Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Researching local NICUs

Well, it's week 26. Bleeding has pretty much stopped, however I am still losing amniotic fluid. The doctor said the chances of my rupture re-sealing are slim, so no plans to go home before Penny is born. On the bright side, I am looking pregnant again, and not because of my constipation, because I finally pooped Monday! However, my AFI is lower, down to 5.6, but I think this is because she moved last week. Still breech, just laying the OTHER way now. Silly girl.

I would like to say that I have been VERY good at not thinking. Out of the 3 weeks I have been here, I would say I have maybe spent 2 days thinking. Netflix and People's Court/Judge Judy are VERY good methods of making your brain melt out of your ear so that you don't really feel like thinking anymore. Knitting and days when your schedule is off (weekends = no Judge Judy) are not good for trying not to think about serious stuff and "what-ifs."

So Saturday I found myself without visitors until dinner and absolutely no "good" TV. So for nearly 5 hours I researched the poop out of NICUs. What to expect, what do the different levels mean? Is the level of NICU at the hospital I am currently at "good enough?" What I found left me more frustrated than when I started.

I am currently in a hospital with a level 3b NICU. According to this lovely website, a 3b can handle "micropreemies," or babies born between 23-28 weeks. But it's still not the best. The best is a level 3c/4 (a level 4 is controversial, since the AAP doesn't even recognize that as a level different from 3c). But 3c/4 is the same as a 3b, just with a higher volume of patients and more resources for performing surgeries for babies with congenital heart defects (which Penny doesn't have). They also might have different types of ventilators on hand, but it's not clear what exactly is different in that sense.

So, there are 3 other hospitals within a 5-10 minute drive that are level 3c/4 and all are in-network for my insurance. But I can't get answers on basic stuff that you would think hospitals would keep on hand. And when I call, I feel like some of them think I am lying and not a patient, but someone trying to "shut them down" or "catch them doing something wrong." It's disturbing to me that you can't just call and get an exact number of survival rates for a SPECIFIC hospital at SPECIFIC gestational ages. Or just how many patients they see a year? They know how many beds they have, why not yearly amounts of patients? Why aren't these statistics kept recorded somewhere? I will say that I don't think I am talking to the right people, the floor nurses clearly would not be keeping track of this kind of information, but they don't seem to know who would. I think this is the kind of information skittish patients need to know. And if all of them have the same survival statistics, wouldn't that be better for business?

Now that it's Wednesday, though, I've kind of decided that my NICU is good enough, but I just want a few questions answered since we'll be "living" here until at least June if all goes well.

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