Thursday, February 26, 2009

One of them

"To perform to the best of my ability and knowledge, life saving actions". In about a year from now, those words will be my motto and part of my code of ethics as a Nurse. Every day I will be held to the standard to provide to the best of my ability and knowledge, care to my patients.

Yesterday, my schedule for clinical was switched from Labor and Delivery (L & D) to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Being a 'graduate' of the NICU personally, I spent the first 7 weeks of my life in a NICU in IN. My mom had 'preeclampsia' which is basically extremely high blood pressure, so much that the stress of pregnancy/delivery could possibly take the life of the mother and or the baby. They delivered me at 33 wks, weighing in at 2lbs 14oz. That was almost 29 yrs. ago! Technology has come a LONG way since then!

Myself and one other classmate were in the NICU from 5:45a.m.-2:30p.m., assigned each to one nurse. I was and still am a little nervous to be in that area, to be with the little babies who range in weight from 1 lb to 5lbs and from 25 weeks to term. What those numbers mean is this: 22 weeks gestation (pregnant) a baby is considered 'viable', meaning if it were to be born, he or she would have a slim chance, but a chance at survival. 38-40 weeks is considered 'term', meaning the baby will be fine to deliver, probably no complications w/ his/her development. Some of these babies in the NICU were born almost 4 months too early! Time is against them and every second counts toward their development. Everything is so tiny, from the baby, to the stethoscope we listen to their heart with, to socks, hats, diapers, wires that keep track of heart rhythm and lungs, needles, IV's, bottles and even CPAP masks. CPAP machines are breathing machines for apnea (absence of breathing). Some times these tiny little babies forget to breath because their lungs/lung capacity is not mature yet! The CPAP machine reminds them and fills their little lungs w/ pressure. The mask on them is probably no bigger round than a nickel, IF that!

My nurse was assigned to two little girls. One was a twin 31 wks, not quite weighing in at 2 lbs, whose sister is doing much better and will probably get to go home in the next two weeks. The other girl was 33 wks, probably about 2 1/2 lbs, doing very well, bottle fed for the first time and I was able to witness it! It takes so much energy for these babies to even survive, let alone drink half an ounce from a bottle...they get exhausted SO easily! Many of them get cranky when they are hungry or have a dirty diaper and when you mess w/ them, b/c for some, it hurts to be touched. Their skin is so sensitive. They like to be left in their warm, quiet, dark incubator! If they are fed, clean and warm, they will leave their nurse alone. But get them worked up and it creates a job!

Our day was going along smoothly, I had changed a diaper, listened to hearts and lungs, calmed one of them down who was cranky and followed my nurse like a shadow! Out of the blue our 33 wk girl set off her heart monitor. Her heart rate was rapidly climbing past 290! Normal heart rate for adults range around 60 beats/minute, babies range from 120-160/minute. Hers was NOT stopping at 290, the highest number recorded was 313! DANGEROUSLY high! The longer the heart beats uncontrollably, the more chance of failure, the more often it happens, the weaker the heart gets. But to look at her in the incubator, she was asleep, calm as could be! Her hearts rhythm had gotten itself out of whack 3 times, all 3 times the number climbed higher. The nurse was so quick at hitting the 'record' button to print out the heart rate, listen to the little heart and confirm 'tachycardia' (rapid heart rate) and instruct someone to get a bag of ice, while she started an IV in the tiny little hand to administer medicine. I wondered what in the world she was going to do with a bag of ice and a 2 lb baby! I soon found out that for them, when their heart is racing, you want them to hold their breath so they will instantly slow their heart. The nurse placed a bag of ice over the babies face, she held her breath and dropped her heart rate, then screamed her little, but strong scream! After twice w/ an ice bag on her face, her heart decided to act appropriately.

As a former NICU patient, I stood and watched the entire event begin and end... stunned, humbled, grateful for the knowledge and care from my own nurses 29 yrs. ago, and thankful over and over again for the health of my own baby...constantly asking myself...."am i READY to perform to the best of my ability and knowledge, life saving actions?!" I'm ready but I need more knowledge! If you know a nurse, thank her for ALL that he or she does! It's sleep depriving, energy extracting, amazing and some times heroic work!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

flashy wheels

Notice in picture we found our car, an '08 Grand Prix....*sigh*... our life is back on track, on our way to the 'normal' craze! Yes, we opted for another G.Prix...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

trying times

two posts in one day?! i can hardly believe it myself! but i have the time, no distractions and my mind is RACING!

the past two weeks have been pretty stressful for us, trying times, i think more for me in a sense. 2 weeks ago a lady rearended justin/aubrey and totalled our car. justin/aubrey were not hurt, his back is still bothering him. although i have been praying for the car to be totalled due to the fact it is an ACCIDENT MAGNET, i didn't want it to happen with aubrey in the car. but it did. the crazy twist to the story? this same lady hit us in the front end 2 years ago in february! SERIOUSLY! her insurance gave us a rental car for a week, so we've spent the last week or so with one vehicle. if any of you are remotely familiar with our is NOT conducive to ONE vehicle. we are making it work, but i am ONE stressed monkey! keeping everything streamlined and on time btwn. the babysitter, school, justin's work and my work schedule...NUTSO! no one is allowed to enter our house except us. i, in my 7 1/2 yrs of being married have never had a house in such disarray...but i am picking and choosing my battles right now. as long as we all have clean socks and underwear, life is grand!

we've been searching for a car and trying to find one somewhere in the middle ground btwn. mine and justin's expectations. he wants a cheap, fairly new, low mile car... i want a tank that can't be scratched by a semi! we're meeting in the middle and i believe on the brink of actually purchasing one hopefully monday.

to add to our week, our pastor announced this week he will be stepping down from his position at our church. he is a wonderful, brilliant man of god! we love him dearly and HATE to see him go. he is taking a different position at our assemblies of god headquarters building... we're excited for his new adventure. but i need to fix my sad attitude toward the situation and know that god is in control. but when you're a pastor on staff and your boss makes for an uneasy feeling!
i know there are ups and downs in life and you take them as they come. this month is one of the 'downs'. we'll take it with our head held high and know, once again, god is in control, he allows for situations that arise to shape us into who we stretch us and make us grow.

on a brighter note, this week in school, my clinical day is wednesday, which means i am AT the hospital from 5:30a.m. - 4:30p.m.! it does feel good to get my day started before the sunrise, i feel more accomplished, but it is a KILLER once 6:00p.m. hits! my body longs for the blanket and pillow. this week i will be in labor and delivery. i have heard horror stories from students, my last instructor for clinicals says she can't work in labor/delivery b/c the one and only time she was in a labor room, the sight of the baby being born made her hit the floor and she doesn't remember anything else, i have also heard students who have cried at the sight of a child being born! it's an amazing happening.... i hope i witness a birth this week!

up with the times?

as of today, 02/22/09 i have entered the world of bloggers! welcome! my plans for this are to do weekly posts, possibly more depending on the week. we'll see how long it lasts....this will be easy for family and friends to keep up with me as well. and just add another thing to my plate...but it's fun and lets my mind run! if you keep up with me you will join the journey of life not only w/ me, but also my wonderful husband, daughter and possibly my horse! i'm excited to write and write and write about ME!