Dear new dad of an infant needing to be transferred to the NICU,
I bet you are going through lots of emotions right now. On one hand, you have just seen your child (or, as in my case, children) born, and now one of them is heading to Children's National Medical Center. You are being torn in different directions - you want to stay with your wife (or other child), but at the same time you feel you need to head with your sick child to Children's.
Let me share with you some of my own experiences. At the 20 week mark in our pregnancy, we learned that one of our twin daughters, Madeline, would need surgery the day she was born. All of the sudden, we changed our OB (in this case for the third time) and the hospital where our kids would be delivered (to Washington Hospital Center), so the transfer over would be much easier.
Hopefully, your case is like mine was, and you know that your child will be transferred soon after birth. I will never forget the rush of emotions and adrenaline I felt on January 24, 2009. Just after 2 am, Anna and Madeline arrived in the world and within a couple of hours, the staff from Children's came to pick her up and transfer her.
I remember seeing the transport device, with all of its complicated gadgets, and it made me think that Maddie was a lot worse off than she really was. Don't get psyched out – they use the same transport equipment for all babies, as they have to be prepared for any case possible. The transfer team was so calm and helpful, reassuring me that all would be ok. Even though Children's is right next door to Washington Hospital Center (WHC), Maddie was transferred by ambulance. Parents generally do not go in the ambulance for neonatal transports, so instead I had to get to Children's on my own.
In my case, my wife was already resting, and my other child, Anna, was calm in the WHC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. So I went with Maddie. By the way, I learned the quickest way to get to Children's from WHC is through the main doors and taking a left, going outside around the Emergency Department. You keep following that road and will end up at an entrance for Children's in less than 5 minutes.
When you get to the NICU, the staff will welcome you and walk you through everything you need to know. Probably like me, you will want to stick around and wait for a doctor, nurse, or someone else to get an update on your child. When you child gets to the NICU, they may have to work on him or her right away, but they will get you info as soon as they can.
Finally, do not feel bad about leaving your wife. She will most likely want to rest after her delivery and will want you to follow your child to Children's. This way, when she is up, you can keep her and the rest of your family posted. Good luck. I know you will be able to do it.
Maddie's Dad, John