Tag Archive | nurse

Little Miss Minion’s 4th Gotcha Day

4 years ago today, Mr Minion and I watched as the wires and stickers that had monitored our baby’s heart rate, oxygen levels, and respirations for the past three months were removed. We could see her whole face clearly, without the tube that had gone up her nose and into her stomach. We could pick her up and walk more than a few feet from her crib, something that would have been impossible due to the wires that monitored her vital signs. I vividly remember holding her carefully in my arms and slowly spinning in a circle near the large window in her room in the NICU that we had called home since May.  

As we waited for the discharge paperwork to be signed off on and for our nurses to go over instructions with us, I kept expecting the next person to come into the room to tell that there had been a mistake. That we couldn’t take our daughter home yet. We packed up her tiny preemie outfits, the mobile we had brought her to put on her hospital-issued crib, and her bottles. We also packed the jars of protein powder that we would have to supplement her bottles with for the next several months, and the diapers that were only slightly smaller than my cell phone. We packed her special issue Ultra Preemie bottle nipples, since she was still unable to handle the regular Preemie ones that were available in some stores.  

When our nurse finally came in and asked us if we were ready to head out, I could feel my eyes burning with terrified, excited, nervous, and overjoyed tears. We had arranged Little Miss Minion in her car seat and strapped her in, using rolled up towels, blankets, and washcloths to make sure she was secure. I carried her through the door of her room in the NICU and we walked through the unit, with Mr Minion and our nurse helping to carry the rest of her stuff. As we waited for the elevator to arrive, I waited for someone to run through the double doors with the news that we had to stay. The elevator arrived and the doors remained closed. We walked through the lobby of the hospital, seeing other parents leaving with their two day old full term babies as we left with our 3 month old, 5 pound miracle, who had already survived a Group B strep infection, meningitis, sepsis, and one surgery to implant a shunt to control the hydrocephalus she had developed as a result of those illnesses.  

When we made it to the front of the lobby, I tilted my head to look away from the Maternity Welcome Center, something I still do each time I visit the hospital for my volunteer work. We turned to walk through the vestibule that led to the parking garage and my daughter felt fresh air on her face for the first time since she had been born. We packed her things in the trunk and snapped her carseat into the back of our car. I rode in the back with her, and we stopped to get McDonald’s on the way home for lunch. The packaging was Minion-themed, and I still have a picture of it somewhere.  

While the memories of her birth and the immediate time before and after are fuzzy, thanks to the magnesium I was receiving by IV to prevent seizures or strokes, her Gotcha Day is carved into my memories with a chisel and I will remember every tiny detail of that day for the rest of my life. I will also remember how, when we took her for her first pediatrician visit a few days later, I got a compliment from a woman in the lobby who saw my ridiculously tiny baby and assumed she was a newborn, and said that I looked amazing and she couldn’t believe I had just had a baby. Since Little Miss Minion was three months early, I hadn’t really ever definitely looked pregnant, so after she was born, I looked mostly the same, except less puffy and swollen from the preeclampsia. I had only gained about 15 pounds, and between the stress of the NICU and exclusively pumping, I had lost about half of that. I just said thank you, laughed a little, and darted into the well-baby room to escape from the germ-filled waiting room. 

When I look back on where we started, I am amazed all over again at the tenacity of a 1 pound 14 ounce baby, born 3 months too soon, and the marvels of modern medicine that allowed us to bring her home. It solidifies my yearning to return to the NICU as a nurse, and makes me treasure my time spent there as a volunteer, speaking with parents who have found themselves in the NICU.  

Happy 4th Gotcha Day, Little Miss Minion. I’m so proud of you and everything you have overcome.

 

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Hard Core Class

It looks like I’ll be headed back to school a little earlier than I thought. My next class is Anatomy and Physiology I, or A&P I. I got a little pamphlet in the mail this week from my school that offers an online, pass/fail intensive review course for one credit hour it lasts for one week and, according to the stats of people who have taken it and people who haven’t, this class improves your grade by an average of 3/4 a letter grade. Since I’m into my required classes now, I have to get a B or higher, or the class doesn’t count. Since I’m a nerdy perfectionist bookworm, I prefer to get As. Either way, I’m now headed back to class at the end of this month. My last biology course was the very first one I took in my return journey to academics, so that was fall of 2017.

I’ve heard that A&P I and II are the hardest of the pre-nursing classes, and that’s all I have left! A couple weeks ago, an acquaintance who went to nursing school gave me all of her books, so I have tons of reading to do and lots of extra material if I need help. I’m also hoping to be able to arrange more time to study and attend review sessions. In my fall of 2017 class, I got a B. And that was after getting a zero on a test because we were on a cruise. Hoping that bodes well for these two classes. Wish me luck!

May is an interesting month…

I was skimming through social media this afternoon and saw several interesting tidbits that I thought I would pass along.

Today is National Nurses’ Day and the first day of Nurses’ Week (at least in the US). I would like to send a huge THANK YOU to Little Miss Minion’s nurses in the NICU, as well as the nurses who have taken care of her during her various hospital stays and doctor’s visits. I also want to say thank you to the nurses who took care of me when I was inpatient before her rather early arrival. A particularly large thank you goes to L&D Nurse J, who was the nurse I told about LMM’s slowing movements two hours before she was delivered. Thank you for listening to me, for checking out the monitor, and for IMMEDIATELY calling the ultrasound techs who got to the room so fast I think they may have already been on their way up to me. Thank you to NICU Nurse J, one of our primary nurses, who taught Mr Minion and I how to give LMM a bottle for the first time, how to wrap her like a burrito to keep her warm once she got out of her isolette (without tangling her multitude of cords), and invited us to volunteer with the March of Dimes as family advocates in our stats. Thank you to overnight NICU Nurse S, who helped us bathe LMM without dropping her body temperature. This tiny task made me feel more like a parent more than I would have thought possible. Thank you to daytime NICU Nurse S, who was also one of our primary nurses and walked us out of the hospital on our 84th day.

The month of May is also Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Preeclampsia is the reason I had to have the emergency C section that saved my life and saved LMM. Without immediate delivery, my blood pressure would have continued to climb, causing strokes or seizures, and my kidneys would have continued to shut down as a result of narrowed blood vessels. The HELLP syndrome I developed as a side effect of the preeclampsia would have continued to destroy my platelets, causing a hemorrhage, and would have continued to damage my liver. Basically, I was lucky. Many women aren’t so lucky and many women DO die from preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. About 60,000 women die annually worldwide as a result of this condition. There is no cure. The only way to stop it from progressing is delivery of the baby, and even then, the mother can still develop post-delivery preeclampsia for like six weeks after delivery.I guess I find it interesting that these two awareness events take place in the month I had Little Miss Minion. Fate? Maybe. Divine intervention? Probably. I’ll take it!

An Announcement

I cannot believe that Little Miss Minion will be 4 in a few weeks! Looking at her now, you would never guess that she started out fighting for her life at less than 2 pounds. Our journey began four years ago today in 2015, when I was admitted to the antepartum ward for observation of suspected preeclampsia. I remember being torn between complete denial that anything was wrong and terrified at the idea that something was. When Little Miss Minion arrived at 28 weeks, weighing one pound and fourteen ounces, my life was put on hold. Every day, Mr Minion and I would go to the hospital, scrub in at the NICU, and spend as much time as we could in our room there with our daughter. After 84 days, we were able to take our multi-million dollar baby home and I never wanted to see the NICU again. 

 

After about a year, I started to feel like I needed to give back to the place that had given me back my daughter. I began volunteering at the NICU that Little Miss Minion spent her first three months of life. I go into the unit, visit each room and speak to any parents who happen to be around. I’m also a board member of the organization. It’s something I’m very passionate about. 

 

About a year and a half ago, Mr Minion and I had a long talk. As corny as it sounds, I had been feeling a calling from the NICU. Not just to visit the parents and drop off goodie bags. To actually become one of the nurses who make such a difference in the lives of these babies and their parents. I’m proud to announce that I have been taking classes at our local community college in pursuit of a degree in Nursing. I have two more semesters to go before I can begin nursing school, which will take about two years of full time classes. After that, I hope to get a job working as a nurse in the NICU that started this journey for me. 

 

I would like to give Mr Minion a digital standing ovation. He has been so supportive of me during this venture and has willingly taken on the extra slack I leave from being in class and studying. Between books and fees and tuition, this little adventure isn’t cheap either, so it has been stressful trying to make the finances allow for it, especially for the upcoming period of nursing school. Little Miss Minion deserves some credit too. I take evening classes right now, so sometimes I only see her in the mornings and she doesn’t get to see me before she goes to bed, since I come home a little after she is asleep. 

 

Once I am accepted into the nursing program, I will qualify for nursing scholarships, which should lighten the financial load considerably. I applied for general scholarships this semester, but there are a lot more available once a person is accepted into the program. I’ve got Anatomy & Physiology I this fall, A&P II in the spring, and right now, I am finishing up Microbiology. I took Chemistry before that, and my first class in this little adventure was Human Biology. The rest of the degree requirements transferred from my Bachelor’s Degree in English Education. I only had 5 classes to take in order to shift my Bachelor’s in English into an Associate’s in Nursing. I’m just taking it 1 semester at a time. 

 

Sooooo, that’s my little announcement. Surprise! I wanted to really commit to this path before I announced anything, so very few people in real life actually knew about this. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to call me Mrs. Minion, RN. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

Preemie Christmas Part 6

On the sixth day of Christmas, the NICU gave to me: six nurses charting, five needle sticks, four brain surgeries, three minute scrubs, two blood transfusions, and a micropreemie in an isolette. 
The nurses are the heart of the NICU. They make everything tick. Eighteen months later, I still remember how they showed us how change a credit card sized diaper without disturbing the wires, tubes, and IV ports coming out of our one pound fourteen ounce preemie. I remember how they taught us to rub her back if she had apnea and forgot to breathe. I remember how they helped us hold her and arranged her oxygen cannula and monitor leads and IV lines. How they took the first picture of the three of us. How they noticed the slight temperature shift and mildly increased heart rate that was the meningitis and sepsis starting to take hold. How they reassured us that she would be ok. How they shared our joy when she was moved to the step down unit. And I will never forget how they cried with us after her first brain surgery. And how I will never be able to say thank you enough times for everything that they did.