Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Family Newborn Unit

Again I will state that this is my experience only and that while I am not a nurse in this field I am a nurse, as well as an educated person.

After my Labour and Delivery at 3 in the morning we were brought up to the Family Newborn unit (FNU) at the IWK. I had showered and was at that point really ready for some sleep. Two nurses welcomed me and helped me get settled. One did a check on baby and the other helped me into bed and did a check on me. They also got Dean some linen for his cot.  They they asked if baby had fed downstairs… she hadn’t so they helped her latch. It took them and myself but we got it figured out and she fed for a good long while. Eventually the nurse came in again to do another check on me and baby and I was able to drift off to sleep with baby in the bassinet beside me.

Some point through the night the nurse helped me to the bathroom to make sure I was peeing. While I can’t say it was comfy it was accomplished. I asked about trying to feed Abby again, and we tried but only briefly and the nurse gave the response of she was too sleepy. Dean also slept with baby for a bit on his chest. We woke up around shift change that day, so only about 4 hours sleep maybe and were introduced to our next nurse. She was really not the best nurse in the world, she brought in some paper work and information, also brought in my painkillers and checked me and baby. However when it came to feeding and Abby wouldn’t latch she just kept saying to keep trying and she will get it. I was expressing colostrum for her so with her little cherry sized belly she was ok that day but I still felt like I should be getting more help.

During our first day we had my dad come and visit and Lynn and Jason. Abby slept alot and we rested. Although Dean wouldn’t leave me so at least our friends brought him food. One thing the FNU doesn't provide is meals for your support person, which doesn't make alot of sense because they encourage them to be with you.

Our nurse for that night was decent she introduced me to the breast pump and encouraged me to fee but still I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing and Abby still wasn’t feeding well, it was a rough night with lots of tears for all of us. In the end Abby ended up sleeping on Dean and in my bed. She was not a fan of the bassinet provided by hospital! The nurse we had wasn’t in at all while Abby was crying and it made it very hard for us.

The next day everyone was in to see us. Dr. Dude, my regular Ob, and everyone was asking how I felt about going home. With Abby still not latching at all I was not very comfortable with the idea, she had lost some weight, which while normal had me a little stressed, and she was not a happy girl. Luckily the nurse we had that day was willing to spend alot of time with us trying to get her to latch, however she still wouldn’t. The nurses had mentioned a nipple shield may help, so Dean went and bought one from the gift shop. With that in place I felt Abby was feeding, but we were still spending the night there.

The nurse I had that last night was a god send, she clearly enjoyed her job and while she wasn’t correcting me on any nursing issues she did come in when Abby was crying and offered any assistance. She also explained things in a way that made sense and made me feel better about her crying.

Then it was Friday after being in the hospital since very early Tuesday morning we were ready to go home. We were going to be discharged and on our way. Around 8 in the morning we saw the doctor and then my nurse came in… let me tell you while she did a great discharge summery and made me feel comfortable about going home she was not a good nurse in any other way. She said I would need to see another doctor and that we would be going home soon. We waited and she came in a few more times asking about how Abby was feeding, while she was sucking on the nipple shield we were questioning if it was giving her milk, through our own research we learned there were different sized and the one we had was probably too small! No one had told us that, or asked to look at the one we bought! So I had plans to go to babies r us and buy some on the way home. While we waited some more I was getting very upset we were packed and dressed and ready to go. The nurse came in again and told me to ring when I was going to feed next however added “but I probably won’t be able to come, I have a new admission coming and haven't had a break yet”. She also went on to talk about how it was crazy busy and there was no time. At that point I lost it, Abby was fussy and crying and I was crying. I just wanted to go home!! Around 2 Dean went out to the desk to ask why we weren’t discharged yet. Another nurse looked in my chart and sure enough the orders were there for us to go home, and had been written at 9 in the morning!! Thankfully that nurse gave us a speedy discharge and we were on our way, I was so mad, and so thankful to be out of that place!

Overall my stay at the FNU was not really a pleasant one. The information I did receive in bits and pieces was good, but never consistent. I had more nurses I wasn’t fond of than ones I was, and as a new parent really never was shown thing I felt I should have been. We weren’t shown around the unit, told there was a family lounge or anything, we were basically in a room for 3 days on our own for the most part. If I ever have another child I would want out of there as fast as possible, and the other thing I have to say is I would ring for help for everything, because the nurses there don’t seen to want to offer it. Again I would just like to add this is my opinion and experience and I have contacted the IWK regarding this as I felt as a well known hospital our experience should have been wonderful and happy.


  1. Thanks for your honesty,a shame things were that
    disorganized and so mediocre at best-hopefully IWK will listen to feedback such as yours and try and improve...
    Congrats on your baby girl !!
    You did great ,esp with very little support or encouragement as a first time mom at the hospital.
    Best wishes !

  2. The IWK should be better than that. How disappointing! While pregnant I often wished I was 'home' to give birth there. I guess I did not miss much. If it makes you feel better, your experience was still better than mine. My nurses never let me sleep longer than twenty minutes at a time.

  3. The IWK should be better than that. How disappointing! While pregnant I often wished I was 'home' to give birth there. I guess I did not miss much. If it makes you feel better, your experience was still better than mine. My nurses never let me sleep longer than twenty minutes at a time.