I often struggle at my job with whether or not we are doing the right thing by saving some of the tiny lives that we do. Their lungs are underdeveloped requiring a ventilator to breathe for them. Their brains are so fragile, the deliveries often cause bleeds that leave them with developmental delays. Their tummies are too premature to digest food right away and often don't tolerate being fed long after they leave the NICU. They have faulty immune systems that don't fight infections effectively and the tiniest bug can spread throughout every organ in their body. They often have vision problems and hearing problems too.
Being premature literally affects every part of their tiny body and while we now have the technology to help them survive, I often fear their quality of life will not be worth the amount of pain they endure just to reach their due date. Its like we're committing daily little acts of torture on their tiny bodies when as something as simple as taking a temperature can cause them pain having immature pain receptors. I struggle with this everyday at my job wishing we would just know the outcomes of all the painful interventions we as nurses must do to keep these little babies alive. On the days that I struggle the most, I remind myself of my good friend Katie's tiny miracle who was born at 26 weeks gestation weighing less than 2 pounds and survived her two month NICU stay problem-free! Kylie is happy and healthy as can be! Living in California when she was born (in Florida at Christopher's NICU), I wondered when I would ever get to meet her. Maybe you remember me blogging about running in to her last summer in the Minneapolis airport but I was super excited when we drove up to Winnipeg last October and got to stop in Albuquerque to see them again! Its real miracles like little Kylie Marie that remind me why I do what I do!