Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

A tribute… February 10, 2011

Filed under: Milestones,My night job — dayna @ 5:42 pm

So I have this friend. She’s “just a mom”.

Hopefully you know that I say this “tongue-in-cheek,” because hopefully by now, you and I both know that there is really no such thing.

So this friend of mine is beautiful. (Those redheads always have an edge, right?) She is warm. She has a “throw her head back”  laugh like another certain redhead we all like to watch. She is generous. She just give, give, gives to her friends, to her family, to just about everyone. She is an amazing mom. One of those whole food cooking, consistent structure building, affection slathering, majorly loving mothers. She is also a total smartypants. She is a highly educated PICU RN capable of taking care of the sickest of the sick patients on our unit (and a few other units as well).

View from the delivery room window on the day he was born

One year ago on this day my friend’s personal life and her professional life were headed for an intersection of the most epic proportions. It was probably more like a traffic circle really, with all of her worlds of people mingling and swirling around and around.

One year ago on this day, her lovely family welcomed their third incredibly handsome son. One year ago today they embarked on what must have been a roller coaster journey of a year. The first few weeks of this precious boy’s life simply had to have been the most challenging time this young family had faced so far.

Their much-loved and warmly welcomed baby boy started having respiratory distress almost immediately after being born. He spent a few very tough days in the hospital’s NICU and then, when there seemed no other option, was transferred to the PICU to be placed on ECLS (or ECMO as it is commonly called).

On ECMO

Similarly to his oldest brother, he had something called PPHN. While ECLS is one of most effective treatments for PPHN, it is not without its risks. And his mommy knew those risks. At the time of her youngest son’s birth, his mother was finishing her training to manage the very equipment that would now hopefully help save his life.

Those days must have been unbelievably difficult. Just imagine being postpartum, seriously sleep deprived, with two young boys at home, and one son incredibly sick in the unit where you work.

I was out on maternity leave at the time of my friend’s ordeal. Although we were relatively new friends and co-workers, we had bonded a bit over our closely timed pregnancies. I already knew she was amazing.  I was already thankful to have such a great “mom-friend” as a resource, especially in navigating the fresh (to me) waters of sibling relations. So I was not actually present on our unit during her family’s crisis, but I am certain that the whole experience must have been surreal.

I also know that during this crazy blurry time, Meg felt held. She was held. By God, by prayers, by her incredible family, and by her friends, many of whom were also her coworkers, who were also the medical staff who were caring for her precious newborn son.

Thankfully (that word doesn’t seem quit big enough), their boy fought, and worked, and even thrived. After a few days, he was successfully weaned off of ECMO and eventually went back to the NICU. After what seemed like an eternity of tiny steps, about a month later, their littlest boy came home.

These Brothers

And today this boy is so incredibly healthy. He laughs, he plays, he eats, he grows!

His momma graciously shares all of her boy’s milestones with her friends and coworkers. She must know that sometimes we need the encouragement. She allows us to glimpse the possibilities of what can happen in our workplace. She shares as any friend, any proud mom does, all of his cute stuff, his silly stuff, even his frustrating stuff.

I have heard her marvel before that people often say what a miracle he is. “And he is!” she’ll say. “But he is also just my kid,” she adds with a proud but knowing smile, fully appreciating all of the “normal” her family is bound to experience together.

This Family

On this day I give thanks that I have this friend. I am thankful to know her wonderful family with her loving husband and their three spectacular boys.

On this day, we give thanks for medical technology, for brilliant minds, for healing hands, for God’s grace, for family, for friendship, and…

This day

 

… for a boy who is “just a kid,” but a miracle just the same.

 

I hope you will take some time and explore Gabriel’s family’s website @  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/gabrielgallek. 
 His parents are talented writers and their story deserves to be told.
 
G.K. Chesterton wrote that “the most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.”
 

You may never know February 3, 2011

Filed under: Favorites,My night job — dayna @ 7:19 am

A note from this PICU RN to the parents of my young patients:

Dear Parents,

You may never know your full impact during your time of crisis.  Although it is most certainly not your intention, you are profoundly affecting those around you and your child. 

Including me.

When you kiss your baby as you send them into surgery, I learn about surrender and trust.

When your family suffers due to an accident, I want to strive to make the world a safer place.

When your acts of violence or cruelty sent your child into my care, I tremble in anger at injustice and ignorance.

When you educate me on the specifics of your chronically ill child, I know that every child is unique, precious, and deserves unfailing love.

When you joke with me on a night I really didn’t want to come in to work, you lighten my load.

When you incomprehensibly ask me about my day in the midst of your tragedy, you teach me about selflessness.

When your friends and family rally around you and lift you up, I see love and community in action.

When you reach for your Bible in your hour of greatest need, you point me to the Source of all hope.

When you involve me in the most intimate of goodbyes, I am humbled to be on sacred ground.

When hope is lost for your child’s life and you bring up the ultimate gift  before being approached, my knees buckle in awe.

When you leave the unit with aching empty arms, I know that I must cherish every single moment with my loved ones.

When you commend my co-workers, I recognize that I am shoulder-to-shoulder with greatness.

When you express gratitude for the care that I am giving, I dig deeper to give more than I knew I could.

When you send pictures of your now healthy child or stop by for a visit, I remember why I chose this profession and specialty.

Dear parents, you may never know who you are affecting in the very times that you feel the most helpless.

Often your grace and faith in those unspeakable circumstances can astound even the “seasoned” professionals surrounding you and your child. You affect us, and you affect your community.

You force us to face our worst fears and inspire us to step forward with courage into this heartbreaking but hopeful world.

Has your child ever been hospitalized? What made their stay easier or more difficult?

 

Weekends Round Here January 7, 2011

Filed under: My night job — dayna @ 4:51 pm

Just in case you are someone I don’t know personally just yet, I work outside my home on the weekends. I work night shift (7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.) as an RN in the pediatric intensive care unit of an area hospital.

Although I’m sure there are bound to be some “work-related” posts in the future, for now I’ll just mention that I work with some amazing people, taking care of amazing kids, with (mostly) amazing families. The work is challenging, rewarding, but infinitely tougher since becoming a mother. Let’s just say that I’m certainly not ready to quit my (week)day job 🙂

Our family is  blessed by the “flexible” schedule that my occupation allows and thankful that we don’t need to utilize any regular childcare. We are pretty much covered by parents and willing grandparents when the need arises.

Needless to say, it will be quiet here on the weekends. My blog that is, not the house. This house will probably be anything but quiet. When I’m off to work, Daddy swoops in and the girls have full-on Daddyfest for 48 hours or so. While I can’t be positive about what goes on around here while I’m gone, I’m pretty sure there is some of this…

Popcorn and movies

some of this…

Crazy outfits, serious silliness

And some major tickling involved.

I think he is even going to try to take both girls to a kid birthday party tomorrow morning… Brave man! Buena suerte, mi amor 😉