In addition to the NICU health professionals and support offerings for infants in the NICU, there are -- or should be -- support groups and services in place for families. Vicky shared with us her experience running support groups and how she started TLC, Together Let's Cope.
"One of the things I found along the way is that the babies aren't the only ones in the family who need care. We need to look up from the bed and care for mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings. If the families aren't tended to along the way, it won't work.
TLC -- Together Let's Cope -- is a support system that I ran for about 14 or 15 years. Every week, I'd get families together -- we'd have talks or dinners, anything that brought families together and let them talk and support each other, let them know someone did care about how they were feeling.
I also started taking photos of families in the NICU -- I'd develop the film at home at night -- and families would light up. Between the support groups and the photography I did, it tended to deepen the relationships I had with the families. Graduated families would come back and have dinner with the TLC families. Reunions, volunteering activities and TLC meetings kept me constantly in touch with these families.
Is it sad? Yes, there are many sad days in the NICU but there are also so many times when it's so joyous and miracles happen. It's an incredible world with so many unsung heroes."
On the next page, find out what brought Vicky to the world of NICU nursing.