January 28, 2010

You know its going to be a great day when...

...you open your clothes dryer to find that a rogue orange crayon made it's way in with your clothes. That's the kind of day I'm having. I guess the 'fun' started last night. Isaiah decided a week or two ago that he wouldn't sleep in his crib, so we set up his big boy bed. But not only did he decide he didn't like the crib, but that he wanted to get up and mess around. So we've been laying with him until he falls asleep. Last night, I laid down with him, and of course fell asleep in a very awkward position. When I woke up at about 11pm, my left arm was numb and there was a serious crick in my neck. No big deal. All hope of a restful night was gone when Isaiah woke up fussing at 1:30, 3:00, and 5:15, but of course when it was time to get up to take Jacob to school, he was sound asleep and quite ticked at Mommy for disturbing his slumber. A quick trip to the bathroom, I notice that the toilet paper is out, after it was too late, and that the package is out of reach. I usually check before sitting, but in my partially awake state, I didn't. Love it. After coming downstairs for breakfast, I step in a pile of fresh cat puke, strategically left on the part of the rug so that it blends in. Nothing will wake you up faster than feeling warm puke squishing between your toes. Before I could stop myself, I uttered some profanity, and quickly noticed Jacob and Clara standing right behind me. That will be a great new vocabulary word Jacob is sure to tell his teacher about. I get the kids their cereal, and being the entrepreneur that he is, Isaiah smashes the cereal with his spoon and dumps it on the floor. Thankfully he doesn't like milk in his cereal, so it's easy to clean up. After a fight to get out the door, the 5 minute drive to school was accompanied by 5 minutes of Isaiah screaming, and Jacob and Clara fighting over who gets to sit where in the van. Both booster seats are exactly the same, so I'm not quite sure why there is an argument. I guess they don't need a reason. When we get back home, Clara and Isaiah start playing quietly and I see that there is hope at a decent morning after all. I start tackling my bottomless laundry basket and I'm getting things done, in between trying to keep Isaiah from climbing the gates to go upstairs. He escaped once, and I found him by the toilet with the brand new roll of toilet paper unrolled and on the floor. Nice. Then the buzzer sounded that my load was dry so I go down into the basement, open the dryer door and what do I see? A melted orange crayon. Not only has it melted on top of the lint trap, but my dryer is covered in orange dots, as well as on my large load of Clara's clothes. I started laughing. If I hadn't, I would have cried, but the mornings events got to me and I realized that had I been on camera, it would have been some great comedy. I'm not sure if the clothes can be saved or not. Some weren't so bad. Some of the clothes were inside out, so it won't be noticeable. I'll deal with them later. But, I am going to have to go scrape out all the orange crayon of the walls of the dryer. That will be a fun time. And all this fun has happened by 10:30 a.m. Only God knows what else is in store for me today:)

January 25, 2010

Back to busy

We are finally starting to get busy again after such a long spell of not as many births. Last night was one of those hopping nights where you don't have time to do much but run room to room, but not so horrible you couldn't provide good care. We started the night with just two moms in labor, but by the end of the night we were full and had had 4 deliveries. And get this: they were all vaginal! Yeah! First delivery happened right after we came on shift. I wasn't the labor nurse, but I did "baby care". A first time mom who was induced fro pre-eclampsia, a true medical induction. She had an epidural, and had no problems delivering while on pitocin and Mag sulfate to control her risk of seizure. She will be on Mag for 12-24 hours post-partum, just to make sure she is covered when there is still a high risk of her BP spiking. But she was doing well. Second delivery was a quick one. Grand multip, never had an epidural, had thought she would get one with her first delivery, but she was one of those women who just went too fast - even with her first. She didn't look to be uncomfortable as she rolled by with her 2 teenage daughters following behind her, but she knew it was time. She gets changed, and sure enough, she's 9cm. Midwife is called and makes it there in record time. If this mama's water had broken, there would have been no way her midwife could have made it. Her daughters were there for the birth, and at first, I didn't think they really wanted to be there and they looked scared to death. That is until the baby started to crown and these to girls watched with mouths agape, mesmerized by the birth. You could see the awe in their eyes after they watched their mother deliver their new baby sister. The third delivery was about midway through the shift and it was a couple whose second child died of a fatal metabolic disorder after 29 days in the NICU. It was a genetic problem and because their first child was just fine, they never thought to have anything checked. This time, they had CVS to see if this baby would have the same problem - and he was fine. They said they felt some relief to know that - that is until at about 20 weeks, the baby developed heart block and fetal bradycardia, which resolved on its own by 30 weeks. Last night, she came in with contractions, and was only 1 cm. But in 2 hours time, her water had broken and she delivered. Doc was called when she was 7-8 cm dilated, but there just was no stopping her labor. She delivered 5 minutes after her doc was called. Beautiful, healthy little boy. Both mom and dad cried, thankful their new son was healthy and relieved that the stressful, anxiety-filled pregnancy had a great outcome. The last delivery of the shift was at shift change. Mom had been laboring for a very long time. She had a PROM. She was only 1cm dilated and wasn't contracting, but was 39+ weeks. After about 8 hours, she started contracting on her own. She started making slow, very slow progress, but baby remained happy and she didn't have any signs of infections. At about 2200, she stalled at 8cm. And stayed at 8cm until 0200. Doc order pitocin to try to help things along, she had opted for an epidural earlier at about 5-6 cm, and finally at 0200 she was 9. She was complete by 0330 and started pushing after 'laboring down' for about an hour. At about 0615, I was able to call her doc in and she delivered a beautiful baby - 30 long hours after her water broke. Some of the docs wouldn't have been quite so patient. They would have started pit right away when she wasn't contracting, and would have done a c/s after 2 hours of no change at 8cm. Just goes to show that with a little patience and trust, the body will usually do it in it's own time. It was just kind of a fun night. The 3 of us nurses working labor last night work well together and can function pretty independently. Most times, we call a nurse from the nursery or the charge nurse to do "baby care". But the 3 of us will do baby care for each others deliveries if we are in a position to do so. We work like a well-oiled machine, so even when it's busy, we have a lot of fun.

January 22, 2010

Worth It

About a week or so ago, Isaiah decided that he was done sleeping in his crib and that he should crawl out and roam the house. We went from no problems with him getting out of his crib one night, to the next night getting up every 2 hours to put him back in bed. We finally decided to set up his bed. We need to take the crib down because he hasn't been in it since, but I know as soon as we take it apart, he will have a fit and not sleep in his big bed. We hated to do it, but we put one of those doorknob child safety things on the inside of his room so he can't open the door. The bedrooms are upstairs and I didn't want to wake up to him tumbling down the stairs, so it's for his safety. It's starting to get better, but our bedtime routine now consists of one of us lying with him in his bed until he falls asleep. Otherwise, he is up messing in his room and fussing. Last night, I was laying with him and he curled up next to me as close as he could get. He has always like to play with hair. He used to twirl his fingers in my hair while he nursed and he twirls a spot on his head as he falls asleep. So I wasn't surprised when he started playing with some of my hair. Then he grabbed my neck and pulled me close to him so that we were cheek to cheek. He fell asleep shortly after that. I stayed there with him a little longer than I had initially planned, just soaking up the moment.

January 20, 2010

Another Weekend

Last weekend was a typical weekend these days. I was charge nurse Saturday night and labor was quiet, there weren't too many mom/babies on post-partum and no sick babies. Pretty quiet, but a long night. Sunday night, we come in to a full board, with one c/s getting ready to go back to OR, and my patient was scheduled to follow. She was a multip who had delivered vaginally before, but this baby was breech. I'm getting report when the on-call doc called and asked that we just verify by sono that the baby was really breech and call him back. He would then call her doc and we would proceed. I grabbed the sono and found that the baby was vertex! Yeah!!!! There was a doc on the floor so I asked her if she would mind double checking before I called. Yep, vertex. Mom was happy to not have a c/s but disappointed because she thought she was going to be having her baby in the next couple hours. The on-call doc wanted to keep her until morning since she was contracting (but not changing her cervix, so not in labor). At 11pm, the evening nurse was heading home, so I took over her vag recovery and moved her to post-partum. Then we had a few people come in, we'd treat their complaint, and send them home. False labor, UTI, the usual. One patient was a nursing tech in ER that had miscarried a week ago and came up because the normal pads she had been using weren't big enough for her flow, so she wanted our bigger pads. Too much flow for being a week out. We told her to call her doc and let him know how much and how long she had been bleeding like that. Like we figured, she ended up admitted, and she had a very low H&H. By this time, it's 5:00am., and I get the 7:15 c/s mom admitted and prepped. Mom, her mom and grandmother were all nurses at Hospital, so it was fun to hear about what is going on in the hospital on other units. Her grandmother had been a labor nurse at one point in her career and she had some great stories. She said that with one of her children, she had a placenta previa and went into labor. They had set up the OR for her, since her placenta was over her cervix, but she said she felt a lot of pressure. She grabbed her nurse and said, "You might want to take a look, the baby is coming". And sure enough. On the OR table, she delivered her baby right before she was delivered by c/s. Now she said the placenta came before the baby, and it seems like maybe she had some details confused because the placenta delivering before the baby would be a very bad thing, but nonetheless, it was interesting listening to her stories. Monday night I was put on-call. I had looked and knew it was my turn, I had just hoped that it would pick up enough I wouldn't be flexed. I keep hoping that we'll get busier again, but this time of year is usually slower than the rest of the year. I'm sure when it does pick up again and we're crazy busy, that I'll be wondering why I wished for more patients.

January 13, 2010

Things Kids Say

We were sitting down at the table last night eating dinner. Clara looks at us and says "If we had one more baby, we'd have all the chairs full. There would be 4 kids and 2 grown-ups". The kids say stuff along these lines on a fairly regular basis, so we didn't think too much about it. Then her and Jacob start saying "We should have another baby", "Can we have another baby?", "I want a girl baby", "I want a brother, but a sister would be okay". Not surprising, Clara wants a sister and Jacob wants a brother. Husband and I looked at each other. Husband says "So you guys think Mommy should have another baby?" Both of them said an enthusiastic "Yes". Then that's all they could talk about. They wanted to know how soon, placed their orders for gender, etc. If only they knew and if only it were that easy. As I am heading toward the 5th period since the m/c, part of me wonders why I'm not pregnant again. It happened so easy in the past, 2 pregnancies were surprises, one of which happened while I was taking bcp, and the two we planned, happened the very next month I stopped bcp. The rational side of me understands it takes awhile for the body to get back to normal. I know that. But the irrational side of me wonders why I'm not pregnant. Several people I work with told me "I was pregnant within 3 months". The rational side of me knows it would be just fine if it was a few months down the road, as I have races I want to run this summer, and if I were to get pregnant now, I wouldn't be able to do that. But there's no reasoning with the irrational side, and hearing the kids say they want another baby (even though I don't think they really know what they are asking for) makes the irrational me want it more right now. Patience never has been a strong suit of mine. At least we know that when it does happen, Jacob and Clara will be happy.

Van repairs

We had to take my beloved van into the dealership to investigate the strange noise it has been making. It is still under warranty, thank goodness, so we call to make an appointment to get it in. They tell us between 7a.m and 8a.m. I am apparently ignorant when it comes to how car service departments work. I assume that because an appointment was made, they'd diagnose it then, and then we line up another time to get it in to be fixed. I worked Monday night and Tuesday a.m., Husband drops it off a the dealership. They say they'll need to keep it until about 6p.m. WTH?! We have the van and a Lancer - the 3 car seats will not fit in the Lancer. Our kids are in school and daycare (so we could take care of the car) and we not only are supposed to go without our van, but the ride they promised Husband was only good for in-town rides. I'm irritated because in my mind, they shouldn't have us bring it in a 8a.m. to not get to it until later that day. Isn't that why we made an appointment? I guess that's just not how it works. Husband tells them we'll bring it back another time when we can make arrangements to get him back home, and for a day we don't have to take the kids anywhere. Suddenly, they are able to diagnose it in the next hour. I found that interesting. So they figure out the problem, our warranty will cover it and they will supply a rental car. I was to drop it off this a.m. so the warranty guys can "approve" it and they will get it fixed by the end of the week. They were to also have the rental car that would hold 3 cars seats ready for me so I wouldn't have to wait with Clara and Isaiah. Well, it of course didn't happen quite that smoothly. They did say the warrant guys would be in after lunch, and they'd call to let us know if they approved it. Didn't act like it would be a problem. They guy then asked if I needed a ride somewhere. I got a bit anxious. I told him I live out of town and was told a rental car big enough for 3 car seats would be available. He does call the rental company, but said we would probably pay out of pocket for the rental car, even though we were told it was covered. Whatever, I had to have a vehicle. So the rental car guy shows up with an Impala. Nice car, but I was a bit worried the car seats would fit. I did manage to get them in, but there isn't any room between the seats. The guy called to see if they had an SUV or van available after seeing the 3 seats, but alas, no. I just wonder what we would have done if I had 4 kids in car seats. oh well. They van is in, I have a car that we can drive until it's done and we got home without a fight between Clara and Isaiah. We'll see how well it goes when I have all 3 kids in the car, within punching distance of each other.

January 7, 2010

Me? You want advice from me?

As I have mentioned, I am working with several pregnant coworkers, and they are either first time moms, or moms having their second child. Several of them have been asking me lately for any advice I might be able to give them regarding birth, motherhood, juggling more than one child, etc. Apparently because I have three kids, they think I am a sage. I also think they have this idea of me as a Mom who wears an apron, cooks and bakes all day, keeps a clean organized house, does lots of projects with the kids, is a room mother and always has fresh flowers on the table. That's just not me. Some days, I'm lucky if I get the dishes done or can get all the milk stains off my hardwood floor. But, I digress. I don't mind them asking, but when it comes right down to it, there isn't really any advice that holds true for everyone when it comes to motherhood. All I can tell them is what worked for me.

1. Cook and freeze meals. I figured out the day Clara was delivered by c/s that it would be a good idea to cook meals and freeze them so Husband and I weren't living on hotdogs and take-out. With Isaiah, starting I think about 35 weeks, I started cooking things like lasagna, meat, sauce, noodles, meatloaf, etc. and freezing portions enough to feed us and Jacob and Clara. It was one of the best things I had done.

2. Buy Butt Paste. And yes, that is the name of the diaper cream. Jacob had one of the nastiest diaper rashes when he was a baby and we tried probably every. single. diaper cream and none of them helped, until we found Buttpaste. When I worked in a nursing home as a CNA, I had an elderly gentleman that used it on his, er, scrotum and he just raved about how wonderful it was. Really, that Boudreax is a genius. It is more expensive than the usual brands, but we bought a jar of the stuff instead of a tube, and it lasts forever.

3. Ignore people's ignorant remarks. If you are breastfeeding, ignore the people who keep trying to get you to give your baby a bottle of formula. If you are bottle feeding, ignore the people who want you to just give breastfeeding a try. If you do both, do both. Only you know what will work best for you and your baby. Don't be guilted into something you don't want to do. Trust your instinct. And don't listen to crap like "well, my baby was doing this or that at that age. Why isn't yours?" Those people are just feeling insecure and need to make someone else feel insecure so they feel better.

4. Load up on diapers in a couple sizes and wipes. Just when you think there is no way you could get through the stash, buy a case more. And not the newborn size. If your baby is much more than 8 lbs, they will outgrow them very quickly.

5. Take advantage of your bathtub during your pregnancy. Nothing felt better (other than a back rub) than a nice warm bath. For extra relaxation, grab a book, buy some sparkling grape juice, pour some in a champagne glass and sit in a nice warm bath. The water helped the heavy feeling in my abdomen and pelvis. I did kinda feel like a beached whale at the end when the water wouldn't quite cover my belly, but nonetheless, it was relaxing.

6. Another thing they have asked me is to describe the difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and real labor contractions. This is something that really, I can't do. Everyone experiences labor differently. And these are first-time mom labor nurses asking me. I told them that it felt to me like a charlie horse in my abdomen. It was a cramp, but it was a sharp cramp. I kept rubbing my belly, like you would do a charlie horse in your calf, hoping it would ease the cramp. Obviously, it didn't but it gave me something to do. I doubt that any two people would describe it the same. I think they are just afraid to come in too early because they think "I should know better, I'm a labor nurse", but until you have experienced labor, you can't always know for sure, and your second, third labor may feel different. I also couldn't describe what went on in my head when I was taken from the office straight to the OR to deliver Clara, or what it felt during the c/s or after. Again, I could tell them what it was like for me, but it may be different for them.

7. Accept help in the weeks following birth. Let people clean your house, cook you meals, etc. Sometimes just having an adult to talk to can help break up the day. Keep plenty of hand sanitizer and obviously discourage anyone with cold/flu s/s from visiting, but nothing beats a hot meal you didn't have to make.

8. There's no way I could have prepared myself for what going from one baby to two would be like. It took me awhile to figure out a routine, how to juggle a 14 month old and a newborn, but I did it. Looking back, it wasn't so bad. I think when you start talking about what it's like to bring home another baby and how to integrate them into your family, it will be different for every family. That's a great thing about being a parent: you just figure it out.

9. Let go of any preconceived notions of what you think motherhood will be like, what type of mother you will be or what kind of child you will have. The thing about being a mom is just when you think you know what its going to be like, it changes. I remember thinking "my child won't do that" when it came to many annoyances that kids do. And guess what? All three of them do every single thing I said my kids wouldn't do. Like screaming just to scream. And I've done things I swore I wouldn't do, like letting my 18month old take a sip of my diet coke. And that's okay. You could have 10 kids and things that worked for one child may not work for the others. Jacob would take a paci, the other 2 wouldn't. Jacob and Clara slept through the night by 3 and 4 months. Isaiah still doesn't consistently sleep all night. Roll with the punches. Like they say, motherhood is the best, hardest, most emotionally draining/rewarding job there is.

And when you get right down to it, everything I wrote up above may not work for anyone else. That's what worked for me and my children. I had to adjust my thinking with all three kids and when we have #4, I'm sure things that worked for the other 3 won't work with that child. That's just the nature of the beast we all call parenthood.

January 2, 2010

Mother of the Year

Every once in awhile, time will have smoothed over fairly recent memories and make them a rose-colored memory. Today, we forgot what it was like to take our 3 young kids out to eat in a public restaurant and get groceries. We figured it was too cold to play outside and a trip to a pizza place and grocery store would cure the cabin fever that was brewing. We thought "It'll be fun". Yeah, yeah, I know, like I said, time glazed over the reality of eating out with kids. We get to the pizza place and they are, of course, busy, which make our 3 even more excited. After being seated, I realized it could get ugly as Isaiah started fussing before we even ordered...and there weren't any straps on his high chair. But, as seasoned parents of young children, we distracted him enough until the salad came, and yes, all 3 kids ate salad! I was so proud. I thought to myself "yeah, my kids may be loud, but look at that, they are all eating salad! In your face!". Then came more fussing and Isaiah kept wanting to stand in his seat. We would manage to get him sitting again and finally the pizza comes. We're doing alright and we're in the home stretch. *Sigh*, So delusional, so delusional. As we were 2/3 through our meal, Isaiah decides he's ticked for some reason and before we knew it, he had stood up mid-tantrum and did a backflip over the highchair onto the floor. Husband and I moved faster than I thought possible but we couldn't catch him. I did get a hand under his head and really, he didn't fall far or hard, but it looked horrible watching his feet go over his head...of course in slow motion. And the place was full. I was mortified. He wasn't hurt, just scared the crap out of him. Funny, we were all still eating and the waitress handed us our check, and the elderly couple across from us kept glaring at me. It happened so fast, there wasn't anything we could have done. In 60 seconds, Isaiah was back in his seat, happily eating. We finished our meal, and he never tried to stand up again. I can only imagine the whispering and tsk-tsking that went on. But, you know what, it happens. If you think "Nope, that would never happen to me, I'm a good parent, you just weren't paying attention", fate will prove you wrong, so wrong, in a public place no less. Trust me. And we couldn't just go home, we HAD to get groceries, so we wreaked havoc on the poor employees of the grocery store, who seemed to get a kick out of the kids being wild. And, even though I was mortified that Isaiah fell, and so very thankful he wasn't hurt, it wasn't so bad. I figure, let them judge. Let them walk in my shoes, or remember what it's like to have a 2 year old. So if you happened to see a 2 year old back-flip out of a chair tonight, that was just me and my wild family. But next time, I will bring my own restraints...