Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You've come a long way, baby...

One year ago today, I was one month shy of giving birth. Thus, today marks Grant's 11 month birthday. (You didn't know you were going to have to do a little math this morning, did you?) As I was in the shower washing my hair with my favorite shampoo (Organix Teetree Mint, for those of you who are curious), I looked back on the last 11 months. The phrase that kept coming to mind was...

"You've come a long way, baby."

Last May 24th, I was over eight months pregnant. Ankles reminiscent of an 80-year-old woman in heart failure. I was three weeks shy of taking the NCLEX-RN exam which I had to pass in order to become a licensed RN in the state of Texas. I still had eight hours of defensive driving to complete before I became a mom and I didn't have time for it. Just to name a few things on my "to-do" list a year ago.

Since then, I have:

A. Given birth to the most beautiful, precious child God created for me to care for
B. Taken and passed state boards
C. Pulled numerous "all-nighters" because I work nights (even during the college years...I NEVER stayed up all night)
D. Breastfed a child through thrush and eight teeth for the entire 11 months (and counting down to a year)
E. Made it through our most difficult year of marriage (that statement should start with WE have)...to those of you who think the first year of marriage is the hardest like I did...wait until you have kids...
F. Learned a new level of love and respect for my husband
G. Attempted to learn to shut my mouth more often when what I want to say doesn't need to be said
H. Gone from being a natural blonde to a natural brunette (it's the hormones, I tell ya)
I. Been reminded that my girlfriends are life-savers and really are the sisters I never had
J. Watched Ben try his first murder trial
K. Gain a truer understanding of the meaning behind Mother's Day and deeper appreciation of my mom
L. Grasped a deeper knowledge of the unconditional love the Father has for me
M. Completed my defensive driving
N. And after this past weekend...primed, painted, and trimmed out an entire brick house (with the help of our INCREDIBLE family).

I'm stopping with N because I hear a kid crying who just woke up from a nap. Ooh...I think we went back to sleep.

It's been a tough, challenging, and rewarding 11 months. Would I want to re-live it? Nope. Do I cherish every moment of it? Yep. If I close my eyes and just relax, I can picture me and Jesus walking down the sidewalk, pushing Grant's stroller. He's got his arm around my shoulders and He leans over, chuckles, and says...

"You've come a long way, baby."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tales from the Maternity Ward

Last night at work, we got to laughing at about 4 a.m. via my expense. For starters, everything is funny at 4 a.m. However, I also tend to have a tendency to say funny things to patients at 4 a.m....when I'm not always thinking straight.

A few months ago, I took care of a patient after her hysterectomy. I had spent quite a bit of time with her throughout the shift...doing her assessment, managing her pain, teaching her how to straight catheterize herself. As the shift was about to end, I went into her room to tell her she would be getting a new nurse for the day and told her what she could expect in the next twelve hours.

As I was leaving her room, she said, "Happy Thanksgiving!" (because we were a few days from Thanksgiving).

Without missing a beat...or obviously thinking...I replied..."You too! Enjoy being uterus free!"

Really. Who says that. Enjoy being uterus free. I meant it. I'm not a fan of Aunt Flo. But what was I thinking.

Another funny story that frequently is told at my expense. It was my first week as a PCA (basically, a nurse's aid) on the Mother/Baby Unit. I had just left my job as a fundraiser with Children's Miracle Network where I planned events, corralled volunteers, and asked people for money and stepped into the world of blood pressure, catheters, and c-sections.

One of the RNs working that day said, "Meagan, would you mind getting so-and-so (name not included to prevent identification of a patient...and for me to keep my job :) into the shower?"

"Absolutely! I'd love to!" I said. Oh, was I eager to learn and help. It's the over-achiever in me.

I be-bopped down to the patient's room, helped her out of the bed since she had recently delivered via c-section, got her into the shower, and proceeded to wash her. It was my first experience ever scrubbing the back of a healthy adult whom I was not married to. She looked up at me and said, "This is nice. No one has ever bathed me before. Not even after my last baby."

"Oh my gosh," I thought. "All they wanted was for me to help her INTO the shower. Not BATHE her."

"I'm glad I can help," I told the patient with a smile on my face...trying to hide the fact that I was utterly humiliated and felt completely awkward.

After her scrub-down was complete, I step out of the bathroom...scrubs dripping wet, hair transformed from straight to curly via steam, and completely embarrassed...walk down the hall to where all of the nurses I was working with (and whom I had only met a few days ago) were sitting, and proceeded to tell them about my "shower."

Oh, how they laughed. And it was obviously a noteworthy story...because it's still told on a regular basis.

So, while I'm very proud of the job I do as a nurse and know that I give the best care I can to my patients, let me tell ya...I guess I'm a little bit of a goober when I do it. All I can hope is that I have a patient out there who is enjoying being "uterus-free" and one who equates her last c-section with a day at the spa.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Patience is not my virtue

Back in the good ol' Texas Tech days, I was a student mentor to about 20 different athletes. I helped them with their homework, their time management, study skills, and as we got to know each other better, we also talked about relationships, family, and some pretty deep issues. I loved the job. And as most colleges invest in their athletes, so did Tech. The students had to take a "Life Skills" course where they learned about how they can better function as both a person and an athlete. In it, everyone was asked to fill out a 150+ questionnaire online through a program called "Strengthsquest." At the end of the test, you were given your top five "strengths" that layed out the framework of the way you "ticked" and encouraged you to use those strengths in your daily life. All of my athletes took their quizzes and as mentors, we were asked to take them, too. My top five strengths were:

1. Achiever - pushed yourself to the limit, could also become discontent easily
2. Relator - met people where they were at
3. Beliefs - strong core values/ethics
4. Can't remember exactly what it was called, but basically found potential in people and encouraged them to reach it
5. Competitor - have a strong will to win

No where on that list...much less in my top five...was the word "Patient." Because I suck at being patient.

I've been smacked on the side of the head relentlessly with this issue lately. I was in the process of transferring departments at the hospital I work at from Mother/Baby to Critical Care and from nights to days. I found out last week that due to me taking maternity leave during my RN orientation period, I had to wait to transfer until the beginning of October...if a job is available at that time. Totally understandable...but the lesson was Be Patient. I really want to finish losing my baby weight but my thyroid has been messed up off and on for the last 7 months and it makes losing the weight hard. Be Patient. I have salivated over the front-load washer and dryers since they first came out and wanted them with a pedestal in a really cool color. Our 25-year-old dryer decided to die this morning and well, we can't really fit a cool new pedestal dryer into the budget. Be Patient. Mother's Day morning, all I wanted was to sit down and eat a fabulous buffet and have a mimosa at Blue Mesa in Fort Worth with my family. Naturally, my child who ALWAYS acts perfect in public throws the biggest, longest fit I've ever seen him throw as we are about to be seated after waiting for 45 minutes. I go to the car, try to nurse him, rock him, console him...finally, after 30 minutes, he falls asleep in the Baby Bjorn carrier which makes it extremely difficult to thoroughly enjoy my meal. Even for something so small as eating my stupid brunch...Be Patient.

My mom always says that if there's someone in our life that we have a hard time getting along with, you can pretty much bet on the fact that God will bring someone else in our life just like them until we learn how to deal with them. I guess that probably goes for lessons like learning patience, too.

This isn't a fluffy, life-is-perfect-and-I've-learned-my-lesson post. Where yes, I completely know and believe that I am unbelievably blessed, patience is not my virtue quite yet. I have openly acknowledging that it's a really tough concept for me, so I guess I won that battle... but I have this gut feeling that the war isn't over yet.

"A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly." - Proverbs 14:29