Advice needed--hospital stay care package

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by Peaches, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Hi, all. It's me again looking for advice and ideas.

    A friend of mine just went into the hospital today for a quasi-emergency C-section. The pregnancy was high-risk, and this is about 3 weeks or so earlier than what they'd have liked. Anyhow, long story short, Mom is going to be in the hospital for a little while and after that I'm sure they'll be in and out for a while to visit Baby in the NICU. I'm currently waiting for the OK to go and visit them in the hospital.

    I'd like to bring them a care package when I do get to visit them. I was thinking of a basket of some nice food for them to have on hand to nibble since: a)they're both foodies, so I doubt eating hospital food would be all that appealing (although I suppose that they're so preoccupied I'd wonder if they'd even notice), b)they will have family and friends visiting and staying with them, so it might be nice to have some food to have/offer, c)I doubt they'll want to think about mundane things like food once she's discharged and schlepping back and forth to the hospital.

    With me so far? Thoughts thus far? Advice?

    I was thinking of a basket with the obligatory bubbly, some chocolate (friend loves good chocolate), maybe some cheese and crackers (with fridge packs or something), a summer sausage or something, jam/chutney/spread, fresh fruit, and maybe something else that doesn't need to be refrigerated (much). I don't know what.

    I'm thinking that later, when friend is discharged, that I can bring actual food-food. Soups, casseroles, etc...in foil containers and with disposable plates and cutlery and whatnot so there's no hassle to clean or return things.

    Any ideas? Suggestions? Words of caution or advice?

    Update: friend's baby was born shortly after 2pm, weighing 2lbs 1oz. Apparently breathing on her own, pink, and moving lots. Was described as "mad at the world." LOL. :-D
  2. NURDRMS

    NURDRMS Well-Known Member

    if she's going to be breastfeeding, probably not anything spicy...
  3. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Likewise, if she's breastfeeding, I don't think she can have the champagne, either.

    Honestly, I'd lean towards fruit she likes, maybe spreads and crackers, though the BEST thing anyone brought me when I was in the hospital for a week was a friend brought me a green salad. The meat/carbs part of the hospital food was not that bad, but institutional fruit and vegetables are....not so great actually. I'd have killed for fresh produce at that point.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I had DS full term, but by emergency C-section.

    Ditto on the champagne (probably not a good idea,) although I doubt breastfeeding is possible with a baby that small. I forget when the sucking reflex kicks in, but the baby may not have it yet, so breastfeeding may be moot. ETA: Oops. It's the rooting reflex I was thinking of, not sucking. Sucking starts as early as 15 weeks. Rooting, not so much. (Rooting makes the baby turn toward another warm person when they're hungry. It's so sweet!) Besides, breastfeeding is a sensitive issue, so it's probably best to let her mention if, if she wants to talk about it.


    If she does want to breastfeed (and happens to mention it,) I have the names of some truly lifesaving books that can help a new Mom navigate the waters of breastfeeding a C-section baby who may develop nipple confusion because of being given a bottle during the early days and who has to be handled carefully to avoid hurting Mom's incision. Off the top of my head, The Nursing Mother's Companion is a book direct from God to nursing Moms with issues everywhere! Seriously. Good stuff. But I wouldn't mention it to her. It feels awful to be barred from nursing your baby because your body is full of chemicals. Awful. But, if she mentions it, buy her the book.

    From my own experience, I do think that you're on the right track by offering easy nibbles. When I was at home with DS, I swear that I lived on Boost and Ensure for weeks. I barely had time to do anything -- eat, sleep, pee even! Being able to grab something quick and somewhat healthy that kept me nourished was a God-send.

    Food to offer visitors? Not so much. Any friends and family who come to visit them and expect to be fed must kicked out immediately. :evil: :lol:
  5. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    Wow, if the baby is only 2 lbs, she is going to be in the hospital for quite some time, and your friend will be struggling to get back and forth from home to the intensive care nursery. I think getting her some healthy snack food that she can take on the run would be really good. Maybe the hospital has a coffee shop, and you can buy her a gift card from there so she can grab a cup when she is able to take a break. I am not sure if you are in the position to be able to do this, but offering to drive her to or from the hospital would probably be much appreciated, especially since in the beginning she is just not going to be able to drive herself. Hope everything turns out well for both mom and baby!
  6. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    Congratulations to your friend. Breathing on her own is a great sign. My husband was born at 3 lbs, 4 oz in 1966 and was very lucky to have made it (heart stopped twice). The science and technology has developed SO much since then...and it sounds like this baby is a fighter! Sending positive thoughts their way.

    In addition to snack foods*, I would consider bringing her something to read/do/listen to/distract herself with, especially if the NICU has strict policies about the use of personal electronic devices like cell phones. Preemies--and really, babies in general--are capable of sleeping A LOT, and it is probably healthier not to stare constantly at the baby inwardly screaming "KEEP BREATHING!" if you can help it. Magazines, a good book (obviously nothing too tragic!), Sudoku, knitting...whatever she likes.

    *I ate so much trail mix after delivering my daughter...even nine years later, when I see trail mix, I think of those days!

    I will also add that one of the most valuable things you can do is be a good listening ear. There are often many stressful decisions to be made. My dd was a full-term vaginal delivery, but they still had a couple concerns about her. Before I knew it, a doctor was suggesting that they do a SPINAL TAP to rule out a serious infection. After a lot of debate and soliciting several opinions among family members, I stood with my original decision and said NO, not enough reason to believe something was wrong to merit such an intervention. And this was for a basically healthy baby! So I can only imagine how many more difficult decisions there will be with a preemie.

    If this is a close friend, you may also want to ask if they have any preemie clothes, and if not offer to fetch some items. Even the 0-3 month normal baby stuff will be absolutely ENORMOUS on a 2 lb preemie, as a typical US baby in the 21st century is 7.5 lbs at birth. (And the baby will almost definitely lose weight at first. That almost always happens.) All the major stores have preemie clothes: Target, Gymboree, Gap. (I just looked at Gymboree's and I should not have done that. Way too cute. And even those are for "under 5 lbs," so she will be swimming in even that.)
  7. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    Congratulations to your friend! Sounds like the baby is doing great, all things considered.

    I totally agree that any visitors who come expecting to be fed or entertained shouldn't let the door hit them on the way out.

    Food is definitely a biggie, so all of your ideas there are great. I agree that fruit should be added into that mix. Maybe some kind of a nice water bottle with a straw so she can stay hydrated while she only has one hand free. Maybe also a really comfy robe and slippers for the hospital.

    Personally, in the first few days, weeks and months of motherhood I was way too exhausted and scatter brained to even consider reading anything, but I managed some books on CD. So if you know what kinds of books she likes you could try to find them on CD, or I highly recommend The Baby Whisperer on CD for new moms. And a nice lullaby CD will be helpful once she gets home.

    Maybe also a favorite TV show of hers on DVD? It may be hard to watch an entire movie for awhile, but one episode of a show without commercials in short available time windows may work.

    If you go the route of preemie clothes as recommended by CCM, I suggest some plain white button up t-shirts like these:

    http : // w w w .buybuybaby.com/product.asp?SKU=129638&RN=7195&

    http : / / w w w .buybuybaby.com/product.asp?SKU=125243&RN=7195&

    Most baby clothes are onesies, and in the beginning the baby can't have anything rubbing against her belly button, so the onesies are pretty much useless until the cord falls off. My little one lived in nothing but t-shirts like that in the very beginning.

    I second CCM's suggestion that one of the most valuable things you can do is listen. And just be there. Being a new mother is overwhelming, and can ironically feel very lonely. Just being there to spend time with her will be an amazing gift.
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    having spent some time in a NICU before the loss of our first daughter, Sarah
    Elizabeth, I do have a few thoughts on this...hydration is important, particularly when nursing...maybe in your care package you do things like fruit and cheese and vitamin water...but also important in the trauma of a high risk birth is some of the niceties that don't get observed when a baby is fragile, maybe a photo frame and a tiny stuffed animal for the isolette, also some things like comfort objects for mom; new robe and slippers, stuff that smells good, making sure you congratulate...soothing music, personalized baby items...a journal as they try to navigate this...definately meals for the spouse before the wife gets home.....
  9. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    This is another good point! Again from a patient perspective, but in waiting rooms, too, there is just nothing to do, they're very strict usually about cell phones/smart phones...my first night in the hospital (I was in the next level down from ICU) I basically couldn't sleep (they did a marrow tap, they were tinkering with meds, they were transfusing me so just when I'd drift off they'd be back to check my temp and the IV) and since I was an ER admit I didn't have ANYTHING to read or do except lie there. And when you're dealing with a lot of different doctors and nurses as I'm sure they are in NICU there can be a lot of hurry up and wait down time. And when Mom arrived, she had even MORE sitting to do, especially if they had to send her out so they could do tests or something. Hospitals are mentally draining.
  10. NURDRMS

    NURDRMS Well-Known Member

    my daughter and I were in the hospital for a week after she was born and I remember being too cold the entire time. Maybe a cuddly comforter?
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all of the really great ideas, guys! Some things (robe, slippers, books on tape, tv show episodes) I would never have thought of.

    One thing: I was thinking of bubbly less for her right now, and more for her husband/family/whomever for celebration...when celebration warrants. Sort of the quasi-healthier version of cigars, ya know? OTOH, perhaps I'll just keep it for me! ;)
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Champagne, chocolates, cigars ... these are all cleverly disguised distractors to give new Dads something to do so they stay out of new Moms' hair. Word to the wise. :wink: :lol:



    +1



    I was also a preemie, although not an extreme preemie -- I was 4 pounds and something when I was born. (I'm from a set of twins. My darling twin sister developed more quickly than I. So, when she was ready to be born, I was born too. Something to do with those pesky uterine contractions. :lol:)


    Anyway ... I stayed in the hospital for weeks after my Mom and sister went home. According to my Mom, that was emotionally one of the worst times in her life -- being at home, without one of her babies. This probably won't happen to your friend. Hospitals try to accomodate families so much better these days than back when I was born (before the sun rose :lol:) If this scenario does happen, though, she will definitely need a lot of emotional support.


    At this point, your being able to listen to your friend, if you can, may very well be the best gift you can give. Be prepared, though. New parents can be very myopic. It's all about baby, baby all the time. This is as it should be, but it can get annoying, if you're not a baby person.
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    hershey's or fanny mae, used to sell chocolate cigars in real cigar boxes, wrapped in pink or blue foil...
  14. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    That little, she likely won't be able to feed on the breast initially but pumping and bottle/NG tube feeding expressed breast milk is HIGHLY recommended for preemies. So I'd agree with the avoid spicy. Lots of fruit. Hospital fruit is horrible. And I agree with something fluffy and warm.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    They still do. :-D
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Hm. Well. Having spent the bulk of today sitting with Mommy D, I know have a better idea of what to get her.

    Slippers, robe = out. She's required to wear these grippy sock thingies when walking around, so slippers are a no-go. Also, with the whole multiple gown things she's having enough logistical issues, so a robe would be bad. Also, she's always warm.

    Blanket = in. Especially since Daddy is freezing. And it's freakin' cold in the room.

    FOOD. Stuff to nibble. They forgot to give her breakfast, and would have forgotten lunch had she not asked for the third or fourth time. And it sucked. And she wants fruit...or anything that isn't hospital fruit. Also for Daddy, since the canteen is closed half the time and the only thing left is vending machine food.

    Chapstick. It's freakin' dry in there and it's driving her nuts.

    Chocolate. 'nuf said.

    Yarn. Apparently the girl has taken up crochet and keeps running out of yarn. No surprise, since there's precisely NOTHING to do in the room all freakin' day. (Ask me how I know.)

    Possibly nail polish and nail polish remover. Chica always Always ALWAYS has her nails done, or is always redoing her nails. She's gonna get tired of her current shade soon and want to change. It's something she really enjoys doing.

    Things to drink besides nasty hospital water.

    More chocolate, more food.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yea peach, I knew she coulnd't wear that stuff in the NICU...just that, for me, the room I had to sleep in wasn't very comfortable and I would have like those items in my space when I wasn't in the NICU area
  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Heh...D is much more of the nekkid type. She kept saying how she wishes she could get away with wearing nothing at all. LOL.
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yea...not so much the place for that...but you do pretty much feel exposed there all the time...guess that's why I kind of liked to feel all wrapped up...but I can see how a blankie would work just as well
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Gowns may be an option later. For me, the first couple days after surgery were all about bleeding, incision care, frequent checks by nurses, medical techs and doctors, the *eek* catheter, etc. Even hospital gowns were a bit intrusive. But that stage passed pretty quickly.

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