Public Nursing

I’m not referring to being a nurse in public. Although, I do that all the time these days, too. Breastfeeding a child in the sight of others is an incredibly hot topic these days. Weird, I know.

Anyway, yesterday, I watched this:

Then, today, I read this.

As I was reading this, I came to a sudden realization. We are approaching this from an entirely wrong direction! So I decided to blog about it, because that’s what opinionated, technologically capable people do. Plus, I love a good soap box paired with a band wagon.

Our society is pretty screwed up. But, seeing as it’s OUR society, we pretty much have to take responsibility for its condition. Either we promoted the thoughts and actions that led to where we are now, or we quietly allowed it to happen in the form of apathy. I will acknowledge my own responsibility in this. I am so wrapped up in me and my kids that I simply have nothing left for activism of any kind on a grand scale (but I do my part on a person by person basis – just ask my co-worker who I was less than kind to when she was expressing her extreme disgust with a tandem nursing patient – which is not a great approach either, but hey, I’m human). So, because we helped get to where we are, we should maybe lighten up just a little bit when it comes to condemning society’s view of breast feeding.

So let’s take a look at the arguments presented by the pro-NIP (“nursing in public” for the uninitiated) crowd:

1. Breasts are not sexual objects.
Um….yes they are. If you really believe this, where have you been? Once upon a time, ankles were sexual. In tribal Africa, maybe breasts aren’t sexual. Here in the USA, our society has decided that they are. And frankly, I don’t need a society to tell me that my breasts are a part of my bedroom activities. I’m well aware of their part. And I’m well pleased with their part! Maybe TMI for you but I’m just trying to make a point. I bet if we were all being open and honest here, many of you would admit to the same thing. It’s even in the Bible. Just ask Soloman. And really, dads…it’s ok to admit you went a little googly eyed when your wife came down stairs the day her milk came in. Why? Because breasts are sexual!!!!

And while we are at it, comparing breast feeding with other offensive or sexual visuals is just wrong. A teenage girl dressed in tight/low cut shirt is trying to be sexy. Her state of undress isn’t what’s offensive to me. It’s the parenting that allowed her out of the house like that that I find entirely distasteful and that’s an entirely different issue from public breast feeding. Also, telling someone that you are offended by the guy with his big ol’ plumbers crack hanging out is just rude. That is certainly NOT a visual I want associated with breast feeding. So maybe we just stop with the comparisons, eh?

2. This is what they were designed for.
Absolutely, this is what they were designed for. We are mammals. We get our scientific designation from the very fact that we have mammary glands and use them to nourish our young. But, just for the sake of kindness, let’s look at this from the other side. Before you had children, did you have any true idea of the miracle awaiting you? Did you have even the tiniest inkling of the amount of love you could feel for another being? Could you begin to comprehend the idea of totally and completely giving yourself up for another person, no matter the cost? Well, those guys in business suits may be where you were. That man may have yet to personally experience seeing his wife work and struggle and issue forth blood, sweat, and tears to bring his squalling off-spring into this world. He has yet to see his amazing, beautiful, strong wife suckle his squalling off-spring at her now non-sexual breast. He has yet to see his young child grow and fatten from the issuance of what he previously considered a pair of his favorite play things. Perhaps instead of anger and indignation, we might consider pity for him and over whelming joy for ourselves regarding the miracle he has thus far missed out on and we have been privileged enough to experience, perhaps multiple times.

Or perhaps it’s a woman who is giving you the evil eye. In the comments posted to the article I linked above, a perspective was made that I had never considered. Perhaps she has yet to give birth and nourish her own baby. But maybe, she has given birth and was unable to breast feed, or even worse, LOST a baby. Maybe when she sees you nursing your baby, so brazenly, she is in an immense amount of pain from her own feelings of failure, inadequacy or grief. No, it’s not our job as nursing moms to have to make a choice not to feed our hungry baby just in case someone might have hurt feelings. But maybe we could take just a moment to consider that this person who is being so rude when we are just trying to take care of our kids, has something much deeper going on.

In either of these cases, I think we have a profound opportunity to show love and kindness to another human being and perhaps make a difference for the next breast feeing mom this person encounters. Getting angry and defensive about our legal rights just drives the wedge deeper. However we choose to respond will plant a seed for anyone, either witnessing or actually doing the complaining. When that person is faced with his or her own decision to breast feed, the encounter with you may decide them. Why is this your job? Well, that leads to my next point.

3. It’s our job to make breast feeding normal so our daughters won’t have to fight the same fight.
There is power in leading by example. I have breastfed for about 12 or the last 20 years. My oldest daughter, now 20, has a baby of her own and she is breast feeding her baby. Quite well, I might add. He was 22 pounds at 5 months of age. This stuff works! But that’s not news to us. I presented an example to my daughters that breast feeding is normal. It’s just a part of every day life with a baby. I nursed in restaurants, parks, Walmart. I never made a production of it. I just did it. In fact, it was such a part of my parenting, that I might look down and surprise myself to see that I was nursing. Muscle memory. I just did it.

The more girls and young women see moms nursing, the more of a social norm it becomes. But let’s be honest. Whenever attention is drawn to what we are doing, someone is being convinced NOT to breast feed when she has children. Lots and lots of people don’t want that kind of attention on themselves. The message we are sending is that only activist type people breast feed because society is against them. Well, most people aren’t interested in making a statement. I think for the sake of the next generation, we need to find a way to quietly make this a part of every day life. I’m not sure how to do this when ignorant folks condemn us for quietly doing what we do.  And while I enjoyed seeing that mom in that video stand up for her rights, maybe this video is more harmful than good. I recently read an article written by an affluent black woman. She talked about the fact that since she purchased her nice, brand new car, she’s been stopped by police many more times than before. Her implication was that she was seen as suspicious for being black and driving a nice car because it simply isn’t possible that a black woman could have earned that on her own. It must be stolen. She went on to share that she had to apologize for doing nothing wrong because she was fearful of her life. That is horrifying to me. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be going about my perfectly legal life and be fearful of unwarranted violence against me simply because of my skin color. So maybe it’s not such a big deal to take one for the team when we are approached while breast feeding. Maybe we respond with humility and kindness in order to better the societal view on breast feeding, for our daughters. I’m not suggesting we give up our rights. Not at all. What I am suggesting is we try something like, “I’m sorry this is making you (your other customers uncomfortable). My child is hungry and needs to eat. She gets too hot under a blanket so I can’t really use a cover. However, she is just about done, so just bear with me for a few more minutes.” No, we shouldn’t have to apologize for feeding, any more than a black woman should have to apologize for DWB (that’s a thing – driving while black – did you know that? I didn’t). But while we shouldn’t be sorry for nursing in public, maybe we can feel a bit of sympathy for the person who is uncomfortable because we don’t know what drives that discomfort.

It’s a simple matter of honey vs. vinegar. We get so worked up about things and respond with hate and violence. It’s almost just part of the American way. What if we all chose love and kindness instead? What kind of message would that spread to the people we “offend” with breast feeding, to the people around watching….to our own little ones who are learning how to handle conflict by our own example?

Soap box descended, but I think I’ll hang out on the band wagon a while longer.

 

Where did this come from?

Hemophilia, I understand. I get the genetics of it. I’m not quite sure if I mutated or if we’ve had it in the family all along, but at least I understand. I know that 1/3 of all cases are spontaneous mutations. My mom only had girls. My grandmother had 5 girls and 2 boys. My great grandmother had 3 girls and 1 boy. Of course, there should have been some carriers in there to have sons with it. But, I only have 2 boy cousins from biological aunts on my mom’s side. Again, a carrier should have shown up in there somewhere. My nephew doesn’t have it. My niece might  be a carrier, but she’s not been tested. So, it looks like the buck probably started with me. But I have the tools and to figure that out. It gives me an idea of how I ended up with two boys with hemophilia.

I don’t get type I diabetes. Here’s what I found on the American Diabetes Association website:

Type 1 Diabetes

In most cases of type 1 diabetes, people need to inherit risk factors from both parents. We think these factors must be more common in whites because whites have the highest rate of type 1 diabetes. Because most people who are at risk do not get diabetes, researchers want to find out what the environmental triggers are.

One trigger might be related to cold weather. Type 1 diabetes develops more often in winter than summer and is more common in places with cold climates. Another trigger might be viruses. Perhaps a virus that has only mild effects on most people triggers type 1 diabetes in others.

Early diet may also play a role. Type 1 diabetes is less common in people who were breastfed and in those who first ate solid foods at later ages.

In many people, the development of type 1 diabetes seems to take many years. In experiments that followed relatives of people with type 1 diabetes, researchers found that most of those who later got diabetes had certain autoantibodies in their blood for years before.

(Antibodies are proteins that destroy bacteria or viruses. Autoantibodies are antibodies ‘gone bad,’ which attack the body’s own tissues.)

Let’s break it down.

  • Need to inherit it from BOTH parents. Neither of us have any family history of diabetes in our families anywhere, that we are aware of. This explains why I was met with dumb founded stares every time I said we had no family history.
  • Triggers of cold weather or a mild virus. Well, we had the most mild winter ever this year. Well, almost. Certainly more wild than we’ve been accustomed to in Illinois. A virus? I guess it’s possible, but she never really showed anything. And I think triggers work in conjunction with the genetic factors anyway.
  • Early diet? Really??? Girl was breastfed until 19 months. Earlier than other kids weaned, but there were extenuating circumstances at that point. Besides, that should have been way long enough to reduce her risk. I did start solids earlier with her than some of the others. But even so, she was 6 months old. I only did it then because my pediatrician was kind of bullying me into it. Again, 6 months isn’t 6 weeks, which is when her older sister started cereal (20 years ago, doctors thought differently than today).
  • So that leaves us with the autoantibodies. My personal belief on this is they are caused by vaccines. Hannah was vaccinated until 6 or 9 months of age. Can’t remember exactly when her last shots were. When I was a kid, I seem to remember kids were diagnosed with diabetes in the 8-12 year old range. Now, it’s very common for it to happen at around age 1, and again in kindergarten. Huh. What’s happening around those ages? Oh, I know! Lots of shots. Yes, I realize that correlation is not causation. But just in case? Makes me glad we decided to stop vaccinating.

Ok. Off my soap box. I haven’t even really been researching long enough to have one. But I just feel so lost since I can’t trace this to its origins. I’m the kind of person who needs to know why for everything. In fact, I even got a talking to at work during orientation as a result. My preceptor thought I was criticizing their policies/procedures because I kept asking why and bringing up how previous employers had done things. It’s just my method and need to understand. I’ve never been one to follow blindly. My hematologist in Illinois can attest to this as well. I don’t really do anything “by the book” where hemophilia is concerned. I picked my own prophy schedule (we infuse 2x/wk instead of 3x/wk). I adamantly refused the hepatitis B vaccine for the boys (seriously. You can’t brag about how no one has acquired HIV or Hep B from factor products for 20 years, and then convince me I need to vaccinate against the risk of Hep B from factor products; and now, we use factor that never even touches human blood products).

Well, off to do more research. I have to get to the bottom of this.

D-Mom

This is what I’m called now, apparently. I acquired that title Monday. I get to tack it on to “hemo-mom.” That’s hemophilia. I have two boys with severe hemophilia, so I’m no stranger to life long health issues that require lots of needles to manage. Well, in the case of hemophilia, it’s only two needles a week, but they have to find a vein rather than just some skin. I used to have people compare hemophilia to diabetes when talking to me. Like they thought they had some understanding of my life because their child had diabetes. I scoffed. Yeah, right. Pricking a finger or sticking a tiny needle into a belly is does NOT compare to trying to get a larger needle into a vein, digging around, having to stick again (6 was the most times I ever had to) trying to find a vein. The whole time, my child is fighting and screaming at me as I torture him. Many infusion days ended in tears for both me and my son. Yeah. Diabetes does not even come close.

Except now, we have diabetes. I am thankful that she’s old enough that I don’t have to fight with her the way I did my boys. I am also thankful that as an RN, I do have some small working knowledge of how this works. I’ve cared for patients with it. I’m not anywhere near as green as I was when I was handed the diagnosis of hemophilia.

But, man, this is still terrifying! I worry about her constantly now. I worry she’s going to collapse walking home from school I worry about everything. This sucks.

So, we had her appt. with the endo (that’s endocrinologist for the uninitiated, the specialty that manages diabetes) today. It was a lot. She got her meal time insulin added to the routine. She also added three more fingers sticks, at least for now. So, we are currently at 12 sticks a day – five insulin and 7 finger pokes. We expect to be able to drop one insulin and hopefully 3 finger pokes after her next appointment (in 10 days).

At the appointment, they gave her more of the long lasting insulin, which she’s been taking at night, and her first dose of the meal time insulin to try and catch up to what she had for breakfast. By her pre-lunch BG (blood glucose, the finger prick) was down to 152! That’s as low as we’ve seen. Her fasting (first thing in the morning) has been in the 200+ range. Our goal for right now is 100-200. I was so excited. After lunch, it was still under 200. Woo hoo!! Then, tonight, before supper, it was 348. Sigh. This is what it is, I guess. Up and down until we get her stabilized. So, a call to the nurse practitioner with instructions to tack 3 more units on to her supper insulin. The NP gave me her personal cell phone number, by the way. I’m to call with any questions, day or night. I heart her.

I’ve been poking her in the upper arm. Tonight, I suggested we try her thigh because she can reach that to do it herself. She was very concerned. She’s very thin. Finding enough fat to stick her in is tricky. But, we did it and she decided it was actually better than the arm. So, one step closer to self injecting. I have to work tomorrow night. Not sure how that’s going to go with her bed time shot. Maybe during the 4 all day long, she will be able to do it herself by the end of the evening.

So, back to the hemophilia vs. diabetes thing. Yes, getting meds in is WAY harder with hemophilia. But, at least with the boys, once they get factor, I know they are good to go for around 48 hours. I can totally let go of any concerns for bleeding. Normal concerns of course. If ANY of my kids slammed into a brick wall, I’d do something about it. But as far as everyday activities, no worries. But with diabetes, while meds are easier, if more frequent, the worry never goes away. Before she’s treated, I worry she’s too high. After she’s treated, I worry she’ll go too low. And, at any time during the day or night, she could react one way or the other. Apparently, kids die in their sleep from this. Thanks other blogger, for putting THAT fear in my head. If I were to pick one or the other, I’d pick hemophilia, hands down. But I don’t get to pick. God has seen fit to allow BOTH in my life. And so it goes….

Oh, and happy world hemophilia day.

The “Drawer”

Drawer

This is Hannah’s “diabetes drawer.” We decided she needed to keep her stuff in her room, out of the reach of curious hands. So far she’s got some protein snacks, her insulin pen, a monitor and a back up monitor. We’ll be adding another insulin pen (I hope, anyway. Not real interested in dealing with syringes and such for her Regular insulin), and perhaps a juice box in case of a low reaction.

Day 2 of diabetes today. I was supposed to take a fetal monitoring class today at work. But I called and asked to postpone until the next time it’s offered. I was in a fairly frantic state and the idea of being stuck in a class was just too much. I was expecting a phone call from Dr. Guthrie’s office to schedule her appointment with the diabetes clinic. She just started insulin last night and I worried that she could possibly have a low reaction and I’d be unavailable. I worried that any number of things could happen and I felt I needed to be available for the day, just in case. Thankfully, my boss totally understood and encouraged me to stay home and take care of my kid. I love my job.

I wasn’t sure how quickly the clinic was going to be able to schedule Hannah, and I was concerned about all these supplies that we don’t have. So, I called Dr. X (our family practice doctor, who we met for the very first time yesterday, so I’m not at all committed to him), first to get her lab results, and second to have them call in an Rx in for those supplies. No answer. I left a message with the nurse. I hadn’t heard anything by noon. No worries. Maybe they were waiting until labs were in. I decided to call Dr. Guthrie’s office to get her appt. scheduled. Well, they had not received the referral. She told me she would call Dr. X and get it. Three hours later, nothing. So, I called Dr. Guthrie back. STILL no referral paperwork. I decided to go get it myself. So, I hopped in the van, headed out. The office is about 20-25 min. away, depending on traffic. I was actually at the intersection where the office was located when Dr. X called me personally. He gave me the labs. A1C was 16 and blood glucose was 632, by the way. He went on to say how serious these numbers are. I said, “I know. This is serious. So I’m wondering why her referral hasn’t been sent yet.” I explained that I had called twice and they did not have it. He told he it was sent, things happen, faxes have to go through several hands, blah blah blah. But is was certainly sent this morning. I said he needed to check with his office staff because I was calling Dr. Guthrie back right now. I called. After being put on hold for a few minutes, the lady in charge of handling referrals came on the phone. I had talked to her when I first called around 1. She told me she had just received the paperwork. She looked at the time stamp (perhaps Dr. X forgot that fax machines time and date things?). It was sent at 3:59. He’d called me at 4:10 claiming that he didn’t know what the deal was because he filled it out this morning. He offered to call them himself to find out where the paperwork was. So lame. A much better response would have been, “I’m so sorry. I filled it out this morning, but they got busy in the office and it just got sent 10 min. ago.” Or perhaps he didn’t realize this. So how about, “I’m so sorry. I filled it out this morning and expected it to be sent right away. Let me check with my staff and find out what happened. I’ll put you on hold and find out right away.” Either of those things would have restored my confidence in him as a doctor. Instead, he tried to lay blame with the diabetes clinic. Not cool. I work in medicine. We are all human. Things happen. I get that. But if I can’t trust a doctor to own up to mistakes by either him or his staff, then I can’t trust him to take care of my kids. So, back to the hunt to find a doctor.

By the way, the diabetes clinic sees the need for an immediate appt. just as strongly as I do. So, they got us squeezed in for tomorrow morning first thing at 8:30.

My “Sweet” Hannah

hannahSeveral weeks ago, Hannah came to me and told me she thinks she has diabetes. I asked her why she thought that. Well, she’d had some symptoms and consulted Dr. Internet and this is what she came up with. I asked what symptoms. She’s peeing all the time, has extreme thirst and is always tired. Being the kind of mom I am, who likes to live happily in the land of denial, I thought, yeah right (seriously! Isn’t hemophilia enough????). But, for her peace of mind, I told her I’d make her an appt. That took me a while. We are new to Wichita, don’t have a doctor yet. I had to do my due diligence and ask everyone I could to find out what doctors were the best for our family. Fast forward to last week. I made the appt. and today we went. Side note; when I called to make the appt., the lady asked me what we needed to be seen for. “Well,” I said, “My daughter searched the internet and she thinks she has diabetes.” The woman laughed. Said, “I hate the internet.” I laughed with her. I didn’t laugh for very long.

The first thing she did was pee in a cup. Because, despite a well rendered song on Scrubs the Musical, it’s not always in the poo. Sometimes, it’s in the pee. Nurse left. Doc came in. He started asking more history questions. Nothing to cause suspicion. Then he just causally dropped the bomb. “Well, you do have glucose and ketones in your urine.” I knew. He said we would do a blood sugar and hgb A1C, but I didn’t need that. I knew.

Nurse comes back. Draws blood. A while later, Doc comes back. “We know her blood sugar is at least 444. But that’s as high as our machine reads.” Diabetes confirmed.

I was ok in the office. Held it together. Stopped at Dillon’s to get some groceries for dinner. Happened to see a Diabetic Cooking magazine. Picked that up. $10. Is everything diabetes related this expensive? Sigh.

Headed to Walgreen’s to pick up her prescriptions. I wasn’t even sure what I was picking up. It was a meter and a second vial of her insulin. I mentioned to the pharmacy tech that we were brand new, just diagnosed a couple of hours ago. He then started bomb barding me with questions. Do you have test strips? How about lancets? You’ll need needles for your insulin pen, too. Um….what? Ok. It’s covered nicely by your insurance, he tells me, but Doc didn’t call in a script for those things. Sigh. At that point, I began to feel over whelmed. I’ve been teary for the last hour or so. And the best thing for that? Chop some onions. At least then I’ve got a cover.

So, our journey begins.

I Hate Mornings

Well, not really, I don’t. But I’m tired all the time. I have spent decades being tired. Until 2012. I was easily up by 7 nearly every morning. Then I started nursing clinical. I had to be there by 7. I was up at 5, cooked breakfast (eggs, hash browns, the whole nine yards), showered, took time to do hair and make up. On the days I didn’t have clinical, I was still waking well rested by 7 at the latest; usually closer to 6. In January, I started work at my current job. I was hired for night shift, but did a month of days for orientation. So, back to getting up at 5 on those mornings. No problem. Now, I’ve gone to nights. I find it difficult to drag myself out of bed before 9. I used to just think I was lazy when I wanted to sleep in that late. Even on days off, I want to sleep in. I now realize the truth of the matter. Between birthing, nursing and raising 7 kids over the last 20 years, and working night shift, I have been chronically sleep deprived. I don’t hate mornings. In fact, in 2012, I came to the realization that I actually enjoy them.

What I like about night shift is that I can have dinner every night with my kids. I get it on the table by 6, eat and leave by 6:40. But what I have discovered is that I’m grumpy. I’m in a hurry, on a time crunch, and not a very nice mommy. So, I have decided I’m going to go ahead and put my name on the list for a day shift position. I never really thought I’d say that, but I am. It will be better for me to miss a couple of meals a week with the kids and to NOT be sleep deprived and grumpy when I am home.

But for now, bring on the coffee.

PS – Tupler update: I can’t stop rubbing my hand on my now MUCH flatter belly. It’s amazing. I’m only sporadic about the exercises. I’m sore, and I AM lazy about exercise. Next goal is to start losing the weight I gained back over the last 2-3 months. Because while I love the new landscape, there’s too thick a layer of soft and squishy over it for my liking.

Tupler Techinique for Diastasis Rehab

I have a lot of babies. Including a set of twins. I was HUGE. In fact, even during my c-section for my twins, the OB commented on how separated my abdominal muscles were. Dude, unless you intend to fix it, then you don’t get to talk about it. He didn’t. Fix it, that is. And I kept having babies. Three more after the twins. I was brutal to my abs. As it turns out, regular ab exercises only make this separation worse. In fact, I did Jullian Michael’s 30 day shred. For 21 days. Not 30. I was elated with the progress during stage one. However, stage two involved a lot of planking exercises. These are the single worst possible thing a person can do in my situation. After a week of doing stage two, my separation was worse than it had ever been. So I quit. It was a valid excuse to shun Jillian the sadist. I was happy to bid her farewell. That was about a year ago. I talked to someone heavily involved in CrossFit (her husband OWNS a gym). They don’t really have anything to specifically address a separation, so would probably do the same thing to me as Jillian.

I had done some research and had come across Julie Tupler. She’s an RN who has developed a tecnique for repairing a diastasis separation. I was interested, but just wasn’t sure I wanted to spend $90 on it. Well, I’m so disgusted with my belly, that I bit the bullet and just did it. My only regret so far is that I waited a year to do this. It’s amazing!! Well, so amazing in fact, it brings to light a second regret. I didn’t take a before picture in time.

There are four steps to her program. Specific ab exercises that actually help instead of hurt (well, they hurt….no pain, no gain, right? But they don’t “hurt” the separation as in make it worse); splinting the muscles with a stretchy binder; learning to use the transverse muscles instead of the rectus muscles; learning how to get up and move properly so that the connective tissue is not reinsured. The kit I purchased includes the splint/binder thing, a DVD, and a booklet with charts to track progress.

I got the package on Friday. I put the splint on. Incorrectly. Watch the YouTube video. It’s really not intuitive and you need to be shown. Anyway, I wore it, wrongly, for a couple of hours. I loved how it pulled in my belly bulge but it was really uncomfortable. Naturally so, since I was wearing it backwards. Well, I took it off as soon as I got back home from a few errands. Didn’t do anything with it Saturday. Saturday night, I decided, I spent this money, I need to at least give it a try. So, Sunday, I applied the binder, correctly this time, since I’d viewed the video. I decided I’d start the exercises Monday, since the charts in the booklet start on Monday. By Sunday evening, I was sick of the thing. I’m short waisted and it kept rolling from the top and bottom. I was constantly adjusting it. So I took it off. When I did, I noticed my tummy looked quite a bit flatter, so I decided to measure. Now, the instructions tell me to be sure and measure before in three places – just under the breasts, at the waist and around the belly button (which is actually NOT your waist, despite what currently low waisted fashion trends try and convince us of). I’m certain you can guess what happened here. I’m so awesome at NOT following instructions until after I’ve flubbed something up first. I did have to measure at the belly button to place my order because I needed to know what size splint to order. So I had that measurement. It was 38 1/2 inches. So gross, right? That’s on the big end of a great HIP measurement. Well, that’s what it was and that’s why I decided I needed to do something about this. So, Sunday evening, after I took the splint off, I measured. I was down 2 1/2 inches to a 36! Unbelievable! And let me stress Sunday EVENING!!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always at my biggest in the evening, after I’ve been eating. So I decided to measure again Monday morning. Another 1/2 inch, gone. I did not wear the splint over night, and you’re supposed to. More great following of directions. I will from now on, I promise. So, after wearing the splint for only 10 hours and not even doing the exercises, I’m down 3 inches. And it’s obviously too late to take a real before picture. I’ll go ahead and take one later today anyway.

I started the exercises today. Wow. Major burning in my abs. And I only did half what I was supposed to. I decided to take a coffee break and blog about it before jumping into the next set. So I’ll get started on that here in a minute. What I like about them is that I can do them anytime I’m sitting. I can get in a few at a red light, while I’m sitting watching TV, or while I’m at work sitting at charting. Nurses spend a lot of time charting. I’ll have no excuse to not do these exercises. They are much like Kegals, but for the belly. Huh. I should probably get on those Kegals, too. Because, after all, I’ve had a lot of babies.

I have to give up swimming, at least for a while. Anything that is done prone is damaging to the connective tissue between the rectus muscles. It allows the weight of internal organs to rest on that tissue, stretching it. I’m hoping that maybe after a few months, my transverse will be strong enough to allow me to swim with a splint. In the mean time, I have to figure something else out for aerobic exercise because I have about 20 pounds to dump. Maybe some power walking. Can’t run. Bad knees. I used to play soccer.

I’ll try and post a weekly update as to how things are going.

Obstetric Nursing {Project Life 365}

real_365

Many years ago, around ten, maybe, I took a spiritual gifts class at my church. There was a three part assessment. The first was a really long questionnaire type thing to help determine what my gifts might be. I don’t really remember what all my results were. I know faith was number one, and I think prophesy was one of the top three. Anyway, that part is irrelevant to this post. The second part of the assessment was determining which people group I am made to serve. It came as no surprise to me that my people group was expecting and new moms. I definitely feel drawn to this group.

I began working as an obstetric RN in 1997. I loved it for a very long time. However, I eventually became disillusioned with the machine that was modern obstetrics. I turned to home birth. I began apprenticing with a home birth midwife. This is where my heart lay. I truly loved attending women in labor in their homes. But, it became difficult with my family situation and being on call 24/7. I gave up my life for these women. I gave up trips home (here in Wichita) to visit family for Christmas or a summer trip. I walked out of the movie theater because someone called in labor. I even missed my own baby shower once. It’s a hard life. It’s a life one only chooses if they are called to it. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. I eventually left nursing to focus on home birth. With the birth of Ian, I decided to take a break from midwifery. It was during that time that I discovered photography. I fell in love with it. I discovered birth photography, which was very obscure at that time. I felt I was uniquely equipped to offer this service. I understood the cadence of a birth, so I knew where to be for all the great shots. I knew what was coming next. Unfortunately, I was way ahead of my time. Birth photography was unknown and expensive. No one saw the value in it. Now, of course, it’s an entirely different story. There are dozens of birth photographers out there, doing their thing. There are workshops, forums, and even main stream news coverage. I think, eventually, it will become as popular as wedding photography.

Fast forward 5 years. I found myself in a place to need a steady paycheck and health insurance, which neither photography nor midwifery offer. So, back to nursing. It took me about a year to deal with licensure and securing a position. I’m sure it was God’s hand as I was placed right back into obstetrics. OB nursing jobs are pretty hard to come by since the nurses doing it rarely leave. Running around 12 hours a day, sucking up all that natural oxytocin in the air just feels to wonderful. Watching new families being born is far too gratifying.

Well, as you can imagine, modern obstetrics is a complete opposite end of the maternity spectrum from home birth. It requires me to participate in things that I have a professional disagreement with. But for my children, I will do anything. If I have to be a part of the machine, so they can have security and health care, then so be it. Because that’s what moms do, right? We will sacrifice anything for our children.

Yesterday was my first day doing obstetric care. I still carry around a midwifery model of care in my mind. I will still use that model to the best of my capabilities as long as it doesn’t jeopardize my job. I am fortunate to be in a birth care center that only admits low risk moms. This is limit what I have to do that goes against my own birth philosophy. God knew what He was doing putting me there. That’s for sure. I survived the day with only one small hiccup – one of our babies was circumcised. I didn’t assist with it. In fact, I went to an completely different nurses station so I wouldn’t have to listen to him cry. It was ok.

I’m so happy to have my job when so many people are out of a job. New grad nurses can’t find a position. I’m lucky. I know that. If I have to bite my tongue a few times (or a million), or walk away from a situation to catch my breath, I will still count myself lucky to be working, even if it’s as a cog in the obstetric machine. And maybe….just maybe….once in a while, someone will have an improved birth experience because I was her nurse.

Welcome to My Life!

I’m so glad you’ve stopped by. I have so much stuff to share. Stuff that has nothing to do with my business. It’s all about my kids, my “day” job, other interests….there’s even going to be some photography stuff here. There are things that I do with my photography that have nothing to do with my business. I really do have the best job in the world. I love what I do so much that I bring my job home. It’s not an 8-5 that I leave behind at the end of the work day.

I nearly always have some kind of personal project going. Currently, I have two. The first is a 365. What’s that? Well, it’s a project that involves taking a picture every day of the year. Thousands of people do them. They can either follow a group or do it themselves. This year, I am following Project Life 365 by Design Aglow. A theme for each day is announced and I take a photo that fits that theme. I am limiting myself to using my iPhone and Instagram for this project. It forces me to use everything I know about composition and focus with the bare minimum of equipment. I’ll be making posts to get caught up with the pictures I’ve taken so far. In addition to taking the photos, I am using the opportunity to journal about what’s going on in my life at the time. Some are novels. Some, just a few words. Some may simply include the hash tags for the project.

The second project I’m working on is a lot more important. I recently met an amazing lady named Michele Longabaugh. Michele has cancer. She has been fighting it for a couple of years. You can read her story on her blog. She even blogged about how we met and concocted this project. The project is simply photojournaling her fight. Michele is providing me with thoughts and journals of her own to go with each “session” we have. At the end of the year, we will put together a book for her. We will do this every year. What if she lives 20 years? Awesome!! I will be happy to continue this project as long as we both so desire it. I hope it does go 20 years. Or longer. As long as I’m able to push the shutter release, I will be there for Michele. It’s brand new. But I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see how it grows.

So, bookmark, subscribe, whatever you want to do so you can come back and check out what’s going on in my life.

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