As a new mom this phrase, I said I’d never but, I already have, speaks to me. I’ve just barely dipped my toes in this motherhood journey & I’ve already quickly realized that you can have all these grandiose ideas about parenthood & how you plan to raise your babies & sometimes you have to throw things out the window.
“I said I’d never but I already have” pretty much encompasses how our first week of parenting went. We never planned to formula feed. We had mixed feelings on introducing pacifiers, we certainly never anticipated spending time in the NICU . In some ways I’m thankful that our journey forced us to toss our plans out the window & just move forward.
One of my biggest I said I never woulds – the Google machine. As an ER nurse I know googling random medical questions is a cardinal NO NO. In fact it’s one of the fastest ways to get an eyeroll in an emergency room. As a new mom I found myself struggling to fall back asleep after Will’s 5am feeding, knowing he’d be awake again in 90 minutes. So, I unhealthily spent most of that early morning time on Google: wondering if his baby acne was something more, if his head looked too flat, if I should worry that he favors looking to one side and on and on. Every nurse bone in my body would yell at me to stop! Usually by day break I would have talked myself down… Once William started sleeping through the night I found myself not doing it quite as much but every once and awhile I’ll find myself scrolling through a mom forum discussing things that I know I don’t need to worry about it typing something absurd into Google!
I think motherhood is all about walking this line of sticking to your guns but also making concessions on things when it’s what is needed. We weren’t super into the idea of pacifiers, but in the NICU they use them all the time for the babies, especially during procedures. I wasn’t about to sent him some of that comfort because of what I’d been told in a breastfeeding class. So our “no pacifiers” went straight out the window. And guess what? Life moved on. He continued to breastfeed without issue despite what lactation consultants would tell us and ironically at nearly 7 months William has little to no interest in pacifiers
What are some concessions you had made early on in motherhood? What are other things that you don’t budge on?
I know there will be more. Probably today. We’re leaving this morning for Miami & then tomorrow we’re heading to the Caribbean for a week. Wish us luck.
This past Sunday I hit 37 weeks & it feels so surreal that this baby is going to make his or her appearance any day now. I’m officially off of work as of last week & am fully in preparation mode. As a nurse I’m used to having random week days off, so at first it just felt like I had a long stretch of days off but now it’s really setting in that I won’t be heading back to work until the fall! Throughout the entirety of Chris & my relationship I have either worked nightshift or for the past 3 years worked swing shifts which meant coming home around 2am. So this is the first time in five years that we’re seeing each other every night & eating dinner / going to bed together like most couples, it’s something we were both very excited about!
As for how I’m spending my final weeks pre baby? Well I’m certainly soaking in taking afternoon naps & just resting whenever I feel like. But I’ve also got a decent list of little projects that I’m trying to tackle, mostly random cleaning or organization tasks. Our baby room is done, our hospital bags are packed & my freezer is already stuffed to the brim with food for once baby is here. My parents are finally back in town, they spent the month of March away so I can breathe easy knowing they are just a few hour drive away if baby decides to come early now. My mom is planning to come next week to help me with some cleaning, which I’m pretty excited about. Aside from cleaning & resting I’m wrapping up some last minute self care items: getting new glasses, getting my hair cut etc. And of course I’m going to acupuncture especially as I get closer & closer. My major goal this week is to finish our 2017 photo book, I make one each year with all our pictures & I’m SO close to finishing last years & I know I absolutely NEED to get it done before this baby gets here otherwise it may never happen so that is a top item this week.
Below is a photo from the last shift I worked. My amazing coworkers threw my the sweetest send off, it was super hero themed on account of me being SUPER pregnant.
We’ve been keeping a little secret & it feels so good to finally announce it! We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our new addition come April! It’s surreal to think that as I type this out I’m officially 19 weeks, one week from the halfway mark. Pregnancy is an odd mixture of both being unbelievably excited as well as not wanting to jump the gun when it comes to clearing out a bedroom or assembly baby furniture. Then before you know it you have a few months under your belt & suddenly feel like the to-do list exploded. I’m so excited to get started on the nursery, we’re taking out the last of the furniture tomorrow!! And stay tuned I’ll be posting some of my first trimester must have items in the next few weeks.
The month of May is home to Nurse’s week. Across the country hospital administration will thank their soldiers on the ground with pancake breakfasts & inspirational quotes. Nurse’s don’t need a quote to tell them what a beautifully hard job this is. This year will mark my five year anniversary of becoming a nurse. Even typing it out, I feel the need to quickly double check the math. It doesn’t seem all that long ago I was dawning bright white scrubs & learning how to take vital signs. In some ways that shy, timid nursing student seems like a person I was in another lifetime. I’ve spent the last five years working in an Emergency Department in San Francisco. In that time I’ve started countless IV’s, wrapped broken bones, compressed lifeless chests to see life return & seen patients in their final moments.
Nurse’s week for me isn’t about the free breakfasts, or new company water bottles. It’s about remembering the amazing mentors I have had a long the way & the nurses I continue to strive emulate even today. A wise nurse once told me that ER nurses are notorious for carrying “emotional backpacks”. Events happen so quickly in an ER that you often don’t get the opportunity to process things fully until much later. So as sad, painful, ugly things happen we put all these heavy feelings in a back pack that we carry around with us. And as you clock out & get home you have to find a way to empty these things out in order to go back to work again in 12 hours. Some things you can let go of as you swipe your badge and walk away, others require a long run, a good cry or a stiff drink! If you don’t figure out a way to empty your backpack frequently it’ll eventually weigh you down. Nurses week is about remember that we all carry our own backpacks & recognizing that we can help one another when it gets too heavy. I’m ever thankful for my coworkers who not only make me laugh but are side by side with me as we are faced with the unknown of the emergency department each day. This job at times is painful & hard & other times is exceptionally wonderful & in that contrast there is beauty. The friendships I have made inside those windowless walls are some the strongest & I can say with certainty it’s what keeps me coming back. Only your fellow nurses will understand what it’s like to give yourself fully for 12 hours a day, over & over; not just Monday through Friday, but weekends & Christmas. My fellow nurses are some of the funniest, smartest, most thoughtful people I’ve ever met & I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the club!
This year I happened to be on vacation during the actual nurses week (which btw not an entirely bad way to celebrate), but I wanted to post something to recognize this wonderful calling that only strongest are drawn to & wish every nurse out there a happy nurses week & remind them they’re incredible!
^^ #TBT to nursing school, when finally getting to wear scrubs, even if they were white was cool!
When it comes to traveling, especially abroad, I always pack a few musts to both prevent & treat the unexpected! As a ER nurse I know the worst way to spend your vacation is in an ER so this blog is meant to give you a list of some simple over the counter items you can pack on your next trip to keep you feeling your best.
Hand sanitizer – the number one way to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands. Sometimes that’s not always an option so having hand sanitizer easily available before you put your hands on a delicious sandwich or tapas is one of the easiest & most effective things you can do. I like taking a hand sanitizer with a mist spray that way the first thing I can do when I board a flight is to spray down my tray table, seatbelt, armrests etcetera. I know this may sound crazy OCD but those planes A: don’t get cleaned after each flight & B: sick people fly all the time. So if the person before you had a nasty head cold you’ll be picking up all those germs.
Emergen-C – These little individual powder packets are a great way to also keep your immune system up. Pour one into that little airline cup of water they bring you & you’ll thank yourself. Side note: they also make for great hangover prevention if you drink one or two the before you crawl into bed (tried & true)!
Visine / Eye Drops – Nothing dries your eyes out more than recycled airplane air. I usually opt for glasses over contacts, especially for long flights, but putting a few drops of Visine in your eyes intermittently or before you pop your contacts in can make you feel like a new person!
Ibuprofen – The cure-all. I never go anywhere without it. Headache / back ache / hangover you name it. 600mg & you’ll feel right as rain.
Tea – I was never a huge tea drinker until a few years ago & now this is something that I pack with me when I travel. I pack a handful of different teas, they’re small and compact so even if I don’t drink them all it’s no big deal. Not to mention airplanes are typically freezing so drinking something nice & warm that isn’t coffee can be really nice. Air travel can make your body hold onto excess water so I like to pack Weightless Tea which helps relieve excess water. Along those lines a nice Detox Tea is good to have on hand. Often when we travel we’re eating & drinking things that we may not normally which can then in turn impede on our normal routine so Smooth Move Tea can help if you find yourself struggling to adjust to new cuisine.
Medicine Kit – What kind of nurse would I be if I didn’t have a little mary poppins-esque medicine kit for all the ailments. In here I put individually enclosed doses of: DayQuil / NiQuil, Benadryl, Non-Drowsy Allergy medicine (loratidine), Zantac for heartburn, & Sudafed. I don’t pack tons of these meds but enough for 1 or 2 doses. And someone non medical might read this & think it’s excessive, but I will say that I usually use something out of this box per trip & it’s cheaper / easier to just bring it ahead of time. As an aside (in most states it’s illegal to have unidentified pills, so make sure they’re individually wrapped & marked with what medication it is, otherwise you may find yourself having to do some explaining to a TSA perosn). I found the little medicine box in the Dollar Spot at Target & just grabbed a couple.
Fem Wipes – These are great to have on hand just in case. You never know when you might find yourself in a restroom that’s out of toilet paper or when you may need a quick refresh. These are small & easy to stoy in a little pouch. Like most things on this list it’s easily packable & better to have than to be frantically trying to find an alternative.
A must that I take with me on all trips but I didn’t include on this list because a prescirption is needed is a small course of antibiotics. I’ve found myself across the country with a UTI trying to find a pharmacy while in terrible pain & discomfort. Definitely a less than ideal situation. Most doctors are willing to write a prescription for this just in case scenario. I just talk to my doctor before I leave on a trip. Again, it’s far easier to reach in your bag & have what you need then be scrambling & feeling terrible.
What happens when you take five ER nurses out of the city & out on 500 acres? A lot of laughs. This weekend I got away with some of my dearest friends to a ranch outside of San Luis Obispo. We spent the weekend riding ATV’s around the property, shooting guns, lounging by the pool & just enjoying being outside of the city. I feel like I talk about this whenever we go away but there’s just something so refreshing about being pulled out of the SF tech bubble. I think it’s so healthy to go “off the grid” every once in a while. These days I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up with technology & our phones that I find it oddly calming to be somewhere where I’m not getting any notifications & can just be present. Weekends like this one remind us that life is so much bigger than our 7×7 city & all that really matters is who you surround yourself with & quite frankly I feel pretty damn lucky to be surrounded by these women.
Last Saturday twenty five ER nurses traded in their glorified pajamas (aka scrubs) for ball gowns & bow ties & enjoyed a night out benefiting the Glide Foundation. The amazing men & women in these photos work side by side with me, caring for some of San Francisco’s most underprivileged residents. Glide serves the exact same community & has been for decades, providing meals, spiritual services, medical clinics & homeless outreach. It doesn’t take much to convince this group of nurses to hang out, however this event was made extra special because one of our very own helped organize the evening. We jokingly called this event our “Prom” & we pulled out all the stops, including going as a group to Dry Bar ahead of time to get our hair done! It was such a great night getting to spend with truly some of the best human beings I know. When it comes to nursing: Our job is to love people when it hurts, when it’s awkward, when it’s uncool & embarrassing. Our job is to stand together, to carry the burdens of one another, & to meet each other in our questions. And I’ve never met a group of people who embodied that more. I would never be able to come to work each day, if it were not for the team I’m surrounded with & this night was such a great reminder of that.
A few weeks ago my coworkers & I went on our annual trip to Lake Tahoe, it was such a fun getaway. I love everyone I work with & it’s so special when we’re all able to be in the same place at once, not working!! We stayed right near Fallen Leaf Lake & were about a 10 minute drive from Kiva Beach on Lake Tahoe. Kiva beach, is a fairly large, dog friendly beach. At the beach you have gorgeous panoramic views of the whole lake & behind the beach is a beautiful meadow with the sierra’s lining the background. It was mid July & the mountains still had snow caps on them!
Like I mentioned before, it’s so special when we can actually coordinate all of our busy schedules & find a time when we can all be together. Many of us work more than one job, so finding a 4 day stretch where we can be together is a miracle! My nursing family is amazing, I’ve learned so much from each one of them & am constantly inspired. It’s so rare to find such an amazing group of people you work with. Granted, many have moved on to other jobs but we’ve all remained close. Nursing is a tremendously hard job & if you can’t find balance in your life then you’re going to have a hard time coping. Weekend getaways like this one remind me what incredibly compassionate, generous, hilarious women I’m surrounded by, & push me to expect more of myself. I just had my 4 year anniversary as a nurse & a lot of the girls in these photos were there from the very beginning. We encouraged each other & helped one another become the amazing nurses we are today. One of my favorite quotes that embodies nursing is this: “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others”. As true as this is, I think I’ve also found myself working side by side with these gals. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of others I work side by side with that I consider to be my Nurse role models / mentors, but these girls are gold.
Stay tuned for more photos with them because this weekend we’re headed to our first ever black tie event together… just keep in mind these are girls who wear glorified pajamas to work each day (scrubs).