Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mommy love

Christmas Eve 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

round and back again

So the Great Stay-At-Home-Mom Experiment of 2010 was an epic fail.  After five weeks, including three off after surgery, I returned to work for 36 hours a week, which is full time in the real world, a little more than part time in the paramedic world.

I have great appreciation for stay at home moms.  I don't for a moment think that it's an easy thing to do, and I don't doubt that it is rewarding.
But I was completely, totally, hopelessly miserable.

I longed for adult conversation.  Longed to feel like I was actually accomplishing something other than wiping a runny nose and tossing laundry in the washer. 
Mostly, I was bored. Bored constantly.  It only takes so long to clean the house and throw something together for dinner, and if my husband was working a 24 hour shift, I didn't even bother to cook, just ordered take out.  I would sit, staring at my phone, trying to think if I even had anyone to call, just to talk to.
I didn't.

We threw out various ideas to make me happier. Maybe I could volunteer someplace--except I couldn't come up with anyplace to volunteer.  Or find a moms group, except I couldn't find one within driving distance.  The same for mommy and me classes, baby swim classes, gymnastics classes, and any sort of enrichment activities.  Then we considered maybe I would be happier if I went back to school--but to take one class it worked out to paying $400 a month.  Which is doable, if I'm working.  When I'm not working, it doesn't make a lot of sense to pay that much on top of my $500/a month student loan payments.
So that idea got scratched.  Rob suggested I find some hobbies, but the list we came up of my interests were:
American literature, particularly 20th century essays
Evangelical feminism

17th century philosophy
Religious philosophy
Current trends in conservative theology
Civil War history, especially concerning advances in medicine and women's rights
Rock climbing
Emergency medicine

Clearly, this wasn't going to work.  My interests are primarily academic, but just reading about them doesn't do much for me--I thrive on discussion, the free flowing of ideas, and debating.  Probably my initial plans to be a literature professor weren't far off the mark, but life has veered too far away from that now.

Eventually we decided it just wasn't worth it.  I needed to go back to work, even if I'm not crazy about working as a paramedic, primarly due to the large amount of down time and lack of projects.  I need things to do.  A job that involves a lot of time with nothing to do isn't something I'm suited for.

But for now I'm stuck. There isn't much to do in this geographic area, and though I've tried to cultivate hobbies, I truthfully can't come up with much I'd like, even to try.  Switching careers at this point isn't an option; I'm locked into prehospital medicine, and though probably going back to an ambulance service where I ran more calls and there was something of a career ladder to climb would help the situation greatly, there's none within a reasonable driving distance.  This is a very rural area, and moving isn't in the cards either.

So we're back to where we started. Again.   

Thursday, December 23, 2010


My son has been teething, which has left us with some long nights in my house.  For a baby who has slept through the night since six weeks, and parents that got spoiled by that, it was a little difficult to adjust.  I eventually just put Josh in bed with us and let him cuddle Mommy and Daddy.  That and some baby Motrin seemed to do the trick, and now that the pesky tooth has popped through, we're back to sleeping peacefully.

But while this was going on, my husband mentioned on his facebook page that we were up off and on all night with a sobbing baby.  A few people oh-so-helpfully replied that we should just let Josh "cry it out."

I had never heard of this.  After researching the links and reading the books these people(who cannot possibly be mothers) sent me, I wish I never had.  I will not be posting links to these sites or mentioning books by name, but in short, proponants suggested:

*Letting your baby cry for as long as it takes to fall asleep, after making sure their "needs" are met.  By this, I presume they mean physical needs, and completely ignored the baby's emotional and psychological needs to cuddle and be secure.

*Not worrying if baby cries so hard he vomits.  One "reputable" website assured worried parents this was "normal."

*Babies should not be fed at night after a certain age/weight, and ignored when they cry, because they are just trying to manipulate the parents.

My reasonable reaction to the above claims is: where is CPS when you need them?

So here and now, I say....I will never let Josh cry it out.  Josh sometimes gets a little fussy and wants to lay down and put himself to sleep, so I put him in the playpen and he's usually asleep after a minute or two.  If he isn't, I pick him up and cuddle him to sleep--which feeling my precious son's head on my shoulder, holding him in my arms, is a beautiful thing that I don't take for granted.  If he wakes up in the night, he knows that Mommy is going to come in and change his diaper, snuggle him back to sleep if he needs it,  feed him if he needs it.  Josh knows that when he cries, Mommy or Daddy or Grandma or an aunt is going to come get him, love him, and meet his needs.
I am a child centered Mom.  Parenting isn't about me or my schedule.  Josh has his own schedule--he wakes up, plays for a while, starts crying when he wants Mom, eats, plays, sleeps, plays, eats, plays all afternoon, eats again, plays, eats, and goes to bed for the night.  My schedule for Josh would be: wakes up, eats, plays, takes a nap, eats, plays, takes another nap, eat again, playtime some more, bath and bed.  Josh isn't interested in all those naptimes, he's good with 20 minutes in the morning.  But it's not about me. It's about what my son needs.
I am not really an attachment parenting guru, either.  I didn't feel a great deal of sadness when I realized breastfeeding wasn't working out for us.  Actually, all I felt was a lot of relief that somebody else could do this, too, without me slaving over a pump.  I didn't wear Josh in a sling; I tried a few times, but he hated it.  Not enough space to move around, I think.

In the end, parenting comes down to what is best for a particular child.  I have a lot of thoughts on what I hope our home and parenting looks like--homeschooling, lots of togetherness, lots of enjoying each other, lots of books and music and academia.  But I may have a child who doesn't particularly fit the homeschool mode.  Josh may need to attend public school at some point before high school(I don't think anyone can provide a full homeschooled high school education complete with electives, science labs, upper math and foreign languages, so we plan to send our kids to school in those years).  He may not be interested in music.  I may have a child at some point who needs to be homeschooled and a child at the same time who needs to attend school.  Our life may not look like what I have planned, and that's okay.
Because it is not about me, my wishes, goals, dreams and hopes for my children.
It's about Joshua.  And what Joshua needs, however different from my plans his dreams turn out to be. 

But for now, Josh is a very happy, healthy, secure little boy who gets snuggled in the night, and any time during the day that he'll be still long enough.  He knows that when he cries, someone will be there to pick him up and take care of whatever he needs.
Joshua knows, even at six and a half months old, that he is loved.
What more could a parent want?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Yesterday was not a really good day to receive a link to my alma mater's alumni website.  Josh was sick, I was coming down with it, the house was a mess, my husband was on a 24 hour shift, and I could not believe that I was not sitting in a nice, warm, clean office somewhere with manicured nails and adult conversation.  So in the middle of feeling like this, I happen upon the wonderful exploits of my college friends.
Disclaimer: I know that many of my college classmates are now stay at home mothers.  They were just not people I was friends with..

As I've said before, I was in a highly academic program at a highly academic college.  Googling some of my friends from college, I discover they are now: three doctors, a college professor in philosophy, a Ph.D. in chemistry, a college professor in English literature, six attorneys and several professors of theology.  One friend has an MBA, my best friend from college is an editor and analyst in Washington, D.C. and I watch her sometimes on Fox News and CNN.  Four have written books.  And this was my inner circle at college, the people I was closest to.

Meanwhile, I wiped the baby's runny nose at least 8 million times yesterday.

It is hard not to compare our dreams with our reality, especially when many of our peers have accomplished what we believe to be what we wanted.  I wanted to be a lawyer or a college professor of philosophy or literature. Or both.  I did not want to be a stay at home mom, and, actually, I didn't even want kids. Or marriage--I didn't want to ever get married until I was 26 years old and Robbie changed my mind.  And I didn't want kids, but I knew that Rob would...and my doctor was clear that if we wanted children, sooner was better than later--there was no later.  So here I am, 29 years old, which in my college peer group is way to young to be married and a mother.  In fact, I am the only person I know from college who has a child.  And no doctorate, no corner office, no teaching position.  I'm a mom, and I have no idea how I wound up here.

This isn't to say that I don't love being a mom.  I do.  I love my baby boy with my whole heart.  But I don't always like being a stay at home mom, which to many people, is the next thing to heresy.  I don't enjoy running a home.  It bores me.  I miss people.  I miss doing things, accomplishing things.  I may not get a PhD at this point, but there is a certain level of success that I wanted to attain.  I want to wear nice clothes to work and not have to change clothes five times a day because they got spit up on.  I want to have a job where things are accomplished, my desk is neat, and I get to go to meetings and have coffee.  I may be the only person in the world who loves meetings.

Maybe I just want an accomplishment that I can stick up on the alumni board, too.

We've talked off and on about me going back to work. I  was hired back at my old job, working with emotionally disturbed children and their families, but I didn't have all my addresses back to 1982, which New York state now requires for a child abuse clearance.  And, frankly, working full time doesn't make a lot of financial sense with what we would pay for day care.  If I could figure out how to pay for school, I'd finish my teaching certification, but that's going to be on hold till summer at the earliest.

So I honestly don't know what to do.  I know that a lot of women would kill for my options, and I am so thankful that the choices are there.  But I have to decide what the right choice is for me--to stay home and keep trying not to be miserable, or go find a job and probably lose money on child care.  Or to find a third alternative that just hasn't presented itself yet.
But I have to figure something out before I go crazy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Two years ago yesterday, sitting my parent's living room, my husband handed me a tiny blue box with a diamond ring inside.   There was nothing very romantic about the proposal, or any other part of our dating saga, but there was love, and tenderness, and joy.  He asked me if I would be his wife, but we had both known, for months, long before we had anything "official" going on between us, that he was the man I wanted to spend my life with.

No, there was never anything romantic.  There was never even the gushy mushy type of love between us.  No hearts skipping beats, no flowers, no chocolates, no romantic cards and late night I-love-yous.  We didn't believe in soul mates; my husband does not complete me.  I don't have a single love letter he's written, because he has never written any, and probably never will.  He doesn't have any little gifts or trinkets from me, because that just isn't the way we do things.  There was none of that.

There was just love.  Peace.  Joy.  Our relationship was very simple.  We were older when we got together; he was 25, I was 27.  Our parents whole heartedly approved, our friends just rolled their eyes and said, "I told you so."  We both had dated other people, brief relationships that just showed us what we wanted and didn't want.  We both had our acceptable traits and what we would not stand.  I would not marry a man who, otherwise perfect, had a temper.  He was not interested in a woman who would boss him around or make too many demands on his time(not in a bad way, he just wasn't going to marry a woman who demanded he went with her to Hobby Lobby when he could just as well stay at home).  We both knew that we needed partners who were involved in fire and EMS.  I was not going to tolerate a man who refused to help around the house. I wanted someone who was not overly intellectual or artsy, traits that tend to annoy me.  I wanted a simple man, who loved me and his family, who could work with his hands and fix things around the house, who would understand what drives me out of bed at 2 am in the cold winter morning for a structure fire, who helped around the house and cooked dinner sometimes and who was not going to be jealous or controlling or moody or tempermental.   

And, ladies, I got him.

There was no Cupid, no fireworks.  Only a recognition that this man that I'd been friends with for a while was the one that I wanted to share every moment of my life with.  Instead of fireworks, I looked at him one day across the room at work and thought, "Oh.  There you are."

And there he still is.  Happy two-year-engagement anniversary.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sleep, baby Josh

Josh is sleeping.

Or maybe not.
He's in his pack and play, playing and yelling occasionally.  He's exhausted, but I can't convince him to let go and go to sleep.  My fault--I let him have a late afternoon nap so I could do some things around the house.  I'm in the middle of my annual minimalist longings again, where I walk around my house with a box and find things I don't want anymore.  I always get rid of more than I should, and find out a few months later that I really did need whatever-it-was, and buy another one.
So far I've sold my LG Chocolate Touch, working on selling an Ipod, and sorting through baby clothes to sell on Ebay.  And tomorrow I get rid of my gall bladder.

I'm not thrilled about surgery.  I have a hard time with anesthetic--I don't come out of it well.  Hopefully tomorrow is just a peaceful sleep, they don't have trouble intubating(my husband says he will come do it if there's any problem), and I wake up when it's time to wake up.
On the other hand, the alternative is pancreatitis, which I absolutely don't want.  So surgery before my pancreas becomes any more inflamed is necessary.

But...blah.  Four weeks off work(Christmas time isn't a great time to be off work, but fortunately I already bought most of the presents), recovery, pain, all that yucky stuff.

I just keep telling myself that I will be able to eat again, and not wake up so nauseous, and sleep through the night because my back will stop hurting.

So this is all tomorrow morning.  Until then...Josh, Mommy loves you, but please, please go to sleep.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Joshua's book

For Christmas, I wrote Josh a book.  I figured that bachelor's degree in creative writing should come in useful somewhere.  Wal-Mart's photo lab has a program where you can put together a book online and get it printed for $20.00 or less, so I wrote this little story, found photographs to go with it, and sent it off to WalMart.  I plan to write books for each of my nephews and my niece as well, but here is Josh's story:
Once upon a time, there was a man and a woman.
They lived in a big house all by themselves, and even though the man and the woman had everything they could ever want, the house was still very empty.
Maybe, the woman said, we need something cute and cuddly.
So the man and the woman looked high and low, and up down, and in and out, for something cute and cuddly.
And do you know what they found?
They found a kitten.

And they wrapped the kitten in a blanket and took him home.
But the house was still empty.
Maybe, said the man, we need something that will run and jump and play.
So the man and the woman looked high and low, and up and down, and in and out, for something that would run and jump and play.
And do you know what they found?
They found a puppy.

And they wrapped the puppy in a blanket and took him home.
But the house was still empty.
The man and the woman were very sad and they thought and thought and thought.
Maybe, they said, we need something cute and cuddly and will run and jump and play.
So the man and the woman looked high and low, and up and down, and in and out, for something that was cute and cuddly, and would run and jump and play.
And do you know what they found?
They found a baby boy!

The baby boy had blond hair and blue eyes and ten fingers and ten toes.
His name was Joshua and the man and the woman loved him very very much.
So the man and the woman wrapped him in a blanket and took him home.
And the house was finally full.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A firefighter's wife

A Fireman’s Wife

A Fireman’s wife, the Padre said,
has nights of fear and days of dread
as she hopes against hope
that she can ably cope,
when the dark visions arise
from their blackened night guise
to tell of the dangers that he befell
when he answered the call of the bell.
And in her heart she hides a dread
that the day may bring a car of red
with the Padre wearing eyes full of sorrow
that say that upon the morrow
her husband, her life, will not return
and her soul will burn, her soul will burn.
Burdens more than a wife should endure
but her motives purely simple and simply pure.

She Loves Him.

Or in tears she will quietly be by his side
that day when a comrade has fallen, has died,
because it was his friend, the one who fell
and did not again hear the ringing of the bell.

She must show him her love but not the hurt that she does feel,
or the pain that she quiet suffers when from his grief he does heal,
or nary tell him that she kneels every dark night
after sunset, before the morn’s dewy light
willing his return to their happy home.

(Come home, come home, oh please come home.)
To the wife, the Padre quietly went on,
I vow the fear and the dread will be gone
when the morning sun comes with no car of red
and he is home safe, safe in his bed.
Show him your love and show him your pride
held within your heart that you feel inside
because he is your husband and he is the one
who does a hard job, one that must be done.

The Padre said to the fireman’s wife
“A woman who chooses to live such a life
must accept times full of fun and also full of pain
as well as times full of sun and times full of rain.
But know that the yoke that you quietly wear
is also a great burden that he too must share.
Be content with some comfort, for it be true
and do not be troubled nor your life should you rue
for your husband though he leads a valiant life,
holds higher than the heavens, you, his wife
and he would be resolute and first to agree
that you are the much braver, far braver than he.”


Friday, November 12, 2010

What they did right(homsechooling part 2)

There is nothing I love more than watching my son explore his world.  Everything, at five and a half months, is new.  He delights in discovering new sounds he can make, playing with his toes, and working so hard on crawling.  I love this, and it's one of the reasons I want to homeschool.  I want to watch him discover his world all through his childhood, and I want to be the person who explores it with him.
So this has made me re-evaluate my homeschool experience, and identify what was done right.  There were four main things that, looking back, I could identify as making our homeschool experience a success:

We were individuals.  There was no canned curriculum in my home.  My mother spent countless hours over the years researching and studying out the best books to use.  And simply because it was good for me, my mom was wise enough to realize it would not necessarily be best for one of my sisters.  Our curriculums were tailored to meet our own needs, right where we were.  My mom also stayed away from going with the flow and using what ever curriculum was currently popular.  Just because something was popular didn't mean it was the best thing for our family.

We were flexible.   If something wasn't working, we found something that did.   Just because we owned the textbook or curriculum ddin't mean we would continue on with it.  If it wasn't the best thing, my mom found something that was.

We were not isolationists.   It is a wide world, and there is a lot to learn and see and do and be.  We never felt segregated from the world at large.  We were not super-sheltered, not isolated, and had large birthday parties.  We spent a lot of time with others, whether it was a homeschool gym class, Bible Quizzing, missions trips, snowboarding, plays, or merely spending the weekend at a friends' house.  Even though my sister and I may have been best friends, and are still close, we had plenty of other friends outside the family.  Why is this important?  I have seen many people who grew up very isolated, were not allowed friends outside the family, and now I watch them struggle to cope in a rapidly changing social environment.  Also, we were able to see the way other families did things, whether wise or unwise things.  There were things that other families did that perhaps were not allowed in my family, or were simply foolish.  We were able to see that, to know how what kind of adults those children and teenagers became, and know what we want in our own families now.  There were many things that I will probably be more lenient on than my parents were, and many things that I will probably be stricter on than many of my friend's parents.  And there will be things I will be stricter on than my own parents were.  But because we were not isolated form the world, we have a lot of experiences and knowledge to draw from now as we raise our own children.

Education was a priority.  While I am making a concerted effort to not criticize anyone here, one of the things my sisters and I observed in other homeschooling families was that school did not seem to be a priority.  Waking up at 11 am after staying up half the night does not make education a priority.  Training your daughters how to sew, can, cook and clean while neglecting literature, history, math and science does not make education an priority.  Not requiring your children to finish their workbooks/textbooks/homework does not tell them that you think education is important.  And not striking a balance between good and worthwhile activities and staying on course with your schoolwork does not make education a priority.  Requiring your older children(usually daughters) to run your household and take care of your young children does not indicate to them that you think either parenting or education is important.  
None of these were factors in our homeschool.  Our schoolwork was of the highest academic quality.  It was finished.  It was important.  Why, after all, would you make the time and financial sacrifice to homeschool, if you didn't think education was important?
I have a child now.  A goofy, wonderful, happy, lovely little boy.  He may not be as academic as I am.  He may want and need to spend lots of time with his dad learning how to fix things and build stuff.  He may not be able to sit still very long and need lots of time to run and play.  Every situation is different, but I truly believe that if I stay flexible, accept him as an individual, allow him time to be and learn from others, and make sure he knows that he and his edcuation is so important to me, I think he will be fine.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Josh at 5 months old

Lots of people say they have the cutest baby in the world.
I really do.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

College...for everyone?

I wanted to clarify something in my last post. I am a huge proponent of higher education. I do not believe that every single person needs a bachelor's degree. I have a B.A. in philosophy, writing and drama. My husband has an associate's degree in criminal justice and is a class or two away from a second associate's in fire science and is one class from an associate's in paramedicine. He also has carpentry and construction skills, and does not need a bachelor's degree. He hated school, hated classrooms, and about gave his dad a heart attack when he announced that he was going to college. It wouldn't surprise me if my son has no interest in classrooms and college, and if so, I don't think he needs to attend.
Some people need to go to college. Some people don't. What everyone does need, whether male or female, is a way to financially support themselves. For some people that's a bachelor's degree, for others it's a paramedic certification.
What I completely and totally disagree with is this notion that I keep running into in homeschooling circles is this concept that higher education is somehow worthless. I don't disagree that a home based business is valuable, but I also know that a lot of times, being your own boss can take more time and money than working for someone else. I saw a great deal more of my father when he had a job for someone else's company than when he had his own engineering firm. I also believe he probably made more money, especially once taxes were factored in. I think this is probably true of many businesses--it's the owners that work the longest hours. This isn't what we're aiming for.

I also disagree, totally, emphatically, forever, with the concept that women only need certain domestic arts and have no need for college. I love being home with my son. I have no interest in pursuing a career this time. I am forever thankful that I have a bachelor's degree and that I did not marry until I was 27 and did not have my first child until I was 28. It's not for everyone, but it was great for me, and I am sorrowful when I learn of other women who never had the opportunity to postpone marriage and children to pursue education, travel, and other interests. I firmly believe that my son will benefit from semi-older parents with a lot of life experience. Again, this is not for every woman. But saying that staying home until marriage, learning only what is needed to run a home and do the basic homeschooling, and not working after marriage is so so dangerous. Why? Because it pigeonholes women. It is just as dangerous as saying that every person should pursue higher education. Not every person should. Not every woman should be a stay at home mom. Making a blanket statement based on generalities is never right, and no one lifestyle will ever be right for every family.

So what do I believe? That education is important. That college is often a wise decision. That some people should pursue trades and careers that don't require higher education. That my son is the greatest thing in the world, and I am thankful I am financially able to work only one or two days a week, or none if I choose. I believe that putting my son in day care is not a wise choice for my family.
I believe that every family and situation and person is different. Should my son want to go to college, I will support that wholeheartedly. Should my son want to finish formal schooling at 16 and become a carpenter, I will support that wholeheartedly, too. Should I have a daughter, I will support her efforts to be self-sufficient and able to support herself, without relying on a husband, whether that involves college or not.
No one thing is right for everyone. And I truly believe it is very dangerous to say that it is.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I did something yesterday that I've never done before.

I walked into my supervisor's office and told him I was having a hard time dealing with a recent call. That I've started having nightmares about Josh--that I walk out of the living room and come back and find he's crawled into the middle of the road. That he rolls out of bed again and gets hurt. That I put him in bed with me and accidentally suffocate him, or that I'm not watching and he chokes on a raisin.(Note: I do not allow my five-month-old to eat raisins. However, he puts everything he finds into his mouth.)

I think all moms have these fears.
I think paramedic moms have these fears with accompanying memories. Not only do we worry about our child running into the road, we see the face of a little child hit by a car. Not only do we worry about our child choking, we see the face of the little girl and how we tried to protect her airway, and couldn't. We still worry about the neighbor's pool, but we also close our eyes and remember the still, cold feel of a two year old underneath our hands as we tried, unsuccesfully, to force life back into her wet body.

So I followed my husband's request and went and talked to my supervisor. It helped. A lot.
Sometimes, especially as people who do things like run into burning buildings and deal with the messiest, grossest parts of humanity in the back of our ambulance, I think we start believing that we're different. That it doesn't affect us the way it does normal people. That all those calls just fade into the distance, all the hands we've held, all the things we've done to people's bodies in futile attempts to save their lives. But I don't think it does. I think we learn something from each patient, even(especially?) the ones we lose. I think that each time we have a call, it is just a culmination of all the calls I've had before. Everytime I walk away from a call, no matter how BS or serious, I take something of that patient with me--some small lesson I've learned.

And sometimes you hit upon that culmination and can't move past it. That's when it's okay to hold out your own hand and grasp someone else's. It's okay to ask for help to get up over that mountain so you can move on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Overwhelming stuff....

Josh is sleeping, Rob is on a fire call, and I'm sitting here working on my paramedic refresher. Every three years, we have to go back to class and re-pass a refresher in order to keep our certifications. Fortunately, I got into a little different program that New York state is trying out, and I earn continuing education credits during those three years and then do a core class online. It's working out well; instead of spending Saturdays away from my family, Josh and I lay on the floor and watch the videos and do the quizzes and reading material. Okay, I do that, and Josh plays with his toys and drools on the keyboard. But he thinks it's great, and laughed all the way through the training on snowmobile accidents.

That's my kid.

This refresher is going to take a great deal of time. I'm trying to devote two hours a day to it, in case I go get my critical care paramedic certification this spring, or decide to take a class or two towards my master's. And, mostly, I just want to get it done and over with long before my paramedic certification expires.

But it's just one more thing to add to an ever growing list. I can't seem to keep my house clean with only two walking people living here. I find that I just want to get rid of stuff. And I'm starting to go crazy waiting for the money for the upstairs carpet, because we're trying to cram a 2300 square foot house into just the downstairs, and the boxes are starting to pile up.
Mostly, I want to move into a house that has a better design, and closets, and STORAGE, but that's going to be several years down the road.
And I am trying to sell a bunch of stuff on Ebay to save up for carpets, and I sold quite a bit, but then I found a whole lot of stuff that I wanted to buy and...oops. Spent more money than I had planned, and now I still have a lot of clothing and things I want to sell.
Plus the regular cleaning and baby playing and dirty diapers and cooking and organizing.

Sometimes, it's just all completely overwhelming.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It has been such a long couple of weeks. My great-grandmother suffered a stroke on Thursday and passed away on Friday. She was 98, but in good health, so it wasn't really an expected death. I had been meaning to get down to see her for weeks, never seemed to happen.
Then after we decided that I needed to dramatically scale back at work, we got slammed again--nobody is working overtime anymore, so that's around eight grand we're losing, plus we got notified that there aren't going to be hours at our per diem job where Rob has been working at least a 24 hour shift for over a year. This is a drastic pay cut for us, and I can't quite figure out what we're going to do. I won't put on here what we were making together with the overtime and per diem job, but we were quite comfortable. So now I'm struggling, trying to figure out what to do.
And then.
Driving home today with Josh in the backseat, just a few miles back into my county, a vehicle in front of me hit a little four-year-old boy.
What am I to do? I'm a paramedic. I pulled over.
But I had nothing with me, not even a pair of gloves.
I asked a friendly looking bystander to please go check on my son, sleeping in his car seat in the back of the car. I attempted what stabilization I could, and prayed that the ambulance would get there soon. I borrowed a firefighter's radio and tried to contact my crew coming in what we had and how bad it was. I tried to keep my voice from shaking on the radio, tried to keep the thought that could be my son out of my head.
And when the helicopter lifted off, after I did everything I could do, and so did the firefighters and the ambulance crew and the helicopter nurse and paramedic, I pulled my son out of his car seat and held him close. The wind from the helicopter blew his hair, and he smiled his big gummy smile, and kissed me on the cheek.
Mommy, he said in his four-month-old talking way, I know that you are my mommy, and I love you.
And I kissed my beautiful little boy back, and looked over at the other mother standing there, watching her little boy, now very badly injured, lift off into the sky to get to a hospital where they could help him.
Oh, my precious little boy. Everythign else faded away in that moment--worrying about the money and the hours and the time and all of that. I get to wake up tomorrow morning to a happy, beautiful, whole baby son crawling onto my chest and kissing me till I wake up and smile at him.
There is nothing in the world that is worth giving that up for.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Another one of those days.
I was sick, Rob was at working overnight, so of course Josh chose now to lurch into a growth spurt and need to start night feedings again, after three and a half months of not needing them. Between coughing and generally icky all night, and being alone, and taking care of Josh, I got about three hours of sleep.

And then I let Josh sleep in the bed because then he would actually sleep, and I was so exhausted I fell asleep in the living room in the recliner, and got woken up by a loud thud and Josh screaming. Yep, he'd fallen out of bed. So I scooped up Josh, did the full paramedic-head-to-toe thing, decided he was okay, and then snuggled him until he put his thumb in his mouth and fell back asleep. By then I was wide awake and never did get back to nap today.

So I filled the day doing mundane things, like laundry and vacuuming and dishes, and lots and lots of playing with Josh, who had no interest in naps today. And then Rob came home, and my sister( and her two kids came over, and we had to get all three kids washed and dressed and ourselves re-dressed and run out to a Very Important Chamber of Commerce meet and greet at work, since my mom was unexpectedly out of town and we had no babysitters, so we took the kids to this very adult event.
Yes, that was fun. Fortunately we have adorable and well behaved children, so it was okay. We kept feeding the two-year-old fruit and crackers, and the babies kept everyone enertained with smiles and giggles, and they were probably the highlight of the event.

And then we came home and I looked up tables for FLN's Christmas dinner concert and found two still available, so if you want to come sit with us, buy yourselves tickets for table 1 and 2, and I don't have to eat with strangers.

So this is my life. I never claimed it was exciting, but, somehow, it is definately exhausting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I'm having one of those weeks.

One of those weeks where I check my college's alumni boards to see what the people I graduated with are doing with their lives, six years out of college. This never fails to depress me, because the college I went to is an academically rigorous, pre-graduate/professional school prep college. Thus the fact that over 70% of their alumni go on to earn advanced graduate degrees, write books, become attorneys and doctors and professors and engineers, and other such impressive feats, should be no surprise.

Note: I have not done any of this. I started, but did not finish, an M.Ed. I may finish in the next year, I may not, I don't know.

Or maybe it isn't reading my peers' impressive accomplishments. I know I've come down with pneumonia, but have been trying to put off going to the doctor because antibiotics really screw with my blood sugar, and I walk around a hypoglycemic zombie. But nothing else I've done is working, and Rob told me that I need to go tomorrow.

Or maybe because I've been sick, we've been eating so bad, and that always depresses me too, when I'm stuck relying on take out, canned soup and boxed macaroni and cheese. What we put it our bodies affects so much more than just weight(oh, there's another depressing topic, but, hey, I had a baby four and a half months ago)---and the overload of salt, sugar, and other preservatives never fails to mess with me.

But Rob is done at work up at SSA tomorrow afternoon for the week, and I will go to primary care and get the Z-pack and hope it's not bad enough that I wind up admitted, and next week is another week. So tonight I'm going to bed and hopefully sleeping well for the first time in days, and then tomorrow just take it easy and hang out with Josh.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


It's been a hard week.

I've been hurt.

Deeply. And felt trampled on. Someone who I thought was a close friend has turned out not to be. Someone who I thought had my back turned out to be trashing me, up and down, behind my back.

And it hurts.

I don't have a lot of friends. I work in a male-dominated profession, and we're still trying to find a church we're comfortable with, and even though my husband keeps telling me to go do activities, I can't explain to him that I can't find anything profitable. I've found that moms groups and things of that nature seem to be turn into nothing more than husband bashing sessions. I adore my husband, and I don't have much to criticize him for. And, honestly, I have too much respect for Rob to sit around and publicly talk about the ways he fails(and he respects me enough to not air all the ways I fail, either). I don't like them.

But it leaves me with no one to really talk to about this. To say that I'm hurt and wounded. To try to sort out what I did wrong(and, honestly, it was probably nothing; this person thinks that by trashing me it makes him look good, and it isn't only me he's suddenly turned against). Sometimes we all just need a shoulder to cry on, but right now, I wish so much that I had a really good friend to just go out to lunch with, and play with the baby, or sit on my futon and watch a movie and have a cup of hot chocolate.

But it will be okay. I suspect I'm no different than most young moms who struggle with changing roles and ideas and opinions. And I have a beautiful, beautiful baby boy, and a husband who adores me and wants nothing but the best for me. There is so much love in my home, and I am so glad that I have this to come back to when the rest of the world seemes against me.

Friday, October 8, 2010


It was one of those calls that sends chills down a mother's spine.

Little girl, lost in forest, going on 6 hours now. Two counties are there, the police and fire departments and command trailer and now they are calling in a dive team to search the pond in the forest and now they are calling in an ambulance--my ambulance--to stand by for whatever they find.

I find a babysitter, go downtown. We've sent a crew, I'm covering the county.
I miss my son.

The parents are on scene, no, now they've gone to get their dog in case he can help trace her scent. It was a school trip, playing some sort of hide and seek game in the forest with middle schoolers(which just makes it reason #3,219 why I'm homeschooling). It's getting dark. It's getting cold. She's 11, and not dressed for the weather. Cut off shorts and a t-shirt, and the sun has set and the October night air has rolled in. It's cold even for the rescuers.

We're busy downtown; high fevers, cuts, drunks, the usual. We're thinking about the crews up at the search scene, preparing for all night. I call my mom and tell her she may have the baby all night, because if the search continues through I will be sent up there, and my husband won't be home from work until 3 am. It's getting darker, and colder. I think about the parents, about my son, about how I would be. I would be needed sedation, to be honest. I think about looking at a member of the dive team, knowing he was going down in the pond, looking for my child's body.
This makes me sick, and I can't think about it anymore.

My pager vibrates while we're on the way back. They're calling for mutual aid from my fire department, requesting 4 personnel and our 6x6. They request that they all wear yellow or orange coats or vests to stay reflective. I think of my golden retriever at home, and remember that we need to train him to search for my son by scent. It's on our to do list, but my four month old isn't particularly mobile yet, so I don't think about it too often.

And then everyone is turned back. She's been found, 7 hours missing, in some of the heaviest brush in the forest. She walked for hours once she realized she was lost, hours and hours, kept walking in circles. Finally she sat down and waited, curled up into a ball to stay warm. I remember that I should teach Josh what to do in case he is lost(stay where you are. Sit down, and wait. Yell so we can hear you. If you get cold, here is how to create a shelter. Mommy and Daddy will find you, just stay where you are. Don't be afraid if someone comes that you don't know, this time you can go with them. They will tell you that they've been looking for you, and what fire department they are with. Mommy will be waiting for you back at the command trailer, because they will probably not let Mommy search for you. And if you are hurt, Mommy will be in the back of the ambulance with you, and will probably tell the paramedic what to do).

I think of all the things that I need to teach Josh, and I wonder how I will ever remember them all. And I think about that other mother, and, about midnight when the other paramedic comes back to cover the county, I slip out of work and head to my mom's. Usually I let Josh sleep there overnight when we both get out late, but tonight...tonight I need to hold my son in my arms. I need to feel his soft baby hair, and kiss his tiny baby lips.
I need my son with me this night. To memorize his little features, to kiss them all one by one, and to whisper I love you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mommy Blogs

What do paramedic supervisors do in the middle of an extremely slow 24 hour shift when they are tired of doing QA/QI?
Answer....they read Mommy blogs. At least I do.

Mommy blogs are a variety of their own. I tend to favor conservative/large family/Quiverfull/homeschool blogs, not because I agree with or identify with them, but because it interests me. What really interests me, to be honest, is how someone can have 12 kids, homeschool, can all their own food from the garden, sew Regency period costumes, and still have a lovely, daily updated blog complete with advertisers and hundreds of readers. Quite frankly, I suspect what their children are really doing is watching Sesame Street and flooding the toilets. I also will be brutally honest and tell you that in a few years, when Josh starts Special Josh School, and I have Nicholas, Zachary, Elisabeth and Matthew running around, I will probably not blog at all.

(Note: yes, I have named my future children, so hopefully I really do have four boys and one girl, and I really do tell Josh that he gets to go to Special Josh School when he's five instead of having to sit a desk in Regular Boring Everyone Else's School. Usually when I tell him this, he just gives me a toothless, slobbery kiss and I melt into a puddle of Mommy mush.)

And here, I'm not talking about the women I read who updated every few days, posting interesting articles on their family life and all that. I love those blogs, especially the ones from other wives of firefighters, because then I know I'm not alone when the baby is sick, the house is a mess, the dog has run off and gotten himself in puppy jail, and the freezer is melting, and there's no relief in site because my husband is off on a 24 hour overtime shift AGAIN. No, I'm talking about the blog writers who go on and on about how wonderful they are, how wonderful their homeschooling is, how clean and nicely decorated their house is, and in between all of this writing, they managed to put up 274 quarts of applesauce, handpicked from apple trees in their backyard that they fertilize with the special organic fertilizer they make in their kitchen. While their five year old is doing algebra at the dining room table and their fourteen year old daughter is busy sewing a complete fall wardrobe for the entire family. And how anyone who doesn't live up to that standard is, at best, a complete failure as a mother and probably is secretly a die-hard feminist careerist who didn't want kids in the first place.

That's a standard that (a) nobody can live up to and (b) why would you want to, anyway? Fifty years from now, is my son going to care that I had a beautiful blog attracting hundreds of readers and Special Homemade Applesauce, or is he going to care that I spent my time at home on the floor with him, rolling a ball back and forth? Is he going to remember the homemade decorations on the walls, or the afternoons we went to the park? Is my son going to feel horribly neglected and become a psychopath because Mommy chose to work one shift a week, or his he going to look back and remember his dad bringing him every week to see Mommy at work, and all the love and attention he gets from his firefighter/EMT "uncles." (Plus, it's pretty cool when you're four months and you get to sleep on the stretcher while Mommy does a rig check)

So I'm calling shenanigans on some of these Mommy blogs I read. Number one, I don't believe it. I don't believe that anyone can do everything this women are claiming they do, and do it all well. Something has to give, and I think in these cases, it's probably the kids. And number two, that isn't an ideal that I want for my life. I don't want to be so busy doing all these "good" things(blogging, sewing, cleaning, decorating, etc) that I forget WHY I'm doing them--my family. I don't want to get so wrapped up in what I think I SHOULD be doing, based on these Mommy blog claims, that I wake up and watch my son get in the car and leave for college, and wonder what happened to my little boy with the toothless, slobbery kisses.

Because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters are those kisses.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Babies don't keep

mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth
hang out the washing, make up the bed,
sew on a button and butter the bread.

where is the mother who's house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
Lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake darling, and peek, peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockabye, lullaby loo

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Josh at 3 months

I love you, lovely baby. I love watching you grow--finding your thumb, sucking your toes, blowing bubbles, laughing all the time. I never imagined I would have such an easy baby. I never imagined I would be greeted in the morning by a huge smile spreading across your face when you saw me, or that you would be the happiest, most content baby I have ever met. You make me want to have a dozen of you.
Daddy and I enjoyed camping with you this weekend. Watching your little face when we brought you into bed with us and cuddled on a lazy Friday morning. Feeling your wet sloppy kisses on my cheek, your little arms wrapping themselves around my neck. I loved having three days when work didn't call 26 times, when nobody needed me to do anything or go anywhere, three days where all I had to do was play with you. Daddy and I loved it.

You're growing so big so quickly. You've been rolling over since you were two weeks old, but now you're trying so hard to push yourself into a sitting position, and when I'm not looking, you scooch yourself all over the living room. You're in love with your mobile that plays above your crib, and you've recently decided that you'd much rather watch that for a while and then roll over on your tummy and suck your thumb and fall asleep, instead of letting Mommy rock you and feed you till you drift off. You're three months old and already asserting your independence. You're sleeping through the night, now, too, eight or ten hours stretches of time where you sleep, and then when you wake up, you want your diaper changed quickly and then you want to play for a while. You've established your own routine and schedule with little thought to the one Mommy might want. I like this in you. I want you to be independent and strong and assertive.

Oh my beautiful little one, you bring us so much joy every moment. We can't wait to watch you grow up into the man I know you'll be.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

the story of you

Dear little Josh,

Two years ago, I thought I would never have children. Never marry, never have children, and at the rate my life was going, never move out of your grandparents' house. I was 26 years old, a brand new paramedic trying to find a job, with a best friend named Melissa who had a really cute brother who didn't believe in having girlfriends.
I couldn't figure that out. What does a red-blooded, American, 25-year-old male who doesn't believe in girlfriends DO?

Well, if you are your daddy, you spend a lot of time hanging out with your sister and her best friend. You go to all the movies they go to, and watch movies at home, and go to church with them, and trail everyplace they go. And you never, ever even insinuate that you might be falling in love with your sister's best friend.
And you pick up shifts at work with her.
And you talk to her on the phone via text a lot, especially once you have convinced her that you don't want a girlfriend, so she doesn't suspect anything.
And you spend so much time with her that you forget about dating, and you simply become the very best of friends.
And eventually, once she is so madly in love with you that she can't stand having to act like she doesn't care for you anymore, you offer yourself up as a date for her little sister's wedding. And after that wedding, you privately tell her that you love her. And of course she knows you well enough that if you are telling her that you love her, then what you are really saying is that you want to marry her.

That, dear little Joshua, is what you do if you are your daddy.

And a few months later, one night in her parents house, you hand her the ring that you so carefully selected, and she slips it on her finger and whispers yes, of course I will. And she wonders if, finally, you might even kiss her now that she is wearing your diamond ring--but you don't.

And just three months after that, in the same living room where you asked her to marry you, you and her, in front of just your families and three close friends, take the vow you were waiting your whole life for. The one and only woman you so faithfully kept your heart for.
And you will kiss her, there in her childhood living room, and it is a good kiss.

And a year and two months later, a beautiful little boy comes to live with you and join your family. And he looks a lot like his daddy, and his mommy's heart is so full it could burst.

And, if you are your daddy, you all live happily ever after.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I know I haven't written much. Life's been busy. I smell like spit up and baby formula and unwashed hair. I'm sleeping four hours a night and putting together an entire orientation and training program at work. And I just went back on the road two weeks ago. I've missed work. I like teaching. I like being a paramedic. I love my son.

But I am so tired all the time.

Other things have been stressful. There is much infighting and arguing and silliness going on, not between my husband and I(though, admittedly, we've found ourselves bringing some of it home) but between colleaues. Things we've been caught up in, things we've taken much too seriously. I have no use for drama, or BS, or stupidity. It's too much like religion; people take what they believe and what works for them too seriously, and criticize everyone else. Instead of recognizing and appreciating people's differences and choices, we demand that everything must be one way, without searching for a compromise. And that means that there are hurt feelings and hurt people, with long time friendships split and people divided into little factions. And I simply have no use for that.

I've found motherhood to be lonely. Part of it is that I don't know a lot of women my age. Many of the mothers I know in my area had children early and are well out of the infant stage. The women I know from college and graduate school are, like me, pushing 30, but many of them have yet to marry, and the ones who are married are waiting a quite a bit longer for kids. And I am afraid that, as time goes by, we will have less and less in common. Mostly, though, there is just nobody around me that I have anything in common with, and even though my husband tells me to find activities where I can meet people, I can't find much I'm interested in. This isn't exactly an exciting, family friendly town where I live.

Am I complaining? Not really. I just wish there was Gymboree and Mommy and Me and baby swim lessons in this area. I wish that the churches around here were not so quick to subtly condemn working moms and offered things in the evenings, instead of Tuesday mornings. I wish that my decision to keep my baby with me in church didn't relegate me to the back pew. I wish...maybe all I wish is that we were all not so quick to condemn.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My little boy laughed his first laugh today
and the whole world stood still to listen

Friday, June 4, 2010

Joshua Robert
born May 26, 2010 at 8:53 am
weighing 7 lbs 11 oz and 20 inches long

Friday, May 14, 2010


Sometimes, we don't always get what we want. I found out the last few weeks that my pregnancy had become even more complicated, with my child growing at an unusual speed. While the diabetes tests came back negative, it seems I do have a level of glucose intolerance, and my son was simply receiving too much sugar and growing too fast. A big baby is one thing. A big baby from a glucose intolerant mom is another, because the risk of hypoglycemia and brain damage during a natural delivery is quite high. Along with the risk of shoulders and abdomens getting stuck. All this together has led us to choose to have a scheduled c-section on May 26th.

I watched two c-sections when I was doing my operating room clinical time, and the first thing I vowed is that I would never, ever have one. The second thing I said to my husband after telling him I was pregnant was that I would not even consider a c-section. I thought they looked brutal and horrible when I was present for the two I saw, though both of those were medically necessary and, I had to admit, produced healthy, screaming, adorable babies along with healthy-but-tired moms.

And here I am, having one with my first child, which means every future child will also be born this way. Even if I found a doctor willing to do a VBAC, chances are over 70% that I will be a full blown gestational diabetic next time, requiring a c-section anyway. My OB asked how many children we plan on, and I answered truthfully--I have no idea. Maybe a lot, but I'm close to 29 years old. My body and hormones don't work right anyway, and I would not have conceived Joshua if I hadn't been taking Clomid. I would not have kept my precious baby had it not been for the weeks of progesterone supplements, even though it made me so sick. My days of fertility are rapidly drawing to a close--and maybe it's a blessing. Maybe it's not as bad as it sounds. Maybe, knowing I will need c-sections, it eliminates a difficult choice between using birth control that we don't really believe in and having multiple c-sections, putting my health and safety in jepoardy. It's not a choice we'll have to make. It's a choice my body will make for me, easing gradually into an early menopause.

So Joshua Robert will be born in the morning of May 26th, unless, of course, he chooses to grace us with his presence before then. As of yesterday at 37 weeks, my child is measuring 8 pounds with the shoulders of a linebacker. He also has a lot of hair on his head--we were able to see it waving in the enormous amounts of amniotic fluid.

Twelve days, and I will be holding my firstborn child...I still stand amazed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I've set up a website specifically for Joshua; this way I'm not trying to update a blog and facebook and all of that all at once. If you're interested, it's

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Housing woes


We have outgrown this apartment. We outgrew it a long time ago, and started looking for houses. We made a purchase offer on one, and it was accepted by the sellers, but it was also a short sale, meaning that their bank had to approve it. In the midst of all of this, the bank sold the mortgage to another bank, and the whole thing fell apart. We found a house we liked better that was closer to where we wanted to be, put an offer in after looking at it once, and then wated.
And waited.
And waited.

The mortgage company lost paperwork, needed more paperwork, and in general tied the whole process up for several months. They finally get everything they need, and set a closing date. For today.

We were thrilled to have it all done and over with. We acquired a golden retriever puppy two weeks ago(having put the deposit down when we were told we would absolutely be in the house by the first week of February) who isn't doing too well in the apartment and needs a yard to run in. We need more room. I especially wanted to move before I got too much larger and uncomfortable.

And then the realtor called today to tell us that the owner, in her will, left the house to 17 people. I did not know this was even a possibility but apparently it is. All 17 people have to sign the papers, and 3 of them haven't, so we're waiting. Indefinately.

Makes me want to bang my head against the wall...they said maybe next week we could tenatively reschedule a closing date.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More letters

This is going to be a love letter to my husband. If you're not interested in mushy, don't read it.

I love you.
2 years together and I still can't get enough of you. (Even though it was seven months into the relationship that you actually told me you wanted to date, and I suggested we just go ahead and get married, instead)
So many people say that they married their best friend. We actually did.

You are my everything. The last six and half months have not been easy. I didn't know I could feel so tired and sick all the time and still survive, but you've made it better--by working two jobs so I didn't feel pressured or have to work. By coming home, even when you're exhausted, and helping pick up the apartment or do dishes so I didn't feel so overwhelmed. Or by cooking dinner on the nights I feel so sick. And yesterday, when we found out that maybe I needed to rest a lot more and spend a lot less time on my feet, you took it upon yourself to find someplace for the puppy to go so I didn't have to worry about him, and then cooking a bunch of food before leaving for work so that I would have lunch and dinner and dessert already prepared for today. I love how you instinctively know that I need to cuddle or just have a hug. I love how we've never had a fight, how you make it a point to sit down and talk something through before it escalates into an argument. I love that you've never once raised your voice to me, even when I smacked you in my sleep one night. I love the flowers and the chocolates that you send me, and the seventy some text messages a day when we're apart just telling me that I mean everything to you. I love that you are sensitive to my needs and desires, even if it's something as silly as craving watermelon at eleven pm, you happily go get it and cut it up for me. I love how my heart still skips a beat when you walk into the room, and I love the look in your eyes that tells me you still adore me.

I know you think that a lot of what you do goes unnoticed. I hope you know it doesn't, and that I appreciate the little things as much as the big things. Even if I don't feel up to telling you how much I love you and how grateful I am for everything, even when I'm so tired that it slips my mind, I hope you know.

If not, you do now. And mostly...I can't wait to see you again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Last night, I wound up going into the ER for abdominal and back pains. I had put it off for a day, called my OB, who said it was probably nothing, but if it continued, got stronger, and a few other things, I should go to the ER and get checked out. It could be baby related, or it just could be a pulled muscle, or a gallbladder problem that was presenting with unusually located pain. My OB is affiliated with a hospital an hour away, and he said a closer ER would be fine if it got to that point.
Finally about 8 pm the pain became so strong that my husband and I decided that a visit to the local ER was in order. We bypassed our small community hospital, in the rare event that it was a baby related problem, and proceeded to a larger hospital with a good OB unit. I expected them to send me to the ER, rule out any baby problems, and then look to see what might be going on.

When we arrived, we were ushered up to labor and delivery, since I was 20 weeks. The nurses were incredible--kind, patient, knowledgeable. They quickly reassured me that everything was ok with the baby; his heart rate was good, and there was no indication of premature labor. All this I was expecting...and then they left me there. THe RN finally told me that the on call certified nurse midwife would be in, but she was on call and was coming from home. They also told me it was probably a kidney infection but they'd have to wait for all the tests to come back.

It was after midnight before she got there. The CNM walked into the room, introduced herself, and began yelling--literally yelling--at me for coming into the ER. She said this was normal pain and that I can't come into the hospital in the middle of the night for a second opinion. She then said she had a hard enough time seeing her own patients and didn't want to see anyone else's. I answered, politely(because my husband was about to kick her out of the room), that I was following my doctor's orders in coming into the ER. She then continued to berate me for coming into the hospital for such a "stupid problem"(her words, not mine), and waking her up, until we had had enough and ended the conversation then and there. We never got an actual diagnosis, but my discharge instructions told me to drink lots of fluids.

The RN, meanwhile, ushered the nurse midwife out quickly, then stepped back in and closed the door. She had the hospital's complaint line in her hand and gave it to my husband.

I cried on the way home--from exhaustion, and pain, and simple shock at being treated the way I did.

But it made me think.

How do I treat my patients? Am I as kind and compassionate towards the 2 am call for a red, numpy knee as I am the 2 pm call for severe chest pain? Am I as reassuring to the 90-year-old lady with back pain that has since resolved as I am to the 9-year-old with a broken leg? How about the frequent flyers who call three times a week and pretend to be unresponsive when we get there? Or the 0130 call for a drunk? Am I always compassionate, concerned, and kind; or do I silently berate my patients for waking me up for "stupid crap."

It's a wake up call. Being treated the way no patient should ever be treated, especially when I am scared, and in pain, and emotionally vulnerable, and feeling how much that bothered me---and knowing that maybe I wasn't as compassionate towards that middle of the night call for leg pain last week as I could have been(understand, I have never and would never berate, humiliate, or otherwise emotionally hurt a patient the way this CNM did. But sometimes, I, too, fall into the thinking that it's "just a BS call" and get a little sloppy.). We aren't asked to judge our patients, even though it's so easy to do. And it's easy to forget, when we're being pulled out of a warm bed or ambulance in the night, that our patient is probably scared, in some pain, and just doesn't know what else to do but call for us. Most of the patients who call 911 and request help, even if they aren't truly sick and probably could have taken a car to the hospital, are simply doing the best they know how. Are there people who abuse the system? Absolutely--but does that give us any right to emotionally abuse them? Does it give me a right to give that patient any less than my best care, both physically and emotionally?

So as I head off to work, still somewhat reeling from last night, and still in pain, I pray that my patients today, in me, will see only love, kindness, and concern. For who knows--mine may be the only kind voice that they hear all day.