October of last year my husband and I decided to try for a baby. This time last year I was talking to my husband about some slight abnormalities I was feeling and he suggested taking a pregnancy test, but I thought it would be too early if I actually was pregnant. A couple days later I decided to see, so I took a pregnancy test and to my surprise it was positive. I was excited and in disbelief. I quickly got dressed told my husband I had some errands to run and left. I went to the store grabbed another box of pregnancy tests, a bottle of sparkling cider, a bottle of champagne, and then checked out. I also made a stop at the mall to grab a onesie. I decided if it was true I could surprise my husband tonight. So I went home, locked myself in our bathroom, and took two more pregnancy tests. I impatiently waited for the results. When it was time I was nervous, but I looked and they were both positive. I put the three pregnancy tests in a gift bag along with the new onesie. My husband was already cooking us a special dinner so I played it off as a “just because” present. I hid the apple cider and champagne in the freezer. We sat down to dinner, and before we began to eat I told Brennan to open his present. He pulled out and onesie and then the pregnancy tests. He was so excited and happy. I decided not to record it because it was an intimate and emotional moment for us that I will always cherish. It is one of my favorite moments with my husband. We celebrated with a glass of sparkling cider for me and for him a glass of champagne. That was one year ago.
Today I am laying in bed next to my napping son feeling thankful for this journey. He is four months old as of tomorrow. When people say, “don’t take it for granted because before you know it they will be grown,” they aren’t kidding. Time has flown and he gets bigger everyday. If you couldn’t tell by the picture he loves chewing and sucking on his hands. Tummy time is hit or miss, but he is starting to like sitting in his bumbo. He still loves to take baths and eat. He is a very smiley boy, and I love hearing him laugh. He loves music and watching sports with his daddy. I miss how little he was, but I also can’t wait to see him grow and learn. I know his daddy is ready to teach him baseball. It’s amazing how such a small thing can have such a big impact your life. I never knew I could love someone as much as I love my son. He has changed my world.
When I try to write about the Las Vegas mass shooting my words and thoughts get all jumbled. I want to have an eloquent post, but in reality there is no easy way to talk about this. As many of you know I am a Las Vegas native. I was born and raised in this city. People always ask how it was growing up in Vegas, and I’ve always said it was normal like any other city. It is no longer a normal city because we have experienced the worst mass shooting in modern US history. Not only did I grow up here but I am also an AEMT at MedicWest Ambulance. I was not able to respond to the incident due to still being on maternity leave. I’ve never felt the way I have this past week.
Guilt seeps through my skin because I couldn’t be there that night. I became an EMT to save lives to be there on the worst day of people’s lives and give them hope, and I was unable to be there for this. I felt helpless as I laid in bed watching this all unfold. However I looked over to see my sleeping son in my arms and my sleeping husband next to me, and I thought what would happen to them if they lost me. I couldn’t bear the thought, and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing one of them or any of my loved ones. I also feel disbelief because just 2 years ago I worked that very same event as standby medical. I’ve walked those grounds where so much blood was shed and I’ve been next to that stage where people did their best to stay alive. I know what those people where experiencing that weekend. I have been there and I had a blast. To imagine while people had let their guards down to enjoy some amazing country singers and have a good time a sick man took advantage of their weakness. I feel scared because I considered going to Route 91 this year because I knew I would be on maternity leave. I could have been there, and I might not have made it out. I feel great sadness for all the victims and the families of the lost. Everyone there will be forever scared whether it be physically or mentally. I hope and pray they heal and find peace. I feel angry about the horrible people saying people deserved this or saying that it was a cover up. It is so disrespectful to those involved. To tell people who were shot at, injured, or killed that it was made up is wrong on so many levels. This is not the time to be sharing conspiracy theories. To those saying the victims deserved this you are disgusting. But I also feel grateful that I was not working and I was not attending. I have a brand new baby boy that needs a mother, and a husband that needs a wife. I have a family that needs me, and I need to be there for. With all those emotions I also feel extremely proud of my city! We have come together to support and take care of each other. I am so proud of my first responder family. Many people woke up in the middle of the night, put on their boots, and left their family to go save other families. Many risked their lives that night. They worked their asses off, and did an amazing job.
This tragedy will forever be ingrained into our mind and heart, but I know we will heal. Continue to donate and give your support. We have a long road ahead of us. We are strong, we are brace, we are battle born. #VegasStrong
So on my last post about my birth story I did not mention the traumatic entrance of my son. That was a whole other chapter in the birth story. Here it is:
7:38PM on 7/11/17 Jackson entered this world with his umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck. It was wrapped so tightly that my doctor could not put a finger between the cord and his neck. She had to cut the cord off. I never heard him cry. He was placed on my stomach blue and not breathing. He was quickly whisked away to be worked on. It was chaos.
There were so many people bustling around. An entire NICU team, my family, my doctor, my nurses. My mom stood by me and held my hand as the NICU team worked on my baby. For those thinking why wasn’t my husband standing by me he was carefully watching over our son. I couldn’t even see him across the room with all the people surrounding him. They had hooked him up to a CPAP machine to get him to breathe and had to stimulate him. I finally heard him whine, but he still wasn’t breathing like he should. Everyone had a different opinion of what was going on, but the overall consensus was he was going to the NICU. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to see him before he left, but my doctor grabbed him and brought him to me. For a minute I got to hold my son and look into his eyes. He was so beautiful! He was already hooked up to so many wires. Then they took him away.
Once I finally got to go to the NICU to see him we were told he had a pnuemothorax. A pnuemo is a hole in his lung. It was most likely caused by the CPAP. For newborns it is not an uncommon occurrence and they usually heal on their own. So there he was laying in an incubator in the NICU, my world. He had been poked, prodded, and hooked up to oxygen. Only hours old and he had already been through so much. As much as I wanted I couldn’t comfort him. I felt lost, useless, and scared.
Jackson stayed in the NICU for 5 days. Leaving my newborn son in the hospital as I went home was one of the hardest things I had to do. I waited 9 months for him and I couldn’t bring him home. I was a wreck, but my husband was such a rock for me. I don’t know what I would have done without him. We spent almost every waking hour in the NICU with Jax, and every time we had to leave I fell apart. He was healing though, and the last two days he was kept only because he was jaundice. Saturday 7/16/17 he was finally discharged. He had passed all of his tests, and he was coming home. Relief washed over us as we left the hospital with our son. I can’t even put into words what the whole experience was like. It was the most frightening and hardest experience I have ever had to go through. I am so thankful he is healthy and alive.
I wish I had comforting words for any mothers going through the same thing, but in all honesty there is nothing I could say that would make you feel better. Just know you are not alone, and not to hide any of your emotions. It is perfectly okay to cry and be angry. If you have a partner lean on them. Don’t try to do it alone. I hope it works out for you, and your baby is healthy and gets to go home with you. Stay strong!
I know I have been MIA lately, but having a newborn in the house takes some time to get used to. Just when you think you have a routine, they go and throw it all off. I am loving being a mom though. So here is my birth story and why I ditched my natural birth plan.
Before I even got pregnant I had wanted a natural birth. I didn’t want any medical pain interventions. I thought it was healthier for me and the baby, and thought it would be more of an experience. People thought I was crazy when I told them I did not want an epidural, and I wanted to prove to all of them it could be done. As anyone knows though you have to be flexible when it comes to labor and delivery. So as much as I wanted a natural birth I was also prepared for other plans.
After 17 hours of labor slowly progressing we decided it was time to go to the hospital at 5AM on 7/11/17. We packed our last minute things and headed out the door. Upon arrival at the hospital we were told I was still 1.5cm dilated which I was at when I had gone to the doctor a few days before. We tried walking around the L&D ward for an hour and a half to try and progress, but unfortunately I was still 1.5. Talk about frustration since I did everything I researched about. I waited until I could not walk or talk during contractions and I waited until they were 3-4 minutes apart but still I was stuck. So they decided to send me away with a shot of demerol. We left the hospital at about 8AM, and the contractions were only getting worse.
We went to my parent’s house as it was close by the hospital. I took a bath, and tried eating something but the contractions were only getting worse and I was unable to rest. I was now running on about 2 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours. I have never felt pain like this before, and I still had a long road to go. I’m pretty sure I almost broke my husband’s hands but he was a champ and never complained. At 10:30AM I could not handle it anymore. The contractions were 2 minutes apart and more painful than I could have imagined. So back to the hospital we went only to get the bad news I was only 2cm dilated. I felt disappointed, and frustrated, and at a loss. I needed relief and rest. At the moment I decided I wanted an epidural. Thankfully the doctor on staff came in to help me out a bit. I won’t get into the details but in no time at all I was dilated to a 4 and being admitted. Things moved pretty quickly after that. I signed paperwork, my IV was inserted, and then the anesthesiologist was inserting the epidural into my spine. 10 minutes later I felt complete relief. I was not upset that I didn’t labor naturally like I planned. To be honest I was happy and relieved. I enjoyed my process with my family, and by 7PM I was pushing and minutes away from seeing my little man. 7:38PM Jackson was born weighing 8lbs 6oz and 21 inches long. I have never experienced that kind of love. He changed my world.
Here is why I am okay with my decision to ditch my birth plan. I have never had a child before, and never experienced contractions before. I could not physically imagine how I was going to feel. My husband and I had many talks about our birth plan and decided to keep an open mind on the day of. That is what we did. My husband hated seeing me in pain and not being able to do anything. I hated being in pain with what felt like no time of relief. My husband supported my decision to get an epidural, and I will tell you what I felt so good afterwards. I enjoyed my labor after that. I do not regret or feel disappointed in changing my mind.
So for all those first time soon to be mommys out there I recommend keeping an open mind. Create a birth plan, but also prepare yourself for other alternatives. You cannot always predict what is going to happen or how you are going to feel on the day of. Don’t be upset with yourself if you change your mind because you know what at the end of the day you are bringing your little baby into this world. Enjoy your labor experience whichever way you decide.
I’m sure you’ve heard about all the news stories of firefighters and EMS personnel getting attacked, but what you might not know is that it’s much more common than you think. Not only is it common, but it’s also been going on much longer than they portray on the news. We all know the dangers of firefighting; however, no one really talks about how dangerous it is to work on an ambulance.
First of all, we all work in a big toaster that crumples in an instant. You add in driving at high speeds with lights and sirens, and now you have a speeding death trap. People already have a hard enough time driving, but as soon as drivers hear those sirens and see those lights they forget everything they knew. They are like deer in headlights. Also we can’t always wear our seat belts while in the back with patients because we have to be able to move around and do different things. Sometimes we get thrown around or worse get injured if an accident occurs.
What’s talked about less in public and even in EMT/Medic classes are the other dangers EMS presents. It is very possible and common to get violent patients. Here in Vegas we have a large population of mental health patients that unfortunately do not treat it or control it. Whether it’s that person’s fault or they are unable to get the treatment they need either way we run many psychiatric calls. Psychiatric patients can be very unpredictable, and can become dangerous in an instant. If they decide to get violent there is not much room in the back of an ambulance to get away. The patient is now endangering the life of an EMS employee and their own. We have to be able to protect ourselves as well as our partners and patients, and in doing so we can get injured. This also goes for anyone who could have an altered mental status due to drugs/alcohol or a medical problem.
Recently we’ve had to start worrying about getting attacked for no reason. Firefighters and EMS have a target on their backs. Is it because people relate us with the police? It’s possible, but for whatever reason it’s another danger to add to the job. In school they teach us “scene safety,” which is making sure the scene is safe before entering. That’s all good and dandy, but we can’t always know if a scene is safe or the scene can change while we are there. For example about a year ago my husband was working, and received a call to go to a patient’s home late at night. Him and his partner arrived at the address that was given to them and knocked on the door. To my husband’s surprise he was met at the door with a gun to his head. Long story short my husband is fine, and the gentleman put the gun down. Apparently they had been given the wrong address and this man was not happy someone was knocking on his door late at night. I’ve heard many similar stories. I’m sure many of you heard about the man who was swinging a knife around at a crew here in Vegas, and ended up getting on top of the ambulance. Scenes can be unpredictable just like our patients.
At the end of the day we have to trust our partners, our firefighters, and our police. We all have to work as a team to stay safe, and keep the people we are trying to help safe.
So there is a little peak into the things we deal with out there. Why do we face these dangers and put our lives at risk? “So others may live.” This job isn’t for everyone, but for those of us who do it keep rocking it and stay safe.
Getting ready to house a tiny human is stressful. So here are my tips on how to baby prep the best.
Step 1: Do not wait until the last minute to get everything done. This has been my biggest struggle because we are now less than 5 weeks away from the due date, and I do not have everything done. Where is that whole nesting feeling? I’ve been waiting for it, but maybe I will never get that. Not to mention something always pops up that requires our attention. So my advice is it’s never too early to start prepping. Get it done and out of the way so you can start relaxing.
Step 2: Make a list. I am a list and planner person. If it isn’t written down 9 times out of 10 I will forget about it. So make multiple lists and date things when you want them to get done. Make multiple lists like one for what needs to get done around the house and another for what appointments you need to make, etc.
Step 3: Stay organized. If you know me this might sound pretty funny. I’ve always lived in a state of organized chaos which is basically a nice way of saying I live in chaos. Like I mentioned above with the lists keep it organized and date everything, separate tasks into laundry piles, and make sure all your hospital and doctor information are in a special spot. The last thing you want to do is try to leave for the hospital in a middle of a contraction, and realize you can’t find your insurance card or something else important.
Step 4: Do not stress. I know it’s hard trust me. My husband and I struggle with stressing over everything. If the baby room won’t fully be done before the arrival that’s okay because he/she won’t notice. Also if you are like my husband and I you plan on having the baby sleep in the same room as you; so, there isn’t really a need to have the baby room set up completely. Worry about the things the baby needs as soon as it arrives, and the rest can wait.
Step 5: Last but not least take care of yourself. These are the last few weeks with just you and your significant other. Get a massage, get your nails done, and go on a date with your s.o. Take time to enjoy the last moments of peace and quiet. I plan on relaxing and spending as much time as I can with my husband before my son arrives.
You would be surprised how much we do that in the end doesn’t matter to our new little bundles of joy. So take a breath, don’t procrastinate, stay organized, and relax. Your baby will love you no matter what. Now I hope I can take my own advice.
So what is it like to be pregnant and working on an ambulance in Las Vegas?
- It’s hot as hell! I’m not using hell as a curse word here; I literally think hell is this hot. Working in the summers in Vegas are hot enough, but add in the pregnancy hot flashes and you’ve got an uncomfortable situation. I sweat in places I didn’t know you could sweat in. Or as I like to tell my husband I am glistening in places I didn’t know glistened. TMI? Oh stop you’ve had these thoughts before I’m just saying them out loud…or writing them out loud.
- It’s painful. All the aches and pains that come with pregnancy; which I happily endure for my little boy, are increased by sitting in a cramped space for 12 hours. We’ve all been on a road trip before, and you all must know how uncomfortable it is to sit for hours at a time. Now just add a 10 pound bowling ball to your stomach, and you’ll start to experience what I do. It’s fun…I say with a sarcastic smile.
- I have to pee all the time!!! Everyone knows that’s a common side effect of being pregnant, but I don’t always have a bathroom nearby when the urge hits. There are times we are running calls, and I have to wait until we get to a hospital. Other times we are sitting at a post waiting for calls, and there are no bathrooms around or ones you really want to use. So there is a lot of holding it and hoping I don’t sneeze.
- Everyone asking, “You’re still working?!” Yes, yes I am still working. I can see where people could be confused about this, but an uncomplicated pregnancy is not considered a disability. I get the same amount of maternity leave as anyone else would. Trust me there are times that I wish I was put on light duty or I could take more time off especially this late in the game. So if you do see me around let me answer your question before you ask it, “yes I am still working for a few more weeks.”
My sweet husband gets a lot of complaint text messages and lets me vent. Without him I don’t know what I would do. In the end, I put up with the heat, the aches, and the having to pee all the time for two reasons. The first reason being my precious son that I cannot wait to meet. The second reason being to help people. If you do this job you know we deal with a lot of non-emergent calls to put it nicely, but on the off chance I actually get to help people or save a life that’s what makes it worth it.