Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The moment I realized they're not babies

I think I've lived the past 3 years in complete denial.

I've always known that our family was complete the minute Em was born.  I figured I'd get baby fever down the line but know it was just an itch, not an actual desire or need.  Most of that had to do with pregnancies being so hard for me.  Having a high risk pregnancy can take a toll on you.  But I knew that I had my boy and girl and that we were complete.

Never in a million years did I think time would fly by so quickly.  There I was, holding my sweet baby girl, knowing that she depended on her Momma for every single thing.  And in a blink of an eye, that same baby girl is off to PreK, getting dressed all by herself, and trading in her crib for a big girl bed.  And not like a toddler bed.  A real bed.  With twin size sheets and a bedspread.  The same bedspread that I went head to head with said 3 year old in the middle of Target.  Needless to say, the bedding set she has was the one we compromised on.  Standing in the aisle was definitely the start of this big epiphany that my baby girl isn't a baby anymore.

Her sweet nursery looked like this:
And now there's barely a sign of the baby that used to sleep in this room.  I had to leave up the butterflies because I couldn't part with everything.  Now it's truly a little girl's room:

It hit me, as the Hubs and I were rearranging Em's room, that my kids aren't babies anymore.  I don't know when that happened.  No matter how much I wish them to be little babies, they just aren't.  They're turning into the people they're meant to be. They have personalities, strong ones at that.  They are making a name for themselves in the world. And all I can do is sit back, enjoy the ride, and pray that I'm doing everything I can for them to become great people.  That's a hard moment for any Momma but a proud one.

My kids are my world.  Plain and simple.  And no matter how much they grow up, they'll always be my babies.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Social

Happy Sunday everyone!!!  Figured I'd squeeze a little blogging in while the Hubs is asleep.  I haven't linked up for a Sunday Social in a while so here we go.  But first, I'm guest blogging for the lovely Melissa while she's on her Disney Cruise (I'm jealous!)  Check it out here.

Sunday Social

1. What is something you have wanted to do but are afraid of?  Go back to grad school.  I went back to school a few years ago to finish up my BSN and let me tell you....it was hard work juggling school, work, and a family.  I was only taking part time classes which helped but I had a baby in the middle of it (along with a stint on bedrest).  I can't imagine how it would work now that my life is so much different.  Plus I don't know what I want to be.  Do I want to be an ARNP?  Do I want to be a nurse educator?  All the burning questions that I just can't seem to answer yet.

2.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Happily married for almost 12 years. My kids will be 10 and 8 so I'm hoping I'm not thinking about killing myself because of middle school attitudes.  Hopefully I'll be in grad school by then.  Just enjoying life and my family.

3.  What are you looking forward to before the end of 2012?  Christmas!!!  I just love it!  But there's the rest of college football season, the end of the baseball season, Emmy's first dance recital, and the list goes on and on.

4.  What are your hopes for your blog?  I started this blog as a way to update my family on my life (and I'm not sure any family actually reads it...oh the irony) but it has evolved into so much more.  This is my way to remember my life, remember the amazing times we've had, a way to document each and every thing.  But it's also turned into something I care about.  I love that people actually read it and follow me.  I take pride in how it looks and what I post.  I just hope that I continue to be true to myself, enjoy blogging, and enjoy the ride!

5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?  Yes and no. The Hubs and I moved away and came back once we started a family.  This area is home for us. It's a great place to live, work, and raise a family.  But I've always pictured myself living in NYC.  I'm slowly working on the Hubs to make it happen.  I think when the kids are away at college we'll end up moving there for a few months.  That would be ideal.  Although I'd love to move the entire family up there right now!!!!  But I'll take anything I can get!

6. What's your morning routine?  I really don't have one.  I'm not a make up girl (as in I really don't know how to do it so I wear very minimal make up, if any) so I don't need to wake up too early.  If it's a work day, I'm up by 5:45, I hop in the shower, iron my scrubs and the kids uniforms, and make my lunch.  I'm out the door by 6:15 at the latest, hair still wet in a ponytail/bun.  I usually swing by the Starbucks drive thru and I'm at my desk by 7.  I'm not a morning person at all so I'm all about being up as late as I can and getting through the morning as quick as I can.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Upgrade? Yes Please!

Everyone knows I'm a huge baseball fan.  If you didn't, now you do.  I just love baseball!  I can't get enough.  I'm lucky enough to be married to a huge baseball fan too.  And with the Tampa Bay Rays playing right here in my own back yard, it's a match made in heaven (well if they'd start playing better).  While we're not playing so hot right now, the Rays have been in the playoff hunt all year long.  My brother noticed a ticket package called 162 Strong package.  You get tickets of any 3 games of your choosing, an awesome highlighter yellow tshirt, and discounts on food and goodies.  He asked if the Hubs and I wanted to get tickets with them and we instantly jumped on the opportunity.

Tuesday was the first game we picked.  It was a game against the Boston Red Sox.  I am very loyal to my teams.  I love the Rays (my AL team) and the Atlanta Braves (my NL team).  I am most definitely not a fan of our AL East rivals, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.  I just don't like them.  But since they're our big rivals, I love going to those games.  They usually draw a big crowd and are usually a little rowdy.  Well this season, Boston is kinda bad.  OK, really bad.  The Trop was practically empty.  Boston is considered a "Gold" game which means only the first 100 cars with 4 or more people get free parking.  So when we were only meeting at 6pm, I knew we'd be paying the ridiculously steep $20 parking fee.  When we pulled up to the gate, we got waved in with free parking.  It was our lucky day!!!  We parked really close (that should tell you there was absolutely no one at this game) and headed in.  We grabbed our amazingly bright shirts and went up to our seats in the upper deck.

Once we got settled, a cute young Rays employee approached us and asked if we would be interested in a free ticket upgrade.  I'm always up for a ticket upgrade.  All we had to do was trade our ticket stubs for tickets in the front row.  Yes.  The FRONT row!  Hello!?!?!?  Of course we're interested.  We swapped our tickets and headed down to our brand new seats, which just happened to be at the Boston bullpen.  As much as I dislike Boston, I love baseball players and appreciate their talent.  I love meeting them, getting pictures and autographs.  Remember I'm the 30 yr old girl who brings a baseball with her just to get signatures (which I didn't bring).  Sitting right behind the players, regardless of their team affiliation, was a dream come true!  I was in hog heaven.
I still can't believe how this all went down.  So we get to our seats and being that close just puts you in a great mood.  We were all having a blast.  Dustin Pedroia (the Boston 2nd baseman) hit a foul ball down the wall right in front of us.  The bat boy grabbed it and quickly tossed it to me.  Foul ball from a game...check!  However, it is still a goal of mine to actually catch either a HR ball or foul ball, not just have someone hand it to me.  But either way I was stoked!  Even got a little air time on TV (which was super funny because I was so excited!)
Thanks to whoever took the picture and texted it to Sharon.  I had just caught the ball.  Look how excited we look!!!
The rest of the game was a bust.  We lost 7-5, which is not what we need when we're in a race for a wild card spot and it was the longest game on the face of the planet.  Over 4 hours and we didn't even go to extra innings.  I wanted to die by 10pm.  But we stuck it out til the end and it paid off.  The bullpen catcher tossed a few more balls our way and the Hubs ended up with a 100 year Boston ball.
Ours isn't as clean since it's they actually use it during bullpen warm ups but I forgot to take a pic
I can't wait to head to the Trop again on Saturday.  We're hoping for seat upgrades again (fingers crossed) behind home plate.  I'm sure that won't happen but a girl can dream, right?


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tiny Ballerina

I can't believe I haven't written about this yet.  Em is officially a ballerina.  As much as she thought she was before now, it's definitely a fact.  She started dance class at a wonderful dance studio!  I'm so excited as I write this.  She loves every minute of class and practices every day.  That's dedication coming from a 3 year old!!!

Let me first start out by saying I am not girly. At. All. I grew up with all boys.  I played sports all my life.  I don't really wear make up (mainly because I really don't know how to apply it but still).  Yes, I like to get dressed up, wear dresses, buy shoes and purses, but that doesn't make me prepared for all this.When I found out I was pregnant with a girl, I said there wasn't going to be any princesses, ballerinas, pink, etc.  What happened?  I got the girliest girl on the planet.  Pink is everywhere.  Dolls are everywhere.  Disney Princess threw up in my house.  But you know what....I wouldn't change anything about it.  I love how prissy Em is because she will be dressed up to the nines, with matching purse, and roll around in the dirt or punch her brother.  It's the perfect balance.

So we finally decided to sign her up.  We went to the dance studio and she instantly started playing and dancing with Miss Kelley (the studio owner....who actually danced with my aunt back in the day.  My aunt was a professional dancer.  She danced for Siegfried and Roy for years).  We got the list of what we needed and headed out to start our dance shopping spree.  Let me tell you....it's overwhelming.  I didn't know dance outfits were so expensive.  I mean for real!!!!  And my daughter will not just buy a leotard.  It has to have a skirt attached and can only be light pink.  So yes, I indulged her. Pink all around!
so beautiful
testing out her ballet shoes
Let me say that she is the most adorable ballerina on the planet.  Yes I will make that generalization.  Cutest in the entire world!

Last week, on Saturday morning, I got her up and said we're going to dance today.  She got so excited, threw her arms around me and exclaimed "Oh thank you Mommy!!!"  Melt my heart right there!!!  Once we got there, she quickly changed into her ballet shoes and went with the class.  Right now there are only 2 girls in her class, which I'm loving, so it's almost like a private lesson.  She picked up so quickly and looks like such a natural out there.  I guess this is what she was meant to do right now.  I, on the other hand, am trying not to become a Dance Mom.  Yesterday, I caught myself getting frustrated with her because she kept picking her nose (she had boogers up there she said) and wasn't doing everything as perfectly as she does every day.  I'm going to need a swift kick in the ass if this keeps up.  I don't want to wind up on a reality TV show and have millions of people talk about me.
Off to our first class
Noah watched the entire time
Having a blast
That smile says it all.  She was so excited!  Miss Kelley looked away right as I took the pic but it's ok. 
I'm so happy with the choice we made.  I feel like Em is going to thrive here and she really loves it.  I can't wait to see how this year plays out and how her recitals go.  And I can't thank Kate enough for answering all my crazy dance questions.  She really saved my sanity!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Cause Dear to my Heart

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  This is one of the most important months for me.  Most of you know already that I'm a pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant nurse.  I'm the nurse that gets to take care of children who are fighting cancer and blood disorders and who are going through bone marrow transplants.  It's a rough job to have, believe me.  I can't begin to tell you how many times I've cried with families, with my coworkers, on my way home from work, and with the Hubs.  It is emotional work.  But it is the most rewarding work I've ever done.  I will never be able to say in words how much my patients mean to me.  Every day I am reminded how amazing my job is.  I wrote this last year:

I have held the hands of parents who have been told their child has cancer.  I have celebrated with patients for their last chemotherapy treatments.  I have cried with them when they find out their cancer is back.  I have held the bucket for sick kids as they go through preparation for their bone marrow transplants.  I have been there when they are told they are a Survivor.  I have been in the conference when the doctors tell parents there's nothing else we can do.  I have been at the bedside, holding a child's hand, as they take their last breath.  I have done all of this with the hope that one day we will find a cure for this horrible monster that is taking the most amazing people from this earth.

As I re-read the original post from 7/22/11, I can't help but tear up.  I have seen too many children face this horrible disease and lose.  I have seen too many parents have to bury their child.  I have seen cancer claim too many amazing people. It's time we do something.

On September 29th, I will be participating in the Tampa Bay Area CureSearch Walk.  The CureSearch Walk celebrates and honors children whose lives have been affected by children’s cancer, while raising funds for the lifesaving collaborative research conducted at more than 180 hospitals across the nation. These hospitals participate in National Cancer Institute sponsored clinical trials conducted by the Children's Oncology Group.  All Children's Hospital (where I work) is one of these hospitals.

In the last 40 years, collaborative research has increased the overall survival rate for children’s cancer from 10% to 78%. At CureSearch, our goal is 100%.  You can help us reach our goal of a 100% cure rate.  Please consider donating to this cause.  We never dream of hearing the words "Your child has cancer" but, unfortunately, it can happen to any of us.

I am participating again on our clinic's team, HOTTIES of the OCC.  My personal page can be found here.  You can donate through my page or make a general donation to CureSearch.  And if you're not interested in donating to our walk, please consider donating to your local CureSearch fundraisers, local children's hospital, or local Ronald McDonald House.   

I know I ask for a lot of prayers for my patients, their families, and my coworkers.  I sincerely appreciate each and every prayer said in their memory.  It is my prayer that one day we find a cure for this horrible disease.  I pray that one day our children can be just that....children.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A little RN Q&A

I can't begin to tell you how much I've loved the monthly nursing link up hosted by two of my favorite nurses, Renee and Anna. I probably look forward to the first Tuesday of the month more than any other day. I love what I do.  I love my patients and their families.  And I love sharing my passion with all my readers.  Plus it's nice to know that I can look back years from now when I'm in a nursing rut and read the different posts I've written.  Hopefully it will be a great reminder of why I do what I do.  

This month it's a Q&A session.  I was totally going to vlog it but didn't feel up to it when I sat down to write this.  So you'll have to wait a little longer for the day that I get up the nerve to do a vlog.  Sorry ;)

1. Where do you see yourself and your nursing practice in 10 years?  If you asked me this question 2 years ago, I would have instantly said I would be done with grad school, practicing as an ARNP or a nursing educator.  But now, I'm not really sure where I see myself.  I definitely see myself still in the Hem/Onc/BMT world, but I have no idea in what capacity.  I know grad school is in my future.  I just don't know when.  Who knows....maybe we'll have a BMT inpatient unit that I'll go back to.  

2.  What was your first doctor confrontation like? (or most memorable)  This was definitely not the first confrontation but it was definitely the most memorable.  Plus it was the first time I wrote up a physician to the ethics committee.  A dermatologist was consulted for a skin biopsy on a patient.  She came in, barely spoke to the mother, and wouldn't let me put on EMLA (numbing cream).  The mother did not speak good English and the doctor asked if I got consent signed.  I told her no since she did not talk to the mother.  She got all mad that she had to use the translator phone and when she did, she had her back turned to the mother the entire time.  Completely unprofessional and disrespectful, in my opinion.  The biopsy went okay if you consider it took 4 of us to hold the poor girl down.  I've never regretted writing her up, because I was sticking up for my patient and her mom. 

3.  Which would you rather: heavy GI bleed patient, trach patient with copious secretions, a projectile vomitter, or a patient with a colostomy bag that will NOT stay on?  I choose none of the above.  They are all on my "Do Not Like" list.  However, if I have to pick, I'd choose projectile vomitter I guess.

4.  If you could warn your patients to avoid one thing from the hospital menu, what would it be?  Now I'm fortunate to work at a children's hospital with a pretty good cafeteria menu.  I'm usually recommending foods to our patients.  We have great mac & cheese, the pizza's pretty good, and the milkshakes are not to shabby!  Oh and we have fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.  Don't you want to come eat at my hospital now?!?!

5. Do you have a nurse idol?  If so, who and why?  I don't have an idol.  I have a bunch of people that I wish I had traits/practices from.  But definitely not one particular person.  Does that make me a bad person?

6. If you could push one piece of medical equipment out of the window, which would it be?  I hate apnea monitors!  Not because I think they're useless (I really enjoy knowing when my babies stop breathing) but the alarm is HORRIBLE!!!!  It's ear piercing, obnoxious, and goes off even if the patient is breathing like 10 a minute (when the monitor says RR 0)

7.  What do you look forward to MOST when you go to work?  I cannot say it enough.  I love my job!  I am honored to take care of the most amazing children.  Even though they are facing cancer head on, they are still kids.  They still say silly things, watch cartoons, and pull at your heartstrings.  Their families are amazing too.  It's such a blessing for me to go to work knowing that there will be at least one patient who will brighten my day, no matter how crappy it may be.  

8. What body system intimidates you the most?  I'm not necessarily intimidated by a particular system, however, I do not (I repeat....DO NOT) like respiratory secretions.  I hate the sound of trach secretions.  I hate people coughing up secretions.  I hate the sound of suctioning.  I hate the word sputum. For real, the word just sounds gross. Sputum.  Yuck.  I would never last an entire shift on a respiratory unit.

9. What advice would you give to someone who is considering the nursing profession?  Go for it!  It's not an easy job but all the hard work is well worth it.  There are many things that go on during a nursing shift that go unappreciated...you don't get a chance to eat or go to the bathroom.  You're never on time for anything.  Someone is always going to be mad at you.  But at the end of the day, you've provided a handful of people the care that they not only need but deserve.  You get a chance to treat a stranger like a loved one, even if it's just for 12 hours.  That feeling is something no other profession provides.  

10.  If you hadn't become a nurse, what would you have done?  I would have been in College Student Affairs, I think.  Looking back at my life, that's where I was headed if I didn't get into nursing school.  I know I would have been happy doing that but I know in my heart that nursing is where I'm meant to be.  If you ask me now what I would be if I wasn't a nurse, I'd say a Child Life Specialist.  Never heard of that?  Check it out here.  

Awesome topic yet again girlies!!!