July! This is the month I’ve been waiting for since the first day of nursing school last year…the month when finally, finally, I get to work in labor/delivery/postpartum! What a month it’s been…partly evidenced by the lack of posts, for sure. Every night I come home full of stories I want to write…but usually fall into bed drop dead exhausted. Twelve hour shifts, y’all. It’s an adjustment.
So, as I settle down to enjoy my chai (or, maybe memories of last month’s chai in Cuernavaca), I’d start with eyes alight as I talk about how amazing my clinical placement is this summer. I’m working on a small 14-bed unit in a community hospital, about a twenty minute drive away. The moms labor, birth and recover in the same room, which has been such a wonderful practice to see in action. It’s true there are some nurses who prefer one to the other, but for the most part, they love both.
Relishing the sensation of a slightly spicier chai, I’d give you more juicy details about the skills I’m learning: placing IV lines and doing blood draws, placing Foley catheters, assisting the circulating nurse during cesareans, and fine-tuning my ability to do newborn assessments and fundal massage. Really, though, what still catches my breath each day and sends shivers down my back, is that I’m with laboring and new moms. Ever so slowly, I’m learning how to take care of them during this incredible, tender moment in their lives…and nothing about nursing school has felt so right as my being here each day.
With another sip, I’d gratefully appreciate Feminist Midwife’s mention of the recent Lancet series on midwifery. It’s been open on browser tabs on my iPad and laptop and phone…I catch snippets when I can. Also, I’d excitedly point out that Rebecca over at Evidence-Based Birth has finally published her article exploring evidence on waterbirth safety.
Speaking of reading…I devoured the novel Americanah last month while in Mexico, and oh, my!! Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore or library and read it for yourself…it is all kinds of amazing. I was hoping to have at least a little time this summer for one fiction read…but so far, at the end of Week 3, all I can muster time and energy for is school-related reading. Of course, now I want to read all of it. I’ve actually been really soaking in the useful chapters from AWHONN’s Perinatal Nursing text, as well as the 5th edition of Complete Neonatal Nursing Care. They’re both chock full of useful pathophys and nursing assessment info that I’ve already put into practice.
Noticing the ice melting in my chai, I’d ponder the reflection questions Stephanie poses in her Monthly Chai Date this month.
…what new experiences have brought you both celebrations and reflections?
Well, that one seems pretty well covered already in this post!
Where are you feeling weak and where are you feeling strong, in your body, mind, and life?
So far, feeling strong in my passion and curiosity, in my capacity to show up each morning ready to learn. In my body…I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to practice, those small touches that make a big difference for women: how to do all the things we do as nurses with a caring, compassionate, competent touch. On the flip side, I’m definitely noticing a difference in my own self-care habits when I work 12-hour days and then have to drive home rather than enjoy a walk home. I’m open to strategies other experienced folks have in carving out that time. One practice I want to cultivate more this month is a daily lunch walk.
What foods have brought you enjoyment and comfort, that you have been sharing with others?
Do popsicles count? It’s been HOT here in the Northwest! When I’m not sucking down popsicles (and/or sangria), I’ve been eyeing some new recipes I pinned recently on Pinterest: My New Roots’ Summer Abundance Bowl and this delish looking Watermelon Salad! Basically, the less time near the oven, the better. Usually in the summer I rely on lots of fresh fruit and veg from the farmer’s market. My lunch sack is stuffed with berries, carrots and hummus, a tuna salad spiced with Sriracha (invented by my awesome housemate Mo who’s just started orientation as a postpartum nurse!)…simple and easy.
Where do you think you can seek more balance in your highs and lows, celebrate the whirls and calm the tilts? What small changes are you making to bring more joy to your everyday?
Ah, saving the best for last. One thing I’m learning for sure is that no matter how unprepared I feel academically, going to bed early will always make me feel better. This post is a gentle nudge that writing is an important outlet for self-care…and I already have several posts brewing to share with y’all! In terms of the small changes to bring more joy–I want to get another knitting project on the needles! There are some babies on their way soon and of course, they must need adorable hats. And I think I’ve found the perfect knitting soundtrack…have ya’ll discovered Hillary Frank’s podcast The Longest Shortest Time? It’s stories about birth and parenting, in 15 minutes or less! Perfect for lunch breaks, short car-rides, or study breaks…or a much needed mani/pedi, which is where I’m headed right now!
Have a wonderful rest of your July! I’d love to hear how your July’s are going! Share comments below, or on Facebook! Till August!