I’m 28 Weeks! How This Pregnancy Is Different From My First

I’m 28 Weeks! How This Pregnancy Is Different From My First

I had an appointment with my OB two weeks ago and everything appears to be progressing normally with my pregnancy (thank goodness!).

However, I did have one tiny little scare. When looking at the screen I noticed that our baby was measuring at about 26 weeks, which totally freaked me out since I was 28 weeks.

When I brought it up to my doctor she said “No, everything looks great and you are 26 weeks.” To which I responded: “but I’m 28 weeks!” She looked at my dates and said, “No hon you’re 26 weeks and right on target!”

Seriously? How is that even possible? That is one of the biggest differences between my first pregnancy and my second. I was an entire two weeks off on how far along I was. And I have been so busy with a toddler that I didn’t even know it.

First pregnancies are magical. Second pregnancy’s are cool too, just way busier.

Sarah and little Zoe

Caring for this little one is a lot of fun. But I’m so much busier with a toddler these days that I lose track of time.

In my first pregnancy, I could tell you to the day exactly how far along I was. Weekly belly selfies were taken every Sunday to mark my progress. I knew exactly how big my baby was in terms of vegetable size, weight and length.

I practically studied fetal development on a daily basis. Weekly emails were delivered to my inbox telling me each and every detail of our baby’s milestones. I knew the exact time when she could open her eyes, suck her thumb, hear noises from outside the womb and every other possible developmental detail.

During my first pregnancy I practiced yoga at a studio several times a week, alternating between Vinyasa and prenatal. Then I would watch Netflicks and chill, sometimes marathon style. After all, why not? I was pregnant and I had the time.

Also, I also read every single baby book ever published (fyi, Baby Knows Best and Bringing Up Bebe where my favorites!).

My husband and I even started taking weekly Bradley Method classes. Which didn’t help me at all during my emergency c-section at 33 weeks. But hey, I ultimately still got my healthy baby girl, so who cares?

My second pregnancy has been cool too, sans all the extra me time that I had with my first. Toddler care taking has replaced pretty much all of those activities this time around. That is how I ended of forgetting how far along I was by two entire weeks!

Busyness aside, I love being a mom and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Baby Boy has reached eggplant size. Yum!

Sarah and Zoe, 28 weeks pregnant with #2

I’m trying to enjoy the joys of pregnancy while they are here. Despite the weird symptoms, there is something so amazing about being pregnant.

I have joined the third and final trimester, yahoo!

Our amazing veggie is now 14 1/2 inches and weighs in at 2 1/2 pounds. Right on track! Nice job, little dude.

Even though I haven’t met my mini-man yet, he has definitely been making an impact in my life. Many of the symptoms of my first pregnancy have returned. I’m suddenly clumsy. I’m fatigued. I have heartburn at least once a day. And I have the worst pregnancy brain (so embarrassing).

In addition, I have even welcomed a brand new pregnancy symptom that I didn’t have last time: lovely varicose veins, on my left leg only. They are SO delightful, I tell you. Once the temperatures finally dip below 90 in Los Angeles I’m going to have to resort to daily compression stockings – toe to waist – for the remainder of the third trimester. Pregnancy sure knows how to make a women feel sexy!

Zoe is going to have big sister responsibilities soon.

Zoe is going to have big sister responsibilities soon!

I love watching how my little girl is reacting to my belly bump with amazement. She now looks at it and says “baby” in the cutest, innocent voice. I don’t think she fully grasps that there is an actual human is in there… yet. But we are trying to verbalize it to her and are reading her a few children’s books about becoming a big sister.

Tonight she was able to say “baby boy” which pretty much melted my heart. She is going to be an excellent big sister! I can’t wait.

I have a few goals to reach before childbirth.

We are only five weeks away from the time when I had Zoe via emergency C-section. Although I am planning on having a full term baby, truth is that you can’t always plan ahead. Therefore, I have a few goals I am presently working on in advance:

#1.  Have a healthy full term baby.

I will be relieved to finally pass the 33 week mark. My doctor says the chances of having another placental abruption are extremely low, which is reassuring.

#2.  Continue working as ER nurse until it makes sense to stop.

With the help of my nifty 30mm graduated compression stockings, I am going to continue working as an emergency room nurse until I am either:

a) too big, or

b) too exhausted, whichever comes first.

As a per diem registered nurse I am not granted disability or maternity leave benefits. I can take up to 6 months time without losing my position, but I receive zero compensation before or after childbirth. Once I’m out, I’m out for a while. So I’m trying to hang in until it makes sense for me to stay home.

#3.  Figure out how to have a 2 year old and newborn share a bedroom without constantly waking one another up.

This one has been a real zinger for me as I can’t figure out how I’m going to make this work. The newborn will stay in our room for several months but then what?

If anyone has any tips on goal #3, I am all ears. Any expertise in this area is appreciated.

At the end of the day I am so thankful for a healthy, happy family.

Life is busy and tiring, but it’s all good. Pregnancy is a gift. Having children really is a miracle. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for a wonderful life and good health for my family and friends. That is the only thing that matters.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

I Love Being An Emergency Room Nurse:  How Adopting A New Specialty Reignited My Passion For Nursing

I Love Being An Emergency Room Nurse: How Adopting A New Specialty Reignited My Passion For Nursing

Have I mentioned how much more I am loving my job now since I started working as an emergency room nurse?

A year ago I was a per diem resource nurse who worked on multiple different med/surg and telemetry floors all over our hospital. Being a resource nurse works well for me due to the flexibility it gives me as a working Mom.

But unfortunately, I was becoming incredibly burnt out. Bitter even. I was losing my passion and I started to wonder if I was due for a career change-up.

I even went so far as to interview for a few medical device companies as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (I was a medical device salesperson before my career change into nursing). Needless to say, I am so glad I decided not to accept any of those positions!

Instead, I adopted a new specialty as an RN in the emergency room and reignited my passion for nursing and healthcare. When the opportunity came up for me to interview for cross-training into my own hospital’s level 1 trauma center, I jumped on it. I started my ER journey on Easter Sunday 2017.

I have always thought of the ER as a scary portal into the hospital. We are often overbooked with patients and the load can be relentless. There are sometimes grim patient situations and sometimes patients die, despite every life-saving effort.

You will be hard pressed to find medical professionals who deal with more stress and pressure then emergency room nurses. But I am grateful to expand on my med/surg and telemetry knowledge base and learn a new specialty.

Here are my top 6 reasons that I love being an emergency room nurse:

My IV start skills are so much better.

A good vien is what dreams are made of

Since becoming a nurse in the emergency room my IV start skills have gotten so much better.

In an emergency we need to be able to start IV’s fast for testing, various medications, pain and nausea relief, IV hydration and antibiotic therapy, among other things.

Fortunately in the ER, I get the opportunity to start anywhere from 5 or more IV’s in a single shift. So I have the opportunity to perfect my skills frequently on many patients who are difficult IV sticks.

Many of the nurses I work with have been in the ER for a decade or longer and their IV skills are unbelievable. Several nurses are even trained to do ultrasound guided IV starts on patients with hard-to-stick veins.

There is an enormous variety in our patient population.

Every day is an adventure. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but never boring. I have had patients ranging in age from 2 days to 108 years. Patients have arrived with complaints from hiccups, to every type of accident you can imagine and everything in between.

As one would expect, many of our patients are really sick or critically injured. Our patient loads include: various types of trauma patients, septic patients, elderly patients, organ transplanted patients, patients with cancer or autoimmune diseases, psych patients, and small children and babies, and so much more. There is rarely a dull moment and always something new to learn.

The teamwork in the emergency room is impressive.

The coordination when a trauma patient arrives is amazing. Patients come in to the ER in urgent situations where the cause if injury or disease isn’t yet known. Doctors, nurses, techs, pharmacists and other medical professionals cohesively work together to give fast life-saving medical treatment.

In addition, emergency room nurses often have their own sections but there are also many “resource” nurses on the floor to assist with additional patient care. When a patient arrives with a more serious condition, there are always nurses who come in to help.

For example: we call a “code” for septic, stroke and head trauma patients. It is an overhead call to other nurses in the ER that a particular room needs additional help. Within seconds there are a handful or more nurses in the room helping with triage, initial assessments, IV sticks, blood draws, and many other nurse protocols and procedures.

The emergency room moves fast.

Many call it “organized chaos.” The emergency room is fine-tuned machine with each nurse component working semi-gracefully around one another. From the outside it might look like craziness, but the madness always has a method.

I am constantly learning.

I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation that I get as an emergency room nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries and unusual diagnoses then I ever could have imagined even existed.

It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things everyday at work. To top it off, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning.

I just have to laugh at some of the stuff I see.

Nursing is a work of heart

Nursing is a work of heart.

Please forgive me for saying this. This may seem inappropriate but it is how I maintain my resiliency.

The emergency room is a very emotional place. Patients never want to be there and usually don’t understand, for example, why they have to wait in the hallway an hour or even much longer until their test results are completed or the medical team decides on a plan for them. They get upset and tired of waiting.

Sadly, sometimes they take out there frustrations on the people working the hardest to get them the medical treatment they need: the nurses.

Sometimes things just get so odd that I can’t help but laugh. There are days when I see people come into the ER saying that they feel like dying, but end up having a diagnosis of constipation. Once I had a college student come in for a temperature of 99 degrees. I’m like, seriously? How do you even get through the day?

I have had so many “I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried” experiences in the emergency room to last me a long time. But that’s one of of the reasons I like being in the ER versus other parts of the hospital. It can get weird, but I’m always learning. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to keep learning.
Are you an emergency room nurse? Have you always worked there? Have you tried any other specialties? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Nurse Revelations:  Why I Will Always Be A Working Mom (At Least Part-Time)

Nurse Revelations: Why I Will Always Be A Working Mom (At Least Part-Time)

I will always be a working mom, at least part-time. And I don’t feel guilty about it. Not even a little.

In fact, I feel the opposite of guilt. For me personally, I think working as an emergency room RN has helped me be a more present and compassionate mother than if I didn’t work at all.

I see things that most other moms don’t see on a regular basis, like patients with critical injuries, long term illnesses, or chronically sick kids. As an emergency room nurse I help patients and their families through some of the worst moments of their lives. These experiences put things in perspective for me.

For every day I spend at the hospital, I gain more gratitude for having a healthy, happy family.

Don’t get me wrong. Being a working mom has its drawbacks and adds a lot of challenges to my life. As an RN, I work anywhere from 24 to 40 hours every week, which is time away from family.  Fortunately, I found a little bit of a work-life balance by becoming a per-diem nurse.  But I still see several important benefits to being a working mom that are keeping me in the workplace.

11 Reasons I Will Always Be A Working Mom

11 Reasons I Will Always Be A Working Mom

11 Reasons Why I Will Always Be A Working Mom:

#1.  Since I don’t get to be home everyday, I never take my “stay-at-home mom” days for granted.

I absolutely LOVE my days off. I adore starting my mornings with a ten-minute toddler snuggle session, then heading down to make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. We have time to play for a bit, read a few books, and then stroll to the park where we meet up with some of the other moms and toddlers from the neighborhood. My daughter takes a nap at 1pm, during which I also squeeze in a short nap. I relish in my “at home” days because I’m not always home.

There have been weeks where I didn’t work at all (like when our nanny went out of town for two weeks). I got so used to being home that I stopped appreciating being at home as much as when I didn’t do it everyday.

#2.  I have a constant stream of intellectual stimulation.

Admittedly, I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation that I get as a nurse. I have had patients ranging from 2 days old to 108 years old. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries and unusual diagnoses then I ever could have imagined even existed.

It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things everyday at work. To top it off, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning.

#3.  I love our nanny, and she is teaching our kids to speak Spanish.

I know women who didn’t want to work because they didn’t want someone else “raising their children.” I, however, do not see any competition whatsoever. And my child adores our nanny.

Most importantly, I am grateful for the different experiences that our nanny can give our daughter that I cannot, like teaching her Spanish. My baby is actually saying some of her first words in Spanish! The gift of bilingual speaking is not to be taken lightly, and will benefit her brain development, help her in school, and give her broad cognitive advantages compared to her non-bilingual peers.

#4.  My resume is staying up-to-date as I continue to gain valuable work experience.

It is important for me to keep one foot inside of the career door. I have spoken to a lot of moms who took off up to five or more years to stay home and then couldn’t get hired again no matter how hard they tried. It is sad to say, but stay-at-home motherhood can be like a blow torch to a resume.

#5.  I am a good role model for my kids.

There is a large 50,000 person Harvard study that has found that having a working mother is actually good for children, both for daughters and sons (I’m due with our son in a few short months!). The study found that women with working mothers “performed better in the workplace, earning more and possessing more powerful positions than their peers with stay-at-home mothers.” In addition, men whose mothers had worked outside the home at any point were “more likely to contribute to household chores and the care of family members.”

#6.  My husband spends more one-on-one time with our daughter.

Dad and Zoe

One of the benefits of being a working mom is that my husband spends more on-on-one time with our daughter. Engaged dads help kids flourish.

I work 12 hour shifts on Sundays, so my husband runs the house from 6am until our daughter goes to bed at 7:30pm (and also after 5pm on the other 1-2 days I am at the hospital). As a result, my husband is super involved with the day-to-day care of child rearing. He cooks, changes diapers, cleans, feeds the kitties, does bath time, plays with, reads to and keeps our daughter safe. (Their have been a few questionable outfit choices from time to  time- but it’s adorable).

Engaged dads help kids flourish. Many dads I know wouldn’t even know what to feed their kids nor do they get the opportunity to form their own special routines. Men shouldn’t get “extra credit” for child-rearing, yet sometimes they do. In our house it is a more level playing field.

#7.  Work enriches my marriage.

My husband can share pieces of his office drama with me and I always have a fascinating “I couldn’t make this up if I tried” story. Work makes it possible for me to discuss other interesting things besides play dates, toddler meal planning, diaper changes and shopping for kid stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE talking about my child. I could to it all day long. I just don’t think it really helps in the intimacy department. Conversing over interesting thoughts and stories is definitely more of a turn-on.

#8.  Working keeps me disciplined.

If I stayed home every single day I would rarely shower or get out of yoga clothes until the evening. For work I wear scrubs and yes, those are kind-of like pajamas, but I still have to clean myself up and be presentable for co-workers and my patients.

Since I leave at 5:45am on work days and dont get home until 8:30pm, I am left with zero time for anything else except showers and food prep. Therefore I have to be more strategic and military-like in my scheduling about things like cleaning, shopping, meal planning, social events, and other general day-to-day activities. It forces me to be super-organized. And as a result, I am (almost) never late for anything.  (Read more about how I prepare for a 12 hour shift as a registered nurse).

#9.  My savings accounts are still growing rapidly.

Obviously, If I didn’t work I wouldn’t receive any paychecks. I’m not an over spender and fortunately my husband is able to pay all of our bills (except childcare- which I pay for). That means that the majority of what I make gets stocked away into different savings and investment accounts.

During the first 12 months after my maternity leave I was able to increase my personal net worth by 100K (my husband and I obviously share our money, but to make my point I am only talking about my accounts and contributions). This includes income from my paychecks and my retirement investments.

If I was to stay at home just for 5-10 years at this point in my life, I would literally be talking about millions of dollars lost over time, in savings alone. Especially after factoring in compounding interest. And I’m only working two 12-hour shifts a week a lot of the time! My work can make a significant monetary impact. I enjoy contributing to the financial future of our family.

(Read more about how I paid off 27K in student loan debt in under a year and how I saved money for my unpaid maternity leave).

#10.  My kids wont grow up thinking I didn’t do anything.

Sadly, a mom’s work doesn’t get the kind of credit it should. Being a mom is a hard job. Unfortunately many kids don’t understand that being a stay-at-home mom is a job too. In some cases they grow up wrongly thinking that mom didn’t do anything. Conversely, they think dad did ALL the hard work because he worked outside of the home, which is a very unfair assessment. Talk about a double standard!

#11.  My child is thriving.

Our daughter is already an amazing, smart, charismatic little lady. I hope that my husband and I continue helping her to be an independent, assertive human and the best version of herself that she can be.

This may be all in my head, but she is not even two yet and is already showing me that she has a good work ethic: she picks up her toys, helps with cooking in the kitchen (it gets messy, but who cares?), moves items around the house (redecorating maybe?) and even throws away her own diapers. And she is so proud of herself for these achievements.

I want her to continue building confidence by taking initiative, having the opportunity to learn through both winning and losing, and discovering the value of hard work. That, after all, is how we all grow and learn.

Do you have any thoughts about being a working mom? What are some of the benefits and issues that you have encountered?

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Look For The Helpers:  Acts Of Compassion After The Las Vegas Massacre

Look For The Helpers: Acts Of Compassion After The Las Vegas Massacre

On October 1st, a single shooter sprayed bullets into the crowd at a country music festival in Las Vegas killing 59 people and injuring over 500.  This was the largest U.S mass shooting in modern history.

My heart hurts.  I can’t imagine how a single shooter can be capable of murdering and injuring so many people.

One of my goals over the next few months is to find a way to get more involved in assisting in any way with implementing gun control laws.  I can’t have my children growing up in a world where mass casualties by automatic weaponry is normal and occurring repeatedly.

However, at the present moment I want to focus on the individual acts of heroism and acts of compassion that are coming about as a result of the Las Vegas massacre.

There are always helpers.

Here are just a few acts of compassion that occurred this week:

#1.  Thousands of people stood in line for hours to give blood.

#2.  Ride shares and taxi companies offered free transportation to blood donation centers and hospitals.

#3.  Leaders from many religions held vigils and encouraged giving.

#4.  Hotels donated free rooms to people traveling to Las Vegas to help victims.

#5.  I personally know people living in Las Vegas who have graciously offered their homes to the family members of victims who are coming from out-of-town.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “look for the helpers.  You will always find people helping.”   -Mr. Rogers

How you can help now:

1. Donate to the Las Vegas Victim’s Fund. As of today the campaign has raised almost 10 million dollars since the shooting. Their goal is 15 million.

2. Visit Show Me Your Stethoscope’s campaign to support the nurses and first responders caring for the victims of the shooting. You can send money to local hospital staff in Las Vegas, who are working so hard to help save lives and care for the over 500 people who were injured during the attack. Many of the injured are still in critical condition.

As an ER nurse who works at a Level 1 Trauma Center, I am not looking forward to a time when we have a catastrophic event like the Las Vegas massacre. Yet, I am so grateful to hear about the acts of compassion of the staff at the hospitals who are working tirelessly around the clock to save lives and heal the injured. At times like this, I am so proud to be a nurse.

Were you affected by the Las Vegas shooting? Please share your thoughts!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Fast And Easy Olive Oil And Sea Salt Roasted Pumpkin Seeds In 15 Minutes!

Fast And Easy Olive Oil And Sea Salt Roasted Pumpkin Seeds In 15 Minutes!

Roasting pumpkin seeds is one of my favorite fall traditions and has been for many years.

Since my daughter, Zoe, was born almost 2 years ago on Halloween morning my obsession with everything pumpkin has risen to new highs.

Little Zoe helping to make pumpkin seeds

Little Zoe helping to make the fast and easy roasted pumpkin seeds in 15 minutes.

This year I had Zoe assist me for my inaugural pumpkin seed roasting session of the season. The result: messy, orange pulpy hands, a lot of fun, and scrumptious, delectable roasted pumpkin seeds fresh from the oven. Best of all: she absolutely loved them!

I have probably roasted pumpkin seeds a hundred times before with several different recipes. Usually with at least 10 steps each, 40 or more minutes of cook time and over 1 hour of total prep time. With a child, however, I don’t have that kind of time anymore.

This is the fastest, easiest recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds in 15 minutes (and yes, they are still crunchy and super delicious).

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Scoop pumpkin seeds out of pumpkin and into container.

3. For every 1 cup of seeds, add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Stir.

4. Spread seeds on greased baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 400 F.

That is all, folks. It doesn’t get much easier then that!

Tips to make your life easier:

  • Don’t feel like you have to wash the seeds. The extra pulp actually makes for a little extra crunch.
  • Don’t use too much oil. I have made this mistake before (thinking that more = better tasting) and ended up with soggy seeds after one day.
  • You can always add more salt to taste later so don’t go overboard before cooking them.
  • Don’t let them cook for longer then 15 minutes because they will burn at such a high temperature. If your seeds are extra large you can add another minute or two, but no longer.
  • Store seeds in an airtight container to prevent them from getting stale too soon. I like to use mason jars.
  • You can substitute any oil you like (or butter). I just prefer the taste of olive oil.

I hope you are are enjoying the start of fall!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love