Biggest Scare of My Life: A NICU Baby

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!img_1691

My Birth Story and Why I Ditched my Natural Birth Plan

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.

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Dangers in EMS

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.

 

Baby Prepping 101

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. IMG_1569

Pregnant on an Ambulance

So what is it like to be pregnant and working on an ambulance in Las Vegas?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Who Am I, and Why A Blog?

Maternity_DeMille-057Hello all and welcome to my new and first blog!

I wanted to start off by introducing myself. My name is Charlytte or Char for short. I was born and raised in Las Vegas with my only sister. I’m married to a great man named Brennan for two years now, and we are expecting our first child, Jackson, in July. We live in a small house in Henderson, NV with our German Shepard named Thor. I am an Advanced EMT in Las Vegas, and my husband is a Paramedic. I also work part-time at my parents’ construction company, Showcase Contracting. It’s nice to meet you all.

Now that you know a little bit about me you must be wondering why I decided to start a blog or what expert advice I plan to give to you all. Well first off I am no fitness freak or nutrition guru, and I’m not a fashionista or makeup artist. Let’s be honest I barely know how to do my own makeup and hair let alone keep up with the most recent fashion trends. I wear what’s comfortable, I eat what tastes good, and I try to get some type of physical activity in. I’m just a woman in her 20s, a soon to be mom, and wife trying to figure out this thing called life. You may think I’ve got it all figured out. You might think oh she has a family, a house, and a career what more could she want. Unfortunately I am still lost, and don’t know what I want to do or be when I grow up. I decided to start a blog because I felt as though we had plenty of blogs about the perfect makeup look or best workout plan, but not enough on normal problems from normal people. I feel like I can relate to many people trying to learn how to adult. So if you want a real person’s opinion or advice or just to read about funny, sad, day-to-day life events this is the spot. I hope what I can share can help you in some aspect whether it be just pure entertainment or you happen to be going through something similar and need to know someone else out there feels the way you do. So here I am a mommy(soon-to-be), a wife, and myself and all three make up who I am. Watch me stumble through life while I figure out how to be an amazing mom, an awesome wife, and myself.

I appreciate you reading my first blog post, and I hope you return for more. Feel free to post comments and ask questions I would love to hear from you.