Mission Motherhood

You’re more than a Nurse

Happy Nurse’s Week!

Many people go to work, do their job, complete menial tasks, physically exert themselves, get in their car, go home from work and turn it off.  They walk away from what they do and go about their lives.

You nurses… you do it all.  You have to be sharp and on your toes at all times.  You have to be a detective looking for signs and putting together puzzle pieces.  Your job is physically demanding.  You pour your heart into your patients and you emotionally invest. You work 12+ hour shifts. And then you’re expected to go home after those 12 hours and be physically and emotionally available to your families.  That’s a gift… that’s a super power.

In my 19 days in the labor and delivery ward at North Kansas City Hospital I didn’t meet a bad nurse. And based on my experience there, I’ve come to the realization that you are way more than a nurse.

  • You were my advocate when I didn’t want the doctor to check me.
  • You were my calm when life felt like chaos.
  • You were compassion when I was hurting.
  • You brought me a “long-term” bed that was SO much more comfortable than a labor bed.
  • You put on my freaking compression socks…. which is darn near a cardio workout.
  • You brought me DVDs, snacks and drinks. You even made sandwiches and toast.
  • You encouraged me when I felt like I couldn’t do it.
  • You put a bed pan under me and helped me lift my big ole pregnant body on it when I was on magnesium sulfate and restricted to the bed. (And you moms know how frequently a pregnant lady pees).
  • When I was alone you were my friend. You came in and talked to me about life, about my unborn babies, the best Netflix shows to watch.
  • You brought me a mini-fridge for our Thanksgiving leftovers.
  • You shared your Thanksgiving with my family.
  • You brought me Black Friday ads, even though there was no way I’d be Black Friday shopping.
  • You helped me get out of bed, walk the halls, and walk to the bathroom.
  • When I was getting cabin fever you convinced the doctor to let me take a wheel chair ride down to the cafeteria.
  • When I so badly wanted to sit in a tub of water and feel weightless you made it happen, despite a doctor discouraging it, and despite the Mother and Baby unit that possessed such tub… because “it is only for postnatal mothers”.
  • When I wanted to go outside and sit in the courtyard after being trapped in the same room for 18 days you brought me a wheelchair and warmed blankets.
  • You cried with me.
  • You were going to coordinate a time for my dog to visit me in the hospital because I missed her like crazy.
  • You woke me up in the middle of the night because you had to… but you did it in the kindest way and left all of the lights off. (They can do their job in the dark, people.)
  • On day 19 when the doctor told me he would let me go 14 more days before he’d induce labor, I lost my cool at the idea of being there for 14 more days.  You made me a paper chain with 14 links that each of the night shift people decorated.
  • You got excited for me when I thought my water broke.
  • You held me when my epidural was placed (3 freaking times… and listened to my swear words without taking it personal).
  • You cheered me on during labor.
  • You rejoiced with me on the happiest day of my life.
  • You were my birth photographer.
  • You helped me navigate self care of a postnatal body.
  • You held my babies before they sent us up to the Mother and Baby ward.
  • You came back to Mother and Baby for a visit several times before we left the hospital.
  • You made little shirts for the twins as a gift. (You were my nurse and you gave ME a gift? You’re the one that deserves the gifts)

You do it all.  You are so much more than a nurse. You invest in people. You have a heart to serve and you do it because you have a passion for it. You get your hands dirty and deal with grumpy patients but you still come in with a smile and a snack.

You are my HERO.

Thank you for all you do.

If more people had the heart of a nurse, I think we’d live in a much peaceful world.

(My first trip out of my room and to the cafeteria with my mom)

Mission Motherhood

Twin Delivery: My Birth Story

On this day last year, our twins were born.  Today has me reminiscing, so I thought I’d tell my birth story.  It’s a long story, so bear with me. Hopefully it can help ease the minds of soon-to-be twin mommas.

On November 9, 2016 I was on my way to work and I was feeling a bit fuzzy, light headed and I was seeing bright lights in my periphery.  I thought it was food related and my body was mad at me for not eating enough breakfast.  When I got to work I ate something and told my boss I needed to run to the nearest CVS to check my blood pressure.  My blood pressure was 159 / 96 and it continued to get worse in the 10 min that I sat there and checked it 4 times.  I called my OB’s office and they asked me to have someone drive me to Labor and Delivery (although I stubbornly drove myself).  After arriving at Labor and Delivery at 9:00am, it seemed like they were just going to keep me overnight for observation like they did 3 weeks prior.  However, by 3:00pm I began having contractions (that I wasn’t feeling) and I was dilated to 5 cm and 90% effaced.  I was at 32 weeks and 3 days.  My husband rushed to the hospital from work and by the time he arrived they started me on steroid shots for the babies and magnesium sulfate to stop my labor.  They told me I would be getting the “mag” for 48 hours, long enough to complete the steroid shots to help give the babies’ lungs a fighting chance.  I wasn’t allowed to eat until signs of labor subsided, and I was forced to use a bed pan because they didn’t want me getting out of bed on the magnesium sulfate. It was that or a catheter and I chose bed pan. By 8 pm that night, the head of the NICU and one of the NICU nurses came to our room to talk to us about what it would look like to have babies in the 32nd week of pregnancy.  We were terrified to say the least.  They informed us that they had a room for them in the NICU prepared, just in case. They told us to expect to be in the hospital until our due date, Jan 1, which would be nearly 2 months. My OB said that my body could go back into labor as soon as the 48 hours of “mag” was completed.  So we prayed…

Despite huge fluctuation in my blood pressure and a couple hours of the day where contractions were happening every 10-15 min, we made it another day…. and then another day after that…  My OB said we wouldn’t be leaving the hospital without babies, but he wouldn’t let me go longer than 37 weeks and if we made it that far we would induce at 37 weeks.  They rolled a long term bed into my room, which may have been the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, and began my wait.  I was in good spirits and thankful and grateful that I was able to rest up and keep the babies in.  I was taking everything one day at a time and keeping myself occupied.  I took two naps a day, spent a few hours a day working on my laptop, reading, working through puzzle books, watching movies and Netflix, and eating… A LOT.  On the 18th day (November 26) I began getting cabin fever.  I needed to move, stretch, wear real clothes, get out of the room and hallway I had been confined to for 18 days.  I was given permission to take a wheel chair ride outside and to the cafeteria, and I got approval to take a bath in the hospital jacuzzi tub which is generally reserved for post postpartum mommas.  We ate dinner in my room and we tried to watch a movie.  It was a good day and I had convinced myself that this is the best it’s going to get and every other day from here on out will just be blah.  I just began falling apart… sobbing… “how do they expect me to do this for 14 more days?!”  At some point in the middle of my breakdown, my nurse Stacy came in.  This God-send of a woman gave me a big hug and a bit more faith. She gave me a pep talk and convinced me that 35 weeks was a huge accomplishment.  We decided rather than focusing on how many days we had been there, we were going to focus on how many days we had remaining until we got to meet our babies (the 37 week mark).

My husband and I finished our movie and went to bed.  I woke up around 1:00am and had a hard time going back to sleep… so I watched the baby monitors for a while and got up to use the restroom.  I suspected my water broke, or maybe one of the babies had pinched off my bladder causing what felt like breaking waters. I decided to eat graham crackers and a cliff bar, just in case.  I climbed back into bed and felt like I was still leaking so I called Stacy.  She was so excited for me. She turned on the lights and checked to confirm it was amniotic fluid. My husband woke up from his tiny little bed and says… “what’s going on? what time is it?”.  Stacy says, “We’re checking to see if her water broke.”  He yells, “Why didn’t you wake me up?” I didn’t want to wake him up until I knew for sure it was amniotic fluid. After Stacy confirmed my bag of waters broke, she brought in a handmade gift from the night nurses and techs.  They had made me a paper chain for the next 14 days filled with encouraging words and I was to break off a paper link with each day.  She hands it to me and says, “I guess you won’t need this anymore”.  She called the on call OB and he told her to keep a close eye on me and page him if I got closer. My husband began frantically packing our room up anticipating delivery at any moment, and Stacy gave him a hard time for it because she knew we’d have plenty of time to pack. Stacy left at 7am shift change and I was so sad to see her go, but my nurse Christy tagged in to take over and she was phenomenal too.

By 9:00am my contractions had subsided and zero progress was being made.  My OB said that most twin deliveries require pitocin because a woman can deliver twin A and her body can stop laboring which can put twin B in danger, so they give pitocin to keep labor progressing.  Since I was going to have to get on the pitocin later in delivery, he said we could go ahead and start it now and try small amounts of it to keep things moving forward.  We gave it a try and nothing. I remember watching Golden Girls and listening to the Hillsong United – Empires album. They slowly increased my pitocin and by 1:00pm I was ready for an epidural.  The epidural stick was way more painful than ANY of the contractions I had up to that point. The first one he blew out so he had to stick me again.  I was leaning over Christy and squeezing her harder than I thought I ever could and glad I didn’t cause her permanent damage.  The epidural felt great for about 45 min…. and then I could feel everything on one side. At one point I sat up in bed through such a pain that I couldn’t even suck in breath. My husband called the nurse and I told her to get that “effer” back in there to fix it.  So for the 3rd time, he placed an epidural and finally I felt great.  I took about an hour and a half nap and when I woke up I was at 9 cm.  Within an hour I had progressed to a 10 and we were ready to start pushing.  So they got my husband dressed and wheeled us down to the Operating Room, leaving my mom behind in the L&D room. As they wheeled me in, the strongest sense of determination came over me. I was calm, and more focused than I have ever been in my life. They transferred me to the most uncomfortable bed in the warmest room in the hospital. There had to be 15 people in there… 3 nurses for me, OR techs, a couple nurses and respiratory therapist for each baby. It was a packed house.

I was so in-tuned with my body and so focused. My OB said we would push at the start of each contraction for the count of 10.  I could tell him when they were coming before the monitors could, which surprised him. He cheered me on and coached me through it and he was fantastic. I have never felt so empowered.  I pushed for about 40 – 45 min before twin A was delivered. And my husband shouted “She’s so big!” because he had envisioned such a tiny baby. She was quiet… and I was scared. They said she was likely stunned from being in the birth canal for so long. My husband kept peeking across the room to get a visual on her and within a few minutes she was crying.  I couldn’t see because as soon as she was delivered I had two nurses on my belly to prevent twin B from rotating.  It took one push for him and he came out wailing. My husband walked over to where he was laying and twin B grabbed daddy’s hand.  They were both breathing great so they brought them to my chest… first twin B, then twin A. I looked up at my husband and said “this is the coolest thing ever!”

They walked us back to our room where my mom was anxiously waiting.  They informed us that it wasn’t likely that the babies would need any NICU time, and we were in awe. God had answered SO many prayers… and every single day confined to that room was WORTH IT.

 

 

 

 

Mission Motherhood, Mom Must-Haves

15+ Things to Steal from the Hospital after Childbirth

Ok… it’s not stealing if you’re paying for it… and trust me… you’re paying for it. Here’s a list of things that are so worth lugging home:

  1. Barf buckets – we seriously use them for everything. As newborns, we fixed up baby bottles of water and put themin our “night bucket” and a can of formula and took it to our bedroom which saved us from having to go to the kitchen 4 times each night.  We use them for water play activities, packing supplies into our camper, washing bottles, storing things in the bathroom…. the possibilities are endless.
  2. Peri bottles – you’re going to want that refreshing splash of water for at least 2 weeks postpartum… and ask for extras if you have multiple bathrooms because you will want one in every bathroom you use.  (I was also thinking the other day that they might be fun bath toys for the babies. HA!)
  3. Baby toiletries – the travel sized soaps and lotions are great for weekend trips.
  4. Stay dry pads for the bed – these can be used for so many things… that may not be baby or mom related.  Lay one on the driveway when the husband is changing the oil in your vehicle… then throw it away.
  5. Disposable underwear, pads, ice packs and tucks (or the like) – and ask for extra. I wore disposable underwear for at least a week.  They were comfortable and wearing them saved my everyday underwear. You will go through pads and tucks like crazy (at least I did). 
  6. Diapers, wipes, diaper cream – I wish I would’ve packed a little of these away each of my 4 days in the hospital so they would replenish them like they replenish toiletries at hotels. But honestly, my nurses were great and brought extras for me to take home (I think they pity the twin moms).
  7. Nipple shields, nipple cream – again, ask the lactation consultant for extra. And ask for multiple sized nipple shields.  You may find that in a matter of days you need a different size.
  8. Breast pump parts – even if you don’t plan on using the same brand of pump that the hospital uses take them home. The hospital I went to used the Medela Symphony and I used the Spectra S2, but you can buy conversion parts that allow use on different pumps and it is so nice to have multiple sets of parts so you don’t have to wash them every 3 hours.
  9. Insulated hospital cups – I ended up with two and I tried to keep them filled at all times. One next to my recliner and one next to my bed. Drink tons of water, ladies!
  10. Receiving blankets – the hospital blankets were a bit heavier than the other receiving blankets we had and since our kiddos were born in November it was nice to have something a bit heavier.
  11. Baby thermometer – We didn’t have one at the time our babies came home from the hospital so I’m glad they sent one home with us.
  12. Bulb syringes and pacifiers – again, ask for extras if you can.  The bulb syringes should be thrown out fairly regularly so it’s good to have extras. And the pacifier fairy swoops in and does her thing more often and not so it’s best to have extras on hand. 
  13. Premixed formula bottles – ask for enough to get you through the next 48 hours at home (even if breastfeeding is the main goal, it’s always good to have on hand).  I didn’t produce enough milk for both babies to have 100% breast milk, so having these were great for throwing in diaper bags.  Plus it took about 6 days for my milk to come in, so we had to help supplement with formula to keep our preemie babies growing.
  14. Belly band (abdominal binder) – generally the hospital will send you home with a belly band when you have a c-section.  Even if you deliver vaginally the belly bands are nice to have.  My belly was so stretched out that my skin physically hurt after delivery so wearing the band helped me keep my skin from hanging which reduced the discomfort.
  15. Compression socks – I was hospitalized for 19 days prior to delivery, so I was lucky enough to get a couple pairs.  It took a couple weeks for my swelling to subside so I’m glad I took them home.

 

What did I miss from the list? Anything you would add?