Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two Months (uh, two days ago)

Our little Elenita turned two months on the 27th!  I am astonished at how fast time has flown by since she was born.  It seems like the whole emergency C-section thing plus recovery time and then diving (or crawling, rather) full time back into school has made the weeks just disappear.  All of a sudden I am staring back into the face of like, a grown up BABY who smiles and interacts and baby-talks, instead of a wrinkled up little newborn.  :-)

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So....she is growing people!  Yes!  She was 5 pounds 8 oz at birth and is now weighing in at a petite but healthy 8 pounds 3 oz.  I'm so thankful that breastfeeding is still working out and that my supply has been good enough so far to keep her moving in the right direction :-) I've definitely had my moments of wanting to just quit and go to formula, but there is something nice about having her milk "ready to go, on the go" at all times, whether we're out and about or both in bed snuggling.  No bottle prep necessary :-)  The only thing that's frustrating is that I have to lug my breast-pump with me whenever I'm gone for a whole day, like for clinicals.

Elenna is smiling so much more now!  It just lights up her whole face! We do "tummy-time" at least once a day, and she does great holding herself up on her arms.  It's so cute to see her make all her baby sounds, too.  She especially likes getting her diaper changed, or playing patty-cake.  

She's almost too big for newborn clothes now, but the 0-3 months is still pretty big on her so we're kinda playing in-between right now haha:-) 

I'm just more and more in love this little person every single day :-)

check out this video of her "talking" - seriously shes just hilarious :-)


Friday, October 23, 2015

In Which We Tried to Go On A Date

Emphasis on the word tried. 

We both had the day off yesterday (a true rarity!) and were so excited that we decided to go somewhere nice for dinner. 

 I was excited because 1) YAY I get to climb out of my yoga pants and actually look like a wife for once,  2) I love Chili's, and 3) I feel like I hardly get to see David much these days with how busy we both are.  

(Clarification though: I do love yoga pants. Just not all the time.)

Ha! Look at her! She's just like "you THINK you're going on a date....."
I fed little miss right before we left so she'd have a full tummy and maybe? sleep while we ate.  Hehe as soon as we sat down in the booth she started crying.  The appetizers came (southwestern eggrolls, triple yum!) and we started out marvelously.  She finally got fussy enough that I (feeling rather maternal) picked her up to snuggle.  

So apparently the problem was not that I hadn't fed her enough.  Turns out I hadn't burped her enough.  No sooner did I sit her upright on my shoulder, WHAM she projectile-vomited all over my dress, back, arms, and the booth seat.  Yeah.  Not a little spit-up peoples.  This was more....volcanic-like.   Kinda looked like I had a car-accident that involved cottage cheese.

Wonderful parents that we are, we left the diaper bag at home (we are prepared) so we used table napkins to wipe everything up and sat Elenna (now quite happy) soaking wet back into her carrier.  

The smell of partially digested breast milk gracing my shoulders was actually not that bad, and my mango-chicken with rice and broccoli was amazing :-)  

All things considered, it was a nice time last night.  She didn't ruin our date - actually she just made us laugh at her and each other.  Sometimes all you can do is just laugh! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Why I'm Not Quitting Nursing School

Growing up, I was a major complainer when it came to schoolwork.  

I remember feeling completely and utterly hopeless while staring at an Abeka math page with a grand total of TWELVE long division problems staring right back at me.  (Twelve, peoples!)   I remember crying at my school desk many an afternoon in frustration.  I remember getting the same assignment back in my "correction pile" over and over again because I couldn't figure it out.  

But most of all, I remember a profound sense of feeling....I can't.

As I entered highschool, I started realizing that my "I-can't" problem was really more due to an "I -don't -want- to" problem. And I remember buckling down and really trying to figure out this Algebra and World History stuff.  
And once I graduated, it was over!  Major sigh of relief.  I was done with school!  For life!  (Or so I thought.)  I had NO plans whatsoever to pursue college in any way, shape, or form because I HATED school and assumed I could make my way in the world without a college degree.  (Which, of course, you can.)  And I started my typical first right-out-of-highschool job, working a local coffee shop, and doing the odd babysitting job here and there.  These were great experiences, and I don't regret them in the least.  I was happy with them, and assumed they would kinda "hold me over" 'til I got married....and then I wouldn't have to worry about going to college and getting a big job. Right? 

However, as I began spending more and more time in Scripture, and began really seeking what God's direction might be for my post-highschool life, I started realizing that um....marriage is not the point of life!  Fulfilling God's purposes for me IS.  Ever since I was maybe 5 or 6, I remember wanting to be a nurse.  I very strongly believed that this was what God wanted me to do.  And so, with lots of prayer, (as well as lots of research help and advice from my parents!), I started my pursuit of my nursing degree.  (Read that here!)

During pre-reqs, I quickly got my CNA license and started working night shifts at the local hospital.  I LOVED that job and it was my first big above-minimum-wage-job!  I was in the medical field, and worked with nurses and doctors every day.  It was super cool.  After a year of crazy-intense and fast moving pre-req classes, I landed myself into the nursing program. 

(And, quite unexpectedly, found myself married AND pregnant my first year of nursing school! Huh!)

My first year seemed hard, but it was doable.  Not the crazy wrecking-your-life horror stories that I'd heard from so many other nurses.  This?  I could do!  It did take alot of work and dedication, but it was doable.  I did it.  By God's grace I made it through the first year of nursing school.

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But now, here I am, 2nd year nursing student, with a 6 week old baby (yeah, she's cute huh!), and finding this year's nursing stuff WAY CRAZY INSANELY HARD.  Ugh.  And it's not just me.  Everyone in my class is having a rough time of it.  We were all previously A and B students - and now?  I'm doing a happy dance just to see a 75% on a test grade.  Gosh it's changed this year.  The content has more than tripled in difficulty as well as quantity.  

Starting this majorly difficult semester out with an un-expected C-section made me come very, very close to dropping out, let me just say.  I was so tired and in so much pain for the first few weeks that I almost completely gave up.  The first test was a mere three days after being discharged from the hospital.  There I was in the classroom, half-comatose from my narcotics, kinda half-blindly circling answers and then hobbling back to the nursing lounge to just crash on the couch.  (And somehow, I managed to eek out an 88% on that test ha!)  

But.  I have a very encouraging and supportive husband.  And I have parents that push me to be better than my best.  And now?  I have this beautiful baby girl that I snuggle every single day - and she is perhaps my biggest motivation of all to not quit. 

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  I have so many journal entries of my late teen years, filled with prayers and thoughts about the possibility of being a nurse someday.  I can't avoid it.  It's what I've always wanted to be, and what I've always felt God calling me to do.  Working in the medical field and doing clinicals for several years now has allowed me to see first hand what an impact you can have on people who are hurting, both physically and emotionally.  Having medical knowledge and skill opens so many doors to be able to minister to others.  

See, for me, it's not just about the money.  Sure, there's a huge demand for nurses right now (and probably always will be).  And sure they make an awesome salary.   But that's honestly never really been my reason.

I want to do ministry.  I want to help. I want to be the best I can be for the Lord.  I know He's called me to be a nurse - so my job is to just DO it, and keep following Him.  I honestly don't know where exactly I'll end up working once I graduate....but I've thought about pediatric oncology for a a year or two now.  And volunteering with Hands of Hope is kind of a given, too!

Having a daughter has really changed my perspective on alot of things, too.  When I look into her big beautiful eyes, I'm filled with this intense desire to want to be able to take care of her. For me, I want to be able to make more than the average McDonald's employee so I can afford to do things with her and for her!  Nothing wrong with a McDonald's job but....only a month and a half into having a baby, and I'm realizing that minimum wage doesn't even come close to covering basic needs like diapers, clothes, formula, etc.  

I also want her to see an example of a pursuit of excellence in me.  To see that life isn't about just eeking by with as little effort as you can possibly put out.  To see that sometimes, things worth doing are HARD.  To see diligence and perserverence. 

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:17

This is part of why I run and work out, too!  I want to be all I can be.  Not for me, but for the Lord.

I've had a lot of surprised expressions from friends and family when they hear I'm STILL in school  All my nurses that took care of me after my Csection told me I should drop out.  (In fact, many people thought I should have dropped out when I got married.)  I even told myself I should quit for a while.

But I know God has called me to be a nurse. 

And I know if I dropped out, I would always feel as if I missed out on all the future possibilities God has in store for me.  

So I'm NOT quitting.  I'm NOT giving up. 
It's hard.  I'm tired.  I'm burned out.  I stay up late to study after Elenna and David are in bed, and get up early again before they wake up to keep studying.  I miss out on fun activities.  We don't get together with friends much.  My life IS pretty much confined to studying on our living room floor and then going to school to take tests.  I haven't watched a movie in ages.  I'm stressed out.

BUT.  I know God has called me to be a nurse.  
So it really doesn't matter what it takes to get there.  God is faithful, and has brought me through so many obstacles already!   It's one thing to fail nursing school.  (And hey, that is still a very realistic possibility folks!) 

But it's another thing to quit.
This Monday's test (just to give you a sampling) is going to cover:

benign prostatic hyperplasia
prostate cancer
renal neoplasms
bladder cancer
renal trauma
renal TB
intersticial cystitis
nephrotic syndrome
polycystic kidney disease
good pasture syndrome
diabetic nephropathy

microcytic anemia
iron deficiency
pernicious anema
folate deficiency
blood loss
anemia of chronic disease
blood transfusion

myasthenia gravis
restless legs
guillain Barre syndrome
brain abscess
antiseizure meds

rhematoid arthritis
ankylosing spondylitis
septic arthritis
lyme disease
sjogrens syndrome
chronic fatigue

So, if you need me, I'll be in a cave somewhere, studying.  Possibly un-showered, DEFINITELY no makeup, and lots of coffee at my side. :-/  The joys of nursing school.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's Fall!

Yes! It is! And I wore my very first sweater of the season today!  

Since our apartment complex has lots of trees and green grass, it especially feels like fall with all the leaves on the ground.  Living in Arizona....well, it doesn't always feel or look "fall-ish" all the time, depends on where you are in the state :-) But it's absolutely perfect here, let me tell you!

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Is it possible to replace your water intake with coffee instead?  I'm living off it these days.  (Yes, even breastfeeding....I chug it down in large quantities and it doesn't seem to phase Elenna.  I think she'd probably go into withdrawel if I stopped drinking the stuff, since I drank it my entire pregnancy too!)  With all the late nights and long days, I need something to keep me awake :-)  My double chocolate creamer is actually my favorite part of the whole coffee-experience he he :-)

Last week at church, we got Elenna dedicated!  It was really special.  My family even came into town for it, which was really great! 

Elenna slept through the whole thing!  It was really special to have both pastors there.  Pastor Al (left) has been my pastor since I was 12, and Paster Joonho has been our pastor since a few years ago.  They have both been very influential in our courtship and marriage, so now having them both pray over our daughter was very meaningful.

The last two weeks have been some of the most exhausting I've experienced in a long time.  (Maybe ever.)  David has worked 5 and 6 days in a row recently (and his shifts are like 14 hours!!), and my school has been especially challenging.  After bombing my last big test, I've been studying SO SO hard for this next one.  I spent almost every spare minute I had studying and re-studying the material.  Lots of late nights and really early mornings, trying to study before Elenna wakes up. And when she naps during the day, of course is an ideal time to study.   

The test was yesterday, (Monday), and I haven't gotten my grade back yet.  I feel like it definitely went better than the last one....but.....honestly I'm scared to see my grade.  :-(  This 2nd year of nursing is a whole new level of hard and really kicking my butt.  It is TRULY the most challenging thing I've ever done.  But it seems like the harder it gets, the more I want it.  It makes me realize just how badly I really want to be a nurse.  So I just keep trudging on.  :-/

The last few clinicals have been pretty darn good though!  I got to catheterize someone, administer Reglan IV push (IV PUSH peoples!!  Something only an RN can do eeeeekkk!!!!), and put in some IV's.  So I've been getting some good experience under my belt, finally!

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Other than school, my days are filled with snuggly baby-ness :-)  Honestly, the last few weeks or so I have started to really enjoy Elenna more and more.  I'm bonding with her more each day and love her to pieces!  She's so cute!  All her little faces she makes, and her impromptu-smiles that are getting more and more intentional with each passing day.  She's just amazing. 

I've noticed though that I can't seem to stop hearing phantom baby-cries wherever I go.  Even if I'm not around her, I think I'm hearing her cry! Ugh!  Or if she's napping in the next room, I keep thinking I hear her crying, when she's totally dead asleep.  Weird huh.  I'm so incredibly tuned in to her little noises that I hear them everywhere lol.  

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I'll never get tired of her baby-smell either.  *yummy*

I'm finally back on the running-track.  Now that I'm 5 weeks post-partum, I'm totally back to normal and so thankful that I've healed well!  And I'm SO GLAD to not be pregnant anymore!  Nothing hurts, pulls, strains, or kicks haha!  It's great.  I went on a 3 mile run the other night and it felt fantastic.   I can't wait to start increasing my mileage again, too.  I figure if I ran 5 miles the day before I went into labor, I can do anything lol!

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Sweet daddy-daughter time :-)
And now, I really do hear her starting to wake up from her nap, for real haha!  So I better go feed the little stinker!  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Life With a One Month Old

I can hardly believe it's been a whole month since this little sweet pea came into our lives!

  Its been probably the most hectic months ever, getting used to everything a new baby brings.  I'll be honest and just say that although having a brand new baby to hold IS amazing and special, these first few weeks haven't exactly been a joy-ride.  Not everything was snuggles and coos right at first (like I sort of expected lol)!  

It's only been the last week or so where things are starting to feel normal, sleep is returning as a regular part of my life again, and I finally have a sense of knowing what to do with this this little bundle!  

Especially now that I'm feeling mostly back to normal, I feel like I'm finally able to enjoy my little girl.

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This week especially, it seems like Elenna is finally getting into some sort of a dependable sleep-schedule.  She's now only waking up once at night (usually around 1am or so) which is wonderful.   And, loveliest of all, she's entering the stage of baby acne and dandruff.  So she's quite the little awkward princess right now lol!  But still super cute :-)

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Even though I've babysat infants before, I feel like I've had a major learning curve with Elenna this month.  Everything is so new and there have been so many things to figure out.  Like...who do we pick as a pediatrician? How do I trim her lil' fingers without making them bleed? (major mother failure which occurred yesterday.) Why does she get so much lint caught in her teeny tiny toes? Has she eaten enough or does she need more? And, ( most often questioned at 3am when we're both exhausted)......


Yes.  As one of my friends (also with a new baby) put it recently, I now understand why scorpions eat their young.  Seriously.   

But like I said.  It's getting better :-)

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With this adorable little girl, we've entered into a world of pink bows, blowout diapers, baby-smell (my favorite!!), spit-ups that look more like cottage cheese than milk (what is my body actually making here...), spontaneous smiles that just light up her face, and moments of wonder where I look into this precious face and just think, wow.

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And then....there's the less glamorous side of things. Like leaky boobs.  Hauling a breast pump with me everywhere I go. Getting scratched by very sharp little fingernails (ouch, seriously). A house that smells like poopy diapers no matter how much Apple-licious air freshener I spray.  Weird twinges and soreness still lingering around my incision.  No longer having quiet dinners, just David and me.  The inability to just mindlessly go browsing through a store on my own.

Yup, we've entered the baby-world.  
But this is how it's supposed to be!  It's wonderful, and hard.  Exciting, and exhausting.  Super fun, and sometimes super frustrating. It's one more link in the chain of learning how to die to self and life sacrificially for others.  

This body - even though it's no longer carrying a little life inside?  Is still not my own.  Now it's a full-time Le-Leche machine lol :-)  

I guess I'm trying to learn how to stop and see the good in the hard.  Living each and every moment to its fullest, even with all the difficulties and challenges and "I can't" moments that life brings. Finding beauty in the places where I feel frustrated and defeated.    Reminding myself, when she's screaming at 1am (and I feel like screaming), that this too shall pass.  And pretty soon I'll be missing these days. :-) 

These precious newborn days.

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Daddy and his little girl!  I love seeing them together!  I love knowing that she is a little part of us.

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School.  What can I say?  I've gone back and forth in recent weeks, feeling one moment as if I'm just DONE and ready to quit, and the very next minute feeling a surge of excitement when I start working the floor during clinicals and realize that in just one more semester I will be a registered nurse. 

I'm two weeks away from passing my 8-week MedMath class!  That's one huge worry out of the way, since passing with an 80% determines each semester if you even stay in the program or not.  Even though I have an A in that class, I still have my nursing stuff to figure out.  Each test is a huge anxiety producer.  The most recent test last week, our class average was a 58% - so I'm feverishly preparing to hopefully do WAY better on the next one.  Yuck. :-/  It's so much information to process.  This last test covered Cardiac (which includes EKGs, heart failure, coronary artery disease, heart blocks, and dysrythmias) and Fluid/Lyte and Acid/Base Disorders (which includes knowing the values of every electrolyte out there and their corresponding imbalances/symptoms/treatments/complications, as well as interperating ABG values, a nightmare in itself).

Completely abnoxiously totally 100% WAY TOO MUCH to remember. (Hence the D I got.)  Ugh.

All in all though, life is going well. :-) Laundry may not be caught up.  Dishes may be piling in the sink. I probably have no plans whatsoever for dinner tonight (sorry David).   I may not have even brushed my teeth or gotten out of my pj's today (it's 1:45 pm). 

But.  God is good.   (And so is the sugar-free totally healthy pumpkin pie I just ate while blogging, mmm!)  Coffee is readily available.  It's fall and the temps are cooling.  I got to paint my nails today.  My beauteous new jogging stroller in calling my name....and I have a sweet baby girl and kiss and snuggle :-)

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I'll leave you with this funny little picture that makes me laugh every time :-) So stinkin' cute :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nothing Without Him

'If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.'
- C.S. Lewis

I found this quote today and think it's absolutely beautiful.  

Because even though life is wonderful, and there is so much good in the right now for me, I still have desires that aren't fulfilled.  I have longings that aren't met.  

Even in all the beauty of today - a new daughter, a great husband, a cozy home and my physical needs met - there is still a great void in my heart that won't be satisfied until I see my Jesus face to face.  

Honestly, this is what I'm longing for more and more these days.  I want to see Jesus.  I want to be there.  I want to start the eternally-living-in-His-presence today.  Because no matter how many things or people come into my life, it will never fully satisfy.  

I know myself well enough by now to admit that I have this crazy notion that the "next thing" will finally be it.  You know.  Having a boyfriend.  Getting married.  Having kids.  Finishing nursing school.  Even that new outfit.  I keep tricking myself into thinking that once I achieve that "next thing", I will finally have arrived into some sort of permanent fulfillment and happiness.

But guess what?  Doesn't happen!  Sure, I am happy.  I am fulfilled.
But not completely.
Something is always missing.  

Because apart from Jesus, nothing will ever be "enough".  

And that's why having Jesus in my life is so incredibly important.  He is the Beginning and the End.  The great I Am.  The whole point of living at all!  He's what brings meaning to this sometimes difficult life.  He's what keeps me going.  He's what promises that there is more. 

Without Him, I am nothing.