Friday, July 30, 2010

Every. Time.

Have you ever read something so unsettling that it sticks with you for days, weeks, maybe even months? If you read or watch the news you are exposed to hundreds of stories about people being murdered, children being abused, elderly being neglected....and sadly they all blur together....usually.

Back in March I read the story about a Korean couple who let their 3 month old starve to death while they played a video game where, ironically, they were caring for a virtual child. At the time I read the story, I had a 6 week old baby girl.

My baby was born the last of January. She weighed 5 pound and 15 ounces. I began trying to breastfeed her. When we left the hospital two days later, she weighed 5 pounds and 12 ounces. Two days later when we took her for her first visit with the pediatrician she was down to 5 pounds 2 ounces. She had lost 13% of her body weight in 4 days.

I was starving my baby, or at least that's the way I felt.

I managed to get out of the pediatricians office before I completely broke down. My poor husband held me in the parking lot as I wept. The doctor gave us some formula and sent us home with instructions to supplement her feedings. We put an ounce of formula in the bottle and she ate it greedily. And while I was happy she was getting nourishment, I felt like a total failure.

For weeks we continued to struggle with breastfeeding. I read everything I could find on the internet and went to see a lactation consultant. I finally made the decision to pump and give my little girl breast milk combined with formula in a bottle.

One night while I was washing bottles I caught the smell of soured milk. A sentence from one of the articles I read about the Korean baby's death popped into my head.
The girl, who was born prematurely and weighed 5 pounds, was often fed rotten formula and was beaten when she cried out of hunger
All I could imagine was that poor starving baby drinking spoiled formula, fighting to stay alive.

Every time I wash bottles and the smell of the spoiled milk assaults me, I think about that baby. Every. Time. And I want to yell and scream and cry. Every. Time. And I want to forget I ever read it. Every. Time. And I don't want to forget.......I don't want to become immune to the tragedies in our world.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Baby Product Reviews*

When you become a new mom you quickly learn which baby products are worth your money and which are not. Here's a list of things I have found useful and ones that are a waste of money:

Burp cloths
Total waste of money. Yes they are cute and seem like a good idea, but the fact is they are way too small. A dish towel or cloth diaper is much more effective and cheaper!

Dr. Brown's Bottles
Love these bottles! My baby is rather gassy and these really help.

Breast Flow Bottles

Great idea especially for the breastfeeding moms. The bottles have a special nipple insert that simulates let down. However, my baby wasted more milk than she drank with these bottles. I think when she gets bigger, these may work. The nipples just seems way to big for her and more milk ended up running out of her mouth than ended up in her mouth.

I have a mixed review for this breast pump. Overall I like it.

Pros include:
Good value for the money
Small but fairly powerful-8 suction levels
Separate base for use with batteries
Comfortable breast shields
Cute carrying case

Cons include:
No replacement parts are available
Some of the parts can not be sterilized with steam
Handle which allows one handed pumping does not work on large breasts

Sterilizer Bags

These are great. Just pop cleaned bottles and parts into the bag, add water and microwave for 90 seconds.

Drying Rack

There are many bottle drying racks on the market, but I like this one because it is collapsible, making it easy to wash in the dishwasher.

Keeping a baby swaddled in a blanket can be hard if you have a squirmy baby like mine. The Swaddler works great. They come in cotton knit, flannel and fleece.

Car Seat Chime
I have 2 of these hanging from the handle of the car seat. My baby loves looking at them and trying to hit them.

Carter's Layette set
I have 2 of these sets and LOVE them. My baby is rather thin and long. She isn't chubby enough to fit in 0-3 sizes, but she's too long to fit in newborn bodysuits with feet. Since these don't have feet, I'm getting tons more use out of them. As a bonus, they can be made into a gown by changing how you snap the legs up.

*Token FCC disclaimer: I was not provided with any incentive, monetary or otherwise, to make this post or endorse any of these products.

New Arrival

We welcomed our new addition to the world on Jan. 24th. You can read about it here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy pregnancy dream

After telling my husband about this dream, he insisted I write t it down.......

I'm alone in my house except it's not my house, but it is located where my house is. I hear on the news that there is an space yeti on the loose. One of our friends is trying to get it to cross the street in hopes that it will get run over by a car.

Meanwhile, I've put the 2 big dogs out into the yard and kept the mini-dachshund with me for protection (because ya know, a 12 pound dachshund is more threatening than a 60 pound half American bulldog.) Someone knocks on the door. It is a black man who claims to be a cop and knows Unix-Jedi from the shooting range. Of course, I open the door. He instructs me to go get several guns and all the ammo I can find.

With my guns and ammo gathered, we get in his black sports car and drive to a safe house. We arrived at the house which is surrounded by a moat. There are other people there who are also preparing for the arrival of the alien yeti, who, by the way, can shoot lightening out of his finger tips.

I proceed to load my weapons, deciding that I'll start with the .22 and work my way up to the .45. Now why I would start with a .22 to kill a space yeti who can shoot lightening, is anybodies guess. Suddenly the space yeti dons a jet backpack and soars over the moat and crashes into the house. Everyone is running around the house trying to find and kill the yeti. I'm running down the stairs when I run into the yeti. This is the point where I woke up screaming.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Swing and A Miss

A good friend of mine from nursing school was recently on Facebook talking about teaching a lab on Foleys to brand new nursing students. Upon reading her entry, my PTSD kicked in, and I started having flashbacks. You see, I almost failed nursing school because of the dreaded Foley cath.

How to place a Foley catheter is one of the first skills we were taught after the basic vital signs. It is probably the most intricate (in my opinion) skill we had to check off on in order to graduate because it is supposed to be a sterile procedure. On day one of nursing school we were all given a "Skills Booklet" detailing the skills we had to master and get checked off on before graduating. You had 3 tries to do the skill properly on an actual patient if you were unsuccessful, you were out. No big deal, you have 2 years to master and check off each skill. RIIIIGHT.

My first semester of clinicals came and went with no opportunity to try a Foley. My second semester of clinicals came and went with no opportunity to try a Foley. My third semester of clinicals came and went with no opportunity to try a Foley. (Do you see where I'm going with this?) My fourth and final semester, again no opportunity to do a Foley until the very last clinical rotation--OB. Did I just hear every nurse on the planet groan? For those of you not in the nursing profession, the 2 hardest types of patients to do a Foley on are pregnant women and little old ladies (LOLs) for many of the same reasons. Things don't look like they are supposed to on either and a lot of the time things are no longer in the right place.

So, my teacher, knowing I still needed to do a Foley calls me into a room with a VERY pregnant woman who is going to give birth in the next few minutes and the baby is in severe distress. There is the doctor, a nurse and my teacher all watching me and they are all saying "HURRY!" No pressure. Nope, none at all. So, I got her cathed and my teacher and I walked out of the room.

"Do you know what you did wrong?"

"Yep, everything."


Strike One.

The next day I get the chance to do another cath. Maybe now is when I should tell you some of the other reasons pregnant women are difficult to cath.

1) they are not in the best of moods
2) the labia is swollen and heavy
3) everything is VERY slippery

I walk into the room trying to look more confident than I felt. I opened my Foley tray, put on my sterile gloves. Got my tray arranged to suit me. Opened the woman's labia to begin to clean the area. And my fingers slipped. Contaminated the sterile field.

Strike Two.

Defeated, knowing I had one final chance and knowing I had only two more days before the end of the semester to do the perfect cath, I went into an empty room and sobbed.

"I guess I really shouldn't count that first cath, that might have been a little unfair. You have 2 more chances."

Reprieve. I went into an empty room with another student and practiced over and over. I felt confident the next time would be the charm.

The next day, I go into my patient's room, take a deep breath and begin the procedure. When I finish, I proudly give my teacher my skills booklet for her to sign me off.

"You contaminated the sterile field."

"What? When?"

"When you put on your gloves, your thumb grazed your arm."

Holy hell, I'm screwed. I have one day left and one more chance left. In a daze, I barely heard her say, "You will have to check off with another teacher, I can only fail you twice." I knew I would never be relaxed enough with her to pass.
Maybe there was hope.

My very last day of clinicals I went to the hospital knowing today was do or die for me.

"I'm sending you down to the ER so Mrs. A can check you off."

Mrs. A was only about the coolest, funniest and smartest nursing instructor ever. She was in her 70's and had been an ER and neuro nurse for at least 50 years. Her hands shook like a Parkinson's patient, but she NEVER missed an IV. Maybe there is a chance.....

I go to the ER and find Mrs. A. We wait for someone to need a Foley. I'm praying we find a man who needs one (they are soooo easy.) Nope, not with my luck. Eighty plus year old LOL.

We walk in the room. She in not responsive. We spread her knees and OMG! I look at Mrs. A and we agree that we have to clean her up first. We gathered towels and lots of soap (I looked for a Brillo pad) and proceeded to clean her up. Next I took my pen light to find to the meatus. Remember what I said about things not being where they are supposed to be?

"I don't see it."

"Neither do I"

"So what am I going to do?" I say with panic in my voice.

"Just try where you think it should be."

Poke. Not there. And now I've contaminated the Foley. I hear the umpire whisper, "You're out, you're out."

"What do I do now? Can I go get another tray and try again?" I know my voice is a shaky whisper.

"Don't worry with a new tray, there is no way we are going to be able to do this sterile. Let's just do it. I'm going to stick my finger in her vagina so you know that isn't the right spot. You just poke around until you find it."

When we finished, she asked for my skills booklet and checked me off with her shaky signature.

Coolest nursing instructor EVER. She knew I knew HOW to do a Foley. She also knew sometimes you can't go by the book. More importantly she knew sometimes you need some help. That is the most important skill to master in nursing. Knowing when you need help and asking for it.

That was 3 years ago. I'm happy to say that she is still working in the ER and she is still teaching.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The best thing.......

about being pregnant (so far) is that I don't have to hold my stomach in--I can let it all hang out!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I know it's been a while.....

I know I haven't posted in....well, forever.

Unix-Jedi and I have been busy procreating. Yes folks, I'm pregnant. And I'm afraid we are DOOMED! You see, this will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family. And did I mention that all the grandparents are retired? DOOMED, I tell you!

Hopefully as the fatigue and nausea wear off, I'll be back more frequently....until the kid appears, anyway!