September 23, 2013

Small steps towards an ultimate goal

For years now, I've contemplated the pros and cons of going on to school to become a midwife.  It's something that I would absolutely love to do.  Unfortunately, there are some major hurdles to jump.  First is the cost of returning to school.  The money has to come from somewhere and I'm not rolling in the dough.  Second being that fact that I have 4 children.  They are getting older, but my youngest just turned 3 on Saturday (can you believe it!?!). Husband is starting to become a bit of a birth enthusiast himself, although I'm not sure he's willing to admit it yet.  He attended the improving birth rally on labor day in my place since I had to work! But we've talked, he knows that my ultimate dream is to become a midwife. I think it *may* become a possibility in the next few years!  Several tough decisions will have to be made and my way of thinking has really shifted in the last couple years.  Home birth or hospital?  CNM or CPM?  I see pros and cons in all directions.  I have a lot to think about and have several tough decisions to make.  I never thought I'd be at the age I am and thinking on embarking on a new I'm not old per se, but by the time I am able to finish I'll be, well, older ;)  We'll see what time brings.

In the meantime, I'm doing my part to ensure that the hospital births are as mom-baby friendly as possible. We do skin-to-skin immediately after delivery with almost all vaginal births.  And I've been pushing skin to skin in the OR depending on mom and baby's condition, of course.  I've made some progress, but there is still resistance.  I've done it successfully several times and each time, the mom has told me that it made the c-section feel like a birth, not a surgery.  At the very least, if skin to skin on the OR table isn't done, the mom has that baby skin to skin as she's wheeled back into her room.  Rooming in is the norm...our respite nursery where the babies would sleep at night in the nursery is now a conference room for never saw use in our new department!  So things are better, but there is still room for improvement.

May 23, 2013

Pre-K graduation

Today my 3rd child, the first of my kids that I talked about on the web, is graduating pre-k today. I've slowed down significantly in the amount of time I actually write on this blog, not out of lack of things to say.  On the contrary, I have more opinions now than ever.  I just don't have much time to sit down and articulate those feelings because I've been busy chasing these 4 angels God has given to me to care for.  And they are a lot of work!  Between potty training, school, baseball and work...we're in constant motion.  But the fact that the first pregnancy I blogged about will be heading into kindergarten in the fall...boy, I've been talking a lot for a long time about myself!  It seems like only yesterday I was walking down the hallway to the C-section room that frigid cold December morning the day he was born.  He's come such a long way with his struggles with speech.  He's a bright kid, and now he can tell people what he knows.  He's playing t-ball this year, Husband is assistant coach, and he seems to have some athletic ability.  Of course, I'm not biased or anything.  He is a stubborn one, but he comes by that honestly.  But he's also a sweet, lovable little guy.  I was sick the last couple days with stomach flu, and it was Isaiah who made sure I had a blanket, brought me a bottle of Gatorade, and gave me a back rub.  Maybe he has a future in nursing!  Anyway, today we celebrate one of the many milestones for I-man. 

May 7, 2013

In Honor of Nurses Week...a repost

Random person:Do you really like being a nurse?

Nurse: Um, yeah, why?


Nurse: Yes.

 RP: How can you enjoy a job that demands that you work hours outside the typical 8-5 M-F, and you have to work weekends, holidays and nights? Plus, you don't have a set schedule. That would drive me crazy not always working the same days every week.

 Nurse: That's one of the great things about nursing, the flexibility. You can work around doctors appointments, school functions and other things you need off work for. You can work just weekends to be home with the kids, or you can work evenings or nights if you aren't a morning person.

RP: Another thing. Nursing is frequently cited as one of the most respected professions, but most of the time, all people hear about are how horrible their nursing care was. How their IV bag ran dry, or they waited forever for pain meds, or that their nurse seemed rushed. Oh, and the patients who think their nurse was a horrible ogre for not giving them the medication they wanted, even though it was the doctor, not the nurse, who decided against that med. Or the family who doesn't think you're doing enough for their family member, even though you've gone above and beyond to care for that patient. That's got to be disheartening. The saying "don't shoot the messenger" comes to mind. Sometimes you hear about how great a nurse was, but not as often. Plus the butt-reaming you get on occasion from a doctor, for reasons justified or unjustified, must suck. I've seen you come home in tears after a particularly horrible shift.

 Nurse: There are times when no matter what I do, I can't seem to make a patient or their family happy, and times when I've had my ass chewed by a doctor. That is very frustrating. But, most of the time, patients are pleasant to deal with and the doctors are easy to get along with. After one night of verbal abuse by a patient, I've had the doc decide she needed to go in and talk to the patient about treating the nursing staff with respect and that the decisions made for her care came from her, not me. Occasionally, I've been told I'm a good nurse, that I made a good call, that I really helped a mom enjoy her birth experience, or that I've given them great advice when caring for their baby.

RP: You also frequently talk about shifts that are so busy that you don't get eat, drink much or even pee for 12 hours! Some nurses even get bladder infections from shifts like that! Or on the rare occasion you get to sit down to eat, a family member of one of your patients sees you eating and is instantly pissed because you are sitting and eating and not taking care of their family member. You can't win. You've gone into work feeling like crap, just because if you didn't they'd be way too short staffed. I also remember hearing about a nurse working with a broken bone, or in active labor until the end of her shift, because she felt she had to. How many other professions will do that?! It's high stress, and hard manual labor turning patients, running down the hall for an emergency delivery. Plus the sadness of death, whether it's an elderly man or a stillborn baby. How do you deal with all of that? How is it worth it?

 Nurse: Nursing is very emotional. I had to understand my own beliefs so I could deal with the bad things that happen. Especially working OB. The good is really good, but the bad is really bad. We cry alongside patients and their families while still doing our job. There is a grieving process with death, not only for the family, but for the caregivers as well. I do what I can to provide resources for them and to help them start the process of grieving. I guess what makes nursing rewarding are all of the little things.

When you do something for a patient, whether by getting their pain under control, by helping them achieve the birth they want, and giving encouragement to go on, or by just listening to their concerns, that's what makes it worth it. It can be as simple as a successful IV start on a patient who is a "hard stick" and is deathly afraid of needles, or as big as reporting a suspected child abuser. It's when your bedridden patient smiles after a complete bedbath and back rub - that makes it worth it. When a new mom gets her newborn to latch on and breastfeed after hours of unsuccessful attempts. Or when you sit holding a dying woman's hand to let her know she's not alone. It's when I advocate successfully for a patient, and the patient never knows, that's why I'm a nurse. Those moments overshadow all the bad nights. Knowing that maybe, to at least one person, I've made their life a little easier, even if in the smallest measure - that's why I'm a nurse

May 2, 2013

Marathon 3 - finished!

And now I can say I've run 3 marathons. It seems hard to believe that I've tackled that distance on foot 3 times! This marathon went okay. I've recovered much faster this time than the last 2 times I've run one. I didn't have my best time, but it wasn't my worst. I felt great going into the race. I did worry about my training partner, only because she had been dealing with an overuse injury that can sideline a lot of distance runners, but she is tough as nails and I knew she'd finish. I just worried about her pain level and ability to keep running if it gave her fits. We decide to follow a pace team because I loved the pace team I follow in marathon 2. I figured it would keep us slow, help keep us motivated to keep running when we wanted to stop and plus I was hoping to hear some good stories from these strangers we'd be running with. One guy, we nicknamed him Dough Stash, had a hydration belt with gatorade and a big baggie of cut up bagels. Plus a pretty awesome mustache. Anyway, we start, the weather was perfect, and the crowd was great. After a bit, I start to feel we are running a bit faster than the 11:27 minute mile pace the 5 hour pace team was supposed to be running. I figured it must just be adrenaline and if we are running that fast, the pacer would slow us down. At mile 5, my friend checks her watch and our average pace was a 10 minute mile...much too fast for us and NOT the pace we were supposed to be running. What good is a pacer if they aren't going to actually run the pace that they are supposed to. I knew this was not good news. I did try to slow our pace, but my friend was fired up and seemed pumped up to run. I don't know exactly what our pace was but Im positive it was less than an 11 minute mile, but I felt good. At mile 11, my friend started not feeling all that great. I knew that wasn't a good sign because we had a lot of miles to go. Mile 16 comes and she's really hurting. From mile 16 - 23, it was a struggle for her to keep going. We had to walk a lot, slow jog. I kept telling her she could do it, we've done this distance before, and we just had to keep moving forward. She cried a bit, vomited and laid on the ground a couple times, but managed to keep moving. At mile 23, she insisted I go on and I knew if I didn't run at that point, then there would be no running at the end. I feel like a jerk, but at mile 23, I took off running and ran to the finish. My family was waiting at the end for me and it was awesome to see them cheering for me as I ran across the finish line. This was a first. The kids were excited and it was cool to hear them say my name over the loudspeaker. I waited at the finish for my friend to cross and she crossed the line running and looking strong. My time wasn't great, and I'm pretty positive I could have finished at what our pace team was supposed to be finishing at...about the 5 hour mark. But this was her first marathon, and the deal I made with her in January was that I'd run with her in April if she signed up for the one in October. We finished and in October, I will be trying for time. I really want to get under that 5 hour mark. I'm not sure I'll run a marathon next year because there are other races I want to do, so I'm motivated to train better than ever. Recovery, I was hurting Saturday. It hurts running that far anyway, but the stopping and starting didn't really help. I worked a 12 hour shift Sunday night and that was harder to get through than the marathon. Not a good idea, but I did it and gave my patients something to laugh at as I shuffled around. If need be, I could have moved just would have been painful. By Tuesday morning, I wasn't sore, I could just tell my quads and right calf were tired and today I'm itching to go for a run. But I'm resting through Saturday and will start running again next week. The month of May is going to be my month to run purely for fun, maybe work on some strength training and then come for marathon #4 will start!!!

April 24, 2013

Marathon #3

My poor abandoned blog...I used to be so good about writing and updating, getting things off my chest, etc.  But, life is wonderfully busy and I just don't find the time to write like I used to. 

On Saturday, I will be running my 3rd marathon.  A friend of mine wanted to run her first one this April, and I said I'd run this one with her if she'd run the marathon with me in October.  A deal was struck and here I am, only a couple days away from running another marathon.  It's been quite the change, having a training partner.  I'm not a fan of running in the cold, but she will run in any kind of cold weather, so I got out and ran even when I didn't want to.  I think it's going to make a big difference.  We've trained well, I felt great on our 20 mile run.  We aren't fast...her goal is just to finish and I'm going to run her pace.  In October, we hope to increase our speed and run the marathon at an average 10 min mile pace.  Right now we run about an 11+ minute mile.  I'm perfectly fine with that though!  We are planning on doing something to commemorate the bombing victims in Boston.  The marathon will have black ribbons we can buy to wear on our bib number or clothes, and I plan on decorating a shirt somehow, in the Boston marathon colors blue and yellow.  Its such a small gesture, considering all that was lost that day, but I want to do something. It seems silly to say, but it hit close to home...Martin Richard was 8 years old, there with his family to cheer his dad on in the race.  My daughter is 8, my oldest is 9.  This is the first marathon they will get to see because it's much smaller than the one in October.  They will all be there, to cheer me on at the finish line.  Before they caught the second suspect, I was gearing up for a short run, and my oldest came in to talk to me.  We talked a little about what happened.  I was curious to hear what he knew, what they had talked about in school...and I wondered if he was scared.  I asked him if he was excited like he was about seeing me run the marathon.  He said "Yes and no.  I'm afraid something bad is going to happen to you".  That broke my heart. We had a little talk about how I wasn't scared, how they would catch the people who did it, and how I will be safe thanks to the security at the marathon. I told him he would be safe, too, and that if he was scared, he didn't have to go. He said he wanted to still go.  So I think Husband is going to try to catch me at a spot before the finish so my oldest can see that I'm OK.  And if they are scared to be at the finish line, Husband will stand back at like mile 25, or the kids can just hang out at my parents house.  Whatever the kids want to do.  I'm excited, nervous, and ready. 

We run.  Not out of fear, but out of freedom. We run.