Hi! I am a new grad, too (I graduated back in June) and am working in a medical ICU at a large university medical center. It's a really exciting unit full of challenging, complex patients. I have learned sooooo much since being hired there, and I absolutely love ICU nursing. Reading your post reminded me of my own post from a couple of weeks ago!
For some reason codes don't seem to bother me much. However, at the time I posted, I was dealing with the fact that several patients exactly my age had died very traumatic, unexpected deaths within a week on my unit, and I had helped care for a few of them. It's hard to look at someone your age who is swirling the drain right in front of your eyes, you can hear the family members sobbing around you, you are working as fast and as best you know how along with all the nurses around you, but the person still dies. It's a real letdown afterwards and I felt kinda down in the dumps about it for a few days.
I feel great now and have an even stronger love for ICU nursing now that I have dealt with my feelings on death/dying/intense situations/etc. I have been in several situations since then that would have had more impact on me before thinking about all this, but now I am able to handle it and feel good about what I did in that situation when I reflect on it later.
I think what helped me the most was realizing that the patients I care for every day are the sickest of the sick. Many will not live, and therefore dealing with death is a given. Plus, I think us new grads watch the more experienced nurses dealing with the stressful situations with maturity and peace and misinterpret their calmness as uncaring. But it's not that they don't care; it's that they have learned how to deal with it effectively. I talked about this with my preceptor and other experienced nurses on my unit and they told me that it's absolutely normal to feel upset and even traumatized after a rough case. It's not that you become uncaring and unfeeling in your work, it's just that you learn to deal with it effectively. You learn when you need to "hold it together" and when it's ok to let your feelings show. You will also get used to your feelings so that you don't cry every time someone dies. I've never been a really tearful person, but my pitfall is keeping my feelings to myself and not talking/debriefing afterwards. My preceptor is the same way and she recommended to me that after a tough situation, that we could talk about it and do some "therapeutic venting."
I know that was super-wordy but I guess that's my way of saying I totally understand how you feel, and to let you know you WILL feel better and will find your own unique and most effective way of dealing with the pressures of working in the ICU.