1. Neonatal intensive care is aptly named. NICU is an intense experience for new parents. But it is also a very composed and controlled environment, where very little happens quickly.
2. It is a highly technical environment, with babies dwarfed by surrounding machines, computers and ventilation equipment. It is mostly quiet apart from beeps and whooshes from the machines.
3. NICU is a 24/7 unit and a sterile environment with limited contact to the outside world so you can quickly lose sense of the passage of time.
4. Babies die in NICU. Sometimes this is expected, sometimes not. The alarm alerting staff to an emergency sends chills down your spine.
5. The staff in NICU are made of incredibly tough stuff. They are working to meticulous detail on miniature human beings. They are dealing with shocked, distressed, angry and grieving parents. They are doing their best.
About Dr Kate Woodthorpe
Dr Kate Woodthorpe is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. She is Mum to two children. Her son was born with a life threatening condition and spent three months in NICU.