Thursday, September 30, 2010

Conference Day 1

I woke up early this morning after staying up way too late last night. I was reading the new Nicholas Sparks book, "Safe Haven" and I couldn't put it down. If you haven't read it yet ~ it is a page turner. I started it on the plane and finished it after 1 am last night...good book.

I wanted to explore the city a bit today. I always like just walking around looking at things. And I needed to go to Borders to get another book!
There are many old buildings like this one here in Milwaukee:
I love the 100 year old buildings. They have so much character and I am sure if they could talk they would have interesting stories to tell. This building had very neat statues way on top of the entry way (3 or 4 stories up) I could post so many pictures of the buildings. I spent most of the morning just walking and looking around.
I am not so sure what the huge ladybugs were about on this one:
You can walk miles along the river here too. But it is pretty yucky looking brown water. At least the River Walk is an attempt to beautify the area.
Right around the hotel and convention center there are many of these skyways connecting buildings. Probably makes it easier getting around during the winter since you never have to go outdoors.
The weather was perfect today. Sunny and warm. I didn't even need a sweater.

Of course the conference started this afternoon. I met other people who are here by themselves. People are so friendly and it is easy to talk to one another since we all have a common love of child-birthing. We had the opening session tonight where we learned about how the media affects pregnancy and birth. It was quite enlightening.

My poster is hung and ready for my presentation tomorrow. Some people were already asking about the program. I am hoping many more show interest during the actual presentation times.
I looked around at some of the other posters that were hung already. I may be biased ~ but I think ours is the best one....
Now I am going to put this sleepy body to bed. I am excited to see what tomorrow holds...and I found the local Starbucks so will walk over there bright and early :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


After a long day of travel I have arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I am here to attend the ICEA / LAMAZE 50th Anniversary Megaconference ~ United for the Future of Birth. It is being held at the Midwest Airlines Convention Center which I happen to think is a really cool looking convention center.

I am staying at the Hyatt which is connected to the convention center so it will be easy to get back and forth.

I am here to present our perinatal hospice or comfort care program. It is a program that we are quite proud of at St Joseph Hospital. It is an innovative program that provides for the needs of families that are expecting a baby with known defects. A program where we attempt to take care of the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our patients and their families.I will be doing two poster presentations. I am looking forward to meeting new people and sharing my knowledge of how to best help these patients. Who would have ever thought that I would be considered an "expert" on something??

It was a little different traveling alone. Normally when I attend a conference, the social worker that I work with travels with me. I haven't ever gone on vacations or anything like that by myself. Now granted - I grew up flying since my father worked for the airlines, so I am not afraid to fly but I am not used to just hanging out alone. I have decided that either I have put on some weight or airline seats just aren't as big as they used to be! Seems we were sitting awfully close to each other on the I decided to use the opportunity to meet the people sitting by me. This one person I met repairs the machines that make labels for all of the products we buy. Never ever thought of how our products get labeled. Then I also spoke for a while with a quite spoken theologian from Africa who teaches not only Bible classes to the people of Africa but also needed classes on nutrition, finances, HIV, etc. We exchanged business cards...never know...maybe I'll go to Africa one day.

After I checked in to the hotel I went across the street and had some yummy Italian food at The Calderone Club. And no it wasn't raining ~ I borrowed the photo off the internet.
After dinner, I unpacked and have just been relaxing the rest of the evening. It is weird to be in control of the TV tuner. I can watch what ever I want to. And it is strangely quiet. But not to worry - I have homework to do and brought a couple of good books to keep me occupied on any down time that I might have.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The heat is on!!
Summer has finally arrived in SouthernCalifornia!!! Ok - so technically, I know that it is fall, and everyone is getting out the pumpkins and spice candles, getting pumpkin scones from Starbucks and wanting to pull out the sweaters....but here we are having record temperatures.

I actually wore shorts yesterday. Our summer was mild this year. Warm but not hot and I rarely felt the need to dress for hot weather. But now I am sweating. All I want to do is go hang out in the pool. We are keeping the fans running all day long and I sure has heck do not want to cook or do any chores! But then again, when do I want to do those things?? It almost sounds good to go to work - at least in the hospital the air conditioning is on and it is quite comfortable.

I had a few errands to run yesterday. When I first got in to my car it said that it was 111'. But it quickly cooled down to this:
Today I am have a comfort care conference at work then I have school - both places should be comfortable :) I am going to wear a nice summer skirt! Who cares that the calendar says it is fall?? It feels like summer.
I leave tomorrow for Milwaukee and I keep looking at the temps there...60's. I have to think of packing for cooler weather...its going to be hard when I am sweltering here....

Monday, September 27, 2010


Take a vacation or mini escape and the reward is a week of craziness following that...I have been crazy busy this week. Came back from San Diego, where we had plenty of time to just relax, only to face a week of work and school.
Monday started with a full, 12 hours of running around taking care of patients. Our unit has been slammed since the end of August.

Tuesday, I did a home visit with one of my hospice patients to educate her on what a C/Section would entail. She had many questions so we reviewed information and she decided to 'think on it'. Then off to school I went.

Wednesday I had the joy of another 12 hours on the unit. Another busy day.

Thursday I had school. I received a call during class from Dr A. that one of my hospice patient's had a demise. Her baby had passed away inside of her, so we set about planning her care. I went off to my next class. I wasn't really understanding all of the chemistry nomenclatures and I really didn't care! All I could think about was my patient and what she was going through. I just wanted to get out of class so that I could talk to her.

Friday I had to work again and I knew that my patient would probably be coming in. Sure enough she did. I got to take care of her. It makes way more sense for me to care for these patients since I already know them from the outpatient side. It is easier for them to have someone who knows about them, knows what is wrong with their baby and has come to care for them. They trust me in a way that they may not trust someone else and they do not have to explain what is going on all over again to someone new. It was an emotionally draining day. Even though I deal with death and dying on a routine is just not 'normal' in a labor and delivery setting. It is never easy or routine to watch someone hurt at this level. It never gets routine to see a child's life cut so short. And in the case of my hospice hurts just a little more since I do already know them and their families. You sort of build this bond. It hurts to see that silent tear running down a mom's face as she knows the end is near. All one can really do is tenderly wipe the tear away and say, "I am so sorry. I know this really hurts". Then to get to the point of the delivery....the point where most parents are excited, the point where they finally get to see their baby and hear its cries. But for my patient on Friday...there were no smiles, only sobs as I told her it was time to push.
Often times my patients will express their fear of seeing their baby. Fear of the unknown. What will he / she look like?? Will they have defects? Will they know that I love them? Parents often imagine these defects to be way worse than what they really are. Often they will ask me to take the baby away to dry it off and wrap it up, covering anything they may not want to see. But really - most of them are beautiful, despite the things that are 'different' with them. I was so proud of my patient on Friday as she expressed her fears, then lovingly picked up her baby right after it was born and just hung on to him. She had conquered her fears. Her maternal love overtook any doubts and she told her baby how much she loved him. Again....all I could do was be there for them in their time of extreme pain and hold their hands and give hugs. Sometimes just 'being there' is more important than any words I can come up with. Nothing really helps, nothing can take that pain away. It is a path these parents have to walk down and I have the privilege of walking beside them for awhile.
Naturally after a day like that I go home exhausted. Love on my own family and think about this other family. Think about how their lives are going to be so different...

Got up Saturday morning to start my 2nd of 3 shifts in a row. UGH, the last place I want to go is back to the hospital. But, I did. Luckily, I got to take care of a cute couple with a healthy baby who had a wonderful birth with cries of joy at the end. Whew - what an oxymoron or play on my emotions - totally different experiences on the birth spectrum. I felt renewed.

Along comes Sunday...I decided that I am getting too old to work three in a row. I used to do this with no problems. But now as I encroach (cough, cough) on 50 my body doesn't do it as well. I awoke sore and achy but headed off to work anyways. I was in 'charge' today. Again it was busy - never had less than 10 patients on the unit at a time. We were making it work, getting through the day. At one point I had two nurses calling me to get their doctor for their deliveries when I answered a call light - only to hear that nurse say, "I need help in here, I have a cord prolapse". Cord prolapse - a medical emergency...the umbilical cord is coming out ahead of the baby. Oh great!! I what do I do?!?! The nurses on our unit are wonderful - pitching in to help whenever needed and working together. Due to this fact, we had 3 healthy babies within 15 minutes!! And one of those was an emergent C/Section. Makes me proud to work with them!!

Craziness! That's how my week has been...I'm starting to wonder if going away is worth it when I have to work so hard when I get back!!

Today I have written a paper for school,swept the endless dog hair off the floor, washed the dishes, started laundry and still need to run to the bank. I leave Wednesday for a conference in Wisconsin where I will be presenting our Comfort Care Program. I don't have to work on the unit anymore this week. I plan to relax in Milwaukee and read something besides a chemistry book!! I'm hoping that there is no more craziness to write about for a bit!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


We just returned from a mini vacation. An escape of sorts from our day to day life. Both Buzz and I were feeling the stress of working long hours and from not being able to go any where this summer. Then of course I added school again on top of that, so I was ready for an escape.
We went down to San Diego this weekend. It is about a 2 hour drive from home, the Biola cross country team was running, it was my birthday, and we wanted a break, no excuses needed - so we made a weekend of it! :)
We drove down Friday night after we picked up a couple of athletes (nursing students of course, who had clinicals that day and were unable to leave with the rest of the team) Since we were headed down anyways, the coach asked if I could taxi a couple of the girls. I gladly said yes.

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to go to Balboa Park. This is where the race was held. San Diego State was the host school. Now why would anyone get up early on their vacation instead of sleeping in one might ask?? Because we wanted to see these girls run. They are a great group of women and we have gotten to know them well. We just want to support their team:
They were running against some top Division One schools. The girls held their own - coming in 3rd place, just behind Long Beach State (we were happy that the two top runners were from Long Beach since that is where Michelle goes to we double cheered). Long Beach only beat Biola by 3 points. BYU won the meet - but only by 9 points over Biola. If you know anything about cross country pointing you know that this is or two people placed any different and it would be a whole different picture. The other teams had significantly more points. You can read all about the race here.
The boys took 6th place - again they were running against some top notch runners. That race was quite exciting!

Erika is doing OK with her decision not to run this season and just 'red shirt' until next year. I really think I have struggled with it more. She is still such a part of the team and funny...she is the one that stands out in this picture in her red shorts!
Here she is getting practice at being a physical trainer. She wants to work with teams / coach when she is done with school so this is great practice for her.

Michelle came along as the assistant photographer for the day. Their dad takes multiple pictures for the team and Michelle has inherited that love of photography from him. So she took pictures of Biola and pictures of Long Beach for her school newspaper. I happen to think she is just too darn cute and should be in front of the camera instead of behind one.

After the race we headed back to our hotel. I really had nothing else planned for the day except rest and relaxation. As Buzz caught up on college football, I went and hung out here:

Our hotel(San Diego Marriott) had an amazing pool area. I had seen it before when we visited the hotel and it was one of the reasons we chose to stay there. I laid out in the sun for almost 4 hours (lots of sunscreen) and read a book - actually finished the one that I took down with me. I met a couple of girls from San Francisco, had a pina colada, dozed and just relaxed. Oh was it nice. When it started to get dark I decided I needed to head in, shower and get ready for dinner. We ate dinner at Roy's right on the hotel grounds so we did not have to drive anywhere. Sorry - no pictures of any of that - guess I was so relaxed I forgot to take the camera

This morning we did sleep in a bit. And woke up to a beautiful, sunny day. This was the view when you looked to the right from our room. We had a nice little patio on our room.
I sat out there and drank my coffee this morning. And started reading all of my birthday wishes on facebook. How fun was that?!?!

Check out this view looking the other way from our room! Nice ocean breezes...

After we checked out of our room we went to starbucks to hang out for awhile. We were going to meet Buzz's sister and brother in law for lunch and had a little time to kill. I actually got on line and started my NRP test (neonatal resuscitation) since it is due. See...I still did some work...I just didn't want to have to do it all tonight when I got home. It was way more fun doing it away from home then it would have been if I did it all here.

We then met Sarah and Wayne for lunch at this cute little restaurant
It is the Pier Cafe at SeaPort Village. We had yummy fish and chips and even better fellowship with the family. We don't get to see each nearly enough since they live in San Diego.

After lunch we walked around for a little bit, shopped but didn't buy anything. I take that back - Buzz bought me a carmel apple for my birthday but I haven't eaten it yet. Then we headed home. It was such a nice little escape. I think I need to do them more often. I feel refreshed, recharged and ready to get back in to things.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My daughter Michelle and I are taking a chemistry class together. Not that I like chemistry or anything but it is sort of fun taking a class with her. It is our time to spend together- twice a week even. We stop by Starbucks on our way to class - that is our little reward for going to school :0)
Tonight we had our first exam - she said her goal was to get a higher score than I did. My goal is just to pass the crazy class.

Don't we look uber cute with our googles on??

Michelle conducting an 'important' experiment:
I look like a mad scientist in this picture!!!!!!She pulls this look off way better than I do.
Did you notice that there are very few people left in the classroom?? Wonder why we are always one of the last ones done? It could be that we are just slow, or not as bright as the others in class. Or could it be because Michelle has a perfectionist for a lab partner???? One who has to follow all of the steps exactly like the book says! I bet she wishes she had a different lab partner...

Click here to see a little video of us in action!

I hope the next 12 weeks go by quickly. Chemistry really is not a class I wanted to take - but it is more tolerable when taken with your daughter. We are shooting for an A and by golly we are going to try to have a little fun while we are doing that!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Biola's cross country teams started the season out with a bang. They ran the Redlands meet this weekend and the girls team won the race...not only did they win but the top seven runners...yes the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7th girls to cross the finish line were all Biola girls. It was so fun to watch them run and be able to cheer them on.The boy's team took 3rd place ~ but the first runner in was also a Biola runner - Ryan has made an amazing come back after being hit by a car two years ago. We are so proud of him. You can read all about the race here. GO EAGLES!!
I also got to spend some talking to my friends daughter Alicia at the meet - she attends Cal Baptist University and I had blogged recently about a crash that the team was involved in. All of the runners - including the injured ones were at the meet - one still in a wheelchair and others in casts, but they were there to support their team. In the picture above you can see a CBU runner right behind Ryan. Alicia is doing well, she had surgery on her arm but she says they have all had tremendous growth this past month and knows that God is somehow using that crash for good. She isn't running, is seeing a physical therapist for her arm and also a burn specialist for her facial and neck burns but she is well and happy to be back at school.

On another note, my daughter Erika has chosen to 'red shirt' this season. She said that she isn't feeling quite ready to compete after the long summer of illness that she had. She can always run a 4th year next year since she plans to do grad school at Biola. I am a little sad that she isn't competing - especially since they are ranked so high and it would have been a fun season for her. Of course her coach is using her and putting her to work during the meets. She gets to take split times and run around the course encouraging her team mates. She wants to coach one day so this is really good practice and I have to remind myself of that. She knows her body better than me and knows what is best for her. I suppose that I should be happy that I will have another year next year to be a Biola groupie and follow the team around - HA!
Next weekend we are off to San Diego to watch them run the Aztec Invitational. It's gonna be an exhilarating season!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The last official holiday of the summer. A day off of work. A day to spend with family, a last 'hoorah' before the grind of school and schedules get in the way. A day for picnics and lying out at the beach. The last day to wear white (does this 'rule' even still exist??) A day to celebrate the achievements of workers. A 'workingmen's holiday'.

Unlike many people, I did not get labor day off. No picnics, no parties, no sleeping in, no spending time with family. It was just another work day. What a crazy, busy day it was too. I think pregnant women heard 'labor day' and they thought it meant that they should go in to labor!! The unit was busy and most rooms were full. I was somewhat 'safe' for I was working antepartum - yet that unit had 6 patients so it was pretty crazy too. And two of those mommies we sent to the back to deliver. I never did see the total number of patients we had for the day but I know it was a lot.

In fact - labor day was so 'news worthy' that a local station decided to do a segment on us. I found the lost camera man and his crew walking the hallway, asked, "Can I help you?" to which the responded, "we are looking for labor and delivery". Of course...I had to be somewhat nosy and ask what they were doing. You know, all in the name of protecting our babies from any strangers :)
I came to find out that they were doing a piece on our Laborist. A laborist is a doctor who hangs out at the hospital just in case anything happens, any deliveries or any emergencies. An extra pair of hands and eyes to help us out when we need help. Now, not only was the unit crazy with suddenly became crazy with us nurses being careful to avoid the camera or get in front of it. I personally tried to stay off camera!!

You can click here to see the news cast and where I was sort of fun to be able to come home after a long day of work and see my friends on TV. It was sort of a reward for working on LABOR day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

In case you don't already feet are one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world