Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

In the NICU too long when…

Just for fun, let’s see how many ideas we can come up with!  I’ll start:

You know you’ve been in the NICU too long when…

You can identify every alarm when it goes off and you know what it’s for.

You’re allowed to adjust your baby’s oxygen when she starts to desat.

You’re perfectly comfortable changing your baby’s diaper in the isolette.

Your baby’s nurse asks you to keep an eye on things for a couple minutes while they step out of the room.

A custodian asks you if you work there.  (funny story I’ll write about later)

You’ve had 50 different nurses tend your baby.

When you call the NICU for an update they know your voice by heart.

You’re on a first-name basis with the front desk receptionists.

The lady who brings around the nutrition cart recognizes you in the cafeteria.

You get upset when someone takes “your locker”.

You’ve watched every movie in the parent lounges… twice.

Your preemie gets her picture in two different holiday displays.

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. Samantha says:

    …you know immediately upon hearing a certain nurse has your baby that you are going to have issues during your daily visit.

    So many of those ring true to me! We are still in touch with our favorite NICU nurse now, more than four months after coming home.

  2. Kristin Kyung says:

    That is too funny! I can totally relate to each one of your comments. Being in the NICU for 170 days with my ex 23 weeker gave me a lot of experience in learning everything about the NICU. I knew every alarm and what it meant, knew every nurse/nnp/dr. by their full names and had 4 holiday picts. of my son. The nurses had caller Id and knew my number by heart. Also, the staff would regularly meet me in the NICU, if nothing was going on, to take pictures of my son in Build A Bear outfits. He was pretty special to all of them.

  3. Lol – can relate to so many of these! We are still in touch with one of our primary nurses over a year after discharge. When it’s not rsv/flu season, we return for visits. Couldn’t wait to take our son home but have great affection for the people who had a hand in saving his life & who cared for him for 3 months.

  4. … you can look at you baby and see a destat before the monitor has time to alarm and can tell the exact moment when it will stop sounding.

    … the security guard at the desk preprints your daily sticker pass and hands it to you during your drive by check-in.

  5. Julianne says:

    …the cafeteria lady gives you the employee discount.

    These are sooo true.

  6. …when your NICU nurses fuss at you about the number of pictures you put up of “their baby” on Facebook is not enough!

    …when you can read the pulse oximeter from across the room and know if baby boy is sleeping, awake, or about to have a fit.

  7. Love this. My husband and I discussed a similar list. Here’s what we came up with on top of what you already have:
    …you have the hospital cafeteria number and menu memorized.
    …you swear your car could go on autopilot and make it to the hospital without your assistance.
    …you know the exact times you need to come or go to avoid rush hour or (worse) shift change traffic in the garage.
    …different specialists wear different colored scrubs and you know the color code.

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