"they left us something more precious than silver and gold..."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

make the most of it

"Make the Most of it"

“Tell me right now who tooted in this car!” That wasn’t exactly the response I was looking for as I rolled down my window to absorb the breathtaking view that is La Jolla Shores. It is one of those places that  makes my heart pound with memories of meaning. I especially enjoy going over to the Children’s Pool, which is a natural habit for sea lions. No need for Sea World, when you can actually swim with these animals in the ocean if you desire! So by you now you must have put two and two together: Tooting = smell of Sea Lions. Road trips will do that too you...make you stir crazy with all the driving but roar with laughter with words that come out of the mouth of babes! 
As the girls got out of the car and took off running to stretch their legs, I took in my surroundings. I remembered the sunsets that mesmerized me when I lived here five years ago. I thought of evenings we’d brought over dinner, layed a blanket on the grassy ridge, watched the Savannah run & waves explode. I recalled that stressful first year of residency. I thought of the emptiness that sometimes filled my heart because it was hard being by myself as much as I was with the girls. La Jolla Shores became my Walden Pond of San Diego. I took every visitor that came to see us there. 
So much has transpired over the past five years. I probably couldn’t have imagined it. Stresses change. Life moves ever so quickly before me. I looked ahead the stone walkway and followed slowly behind the girls, barely 18 weeks pregnant and I’m already having a hard time keeping up with them. They ran like kids that had been cooped up in the car for two days, crazy! The waves were overflowing the rock wall as they ran out as far as they could to see the sea lions. The oceans sprinkle made them shout with laughter and they ran faster. An older couple walked towards me. I could tell the woman was going to say something as she approached. I saw it in her eyes. I was expecting the usual, “You’ve got your hands full!” or the ever encouraging, “Enjoy them while they’re YOUNG!” Five steps. Four Steps. Then a wise, sweet English accented voice shared with a smile, “Make the most of it.” From one mother to another, she didn’t need to explain. Her stride never wavered and before I knew it she was two steps behind me. 
“Making the most of it” has been on my mind a great deal over the past two weeks. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s not, but I don’t find myself always making the most of it. Especially while pregnant. I’m uncomfortable. Slightly irritable. Exhausted (and it’s only 9a.m.). And trying to wrap my mind around my ever growing body. Oh yes! Heavens yes, I’m so excited for a little boy to be apart of our family, but life challenges us. It pushes us in directions that aren’t always easy to “make the most of”. 
I’ve realized that making the most of it doesn’t necessarily mean: MORE...because when I think of MOST, I automatically think of MORE. Faster. Bigger. Better. Yet, I’m trying to do just the opposite. Our trip consisted of most all daylight hours spent on the beach. Early morning walks to collect seashells. Time with a true friend and meaningful conversation. New adventures and new loves (Savannah: boogie boarding. Lucy: swimming in the ocean. Jilly: learning how to climb out of her pack and play). Alot of sandy mess. Even more, time to just be us, a family. 
Make the most of it. It takes work. It requires looking on the bright side of things. Letting go of things. Enjoying things in the moment. It doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. It reminds us to be aware. It calls for us to be in-tune.  

 jilly...always making the most of it :)

How do you make the most of your day? 
How do you make the most of things that are challenging?
For me...
- Sometimes it’s quickly asking forgiveness after my impatience has made herself known.

- Making to-do list on my phone, rather than on paper, so I don’t lose it (and consequently have a break down).
- Feeling no guilt as I read & finish a book (at 10 in the morning, I may or may not still be in my pjs) that I started on my trip...Cutting for Stone, thanks for the recommendation way back Cath, it was a perfect read for me.

- Creating a menu board for my kitchen...no more “What’s for dinner?” or “What I am going to make for dinner?” this may be a no brainer to you guys, but having it up on the wall, written down, has really helped me these past few weeks...especially when I don’t feel like cooking...I can still look up at that board, that plan and somehow I follow through.

- Venting. Sometimes I just let it out. The frustrations. The tears. The rolls forming on my back. Let it go, it feels good.

- Putting my foot down on Savannah’s crying episodes during piano lessons...how is this making the most of it? Because I refuse to give in to her doubting herself...I see her potential and I spend time with her and it ties us together. 

- Challenges...have you seen 17 Miracles? If not, you must. Talk about inspiring. Talk about rising to the challenge. 

- Words with Friends. 

- Extra time with the girls at night...I get into bed so early these days, I luv to have them come in and snuggle with me and just talk with them...listen to them. 

- Quilting with my sisters. Talking with my sisters. Shopping with my sisters and mom. 

- Walks with the girls! Dancing in the kitchen with the girls! Being in the back yard with the girls!

- Striving to treat others the way I would like to be treated. Giving people the benefit of the doubt...sometimes it's not easy, but it makes life so much...better. 

- I pray alot. I think about how my Savior, Jesus Christ, made the most of everyday He had on earth. Through scorn, belittlement, judgement, and ultimately torture...He constantly served, loved, leaned on God, was loyal to people, and fulfilled His promise to me, to all of us. I’m consistently reminded that I am never alone in my challenges, big or small. He reminds me by His perfect example to make the most of it. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

TOP 20...

TOP 20 reasons I love being a Labor & Delivery Nurse:

1. Miracles. I get to be apart of one almost every shift I work.

2. Scrubs. Yay they aren’t attractive but they are comfy!

3. Being apart of the Labor & Delivery terminology world: inner os, outer os, fluffy, rocky road, ballotable, eMAR (ugh), QS, dial-a-flow, clonus, medication cocktails, time-out, FFN, amnisure, mec...

4. Hearing families reiterate what I’ve explained to the the patient: I finish, then they pick up the cell phone to call and update the rest of the family… “They’ve got her on plutonium and they say it’s only a matter of time until she will be in pain.” Yes…that’s exactly what I said.

5. Smiling with the patient when she realizes that her water really didn’t break, she 
just peed her pants (been there honey!).

6. Seeing women’s eyes light up when you tell them they can have ice chips 
with FLAVORS! Cherry or Grape?

7. Co –workers. Oh the luv I have for them. The characters. The stories. The friendships. Lessons you learn not only about being a nurse but also about life. The bonds that tie and you never, ever forget.

8. Being part of one of the most intimate times in people’s lives…the joy that wells up in their eyes as we all take in the sound of that first cry. The beginning of endless possibilities.

9. The flexibility that nursing brings…full-time, part-time, PRN status, day shift, night shift, 12 hours, 8 hours. This flexibility has helped me support my family and allowed me to keep up my nursing skills over the years.

10.  The stories! Where people come from, where they are planning on going after the arrival of the little one. Hopes, dreams, life changes.

11. FAMILY! Oh the craziness of it all! Isn’t that the way it really should be!
             - The pushy grandma’s and the corner paper-reading grandpa’s. Or the nervous Nelly nanny’s             and the papa’s who are managing the room like it’s a special op’s mission!
            - The chatty aunties. The overly loving, all knowing, and sometimes even a bit jealous friends!
            - The daddy’s: Pale & Unsure. Google degree’d and all over it! Reserved & Patient. Concerned             and Affectionate. Awe struck and proud. Lazy and lame (seriously, quit watching football, your wife is delivering your child!). Over-questioning and under listening (I luv these ones). Polite and understanding.
            - The gifts! The cameras! Oh the cell phone phenomena…yay its totally affected everyday society but you should see how it affects a labor & delivery room! Skype! Facebook updates before we’ve seen the whites of the baby’s eyes! The TEXTING!

12. Randomly running into patients I’ve taken care of…for example, two years ago a woman came up to my door for trick or treating with her daughter..”Oh my goodness! You were my nurse when I was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago…remember I was in for food poisoning…I was barfing and had diarrhea…” Long pause. {Me} “Yes, of course I remember, so glad you are feeling better!” Woman, turns bright red, realizing she just said barfing and diarrhea outloud and grabs her cute daughter's hand and quickly shuffles her prego body away.

13. Keeping in touch with women who I’ve helped deliver their babies. Seeing those cute babies grow and become big brothers and sisters. It’s special and I love that some women remember me as much as I remember them.

14. True nursing…the compassion that is so desperately needed when life’s journey ends before it can even begin. Holding that woman’s hand and crying with her. For I am a woman, and my heart aches for her loss. The evident reminder that life truly is a blessing and a gift. A priceless one. One that we have no control over. That simple reminder…you never know what someone might be going through, so love them regardless. That profound phrase…cherish everyday.

15. Crazy busy days that fly bye while working a 12-hour shift. The sometimes needed venting with co-workers about not being paid enough and “if I have to eat my lunch in the bathroom again today, I’m gonna freak out.” Love your nurse. She / he is a person too and usually trying the very best they can, while not being paid enough, barely getting a potty break, usually NOT getting a lunch break, and sometimes bossed around by those lovable MDs. Don’t kill the messenger!

16. The soft skin. Sweet lips. 10: fingers & toes. Hair…sometimes on their head, sometimes on their back, I don’t care…it’s so cute! That little tongue that vibrates when they let out those first cry’s…”WHHAATTT just happened to me!!!” Blinking eyes…such a beautiful beginning to a world that will truly open so much beauty, if they look for it. Pudgy little noses.  That new baby smell. Sweet, innocent breaths…that little chest rising…falling. Tiny bums. So perfect. I’m telling you, it’s hard not to grab one and run!

17. Critical thinking. I love the way my mind has to work when I am at work. It begins the moment I reverse out of my drive-way and my focus shifts so quickly. When I clock-in, I really am there to work. To provide a service, no matter the patient’s circumstance, that will be memorable and individualized for her. Sometimes it’s not easy. It can be down right exhausting. My mind pulses and I know what it will require to monitor her and the baby to help provide a systematic approach for the delivery of the little life inside of her. Sometimes deliveries are so smooth, truly almost effortless. Others require intense observation due to a mother’s health condition or an unborn infant’s health condition. Each birth is different. Unique. A story…that will be re-told for generations. 

18. Being apart of a team. I’ve been involved with sports almost my entire life. I grew-up with 4 sisters. Being apart of a team is in my blood. Working on a labor and delivery floor is really like being on a  team. It’s a tough try-out, let me tell you. Have you heard of baptism by fire? Although as I look back on the past 8 ½ years, I’ve never felt alone when I’ve been working. I’ve always had someone to bounce an idea off.  I’ve always felt understood because usually one of my teammates has been exactly where I was at one point or another (One nurse: “She’s 10 cm! Call the doctor” Another nurse: “Really? Wasn’t she just 2cm, and it’s her first baby…let me go re-check for you…”). It’s humbling. I’m not afraid to admit I don’t know everything…in fact, it’s something I tell each of my patients. “If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does!” We work together.  

19. Teaching women what the word labor means…{Me} "Yes…it actually might take a little bit of work, effort. Yes, it’s going to be exhausting. It most certainly will be painful at one point or another. But after great labor, comes great reward.”  

20. Having the extreme privlege and blessing to be apart of the special people in my life’s day! Thank you so much family and friends for inviting me to be apart of your “birth” days…I can’t think of anything more I would have rather been doing on these days, than being with you. Most recently, my college BFF, Lindsay Clegg Sundloff...who a little over a week ago welcomed McIntyre Sundloff into the world!

Here's to nursing!