Before we left the delivery room we showed him to mom and I told her that we were helping him to breathe and so on. After I said this, Mom's only question was, "You mean he won't be able to come to my room with me?"
This happens quite frequently. We tell a parent about a serious health problem in their baby and they seem only concerned with a more minor thing, like being separated from the baby for a few hours or so. I really try to give the parents the benefit of the doubt on this; I know they don't always understand what's going on, and even if they do they don't always know what to say or ask. I know it's important for parents to have their baby with them. But still, the difference in gravity between a person not being able to breathe versus not coming to your room is so great you'd think they would understand it.
I try to put myself in their position, to try to understand it better, but if someone came and told me "Your daughter is having trouble breathing and is on a ventilator," I don't think my first response would be "You mean she can't go to the football game with me tomorrow?" Not all parents are like this, of course. Others are the opposite, getting extremely worried even if you tell them about a very minor problem. It's hard to predict a given parent's response.
Later the same day the baby improved, came off the ventilator, and looked like a normal, pink, breathing baby. When I went to the mother's room to give her the good news she had only one question: "Will he be able to come home with me in two days?" Sigh.