This was a pretty easy case for us. It's a fairly common situation, the baby wasn't very sick, and we weren't too excited about it. In fact, I wanted to get the orders done right away so I could finish my rounds. I'm always a little on edge until I can get those rounds done and the NICU babies' care, especially that of the critically ill ones, settled for the day.
For the parents, though, this was far from a routine thing. This was their first baby; the possibilility of a serious infection was a major worry. Also, they naturally wanted the baby in mother's room so she could breast feed. They had a million questions, and it was all I could do to remain patient and answer all of them.
This is a bit of a problem for health care workers. A huge, special event in people's lives - for example, the birth of a baby - is a routine thing for us. If that baby turns out to have a problem, it's an even bigger deal for the family - but still might be sort of a ho-hum thing for us, and it can be hard to treat it like the big deal the family expects it to be treated as. If we don't act like it's a major thing, we can come off as seeming cavalier to the family.
When I left the parents of the smelly baby in the delivery room, taking their baby with me, they seemed a little shell shocked. Fortunately, I was able to speak to them at more length later in the day, after I had finished my rounds, and we had a great conversation. They were an extremely nice family; it was a pleasure to play a part in the birth and well being of their child. It's just hard to remember sometimes what a privilege it is to have my job and take part in so many special moments.
P.S. A new grand rounds is up at Dr. Rangel's blog.