Memoir of a Girl

The stories of my life

Mabuhay Philippines! October 26, 2012

Filed under: Adventures — krisedja @ 11:12 am
Tags: , , , , ,

When I announced to my friends and family that I was moving to the Philippines, with the littles, they thought I was absolutely insane. You’re going where? You’re doing what? A family member called my mother and suggested that she was the only one that could talk some sense into me; she had to do something.

Mid-summer of 2009 I was getting ready to take a vacation with my friend from Ohio. We were heading up to Maine for a week with the kids. In the midst of that, my (now ex) husband and I were trying to figure out how I was going to finish my BSN. It was getting to the point in the program where I wasn’t really going to be able to work because of the clinical hours, and with two infants that needed day care, we weren’t going to be able to support the family on his salary.

His two brothers were already in the Philippines; one of them was studying nursing. “It’s too bad you couldn’t just go to the Philippines,” he said to me one night while we were lying in bed. “Where were you with that idea four years ago,” I asked him. It started from there. I confessed to him that I had actually toyed with the idea of sending the girls to stay with his mother, in West Africa, while I finished the last 18 months of school. We talked about it more and more and eventually all the talking evolved into a plan.

Why did I think this was such a great idea you ask? Well….

We estimated it would cost somewhere in the vicinity of $30,000 (tuition only) to finish the BSN here in the US; in the Philippines, we were looking at roughly $100o per semester, or $3000.

We made plans for my mother-in-law to move to the Philippines and take care of the girls while I was in school. This was good for a lot of reasons. If not for this, it was unknown if/when she would be able to meet the girls. Lucy was already two and a half, and The Baby was soon to be 18 months. Not only would they meet her, but living with her, they would actually get to know her. At that time were were paying roughly $800/month for day care, and now day care would not be an issue.

The littles and I would also be living with his brothers and sister, so we would all really get a chance to know each other.

The stories my brother-in-law had from clinical gave me the idea that the hands-on clinical experience was not something I would ever have here. In the Philippines (depending on your school and the hospital/doctor you have duty at) it is not unusual for a student nurse to deliver a baby. Here in the U.S. student nurses stand back and observe, and might be considered lucky if they assist with the immediate newborn care.

The combination of my brothers-in-law already being there, and the cost of living being so low in the Philippines, it would not be much ‘extra’ for the littles and I to stay there, expense wise,

I imagined that the cultural experience would be amazing. The Manchild at that time was twelve years old, and though he dragged his feet most of the way, and complained most of the 18 months that we lived there, I know that someday he will reflect back on those times and be grateful. Even though today I am still reminded of how challenging that time was in my life, I know that it changed me forever, and I believe it was for the better.

Not much of anything worked out the way we had expected it to, and there were daily challenges. Sometimes friends or family will ask me if it was really worth it (the financial aspect) and I am quick to say no, because there were so many extra expenses related to the ‘project’ that we hadn’t anticipated, but when I really think about it, I can’t say with 100% certainty that it wasn’t still less costly than it would have been here. I am still facing daily challenges in waiting for my documents so that I can take the NCLEX, but I have to say that the overall experience was priceless.


Kid’s Day Out January 3, 2010

Filed under: Mah Baybays,Perspective,Savoir faire — krisedja @ 8:06 pm
Tags: , ,

My friendly neighbor and I decided to make a kid’s day out today; a picnic on the school grounds, special treats and fun running around.

It was a great idea in theory, the only problem is that in reality, by the time we got over there, I was in no mood.  After I returned home late last night from a trip to the mall, I stayed up even later (well past my bed time) Skyping with my mother about her upcoming visit.  To add to the bad day in the making, Lucy was still awake at midnight, and she was up by 8:00 this morning…  she also refused to take a nap this afternoon.  The Baby was rudely awoken from her nap when it was time to leave, and all of these things led to a group of cranksters, which leads me to my point.  Yes, there is a point to all this.

I recently read another blogger’s post on the grayness of motherhood. The main idea of that post mostly centered around the decisions we make with our babies (i.e.- feeding, sleeping, diapering), but she also wrote about how we, as mothers who are human, can tend to get a little defensive when we are discussing out parenting philosophies and choices.

I have been thinking about that blog post over the last few days, specifically related to the topics she discussed, but today something came up that made me think about it in broader terms. Because Lucy was so tired today, she was excessively fresh and lippy, talking back and screaming. I was exhausted myself from being up too late, so part of the problem was that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with that specific problem when it arose. In a sense, I was choosing my battles with her today, but more front and center is my belief that children are allowed to be angry or frustrated, sad, upset, or just plain tired the same way adults are. I think that when you are aware that a behavior is stemming at least partially from a physiological issue (lack of sleep), you are not a bad parent if you let it slide for the moment.

I think that there are some rules that should never be broken, tired children and adults or not, but that sometimes, as a parent, you have to look at the big picture and make a decision as to whether sticking strong to your ‘normal consequences’ for any given behavior will just make the problem worse. Today I found myself defending my ‘lax discipline’, as it may have been described, because someone else thought there was a better way for me to do it. Parenting is not like doing a puzzle, there is not only one way to make a piece fit into the picture. Sometimes it can feel like a day is nothing but battles; on those days especially, you have to sit back and think about whether or not there is a different way to solve this problem, or if you should even bother to classify the given situation as a problem. Some days the answer is yes and some days the answer is no.

We all have different ideas on what good parenting is, we all do things differently. That doesn’t mean that any one specific way is the only right way to do things. If you find yourself challenging someone’s parenting style, just take a minute to remember that certainly there must be some things that you could be doing differently as well…


My Little Lucy May 14, 2009

Filed under: Mah Baybays — krisedja @ 1:51 pm
Tags: , ,

The Man Child would be 10 years old soon after the birth of my second baby.  While the years passed between the birth of The Manchild and my little “Lucy”, I went through many changes myself; I had moved several times, quit a job I stayed at for several years even though I was miserable, went back to school full time, got married, earned my associate’s degree, and enterered a nursing program in order to earn my bachelor’s and start working as a nurse.  Little did I know that there were other things planned for me, and while my daughter is now 2 years old, I am still trying to get through nursing school 4 years later!

Lucy’s Birth Story

After The Manchild was born and time passed, I knew that things would be different if I had another child.   I would be more educated in my options, and have a better, more open dialogue with my doctor throughout the pregnancy.  I would not just blindly accept whatever was given to me.

The pregnancy went as well as we could have hoped for; no complications, I had started CBE classes, including Hypnobirthing, talked to my husband and mother about what I wanted and how they could support me through the process, wrote a birth plan and discussed it with my Dr., who was supportive.

When I was around 25 weeks, I just didn’t feel good and I started to swell.  “That’s normal,” they said, “yes, even this early.”  In the next week or so I had a few extra trips to the Dr.’s office to check the blood pressure because I had a few headaches in addition to the swelling.  “Still normal,” they said.  I was sent for some blood work, just to be sure and get a good baseline, just in case.  In the few weeks that followed the swelling became worse and worse, and overall I just didn’t feel good.  At my 30 week appointment, my blood pressure was somewhere in the range of 130+/90 which was quite a jump for me, and there was a little protein in my urine.  I sat in the exam room and waited for the doctor to come in.  “Are you still working?” she asked as she entered the room.  “Yes,” I said cautiously.  “Not anymore,” she said.  I asked about school, I had just started my second semester of my junior year.  She shook her head and told me that I would spend the rest of this pregnancy on bed rest, that is, after a trip to the hospital for some testing.

As I headed over to the hospital, I called work to let them know I would not be in… for a while.  I wondered what would happen with school, I was so close to being done!  I spent the day in the hospital hooked up to the monitor with regular BP checks and waited for blood work to come back from the lab.  No, I didn’t have a headache, and no I didn’t see any floaters.  I was sent home with a 24 hour collection bottle, strict orders to stay on my left side, and no, there wasn’t a need for me to monitor my blood pressure at home.  This all happened on a Friday.

I went home and stayed on my left side, and monitored my BP anyway.  By Wednesday, I decided to call the Dr.’s office as it was getting worse.  This bought me a trip to the L&D floor for a non-stress test and more blood work.  It was around 5 p.m. when I arrived there, and the Dr. working that evening was one who was on staff at my regular Dr.’s office, but I had only seen her once or twice.

This Dr. was pretty abrasive; after the lab tech came up and drew some blood, she decided to talk to me about my birth plan.  She told me that it was nice that I had taken the time to write the birth plan, but I needed to understand that things change, and it is normal to experience pain and use medication during labor and delivery.  I told her that I understand that I may not have everything I am hoping for due to emergency situations that may arise, but I had talked to the other Dr. about it already, and she was comfortable with my plan.  My pressure was reading around 150/100 on the monitor, and the Dr. asked the nurse to get another reading with a larger, manual cuff.  The nurse came back with a bariatric cuff that was sizes too large for my arm, and got a reading that was lower than my ‘normal-not-pregnant’ BP.  The Dr. said that since my blood work was normal and she was more comfortable with this pressure, she was going to send me home.  “But that BP is not right,” I said, “It is lower than anything I’ve had ‘normally’ in years”.  She pretty much ignored what I said and told me that she was comfortable with sending me home, and I should just call if I have any more problems.

After arriving home, I continued to monitor my BP, which still lingererd around 150/100, both with a wrist cuff, and my manual cuff which definitely fit me.  I parked myself in bed on my left side, and watched some TV.  Shortly after 11 p.m. I began vomiting, so I called in to the Dr. on call.  I told her that my pressure was still up around 150/100, and I was now vomiting.  She told me to head in to L&D at the hospital.  I called my husband (who worked second shift) and told him he needed to come home and take me in.

After some time in triage, they transferred me to a room and monitored the baby and my BP, still getting readings around 150/90.  They called in to the Dr. with a report, and she asked them to use the larger manual cuff again.  I explained to the nurse what had happened earlier and I was not comfortable using the larger cuff, and I had brought my own that had markings that confirmed that it was the appropriate size.  She seemed to agree that the larger cuff was not giving an accurate reading, but the shift changed and a new nurse came in and told me that I seemed to have a stomach virus and I would have a liter of IV fluids and be sent home.  She had an extremely difficult time getting the IV in, and ended up placing it in the antecubital (inner elbow) area, which was quite uncomfortable.  After the first liter went in she said I could have another liter, or go home.  Since I was frustrated, exhausted, and miserable, I decided to just go home to the comfort of my own bed. 

When she removed the IV, my arm started to bleed… a lot.  The nurse thought this was unusual, and asked me if I have ever had trouble with IVs before.  I said no, and just held the cotton ball with a lot of pressure to try to get it to stop.  When we arrived home 15 minutes later, the IV site was still bleeding, and I told my husband I thought this was very strange.  After finally getting it to stop bleeding, I decided I was going to have a conversation with my regular Dr. the next day, and went to bed.

Thursday morning I called my regular Dr. and expressed to her my serious discontent with the way things had been handled the previous evening, and told her that I would not be going back to L&D if the Dr.s on call and nurses could not figure out how to take an accurate BP.  She said she would note my file and suggested that I bring my own manual cuff to future visits so that there would not be any questions, and she would call a prescription in to the pharmacy that would hopefully help get the BP under control.

Friday morning came, and I got up to head in for my regular weekly appointment.  I felt miserable, and started vomiting in the shower.  My husband and I headed right in to the Dr.’s office (I had an 8:30 a.m. appointment).  As soon as we walked in I told the receptionist I had been vomiting, and could they go ahead and send me back to an exam room, she looked at me and said, “I can see you aren’t feeling well.”  They sent me back to the exam room and we waited for the nurse practioner to come in.  When she came in she said that I was reading +4 for protein in my urine, and she was sending me right over to the hospital for labs. 

Because I had not been feeling well for weeks, and I had been brushed off a few days ago as still being fine, I guessed that the lab work would come back and I would just be sent home, so I told my husband I would try to find someone to pick me up so that he could go to class.  He waited with me while they drew some blood, and I called my father to see if he would be able to come pick me up.

There was a different Dr. on call this day, and he said he wanted to check the lab work to see what was going on, there was a possibility that I may need to be transferred to a larger hospital.  I don’t remember a conversation with the Dr. or the nurses where they specifically told me, even after the blood work came back, how sick I was.

The Dr. left, and I heard the nurses chit-chatting at the nurse’s station that she would expect it to be a lot higher than 75, especially with the dehydration… she came in and told me that my labs were back and she was going to have the Dr. come back and take another look at me.  When he came back he said that he had called ‘the big’ hospital and I would be transferred, and he explained that I was going to have an IV of magnesium sulfate started and get a shot of steroids that would hopefully help the baby’s lungs develop, just in case they had to deliver early.  I would have one shot today, and another in 24 hours.  The ambulance came, and transferred I was…

When I arrived at ‘the big’ hospital, I had another non-stress test, another set of labs, and an ultrasound.  I asked the Dr. what the bottom line was, becuase up until this point, I didn’t really know what was going on, other than I was sick.  He said that the bottom line was that I was not going to be pregnant fro much longer (I thought to myself, not much longer, so now I’ll have to stay here a couple of weeks on bed rest?).  I asked him what “not much longer” meant, and he said that hopefully they would be able to hold the delivery off at least another 24 hours so that I could get the second shot of steroids, but it was all dependant uopn my lab results. 

Shortly thereafter, the Dr. returned to my room with a brood of other Dr.s and said that as soon as an OR opened up, I would be having an emergency C-section… my platelets were at 62,000… I thought for a second… platelets, they should be 150,000+… and I looked at him and asked him if I was going to bleed out when they cut me open.  His response was that it was a serious concern, and I may need to recieve blood products.

I talked to the anesthesiologist who said I would have to be under general due to the risk of bleeding with a spinal, and the NICU Dr.’s came in to explain the baby may need respiratory support since I was only at 31 weeks, and what I should expect when I came out of surgery.  It all happened in a whirlwind.  It was like a dream… the next thing I knew I was being wheeled in to the OR joking with the anesthesiologist about making sure I was really asleep.  When I woke up they told me I had a baby girl who was doing well in the NICU, only needing a CPAP at this point.

I had to stay in bed for the next 24 hours, because of the magnesium sulfate, so I didn’t see Lucy until she was a day old.  When my wonderful nurse wheeled me in to the NICU to see her, it was amazing.  The intensity of everything that happened did not hit me until the next day when I went into the NICU by myself to see he; I was so overwhelmed with emotions and just started crying.  Her nurse came over to me and said, “she is doing great, you know that, right?  She is OK.”  I nodded yes, regained composure, and started to learn about what I should expect in the days to come.

I was blessed to have a wonderful nurse when I was transferred to the ‘big hospital’, and we were even more blessed that our Little “Lucy” had ABSOLUTELY AMAZING nurses her entire stay in the hospital.

This birth experience could not have been any more different from what I was hoping for, but I learned a lot through it, and am grateful that we were blessed with a healthy baby who just needed some time to grow and learn to eat before we could take her home with us!


Days Like This February 20, 2009

Filed under: Trials and Tribulations — krisedja @ 11:36 am
Tags: , ,

I know that it is possible, but I just don’t see how this day could possibly get any worse. 


Let’s start with the fact that I’ve been wicked sick all week, and GOD FORBID that I should actually be allowed to stop and rest.


Then let’s move on to the experience I had last night with the first exam I took for my online genetics class.  For starters, it is an ONLNE class, so why should I have to go ONTO CAMPUS to take an exam?  If it can’t be all online, it should’t be an “online” class at all.  The email I had in response to my request for the date and time said “go to room 920″.  That was it.  I arrive at room 920 to find that it is a lab, and it is full of business… and I think to myself, self, this is not an environment that is very conducive to taking an exam.  After waiting a few seconds at the door without anyone noticing me, I go in and say to someone who was just standing around, that I was there to take an exam.  She directed me to a gentleman who was seated at a big desk.  When I said, “excuse me, I am here to take an exam,” I was thoroughly lectured about how I could not just walk into the micro lab like that because it was a restricted area.  Well… I think then that maybe he should have said that IN HIS EMAIL TELLING ME WHERE TO GO FOR THE EXAM. 


I had an hour to complete the exam, and in an hour I was not done, but handed it in anyway becuase I didn’t want to get yelled at again.  The only reason I mention this is because I am normally one of the first ones finished when taking an exam, and it is quite unusual for me to not have enough time.  In fact, I can confidently say that I have never not had enough time to finish an exam.  Needless to say, this business of not having enough time to finish the exam did not please me.


Moving right along to this morning… as I mentioned, I have been sick all week, and I still feel like complete dookie.  So, this morning, I get up and jump in for a quick shower because I hear the babies are awake upstairs and figure they can’t do as much damage in their bedroom as they can having free reign of the downstairs.


So I can hear the pitter patter of little feet while I am in the shower and as I get out, I think the husband must have gotten up and brought them downstairs.  When I exit the bathroom I realize that is not the case though.  I head upstairs to get them dressed and I find Lucy sitting behind the rocking chair, answering me with a “no” when I tell her to come here and get dressed.  I figure, no big deal, I will take care of The Baby first.  Again, I beckon for Lucy to come out from behind the rocking chair, but finally have to convince her that we are going “bye-bye” to get her to come out… at which time, I discover that not only has she gotten into the vaseline that was in the basket on the dresser, but also the A&D ointment… and it IS ALL.OVER.EVERYTHING.  


I get that mess all cleaned up and head back downstairs to finish getting dressed and get my stuff for work together, during which time Lucy not only emptied my purse, gleefully writing all over everything with the pen she found, but also got into the husband’s lotion, emptying the container not only all over herself, but also all over the couch.  


After taking care of that, I go to get in the car and it wont start.  I go back inside and tell the husband it wont start and I ge a lecture about how I left the light on and he had to turn it off last night, and I need to make sure everything is off before Iget out of the car…. AS IF I DONT ALREADY KNOW THAT LEAVING LIGHTS ON IS NOT GOOD FOR THE BATTERY.  In the mean time, I also know that leaving a light on for the 4 hours between me getting out of the car and him coming home and turning it off is not going to kill the battery so much that it just doesnt start… at all…


I call AAA, and go drop the babies off at the sitter’s with the husband’s car… get home to find the AAA guy running all these diagnstics on my car, and I need a new battery. So I ask the guy, after he informs me that the dealership that has been doing the oil changes should have been checking the battery as part of the once-over, and should have noted the corrosion that is all built up, if he can guestimate how old the battery is, because it was supposed to have been brand new when I bought the car a little over a year ago… lucky for me, it was stamped 4/06… meaning those effers from the dealership where I bought it had never replaced it.


I finally get on the road to work after the AAA guy replaces the battery, get about half way there, and I have a message that I have the husband’s car keys, and he needs to leave… he was not very happy. 


So that was the fantastic start to my fantastic day… we shall see where it goes from here.