Category Archives: Working in the NICU

Faith in Adversity Talk

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This is a talk that I gave in church in March 2015.

Faith in Adversity

Family intro . . . 

Lessons That I’ve Learned as a Nurse

I’m very passionate about my work as a nurse. Nursing has opened a lot of doors for me and has taught me many important life lessons. As a nurse you are caring for people in their most vulnerable times. I see many miracles and many tragedies every single day. It’s helps me to put my life into perspective. I used to work on the Trauma Floor with Sister Moss. While working on the Trauma floor, I realized that life can change in an instant and that we must treasure each and every day. Matt worked in the ER and had the same experiences. I’d see people who would leave for work like they do every day, and then have their lives changed forever because of an accident.  

My favorite patient was a man who was severely injured due to a boating accident where he was caught in a propeller. He was in the hospital for months with a very long and painful recovery ahead of him and yet, every time I took care of him, he was so optimistic and positive. He lifted up everyone around him. When I’d enter his room, I’d feel the Holy Ghost there.

He recognized God’s hand in his life through this tragedy. The propeller was only millimeters from severing his sciatic nerve and other vital organs. He almost bled to death in a remote area of Utah while on a church sponsored youth trip. He received a priesthood blessing. The doctors didn’t understand how he could have survived such a horrific injury but he knew how. He gave credit to God and shared his story with everyone. His optimism, hope and peace came from one place, and that was Jesus Christ. His faith in Jesus Christ and his recognition of God’s hand in his life brought him and others around him much peace, hope and even joy during this difficult time.

Being with Babies and Families in the NICU

I have been there many times as babies in my unit have passed away or when a devastating diagnosis is presented to parents. I have seen the anguish of parents as they let their little one go or the exhaustion that they face from having a baby in the NICU for more than a year. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the reason that we have to pass through these difficult trials, but the knowledge that comes from the restored gospel can help us to find peace in troubling times. A knowledge of God’s plan of salvation helps us to understand the big picture.

Life Isn’t About Avoiding Trials

Life isn’t about avoiding trials. It’s about enduring them well when the do come. The Lord didn’t keep it a secret that we would test our faith and our obedience. He said “We will prove them herewith to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”

The Lord spoke these comforting words to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”

We need to view each trial as an opportunity for growth. Someday we will understand the why.

Elder Pino’s Daughter

In Elder Pino’s talk in the April 2009 General conference, he shared the story of when his little daughter drowned while playing in the ocean. He said,

“The moments that followed were extremely difficult, filled with anguish and pain for the loss of our youngest daughter. That feeling soon turned into an almost unbearable torment. However, in the midst of the confusion and uncertainty, the thought that our children had been born under the covenant came to our minds, and through that covenant, our daughter belongs to us for eternity.

“What a blessing it is to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ and to have received the ordinances of His holy temple! We now feel that we are much more committed to be faithful to the Lord and endure to the end because we want to be worthy of the blessings that the temple provides in order to see our daughter again. At times we mourn, but ‘we do not mourn as those without hope’

This faithful family came to understand that when adversity arrives in our lives, the only true source of comfort is God.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Alma 7

In Alma 7:11-12 we learn that there is no infirmity, affliction, or adversity that Christ did not feel in Gethsemane.

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”

3 Nephi 17:7

“7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf,or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.”

Did you hear that? He said that if we are afflicted in any manner (emotionally, spiritually), we can go to him and he will heal us. I have felt his healing power in my life as I’ve repented and as I’ve been overwhelmed with sadness from difficult times. I have felt of His healing power and I know that it’s real.

Jesus Christ said,

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He is our source for peace and strength.

Mosiah 24:13-15

The Book of Mormon talks about the people of Alma who were enslaved and persecuted by Amulon.  They prayed in their hearts to God for help.

 13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

 14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

Heavenly Father won’t take our problems and challenges away. But he will strengthen us so that we can better endure them.

The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock

Do you remember the story about the wise man building his house upon a rock and the foolish man building his house upon the sand?

The Savior said:

“Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (3 Nephi 14:24–27).

Notice that the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew against both houses! Living the gospel does not mean that we will everlastingly escape adversity. Rather, it means that we will be prepared to face and endure adversity more confidently.

My Repelling Story

While working at the Utah Boys Ranch, I took a group of kids backpacking in Escalante for a week. We were backpacking Calf’s Creek and were going to repel down the 200 foot waterfall. We got to the waterfall and began to set up the anchors and ropes.

There were large boulders at the top of the waterfall. My boss jumped on them and pushed with all of his might to ensure that they were secure. We secured the 2 anchors to the boulders so that we could use them to repel down. My boss and I clipped in to the anchors and my friend began to repel. As she went over the edge of the cliff, both boulders slipped and all 3 of us almost fell to our deaths. But with extra strength from Heavenly Father, my boss and I held the ropes with our hands and with our backs, we pushed against the boulders until my friend could safely make it down to the bottom.

It was a very scary experience but I learned a great lesson. We need strong anchors in our lives. A testimony of Jesus Christ and our faith in Him is our strong anchor. When life’s storms come, we can rely on Him to help us get through. He is a sure foundation.

Helamen 5:12

 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Quoting the words of the prophet Ether:

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men.”

Our faith in Jesus Christ will help to anchor our lives when hard times come. We need a sure anchor. A sure foundations to help us through life’s difficult times. Jesus Christ is someone who we can rely on no matter what. He will always be there. Heavenly Father will always be there for us. He will never abandon us.

He Will Never Abandon Us

When I was 19, I had the opportunity to work in the orphanages of Ecuador for 3 months. While working in a baby orphanage that was run by Catholic nuns, I had an experience that I won’t ever forget. In the room, there were 40 cribs all lined up in a white room. This orphanage was very short of help and for that reason, there were strict rules at that time that you weren’t allowed to hold or play with the babies. You could only pick them up to take them to the changing table. They would even prop the bottles up for their feedings. These amazing nuns were doing the best that they could with their limited resources. It was heartbreaking to see all of these sweet babies who were completely alone in the world.

One day, while I was in the room alone changing diapers, I noticed a group of babies that were smiling and cooing and laughing. Although I could not see any angels, I knew that they were there with those sweet babies. These babies had no earthly parents to care for them, but they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and will never abandon them. They are his children and so are we and he won’t ever abandon us either. He loves us and he wants to help us to return back to his presence.

O God, Where art thou?

The Prophet Joseph Smith, who knew a lot about the storms of life, exclaimed in anguish during one of his most difficult moments:

“O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” (D&C 121:1).

Then, as the Prophet raised his voice, the consoling words of the Lord attended him, saying:

“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (D&C 121:7–8).

Center Our Lives on Christ and Nothing Can Ever Go Permanently Wrong

President Howard W. Hunter said:

“If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right” (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter,ed. Clyde J. Williams [1997], 40).

Testimony

I know that God lives. I know that he sent His Son, not only to help to redeem us from our sins but so that he could strengthen us through His Atonement. Jesus Christ has the power to help us. We must build our foundation on Him and as we do, we will be able to have joy, peace and an eternal perspective as we pass through the difficulties and challenges of this life.

I have felt His power in my life. I have been strengthened beyond my own capacity to face difficulties. I have felt Him heal my troubled heart and give me hope for a better world and a better future. I know that He lives and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Being A Mom Rocks!

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       All that I talk about lately (and post about) is about being a mom. Sorry, but I can’t help it. It is the best thing ever! I love being a mom so much. I love to watch my sweet baby grow. I treasure her smiles and giggles. Every morning, she wakes up with a big smile for me. I can’t believe that I made her! Being a mom is definately my greatest accomplishment. Lilah melts my heart. I love her pouty lip. When someone holds her that she doesn’t know, she has the poutiest face. It’s so funny. I love when she rolls from her tummy to her back. She doesn’t even seem to know what she’s done, but when I cheer for her she seems so proud of herself and she seems to realize that she did something cool. It’s cute. I love her crazy hair. She’s bald on the top and now has a bald patch on the back. It’s so cute. I don’t want to admit how much I’ve spent on headbands. Her hair in the back and on the sides is about 3 inches long. It’s so cute. I love that some people think that she looks just like me. My family think that she looks just like Matt but his family thinks that she looks just like me. She has Matt’s nose. She has my body type, my face shape, my eyes and my lips. She has Matt’s hair. Matt’s baby pictures show that he also had that funny male pattern baldness hair when he was a baby. Haha! It’s exactly the same. Her hair is straight like Matt’s.

      I’m so grateful for this opportunity. I worry so much about everything. I need to have more faith. I always worry that the worst case scenario will happen, but then things turn out so great and I am incredibly grateful that things have turned out so well. Heavenly Father has blessed my life so much. It would kill me if anything ever happened to Matt or to Lilah. I’m so protective and I love them more than words can say. Matt and Lilah are my best friends in the whole world. My life is so meaningful because of them. I just need to trust God more and trust that He has a plan for me and for my family. I know that I can be with them forever, even after this life ends. I want to be with them forever. Heaven wouldn’t be Heaven if they weren’t there.

     Tonight, I’m at work and I’m taking care of a sick little one. She’s beautiful and she looks like Lilah. It breaks my heart.  Being a mom has definately helped me to become a better and more compassionate nurse. My heart hurts for these babies and their parents. My capacity to love and my capacity to empathize has increased from being a mom. My worst fear is their reality and I feel for them. I do all that I can so that I can make their baby comfortable and ease the worry that they may be feeling. I try to take care of the baby as I would Lilah if she were in his/her place. Having a job like this is such a blessing. It’s hard enough to leave Lilah to go to work but it would be harder to leave her if I were doing a job that I hated. I love my job and I feel that it’s one of my life’s callings to be a NICU nurse. My patriarchal blessing says that I will be doing the Lord’s work for my career. I know that’s true. I am doing God’s work and as my husband put it in a blessing that he gave me recently, I can be a living angel to my babies here in the NICU.

Happy Easter!

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It’s Easter Sunday and I am working today. It’s a great day at work. I love the little babies. It’s so fun when we are able to cuddle them. Poor little things have had such a rough start to life. It’s hard to leave my baby and go to work but I’m so glad that I am able to help the families who have babies in the NICU. I try to take care of each baby as I would my own. It’s a special privilege to be a NICU nurse. I’m grateful to have such a rewarding job and a job that has helped me to become a better person.

Lilah has started sucking her thumb. It’s so cute but I try to give her the binky instead. She also has been sleeping 11 hours straight at night. It’s awesome! It’s so cute when she wakes up. She always gives us a great big smile right when she wakes up. She started sleeping 8 hours through the night around 7 weeks and has never stopped. My friend lent us the book, “On Becoming Babywise” when she was 5 weeks and it’s been great for us. I definately recommend it. I don’t have her on a set schedule but we have a flexible general schedule of feedings, playtime and naptimes (in that order) according to her cues. I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to being a mom. Being a NICU nurse has been great practice but most of the knowledge doesn’t transfer over to babies who aren’t critically ill. So I’m just learning as I go. Haha. I measured her length this week and she was 25 inches. She’s grown 6 inches in 3 and a half months! Is that a lot? It’s seems like a lot to me. She weighs around 11 pounds. Everyone says that she’s so little but I think that she’s doing just fine. We have our 4 month appointment soon so we’ll see if we are on track. I stress out about stuff way too much. Being a NICU nurse is a curse when you are a new mom. Haha.

Here are some pics from the past couple of weeks. She’s 3 and 1/2 months old.

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20130331-130017.jpgLilah is great at helping me fold laundry. She’s also great at making lots of laundry for me to wash. 🙂 She has the funniest hair. It’s super long in the back and bald on top except for some Homer Simpson hairs. Baby mullet. 🙂 That’s why we love headbands. I still think she’s adorable despite the male pattern baldness. Haha.

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We love to go on walks and runs. I love my new jogging stroller. I’m so excited that the weather is finally warming up! It’s nice to get out of quarantine. She had a little cold this winter but it wasn’t too bad.

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She will play on her exercise mat forever. She loves batting at the toys and she is now starting to grab them. Notice how her shirt is soaking wet. She goes through at least 3 outfits per day. And so do I for that matter. She spits up so much.

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Hanging out with Daddy. Dad loves to cuddle her.

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I love to carry her in the MOBY. She doesn’t look very happy in this picture but she usually loves to ride in the MOBY.

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Lilah loves her Grandma Great! She watches her once a week when I work.

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Out on a walk around the neighborhood with Mom and Dad. Matt loves to carry her in the Baby Bjorn.

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We went on a walk with Angie and Lilah’s cousins. He looks so big next to her! It was so cute. When we were walking, I was looking down into the stroller through the little window and Justin was holding Lilah’s hand. 🙂 So sweet.

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She did not enjoy this photo shoot. I couldn’t get one smile out of her. Haha. I love that she’s starting to look chubbier. 🙂

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This is Lilah’s passport photo. I can’t wait for Mexico with the family!!!

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First Night Back At Work

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I’ve been dreading this day for 3 months. Don’t get me wrong. I have always loved my job as a NICU nurse, but it was very, very hard to leave my sweet baby tonight. Tonight is my first shift back at work since the baby was born. It’s been a rough shift and a difficult assignment, not to mention that it’s hard to be away from Bug. I want so much to stay home with her forever. I’m so lucky that I have family members who can help watch her. Grandma Thorup and Oma will watch her for us occasionally until she can start to crawl and walk and then we’ll have to find a daycare. I’m so grateful for their love for Lilah. Grandma Thorup and Oma are a huge help to us! Matt does so great with Lilah too. It’s not a matter of me trusting other people to take care of her, but it’s just that I want to take care of her and never leave her.

This afternoon, while holding Lilah, I was crying and praying that everything would be alright and when I opened my eyes, my adorable baby girl was smiling so sweetly at me, filled with such love for me. I was a mess and in tears but she was so happy and that was an answer to my prayer. That was the highlight of my day. I’ve never been apart from her for more than a couple of hours. It was really hard to leave her tonight and put her in the swing so I could leave for work.

I love Lilah so much and I’m very grateful for an amazing husband who takes such good care of us. He is so great with Lilah and he always wants to be involved. I’m glad that he’s taking care of her tonight. He’s jealous that I was able to stay home and bond with her for 3 months. He loves her so much. He’s been great at feeding her a bottle every night and helping bathe her and put her to bed. It’s the best part of his day. Matt has been working so hard at his job with Discover Financial. He also is taking a really hard class this semester and trying to juggle it all. He’s an amazing man and I’m grateful that he’s my husband and Lilah’s dad. Last night, I woke up because I thought that I heard someone in the house. I woke up Matt and he went to check. He’s so brave and I feel so safe with him. It turned out to be nothing. Thank goodness. But I was so amazed by Matt. He will always protect us.

I love my family more than I know how to express with words. We aren’t perfect but we sure love each other and we are trying to be our best. We fall short a lot (not Lilah . . . she’s still perfect!), but that is all part of the journey.

We took Lilah to church for the first time last Sunday. Everyone said that she was so adorable and commented on her cute petite features. Everyone thinks that she’s so small but she is really just right. She’s getting big so fast! She rolled over this week!!! From her front to her back. She did it a bunch of times. We are so proud. She’s also starting to grasp things and laugh. It’s really cute. She still loves to bat at her toys and kick her feet. She doesn’t love tummy time for too long but we try. I love having her sleep in our room. I want to always be close to her. She takes naps on me a lot when I’m carrying her in the MOBY. It’s the best.

The one good thing about working tonight is that I have time to think about how blessed I am. I’m glad that I have a husband and a healthy baby to miss. I’m so thankful to Heavenly Father for my life. It’s not always easy, but I know that God will never abandon me and that great things are to come.

I finished Intermediate 3!!!

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     For work, we are required to do 3 years of mandatory education. The NICU is very specialized and has a very long orientation. Each year, after orientation, one if required to finish extensive education that includes a lot of reading, study guides and pre-tests, a test that  you have to pass with 85%, mentored shifts, and buddy shifts. It’s really a lot of work and you learn so much from it. Intermediate 1  is required before the end of year 1, Intermediate 2 for year 2 and Intermediate 3 for year 3. Sometimes it takes longer because of the difficulty getting mentored shifts due to the patient census which is what happened in my case.

     I finished my intermediate 3 requirements last week! I’m so excited to be finished with those. I can now take care of any patient on my unit no matter the acuity. Lately, I have had some very high acuity patients and it’s been a really neat experience to be their nurse. I’m so grateful for the things that I’ve learned and I’m grateful that I have the skills and knowledge to take care of these critically ill babies. I LOVE working in the NICU and I am grateful for the educational opportunities that we have here on the unit. It’s so nice to be done with Intermediate 3 and my bachelor’s degree before the baby comes! Now I just need to graduate from pregnancy. 🙂

Matt’s Interview in P.A. and My Dream Job

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I know that I always say how much I love my job, but it’s just the truth. I am so grateful that I am able to have my dream job. Looking back, I can see God’s hand in my life and how he guided me here. He knew, better than I did, what I needed and He opened the windows of heaven and has blessed me so much through my job.

Today, Matt is interviewing for PA school at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! I’m so excited for him. When I started my career, I knew that we may need to move away so that Matt can go to P.A. school. I just didn’t realize how difficult our economy would be at this time, especially for nurses. I spoke with a new nurse on my unit the other day. She told me that for the 5 NICU nurses that were just hired, 300 people applied for those positions! That’s crazy. When I was taking my pre-requisites for nursing school, there was a huge nursing shortage and units would give big sign on bonuses if you would come and work for them. When I was hired, there were 8 nursing positions and 88 applicants. I though that was bad.

If Matt gets in to P.A. school at Drexel, and I really think that he will, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is only 2 miles away from that school! CHOP is the BEST NICU IN THE NATION AND IN THE WORLD! The Pediatric hospital that I am currently working at is comparable to it and our NICU is also a level 4 NICU. I would be an excellent candidate for their NICU because of the highly specialized NICU training that I’ve received in my current job! I also will be finished with my bachelors degree (BSN) on December 5th. I really hope that if we have to move to Pennsylvania, I could have the opportunity to work in that NICU. It would be so hard to leave my family here and my dream job here in Utah, but it would be such a blessing if we were able to move to Philadelphia for P.A. school and if I could get a good job like the one at CHOP.

Last Sunday, almost everyone in our families had a special fast for Matthew as he goes to interview at Drexel. He also got a priesthood blessing from my Dad, Bruce, Keith and Seth. I really felt of Heavenly Father’s love for Matt and I know that God will help him.  We’ve been practicing for the interview all week and he will do great. It’s the first time that he’s been able to travel back East. I wish that I was able to go with him, but now that I am in my third trimester, I’m not supposed to fly. I’m so happy for him and excited for him!! He’s worked so hard for this. Since I met Matt four and a half years ago, this has been his goal. It’s nerve-racking but I believe in Matt and no matter what happens, we will be so happy as long as we have one another and we’ll be just fine.

Matt got an interview at Drexel University in Philadelphia!!!

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This week was so exciting!!! Matt got an interview for P.A. School with Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! We were so excited! Since I’ve known Matt, this has been the dream that he has worked so hard for all of these years! It is our dream!! I really hope that he gets in! It would be so awesome to live in Pennsylvania again. I lived in York, PA for a few months while I was on a mission for my church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I love it there. I’ve never been to Philly but I know that I’d love it. Drexel is a 20 minute walk from Independence Hall (where the declaration of independence was signed) and the Liberty Bell. It’s also right by CHOP (the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) which has the best ranked NICU in the U.S. (and the world).

I would really hate to leave Utah because of all of our amazing family here as well as my dream job, but if we had to leave, I would definitely choose Philadelphia! It would be so amazing to get a job at CHOP. I have learned so much here in the NICU where I work and I would love to continue on in another amazing hospital like the one that I work at now. I think it would be a great experience to live back East again. It’s very different than Utah, that’s for sure. I love Utah so much. I’ve lived here for most of my life. I love the mountains, the hiking and the camping! I love seeing my family and Matt’s family every week. I love the seasons and the snowboarding. I have loved my neighbors and my ward. I love that my family lives within a couple miles of my house. It would be sad to take our baby away from all of that and all of her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

We’ll see what happens. I am praying for Matt to get in. He was so ecstatic when he got the interview that he cried and just immediately prayed, thanking Heavenly Father. I love Matt for that. He’s just amazing. I know that he will reach his goals. He is incredibly driven and dedicated to becoming a P.A.. He will be so great at it. It’s his passion.

I wish that I could go with him to his interview, but I’m in my third trimester now and we don’t think it would be a good idea. It will be his first time back East. I’m really excited for him. If Matt did get in to Drexel we wouldn’t leave until September of 2013. It would be perfect so that we could save up some money. Please pray for us!