I am an RN working in pediatric nursing for over 20 years. It has always been my passion, from the first day I walked into nursing school. Pediatric nursing is one of those "love it" or "hate it' situations, kinda like asparagus. The hospital environment is my home and that's where I stayed once I entered the career. For 15 years I worked as the nurse manager of the pediatric and pediatric intensive care units at the hospital. Very rewarding, and very time consuming!
As long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a parent. The journey was difficult, and long but after 14 years of struggling with infertility I am the proud mom of a beautiful daughter. My daughter's story is a special one as she was born via a gestational carrier, also known as a surrogate. She was and still is, my best friend. She and her husband came to us one evening and wanted to give this gift as a family. Needless to say, we were beyond grateful and can't really put into words what it meant to us. They truly were our last hope. The surrogacy journey was amazing and I learned much about myself along the way. As difficult as it was to get to that point, I wouldn't change the fact that surrogacy was how we were meant to become parents.
Over the years, my career in nursing has put me in the delivery room several times helping to care for a baby. I also became a certified lactation consultant. When my friends started having babies, they kept asking me to be with them during the process. Those experiences changed everything about how I look at a delivery room and what happens there. It is amazing to be with a woman when she is bringing a baby into the world. I always considered it an honor and a privilege to watch human life enter the world. Every single person should have that same regard when they walk into a laboring woman's room. She is about the work of reconnecting with her baby from their internal relationship to an external one. There is no greater moment in the human experience we all share.
When my daughter was born, I stepped down from my manager position so that I could have more focus on my newborn. We have made it through the first year! Any first time parent will tell you that's no small feat! From the moment you drive away from the hospital (or maybe not if you've had a home birth!) to nights of no sleep (yes the stories are true) you wonder and worry about things you've never thought about before. "Why is everyone driving so dangerously?" "What if I don't hear her cry?" "I'm in charge of someone else's nutrition?" .....the list is long. The good news is, on the job training works in most situations! And at the end of the day, when you can't help yourself but want to check on her breathing just one more time, you know that all is right with the world.
Recently I decided to return to Grad school to get my MBA while my daughter is still young. As I've said to my family and friends, it's the best idea I've ever had or I'm certifiable! Typing a paper while your toddler runs around the house excited about learning a new word (in this case it was 'cracker'), brings a whole new perspective to multi-tasking! Of course, I stopped what I was doing and celebrated the new "cracker skill" because I'm not going to get that moment again. If I've understood anything about parenting it is about staying in the moment, soaking it in and committing it to my heart.
Everyone has a story to tell. We really aren't the best about asking each other, "So, what about you....?" But each of us has something to teach, and each of us has something to learn. It's the main reason I am so thrilled to be an editor here at Stage of Life!
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