Noteworthy

Apr 01 2017

The Story Behind The Story: What took Katie McGee from NICU mom to RN lactation consultant?

What Mattered Most: From NICU Pump Dependency To Exclusive Breastfeeding

Citation:  Katherine (Katie) McGee RN, BSN, IBCLC; Neonatal Intensive Care, Volume 29, Fall, 2016

Abstract: For the newly-delivered NICU mother, the transition to motherhood is often shrouded with feelings of loss and lack of control. The unexpected end of pregnancy by an urgent or emergent delivery and the chaotic early postpartum days are not what she planned. Dreams of blissful hours with the newborn are replaced with the reality of constant worry. Separation of any length from the little someone who means everything to her is often unbearable. If not given accurate information, timely assistance, and frequent follow up, her lactation goals may soon be included among her losses.

I am not just a nurse lactation consultant. Long before I entered the professional field of lactation, I was a new NICU mom. I grieved the end of my pregnancy when my first babies, twins, suddenly arrived at 30 weeks. I longed for the four kicking feet inside that were now swaddled in separate isolettes. Both baby equipment and maternity items brought me to tears as I felt trapped in a state of motherhood limbo, unable to care for them on the inside or outside of my body. My babies were stable and there was seemingly much to celebrate. Yet, we were not a unit anymore and everything felt wrong. In my dazed hours after the emergency C-section, I wondered if all hope of providing my milk to them was also lost. The odds of lactation success felt stacked against us. I knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed but thought, “How
am I going to do this?”

I count it as a great accomplishment that I was able to achieve my goal. I am often asked how I was able to provide 100% of my milk during their 6 week NICU stay and transition to breastfeed them without ever needing formula. I know it was not just sheer determination that led to my success. There were people and factors that kept me on the right path toward my goal. Just as I was transformed from NICU mom to breastfeeding mom, I want to lead other mothers on the same avenue toward success. Looking back, there were key interactions and research proven tools that acted as my bridge and carried me from NICU pump dependency to breastfeeding mother. These were the elements that mattered most and were ultimately able to allow me to become an exclusively breastfeeding mom of twins despite my babies arriving 10 weeks early.

Pictured in the 1997 Rush NICU photo: Left to Right, Katie McGee nursing Emma McGee assisted by Dr. Paula Meier, in the background, Trish Sheehy, sister of Katie McGee, holding nephew/ other twin, Patrick McGee

Katie's twins Emma and Patrick McGee today.



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