Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Blink...

I originally wrote this blog post Tuesday night, but for some reason when I was posting my song lyrics at the end...the whole thing deleted out and I was so pissed at that point that I just never attempted to re-write it.  Now the original post was somewhat profound, at least for the types of things I have to say, and I will try to re-create that to some extent, so bear with me.
A blink of an eye..sometimes that's really as long as life seems right?  Or at least that's the metaphor we like to use to describe our short, sometimes bleak, existence here on earth.  But what if your life really did change in the blink of an eye, perhaps not even for the better.  The NICU baby I cared for last week and this week (on Tuesday) seemed a bit worse for the wear when I came into the NICU on Tuesday morning.  Around 730 she was already awake (even with her little cpap breathing machine on) and the RN I was working with decided that we would start doing care for her (vital signs, diaper change, giving her a break from her mask, etc).  So all of the NICU babies are hooked up to various alarms/sensors that go off whether a number is too low and sometimes because it is too high.  So when the alarm started going off I had already been somewhat trained to look at it briefly but move on, knowing that their fragile little systems frequently set off the alarms but then right themselves.  But this time it didn't, it kept going off, as the RN and I carefully positioned the baby and she was rubbing her back.  The monitor indicated her heart was not beating and she was not breathing and it seemed like....well it felt like forever.  I stopped breathing right along with her, wondering if perhaps mistakenly as the nursing student this was not as dire as it seemed to me in that moment.  Less than a minute passed before she took another breath and the monitors shut off, but still her body was pale and not pink as it lay before me.  I looked to the RN for re-assurance that I was crazy and had imagined how bad it was as she said to me, "We almost lost her there for a minute."  Oh my God, we had really?!?!  And like that, all I could think was how precious this life was that almost blinked out of existence.  It did not matter to me that I worry about what her home life will be when she survives, or how stupid her parents are, or how it is somewhat her mom's fault that she was born pre-mature...all that mattered was that she lived and still has her life before her.  And given all of those events, can I do anything less than live my life to the fullest knowing and seeing how short it can be?!?
I later had to witness other distressing things on this baby like an IV poke to her head and a cardiogram to check her heart.  I can't help but pray for her to pull through and to not have any long lasting effects from this inauspicious start to her life.  The next day I was in the well child clinic where I stuck babies/kids/older children with needles all day long as I was giving immunizations.  That did not bother me.  What got to me truly, was the newborns (less than a month old) who have to have their PKU tests.  Those of you with kids likely know this as the foot pricking, however now they don't do it this way.  They start a line in the child's hand/wrist and let the blood flow out from there to fill up the five little required circles.  Apparently this is the less traumatic of the two options, although it hardly seemed that way to me at the time.  After my three different attempts on the babies that did not work out, I have to wonder if I'll be cut out for giving IV's to kids.  But I have faith and hope that I will get better and will do that job with MUCH compassion, tenderness, and love.  This route through school and nursing has taught me nothing if not that it is the right thing for me to be doing and where I will truly shine.  My song goes out to my little NICU baby and also in honor of my niece Frances whom I sing it to all the time...

"Go To Sleep Little Baby"


go to sleep little babe
go to sleep little babe

your momma's gone away and your daddy's gonna stay
didn't leave nobody but the baby

go to sleep little babe
go to sleep little babe

everybody's gone in the cotton and the corn
didn't leave nobody but the baby

you're a sweet little babe
you're a sweet little babe

honey in the rock and the sugar don't stop
gonna bring a bottle to the baby

don't you weep pretty babe
don't you weep pretty babe

she's long gone with her red shoes on
gonna need another loving babe

go to sleep little babe
go to sleep little babe

you and me and the devil makes three
don't need no other lovin' babe

go to sleep little babe
go to sleep little babe

come lay bones on the alabaster stones
and be my everlovin baby

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