Monday, April 07, 2008

If You Are Ever in Trouble... my husband. He will find and protect you.

It all happened on Saturday night. I arrived on the labour ward, ready for my 8-hour evening shift that went from 15:30-23:30 pm. It was an incredible shift of learning alongside 4 amazing midwifes.

The family I was linked with for the shift, was in rip-roaring labour and had placed two calls to their midwife without contacting her. They left messages and called the back-up. They again left messages and phoned a third back-up midwife, who arrived shortly after with a student.
In the meantime, the first two midwives received the phone messages and arrived as well! So, it was me and 4 midwives in one room. It was basically my heaven. And the one in charge happened to be the one and only Anne Barkum.

Anne is basically an angel. She's an Orthodox nun by vocation, and midwife by trade. And she manages to blend it all into a powerful mix of strength, love and sensational labour support. She was my midwife for both children, along with her wonderful clinic partner at the time, Sarah Lawrence. Sarah is now raising and homeschooling her three beautiful children and has become a dear friend of mine.

So, back to the birth. It was a beautiful birth, and the energy in the room buzzed with strength, SO MUCH strength. There were many helping hands, so I mostly absorbed the beauty. I did a bit of charting, filled in the spaces when a wash cloth was needed and grabbed a dry towel for the freshly born babe.

When it was all over, and the new addition was bundled and sent home with his parents, I sat at the desk to chart before the end of my shift.

I started to chat with a fellow nurse I hadn't seen in awhile and before I knew it, the clock struck twelve. So, I scurried into my street clothes and hit the parking lot.

About halfway home, I became ravenous. My mind wandered to the then empty fridge and I realized I needed to stop and grab a bite to eat. I was so hungry!! The "OPEN" sign on Boston Pizza was gleaming bright, so I parked and ducked in for a plate of nachos.

I considered calling Bry to let him know where I was, but figured he was asleep in bed and I decided not to disturb him.

Around 2 am, I pulled up to a fully lit house. The curtains were drawn back, and through the front windows, I saw the worried frame of my husband, phone held to his head with earnest.

Oh NO.

With wide eyes and a worried tone he asked "Where have you been?!" He had a police file open on me, he had asked the security officer at the hospital parking lot to scour around for our truck and/or my body. He phoned my collegues on night shift to inquire when I had left. It was funny and horrible all at the same time.

I gave him a huge hug, APOLOGIZED and thanked him for such concern. I must admit that I DID feel awfully loved and a wee bit silly. OH MY. I phoned the nursing unit to assure them I was alive. They had a good laugh when I told them the story, and they grounded me from late night Boston Pizza runs.

What a night it was!
(photo credit: flickr pshab)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Returning home

About a month back, around Easter and Lent, I decided to take some time away from blogging. In many ways, it has been a good time, to quietly reflect on my own. I needed a space away to let deep lessons absorb and settle down inside of me. But I have missed it. And I am again reentering this world with fresh vision--

For Easter this year, we traveled to San Antonio, Texas to be with my family. My parents drove over from Arizona and my younger brother drove from Baylor University where he is in his first year.

We had a wonderful time on my brother and sister-in-law's 5 acre hobby farm. We admire them a great deal and enjoyed the chance to peek in as they homeschool 5 kids, tend a flourishing garden, nurture pregnant goats, gather eggs, set their cow free for grazing. They lead a hand's-on life, and we enjoyed dipping into it (and basking in the sunshine!)

We had a wonderful time. But for the sake of story, I have to say that getting there was not as pleasant. In fact, we felt locked in a surreal twilight zone that took us a few days to recover from.

You see, we had heard hints of the US changing their border laws. But because we don't have a TV and don't see regular news, we didn't know of their recent "crack down". In February, they issued a "no-grace" policy stating that anyone without a passport, no matter their age, would be banned from traveling on an airplane into the US from any other country.

My husband and I have passports, but we only have birth certificates for the kids. Driving across the border is no issue with birth certificates, so we didn't think it would be a problem. In fact, I had mentioned to the booking clerk when I booked tickets, that my kids had birth certificates and she assured me it would be no problem--

Well, when we arrived in Vancouver to board, we were told the kids could not fly. For about 30 mintues, it all seemed tragic. I mean, my entire family was waiting for us, had driven for hours, my brother had booked off days from his busy medical clinic. My eyes were beginning to well up as I realized what was happening. Karumba!

And then, when it seemed impossible, an angel of an airline clerk did his magic (with the fastest typing fingers I've seen) and found us a flight out of Seattle for the next day. All without extra cost. One unfortunate issue was that he could only route us through Chicago with a 5 hour layover and change of plane. The other unfortunate issue was that the plane left Seattle the next morning at 6 am, which meant arriving at the airport at 4 :30 am.

But, we could get there! So we trundled on, reloaded out luggage and hit the highway south to Seattle.

But wait, it gets better-- (or bubbly or bulgy or bedraggled...)

We decided to sleep in a rather sketchy hotel and share a twin bed--four of us. It was already 60 bucks just to do that, and we couldn't imagine spending 80 for an extra bed. It was practically next door to the airport which meant a night of flashing lights and booming jet engines overhead. Needless to say, between the serenade and the jackknifing 2-year-old beside me, I got about an hour of sleep.

But again, we survived. We made the plane the next morning, groggy, but thankful, and turned our noses toward Chicago. When we arrived, we discovered a Spring blizzard brewing and a flight board full of cancelled flights in and out of O'Hare. Ours, thankfully was not cancelled, just delayed 6 hours. And on top of our 5 hour layover, we were in the Chicago airport for 11 hours.

But honestly, I can't complain. Because you know what? There was another family, in the good old Chicago airport play area, for 13 hours with 6 kids. One of which was a newly adopted baby girl from Vietnam. They were complete zombies functioning on extreme jet lag. Not only had they just flown from Vietnam, but they were delayed in Los Angeles and severely delayed in Chicago, and still had a flight to go!

The things we do in life. Oh my goodness.

After all that, we arrived in Texas and had a wonderful time. And our flight home was "normal", with no delays, and the kids slept almost the whole trip! Glorious. It all evens out in the end. It always seems to even out--

And now, we are home. And I am looking forward to Spring. And to catching up on the stories of the last month, here in this space--

If there are any lurkers out there, feel free to comment. If you don't have a blogger account, you can comment as "anonymous". I enjoy knowing you are out there--

photocredit: flickr-Steve Stone