2

I got the job!

This mama accepted a full time RN position today!

It’s on a floor with pre-op and orthopedic patients–both of which I’ve had experience working with. My #1 choice would have been a labor and delivery unit, but this unit is a good second choice. I’m very happy with it!

My interview was so laid back, and the tour of the unit was great. I took my drug test today, have a physical Friday, and another physical next week. After my background check comes back, which is usually 1-2 weeks, they’ll schedule my orientation.

I am a little apprehensive because it is a night shift position, but I’m sure we’ll fall into a routine at home so I can maximize the time I have with my boy. The good thing about nursing is full time is 3 separate 12 hour shifts. So I’m off 4 days a week. I am scared and excited, but so ready to get my career started.

I’m so thankful my husband is self employed and can stay home with our boy full time. I’m so thankful his mom is retired and lives close by. I’m so thankful to find a full time position with great benefits (better than our private insurance!). I’m so thankful for the opportunity to help provide for my family. And I’m so thankful to start my career.

I’ve always wanted to be a nurse and finally it’s happening.

I’m a wife, mom, and a nurse. I am truly fulfilled.

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My husband took this picture after I got back home. ❤

 

4

My first job interview!

You heard me ramble about nursing school, graduation, and NCLEX. Now it’s time to use the two letters behind my name: Ashley, RN.

I started putting feelers out and applying for a few positions a week or two ago. I had originally planned on waiting until we were home for 12 weeks. We’ve only been home 9 weeks, and I honestly didn’t think I would get an interview so quickly. I got the call on Friday, and my Interview is at 10:30 in the morning. The good news is if I am offered the position I feel comfortable going back to work now. He’s 4 months old, doesn’t need the tube feed anymore, and we have a pretty decent routine going on.

My husband is great with him and is excited about being a stay-at-home dad. It’s also amazing that his mom is retired and lives just a few miles away so I know she’ll lend a hand if he needs it. Having family close was a big reason we decided to move here in the first place. I know it will be an adjustment, but I’m ready to take on the challenge and help my husband provide for our family. I’ve basically been out of the work force for a year and that makes me nervous.

I applied for about 6 positions at this hospital. When she called and gave me the date for the interview I asked which position I was interviewing for and she said that I was interviewing for a med-surg position, but that she had openings all over the house. That sounds promising.

What is making me more nervous is this interview!

I have an outfit complete with shoes and accessories.
I’ve been picking my friends brain– She’s been a nurse for a few years, and has been a fountain of information.
I’ve been reading interview questions and practicing answering without using my go-to filler ‘um’.
I’ve got my resume, references, and letters of recommendation printed.

I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, but this is my first ‘big girl’ job interview and it’s got me so nervous. I know I give a good interview and make a good first impression, but the buildup is the worst part.

Fingers crossed! I would love to get a position at this hospital.

3

Saying Goodbye to the NICU!

We are so very excited to be home before Christmas. If you had asked me just last week when I thought we were going home I would have told you it would probable be in early 2015. Well, our son turned a corner and made some rapid progress learning how to eat. We are going home with a feeding tube that goes from his nose to his stomach, but he only uses it at night– and if his progress keeps up we won’t even need that much longer! We are so excited.

I put together some small gift bags for the NICU. When I thought I was going to have the ‘normal’ pregnancy and childbirth experience I had planned on making thank-you bags for my labor and delivery nurses. I never got a chance to do that — though I did send a thank you card to one nurse in particular who was absolutely amazing, and who I will remember for the rest of my life. I wanted to do something to thank the wonderful staff at our NICU for their work. After spending 8 weeks in the NICU we made so many connections and friendships that it feels wrong to just part ways without expressing how much what they did meant to us.

I wanted to find some cute treat bags, but the holiday section at Target was demolished– So we settled for holiday zip-lock bags. When I was thinking about want to put into the bags I wanted to put things they could use: gum, chapstick, etc– Things I had thought of putting into my labor and delivery thank you bags. However, I was planning on making 40+ bags, and those things would get too pricy. So I opted for some others: Chocolate, hard candy, chewy candy, mints, and K-Cups. We heard countless times how the NICU had recently purchased a keurig coffee machine for the break room, but they did not supply the coffee, so the k-cups was our favorite part of the gift bags.

We grabbed a picture with our primary dayshift nurse, passed off the gift bags— and on December 21st walked out of the NICU with our son. I only took 200 pictures from the time we left the NICU until we got home. haha.

We’ve been home for 60 hours and so much has happen that it deserves it own post, but for now I’ll stop here. We’re home!

 

 

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Update!

Wow. What have a learned from the last 3 weeks? You need to go with the flow. As a super type A person, this has been incredibly difficult for me, but I’m getting better at it.

Losing my beautiful natural birth, missing out on the golden hour, having a baby in the NICU, having a baby undergo surgery on his 3rd day of life, having a baby face and overcome several bumps in the road to recovery, accepting I am part of the 3-5% of women who physically can not breastfeed, and many other things I’m sure I am forgetting to mention– they have helped me overcome my inability to ‘go with the flow’.

Baby C had surgery on the 28th of October. That morning C and I went back to see our baby boy, and meet with the anesthesiologist, surgeons, and neonatologists assigned to his case. They went over some aspects of his surgery, and we passed our cell phone numbers off the nurse who would be updating us throughout his surgery. Eventually they had to take him back, so we gave him kisses, and left teary eyed to wait. We were so excited, and terrified.

Finally the wait was up and we learned that the surgery went very smoothly. Our son tolerated it very well, and they were able to repair his fistula with one surgery. He had been impressing everyone since he was born, so we were not surprised that he did so well. We were overwhelmed with joy, and so thankful that he was on the road to recovery.

The next few days we faced several bumps in the road. They were worried about his blood pressure being too low, his lack of urine output, and he developed a pneumothorax on his left side. They had to start him on a drug to help his BP, and put in a chest tube to relieve the pneumothorax. Then they had to consult with nephrology because his kidney function tests were showing our boy was suffering from acute kidney injury. He also wasn’t able to be weaned off of the ventilator because he wasn’t fully awake yet, and they blamed that on his kidneys not filtering everything out.

It was several days of constant stress. It seemed like every time we took one step forward, we then took two steps back. Finally on November 1st they were able to remove the chest tube on his right side. Then on the 2nd he started really waking up! When we did his evening care on the 2nd we saw him fully opened his eyes of the first time since before surgery. Then on the 3rd they were doing a test to see how he would handle being off the ventilator, and he did so well that they went ahead and extubated him!

Finally opening his eyes!

Finally opening his eyes!

On the 4th they did a swallow study to see how his repair was holding up. At first they thought he ‘passed’ but upon closer evaluation the radiologist told us he saw a small leak at the repair. We were so sad to hear that because they didn’t plan on retesting him until the 11th. The only reason we really cared about the extra time is because our son can not have anything to eat orally. He’s getting all of his nutrition IV, but his stomach is still empty and he feels ‘hungry’. He was so upset that night, and we can’t hold him because he still has a chest tube on his left side, and we couldn’t feed him. It took over an hour to calm him down. We felt so depressed and helpless and our hearts were heavy knowing we had another week before he might be able to eat.

Extuabted and awake. <3

Extuabted and awake. ❤

Today (5th) we took another step forward! His kidney function tests are finally starting to improve. They had kind of stalled out (still high, but were not inclining like they had been) over the last two days, but today was the first day those numbers finally started to come down! Nephrology told us that they were optimistic that this would eventually happen, but until I heard that the numbers were coming down I didn’t believe them. We also learned that surgery reviewed his swallow study results and decided that the ‘leak’ the radiologist saw was so tiny that they felt comfortable retesting on Friday the 7th, instead of waiting a full week.

We were elated to hear this. The sooner he ‘passes’ his test, the sooner he can begin oral feedings. Once he has oral feedings, if nothing is coming out of the chest tube then they can take it out and we can hold him! From there it’ll just be getting him to take a bottle and nurse well before we go home.

So our fingers are crossed for Friday.

Baby burrito with the pacifier is about the only way to soothe a 'hungry' baby.

Baby burrito with the pacifier is about the only way to soothe a ‘hungry’ baby.

It took several days for us to get a routine down. Running between the hospital and the hotel, trying to find time to sleep and eat, and me pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock– we were exhausted. More than exhausted, we were dead on our feet. I was getting the postpartum blues, and my husband was concerned not only for our son, but feared for my mental and physical health. Being discharged from the hospital 18hours after delivery, and running around as much as we were was hard on my body. I am happy to report now that we are doing a lot better.

Not only do we finally have a routine, but I’m doing better emotionally. My husband confessed to me that he was sick with worry for my mental health. For days after being discharged the stress of what was going on with our son, and learning I couldn’t breastfeed had me so depressed I couldn’t muster a smile if you offered cash endorsement. Finally we started getting ‘good’ news, I started to learn how to just take things as they come, and having our routine down– we are in a much better place than we were a week ago. I also came to accept that I can not produce breastmilk* and making peace with that brought me more peace than I can describe.

*While my son is in the NICU I’m going to continue to pump (on a less frequent basis than I have been) so that when we do his care I can give him ‘oral care’ with the few drops I am producing. It’s not much, but it is something I can give. Once we go home I am not going to pump anymore, and we will be using formula. Coming to this decision was very difficult for me, but I have the support of my husband and the lactation consultant.

 

 

3

Postable is an awesome website!

Today I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the loving support system we’ve had during our hospital stay. I’ve felt it since the night we got here, but today was an especially good day. A good friend of mine came for a visit and brought me a gift bag with a nice soft robe, slippers, and nice smelling lotion. Later we had another friend come by, and she brought by some premie clothes that her boss (a women who we’ve never even met) was nice enough to send for us!

I knew I wanted to send some thank you cards to everyone to show them how much their support means to us, but being confined to this room makes that hard! It’s not just a matter of getting to the store to pick out the cards, I would then have to write them out, address the envelopes, apply postage, and then mail them. So I thought to myself that there has to be a website that will do this for me!

A simple goggle search brought me to Postable.com. They have a huge selection of thank you cards (even some that were ‘baby themed’). They will both mail you packs of cards for you to write out and send, but they also will mail your cards for you with your custom typed messages inside!

Hubby and I had a great time picking out the cards, and writing our personalized thank you messages to everyone who has been so supportive to us during this difficult time. It felt good to cross that item off of our to-do list from the comfort of our hospital room.

They have more than just thank you cards. They have birth announcements, birthday cards, wedding invitations, Christmas cards etc. They have a seamless system for adding your address book– both for you if you already have people’s addresses, and if you need to get them they provide a link for them to add their own address in for you. Also, they are very reasonable in price. They also don’t charge an arm and a leg for shipping– in fact they just charge for a standard postage stamp: 0.49 a card! I was also able able to scour the internet for a promo code and managed to get 20% off my order.

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I’m going to use them to mail our birth announcement and holiday cards in the future. It can’t get much easier than a website that does it all for you! I just know a lot of you all are getting close to your due dates, or maybe you’re thinking of your holiday cards– and I wanted to share the wealth.

Here is some information about them.
Here are their FAQ

0

Planning Hubby’s Birthday

My husband’s birthday is a few weeks away, and he never gives me any hints about what he wants. I love to plan surprises and such for things like birthday and holidays, because I love watching him have a good time just for him. So this year is no different, and if anything I want him to have an especially great birthday because this is a big year. Not only is this is his last birthday before our son gets here, but also this is the first birthday he will celebrate without his father. His dad’s birthday is also just a few days after his.

So I’ve been debating and thinking about what to do for him for a few weeks already, and I’ve been fishing for hints. He wouldn’t throw a girl a bone! So last night when I was taking a break from studying for NCLEX the perfect idea hit me!

C has been talking about some production that is put on in an amphitheater. I could vaguely remember it, but not well enough. So I googled ‘Kentucky Outdoor Amphitheater’ and I found a list of them. I was reading through the descriptions trying to find one that sparked a memory, and the last one on the list did just that! It’s an outdoor theater that puts on a production called The Stephen Foster Story. I don’t know the specifics, but I know that C went once and he has talked about it before and his desire to go and take me.

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I got lucky enough that there was a showing of it the saturday before his birthday. So I booked two tickets. I was thinking that was going to be the BIG event. Then I started looking for restaurants in the area. There are several really awesome restaurants with a historical/fancy vibe, and I thought we would enjoy a meal at one of these before the show starts at 8:30pm. This idea changed when I saw the Old Kentucky Dinner Train is literally less than 5 minutes away from the amphitheater.

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We’ve also been talking about going to this dinner train for ages! It’s pricy and the timing never seemed right. So I looked and SURE ENOUGH they still had tickets for the 5pm reservation on that same saturday. The whole dinner train experience is about 2.5 hours long, which gives us plenty of time to enjoy a wonderful meal, and make it to the theatre for the show. I know what C likes as far as food choices go– So I even feel confident that I picked a dinner he will really enjoy. The only thing I wished I did was tell them it was for his birthday so they would sing to him, but I know he actually hates that so I refrained. I’ll make sure to have him a special gift/card ahead of time.

The town where all of this is taking place is about an hour away, so it’ll be a fun mini road trip for us too.

The hardest part of this entire thing is now that it is all booked all my husband knows is that on that saturday I have plans for him. He doesn’t know any of it and I want to keep it that way. I’m not great at keeping secrets, but because I’m super impressed with this whole plan I hope that this time will be different and I can keep a secret.

I can’t wait to take pictures and document this birthday. It’s going to be spectacular.