When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy…It’s all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go….The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. (From “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley–given to many new NICU parents)
Listening to parents talk about the time of acclimation after their baby is admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit is much like watching Bill Murray in “Lost in Translation” as he navigates Tokyo without knowing Japanese, staring at flashing billboards and listening to conversations and sounds that have no meaning to him. Parents describe a sound track that falls like the noises of a foreign country’s streets on uncomprehending ears: medical acronyms, beeping, chiming, flashing cacophony of alarms, overhead pages, the hiss of ventilators. How do parents create a new script to form their family collectivity? (DuFault, Schau, and Schouten 2015)
Stay tuned for thoughts on these quotes and the parent journey through the NICU, as we research improving the family experience.