wand in my face’, ‘take that wand out of your nose’, ‘do not pick your sisters nose with the wand’ and on and on. I HATE that wand, and would gladly throw it in the bin or stick it up Mr Pud’s nose…

Bed filled with wands, light sabers and books
How does he sleep in this bed filled with dangerous items?!

Inappropriate gift number 2 is the ginormous light saber purchased while I was at work a few weeks ago! A friend of mine had brought him a play light saber and Pie had unfortunately broken it attacking the sofa (this should give you some idea as to why I hadn’t rushed out to replace it!) However; Dad in his infinite wisdom, went and brought not only a replacement but an upgraded, supercharged replacement. I tell you this thing is bloody huge! It makes crazy noises and has a mini light sabre that comes off the end (this tells you how huge this thing is). It really is more of a weapon than a toy – I have had to ban it in my bedroom in the mornings! Pudding just looks on in horror as this enormous, noisy red piece of plastic swoops past only millimetres from her nose…

The worlds largest and most dangerous light saber
The worlds largest and most dangerous light saber

There have been other gifts over the years, but these two are the current ones destroying my house, my patience and my sanity! Pie once hooked on to something is like a dog with a bone, it’s Harry Potter and Star Wars from morning until night at Pudding HQ. If it doesn’t involve a sword or a wand then apparently it’s just not fun… Even crafts aren’t safe as pencils, pens, glue etc can all be weaponised! I blame Mr Pud and his inappropriate, only a Dad would buy, gifts…

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Rhyming with Wine

Papa Pudding

So Mum left me again this week, apparently she had to go work and look after someone else’s baby for 12 hours. To be honest I wasn’t that impressed – I mean why would she choose to do that?! Anyway I was left with the boys, it was a Papa Pudding day…

Dad and Pudding
I have to say I was quite impressed with how the day began, Daddy was up and ready with milk as soon as I made a murmur. This is a huge improvement, Mum usually leaves me to coo and gurgle for 10 minutes! Even better with no Mummy in bed I got to snuggle into her pillow and once I had finished my bottle, I was so comfy I fell fast asleep. Next thing I knew Pie was curled up next to me watching Kung Fu Panda whilst Dad dived in the shower.

Next up was getting dressed, for some reason Dad thought letting Pie choose my clothes was a good idea… Hmm well we started off with just a tshirt and one red sock, glad to see Dad suggest we might need some more items! However; I couldn’t believe it when they finally agreed on a pair of tights and a tshirt. How is that an outfit?! What would my adoring public say? Let alone my own mother?? Still with me apparently dressed they moved on to tackling my slightly mad hair – it really is out of control at the moment. Dad managed to find a video on YouTube so he attempted to tame my mop with a hair clip, I have to say he did an ok job, even though it kind of cemented the trollesk thing I have going on!

Finally we got out of the house – Dad even managed to get my bag packed with all my stuff. We headed into town me bouncing along in my pram, I did try to explain its a pram not a racing car but it fell on deaf ears as he and Pie were harping on about Star Wars again. I was pretty chuffed when we stopped for lunch, apparently Daddy days mean those big yellow arches. Pie was super excited, and I couldn’t wait to chomp on a fry and slurp some milkshake – but what’s this? No way, all I am getting is some slightly cold formula, you have to be joking….

After lunch we popped into see Mummy, she was pretty busy but I got a quick cuddle, she said she missed me but I was too busy being mad at her to smile. Besides I was tired it had been a busy day, when we got home I just couldn’t drift off so I spent the majority of the afternoon screaming at Daddy! I perked up at bath time and I enjoyed tea in the garden, all in all a successful day with Dad, I guess Mum going back to work will be ok…

Love Pudding xx

Monday, Monday

Screaming Seagull Face
It would appear that Pudding & Pie didn’t get the memo about today being a bank holiday. In fact I would go so far as to say they got the memo, ripped it into tiny pieces and then promptly ate it. I do kinda blame our neighbour who slammed the door so hard at 6.30am that it rattled through every house in the row. I guess they figured that as they had to be up for work on the bank holiday then the rest of us should suffer too, after all misery loves company right? If that is the case I  am quite tempted to go over and ring their door bell at 5am every morning until the end of time, But I digress…

So Pudding HQ is awake, even Mr Pudding couldn’t sleep through the noise this morning! Before leaping out of bed to deal with the situations in the room next door we take 2 minutes to hold conversation, uninterrupted:

Mr P: ‘Morning’

Me: ‘Clearly..’

(Snuggle in for a quick cuddle, making sure no one gets a mouthful of morning breath)

*Noise Level Rising*

(Sounds of Pie swipping a ‘wand’ through the air shouting ‘expelliarmus’, this later turns out to be an orange felt tip with no lid….)

Me: ‘We need a plan for today…’

Mr P: ‘I thought we could wander to the pub, have a few ciders, maybe play some pool….’

Me: ‘Oh that sounds great, we could grab some lunch, sit in the garden. Oooh and I quite fancy a game of darts’

*Noise starting to reach crescendo*

Me: Are you making coffee or dealing with wee?


Mr P: I will make coffee….

Me: Good choice, nobody would ever choose wee…

(Lay still for a minute listening to noise)

Me: Remember that pub in Whitechapel with the beer garden?

Mr P: The one where The Krays shot Jack the Hat?

Me: Ha ha Jack the Hat, only in the East End would somebody be called Jack the Hat! What was that pub called?

Mr P: The Blind Beggar – we had our first kiss there…


*wistful glances*

(Noise reaches defcon 4… With accompanying air raid siren howl)

Me: I miss London


*collective sigh*

The day has begun, two tired and slightly disgruntled parents slide out of bed…

Hope everyone enjoys their bank holiday!!

Pink Pear Bear
My Petit Canard
Rhyming with Wine

Still not a Swiss Roll, But I have Big Love for Pie

Pudding & Pie having a cuddle
Hey Pudding Fans,

See what I did there? I got a little sports reference in, Dad would be proud. Speaking of Dad he made me sit and watch the FA cup semi-final on Saturday, apparently he was supposed to be giving me my bed time bottle but it wasn’t very relaxing! He kept jumping out of the chair and making me almost wet myself with his over-enthusiastic shouting. Mummy just tutted at him, it’s ok for her she wasn’t the one who nearly drowned on several occasions. I am only 4 months but I already have an inkling that I won’t be a huge football fan…

What I am a fan of though (other than parsnip) is my big brother Pie, he is awesome 😆, he is probably the only one who understands what it is like living in this mad house with these ridiculous dogs. He is getting pretty good at communicating my needs to mother, although I do get a little indignant when he tells me I am a ‘grumpy poo pants with grumpy bits!’ I mean how is a girl supposed to react to such a statement? I have managed to accept this crazy Harry Potter phase and we now regularly curl up together while he watches it, still not a great lover of wands though. Probably because there is always that fear that I might lose an eye (a fear shared by mother dearest).

I think this week Mum may have lost her mind slightly as she brought this crazy thing downstairs and hung it in a door frame then put me in it! There I was suspended, barely touching the floor. I did a few little bounces and she thought that was great but then Toby (that giraffe stealing sausage) licked my face so I clouted him on the nose (that was revenge for Sophie). Pie decided that what I needed was for him to bounce me which ended up in me getting cross and vomiting on the carpet in a moment of protest, suffice to say I don’t think Mum will be trying that out again anytime soon!

I would like to say that I had an update regarding the rolling – but as of yet I have not been able to work the magic. The elusive rolling, remains a mystery to me. Pie has been ‘helping’ but again not a great ending (more sick more  cross Pudding). Mum says I will get there – but when, it’s just so frustrating, there are so many naughty things I could be getting up to if I could just move. Saying that I am hoping to really catch her off guard and roll off her bed one morning while she is putting her knickers on…

Anyway enough rambling from me – mum says its parsnip for tea and as you know this girl loves a bit of parsnip!

Love Pudding xx

Petite Pudding
Cuddle Fairy