Late Night Musings

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I should be asleep.  I know this, but instead I find myself awake without reason or cause.  I should not have turned on my computer at bedtime, but I did tonight, and I have suddenly felt it necessary to update a page that has for so long been untouched.

My last post was about the baby in my womb that I loved over and worried over, my Babycakes.  And by the grace of God, she is here with me now.  Perfect in everyway.  Sleeping peacefully next to my bed.  Every hair on her head kissed thousands of times by me, her father, and her two adoring siblings.  Her presence has brought a joy and fulfillment I could never have imagined or expected.  Her timing seemed off and rushed, but in fact it has been refreshing and perfect somehow.

Yes, She.  A beautiful girl.

The past 12 months have not been what I expected or planned, and trust me, I am a planner…  My work in home health care was simply not fitting.  I tried it on in a couple different forms, but somehow I knew it just wasn’t right.  I had not found my “work home”.  I first thought that private duty was just not for me but stuck with it through out my pregnancy because it gave me the chance to limit my lifting and running around.  These were very important things to keeping baby from making an early or scary appearance.  It may not have been the job I Wanted, but it turned out to be the job I Needed.  After a far too short maternity leave, I tried out visits.  This I did love, but I became frustrated with other parts of the work and processes out of my control.  I finally stopped trying to be happy where I wasn’t and began job searching again in July.  By August I was hired!

This job is the one I was waiting for, and it has been everything I wanted and more.  I had very limited work from August till now, giving me more time with my baby during this fleeting time of infancy, and in a couple short weeks, I will begin training into a new position which will bring us the financial stability we have been praying for all along.  It has been a year of tremendous changes, wonderful and terrifying.  It has been a year of growing as a family, both in numbers as well as in love.  We take it all with a health dose of gratitude.

I know that at any moment she will wake, so it’s time to wrap up.  I am sure I will also have to re-edit in the morning when I am thinking a little clearer and less sleepy.  I just thought you should know that it’s all been worth it.  The hours of study, the stress, the worry, the leaps of faith.  I love being a nurse, I love being a mother, I love the life we are ever refining and cultivating.

So, here she is, the baby who was healed of her placental bleed, came four weeks early just because, and was perfectly fine anyway.  The baby that made us a family of five, that gave my big girl a little sister, and made my little man a big brother.  Our Maggie.

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28 weeks and counting

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What a ride it’s been, from fall till now.  My lack of writing has been largely due to financial cuts in the household (as in, we no longer have home phone or internet access).  We are doing alright though.  Most importantly, baby and I are doing quite well.  My subchorionic hemorrhage was deemed resolved by ultrasound at 18 weeks, and every appointment since that time has indicated steady and normal progression for the both of us.  This is one of a couple “white knuckle” weeks for me based on my history.  As well as things have gone, I still don’t forget my prenatal history.  With both of my kiddos, 28 was the week that the first signs of trouble reared it’s ugly head.  For my oldest, severe back pain sent me to the labor and delivery ward to monitor for preterm labor.  Labor it was not, but my first high blood pressure spikes were recorded, and while I didn’t know it, this was the first signs of the preeclampsia that developed from this time till her spontaneous delivery at 34 weeks.  With the boy, 28 was the week with my first round of preterm labor.  I didn’t dilated and the regular contractions were stopped effectively with an injection of terbutaline.  So I have found myself gripping my pens a little too hard, wondering each night what the next day may bring, and never leaving the house without my phone fully charged and my doctor’s number at hand.  Baby is fine, I am fine, but the doubt creeps in.  I know what it is like to not be fine.

Just two more days and I can breath a little easier with this milestone past.  I can greet 29 weeks with ease and new hope.  29 weeks.  I can do this.  Hang in there Babycakes.  We’re going to be fine, momma’s got this.

Babycakes

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Amazing the difference a year makes.  Last year at this time I was settling into my fall class schedule and beginning my senior clinicals.  As of today, I am a graduate and hold my Minnesota Registered Nurse license!  Both of my little ones are adjusting to their weekly school routine, and I still can’t believe that my Little Man is in Kindergarten! I am one proud (did I mention graduated!!!) momma.

I am also busy with two additional “full time” jobs.  I am looking for employment as an RN, and taking care of my Babycakes.

I’m blessed to be 13 weeks and 6 days pregnant with our third child!  We are very excited to be adding to our family, but finding that true to my gestational history, extra care must be given to our growing baby.  With each of my pregnancies has come a different and unique complication, but have been blessed to have healthy babies regardless.  Truly, I am very grateful.  The possibilities of what COULD have gone wrong, and the how severe the conditions may have been were far from what actually took place.

With each diagnosis, I become educated.  With each step backwards, I develop deeper compassion for those that share my situation.  With every healthy birth, I praise God.

It would seem I have more learning yet to do, because with my new baby, comes a new diagnosis.  I have a small subchorionic hemorrhage on the bottom edge of Babycakes placenta.  The bad news is that this increases my chances of miscarriage, placenta abruption, preterm birth, and a small for gestational age infant.  The good news is that I have only had one bleeding episode, my chances of no problems is good due to the minimal size of the hemorrhage, and that as of now Babycakes is measuring just ahead of gestational size by dates.  We are both happy and healthy.

That said I am taking things easy and doing my best to make smart choices in my diet and my daily activities.  I spend time in prayer and meditation everyday to reduce my stress and anxiety, and I have a wonderful husband and family to support me through the journey ahead.

Welcome tiny baby, into our hearts.  We hope that you wait and grow with me until mid March when you are expected.  I love you. ~ Your Momma

Limbo, The dark before the sunrise


Here I find myself smack dab in the middle of summer, and sitting in the same place I was last summer every Tuesday, in the Health Office of the Girl Scout camp.  Not at all what I had expected after my graduation this May, but grateful to be wanted and getting a pay check.  This isn’t where I wanted to be, or what we had hoped and planned for, but all the same I feel that I am exactly where I need to be.

The month after graduation flew by, and was packed with recuperating from the strain and stress of being a full time college student and trying to reclaim my unchanging role as a wife and mother.  The kids activities kept me very busy, as well as finishing out master bedroom in the upstairs expansion (an 8 year project!), and beginning the job search.  The market for new graduate nurses is a very difficult one, and the constant strain of rejection was wearing.  In all the hustle and the worry, the board exam crept up on me quickly.  Two weeks before my testing date, I got a call from the camp director asking if would or could come back to my job from last summer as Health Director.  They had been able to hire a new person who ended up needing to back out suddenly during staff training, and they were suddenly in desperate need!  I accepted part time hours, and so here I am.

On the night before the exam, I planned to make dinner, clean up, send the kids to bed, print my authorization to test letter (can not take the exam without it), and have some quite study time before bed.  Instead, a heavy and violent thunderstorm struck right after dinner, knocking out power for us as well as thousands of other houses in the metro.  No power or internet to print my letter, very upset kids who didn’t want to sleep, and one very stressed out and upset mother.  Life has a tendency to laugh in the face of our well laid plans.

By a miracle my tech savvy husband was able to piece together a way to print my authorization paper, and we went to bed, late.  I didn’t get to study.  I hardly slept. The full truth is I had been unable to balance home life and preparation for the exam at all.

The morning brought still no power, and the need to find a new home for our now full and thawing freezer.  There was freezer room and my parents house, so I loaded up the car, headed out with my authorization to test, and off I went to sit for my exam… after finding room for the food.

So what this all is, is the reasons I tell myself that I did not pass my boards on the first try.  I was caught literally in the perfect storm, and while I felt that overall I could pass, I in fact did not.  Which brings us to the present.

Working just three days a week is giving me time to study the NCLEX this time around.  Having four days of no work has given me time to be a mom again.  While it’s not what we had expected, we are all doing pretty well for right now.  I can’t help but see this all as more a blessing than a road block.  While I was disappointed and upset for awhile when I got confirmation that I didn’t pass, I have made a decision to see the upside.  I love working with the staff and the campers.  I love having a summer to recoup and just BREATH.  I will find a great job that is a good fit for me when the summer ends, and this time I will pass the NCLEX.

Big changes are right around the corner for our little family, and we just have to hang on for the ride.  In the future, as in the past, we are grateful and blessed.  I am just waiting here in the dark for the sunrise.

How a prayer was answered

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My days are filled with house work, gardening, child care, cooking, trying to exercise, and oh, finding time to study for the NCLEX exam.  I am in a waiting game that will soon be over of checking my email every few hours to see if I have my authorization to take my boards exam yet.  It’s a little like a twilight zone of no longer feeling like a student, and not really being a nurse yet either.  Also, being automatically dumped from employment pools because I am lacking my RN license as of now.

The holding pattern of not having work, and not being able to test, and receiving a constant stream of rejection has raised in my soul a level of self-doubt and sadness.  I have been praying lately for peace, for composure, and trust that all is in Gods plan.  I wonder, am I good enough?  Did I take the right path?  I can get ahead of myself pretty easily, and run into figurative walls I didn’t know were in front of me.  It hurts.  Rejection and waiting… sucks.

Today, in the simplest of ways, my prayers were answered.  It didn’t come in the form of a job offer, or even my OK to test.  It came to me as I sat in the lobby of the  YMCA waiting for Little Man to finish preschool graduation practice.  Sitting across from me was a man not much older than my father having a pleasant conversation with an elderly man about how me turned around his health with regular exercise at the Y and improvements to his diet.  I took out my smart phone to open my NCLEX exam prep application, and then was addressed by the elderly man.  “Are you with this man?”  “No,” I said, “I am waiting for my son.”  Then the older man said his good byes and got up to go about his day.  From there, I became engaged in conversation with the other man, and he began to ask me about myself.  I found myself telling him about my journey from being a Geology student to Medical Lab. (he started his career as a Geologist), and about my eventual calling to nursing and midwifery.  He told me about his daughters, and his journey from full-time military duty to teaching high school, and how he also found himself a college student supporting a family at one time also.  I told him about my wonderful husband, my great kids, and he smiled and listened.  I am not sure why I gave him a brief overview of my life story, but it all seemed necessary.  He asked me what sparked my love of science in the first place, and I took him all the way back to my high school Science Olympiad team.  I told him how much I loved it, and how it influenced me.  He smiled bigger and asked me where I went to school.  I told him, and he said, “No way!” and asked me when I graduated.  “I was there from 95-99,” I said.

“What was your maiden name,” he asked.  I told him and his eyes sparkled.  Sitting across from me was my earth science high school coach.  “I remember you, Jenny.  I remember you with a bright light, and I know that you are going to do great things.  I am so proud of you.  Anyone who is so good at chemistry and statistics and geology is pretty damn smart.  You are going to be OK.”  I smiled and thanked him.  We said goodbye, and he went about his day.  What a blessing of affirmation.  Just when I was succumbing to negativity.  Just when I was filling myself with negative self-talk and self-doubt, I was blessed with a reassurance that all will be well.  I am humbled, and amazed.  A miracle happens everyday if you are open to seeing and accepting it.

Don’t call us, we’ll call you (aka, the job hunt)

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I have a confession.  I have never participated in a true job hunt before.  Phew, glad that is off my chest!  I have been a combination of both extremely lucky and stubborn in my life.  In high school, I only applied to three jobs, and I got all three.  The first was a position as a program specialist at a Cub Scout camp.  The position ended with the summer.  Then, I obtained my life guard certification and my WSI (water safety instructor) and was hired immediately by the school district to teach community swim lessons.  The streak continued right up through the start of my professional career.  While completing my clinical rotations for my lab degree, the company offered me a position before I even graduated.  The online job application was a small formality for a position that I had already excepted.

So, here I find myself filling out endless applications and seemingly endless “No thank you”s.  It’s a little early to have any real worry attached to my constant search.  I am still waiting for my authorization to take the NCLEX exam to receive my license after all!  Still, this phase of rejection is new.

I guess all I have to say is that sometimes being a grown up is hard.

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A subtle change has been occurring within our family this semester.  We are preparing ourselves for May, for my graduation.  In my time as a student, we have stepped out of social situations and waited on activities for the children.  We have been in coping mode.  We cope with lack of funds, lack of time, the burden of my stress adding to everyone else.  We hit “pause”.

But, like a Minnesotan in spring, we are starting to emerge from our hibernation.  A shift began to happen when both our children where in a full time style of care through the summer of 2012.  Since I worked 6 days a week over an hour from home, off they went.  The time was spent by Little Man in a preschool based program through the YMCA.  He loved it.  Five days a week of educational stimulation, high energy play, and bi-weekly access to the pool and splash pad.  What not for a 4 year old to love?  Also to his credit, my dear son is a morning person.  He does well being woken on an early schedule and starting his day with the rise of the sun.  (he did NOT get this gift from me)

Little One was split between the YMCA summer program and extended year school programming. January brought the start of her gymnastics career (length and seriousness yet to be determined by said little girl).  February saw the start of her swimming lessons, and we are discussing with her what she’d like to do over the summer.

As for my loving husband and myself, we have started to become more involved in church activities.  I attend a once monthly bible study with women from the 3 parishes that share our building.  The fellowship and diversity is energizing and life affirming.  I have started to sing in the choir again, and remember how much music can rub a salve into my wounded spirit when I am down.  I have started to get out of the house for more than homework, and it’s nice to rejoin the human race.

So, after nearly 3 years of living our lives on pause, we have pressed “play” once again.  I am cautious of our pace, and trying to take it slow.  At the same time I am reminded that some things never stopped.  My children have kept growing, and every year I am older and (hopefully) wiser.  So here we are world, a happy family having survived a major transition.  Party of 4, stepping back into reality.

Mommy Guilt

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My days of clinical are filled with mothers, and their precious new babies.  I care for these women like they were my sister.  I come to the postpartum floor and I am handed a  set of names, I read all about them in the medical record, and I start to make a plan about how I can best support and care for them that day.  Then, I stand outside their door, take a deep breath and every single time I take a second to say to myself, ” I love you, whoever you are, and I will give you all I can in the time I am here.”  I am devoting my life to motherhood, to taking care of women in whatever stage of motherhood they are in.  At the moment, it’s only post delivery.

My immersion into my life’s work has left me thinking about our greater community of mothers.  When I had my daughter I was a bit unsuccessful at finding a group of mothers to relate to.  Many of my own friends were not having children (ever, or not yet), and even though I did some ECFE (early childhood family education) classes, I just didn’t make “mommy friends”.  I am a pretty introverted when it comes to making new connections, and keep my friends to pretty small numbers.

I have a better connection to other moms now that more of my friends have decided to become moms as well.  I have also met many other parents through the parent center on campus, and every day I put on my scrubs and head to the floor I see more and more moms.  The one aspect of motherhood I wish I could alter is the mommy guilt.  Most moms I see have it in one form or another.  For me personally, it’s the guilt of being a student.  My time at home has to be split between family and homework.  My schedule has to be altered to help me be successful in school.  I feel guilty for missed bedtimes, missed homework help for my daughter, and looking at my computer instead of absorbing the time with my children.  The new moms may feel guilt for a labor that ended in cesarean section, breastfeeding that isn’t going well, or missing their older children at home for the couple days they are on in the hospital.  The point being, if it’s not one thing it’s another.  I am not sure we will every be without this form of mommy guilt, because it’s a reflection of our desire to love and raise our children as best we are able.

The ugly side of mommy guilt is the guilt and negativity that is expressed to other moms.  I see it in nasty comments on blog pages, and the looks given across the playgrounds.  This is the side of mommy guilt I wish I could erase, the little (and sometimes big) digs we make at each other.  We each know our kids the best, we each do the best we can in the circumstances of our own lives.  I am not saying every mom is perfect, but aren’t we hard enough on ourselves already?

Lets try to remember that we don’t know the whole story when that mom looses her temper at the playground, and be kind when one of us shows up for school pick up time with less then perfect hair (or the sweats I have been doing homework in all day), and not give nasty looks to the mom who is formula feeding her small baby.  We do our best.  We love our kids.  Lets extend support and appreciation instead of up turned noses or nasty comments.  Just a thought.  I love motherhood and moms, but mommy guilt I could do with less of.

A time for writing

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It’s time to write. I mean, really it is. I have two papers coming up (one is due this Sunday at 2259), and I have been experiencing a bit of writer’s block. Truth is, I really have no idea what the heck these papers are… I have only received partial instructions on the farther due dated paper, and I am still trying to formulate what the teacher is asking me to say on the one due Sunday.

I figured that time is getting desperate, so it’s time to use my first line of attack for writer’s block which is posting on this blog. I would love to tell you all about the amazing experiences I have been having in my clinical immersion this semester, but I can’t. It’s between me, my preceptor, and my patients. I CAN say that I have finally started to feel that I am gaining clinical skills. I have removed staples from C-section incisions, removed catheters (have yet to place one..), removed many saline locked IVs (have yet to place one…), and my assessment skills are improving every day. Best of all, my preceptor is an amazing resource for helping me to teach mothers to breastfeed. She is a breastfeeding resource nurse, and we spend a good portion of the shift supporting mothers in their efforts to breastfeed and hopefully send them home feeling confident and empowered. Well, I am pretty passionate about it. Enough about that.

In the home front we are hitting the phase in our children’s lives of being very busy. My daughter has started to attend gymnastics lessons once a week at a fabulous gym. She is excelling and thriving there. I love to see her glow from her sense of accomplishment and grow stronger every week. She needed this, something to be good at. She has also started swimming lessons once a week. She loves it when she gets in the water, but fights me the whole way out the door. Ugh, kids. I waited this long to put her in swimming for two main reasons. 1) I am a former swim instructor. No way I am paying for baby classes because they are mostly for teaching parents how to play safely with their baby in the water. I already know how, because I taught the class. 2) I can teach my kids just fine how to acclimate the water and float, kick, and blow bubbles. When they are young they still will listen to mom and dad. I did teach my girl to kick and float and dive under the surface, but now she is reaching the age where I try to teach her till I am blue in the face, but she will hear it clearly the first time from a stranger. Most kids learn stroke development from a teacher better than mom and dad. (yep, I observed this with my students as a swim teacher too) It seems I suddenly have very little time with my Little One, and it makes me sad. I spend many of my weekend days at clinical and now two of our week nights are busy. I knew this day would come, but I don’t have to like it.

As for my Little Man, he took two sessions of indoor soccer for 4-6 year olds through the YMCA this winter. My ever loving husband coached for him and I enjoyed seeing them have that time together. Little Man is no super star, but he does have a heap of natural talent for sports in general. It will be fun to watch him decide what he enjoys and develop that talent as the years go by. I can’t get over how much he has grown this year. I can’t believe he starts Kindergarten this fall!!!

Where has the time gone? Well not to writing my paper, but maybe I have knocked loose some of my mental blockage. It’s back to work time. To all of you in blogger land, remember to cherish the day. It will soon be gone.