About Laura

With five kids, one with special needs, a handsome son-in-law, a perfect grandchild (seriously, aren't ALL grandchildren perfect??), a even handsomer husband, my career as a NICU RN....what else would I be doing but juggling?

me reflecting on the art of practicing the finest of Fine Arts

Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts

~ Florence Nightingale.

A little more than twenty-five years ago this happened.

It’s true we actually shouted “SMEGMA” as the photographer got this shot. New grad nurses, actually nurses in general can be kind of gross, sick and twisty in our humor, especially when tired, hungry, frustrated, grossed out, ready to cry or just about to lose our shit. If I really, posed in proper, starched nursing whites under a 90 something degree hot sun we were just about to lose our shit as it seemed to take forever to get this shot of my graduating class. Kick-ass, rockstar nurses we were all destined to be; but being able to line up and pose together as a group….not so much. So when the photographer directed us to say “cheese“, “SMEGMA” it was.

Literally a week later, two fellow classmates and I entered the NICU as new grad registered nurses. Dressed in the NICU’s pink scrubs, we walked through the double doors shoulder to shoulder to shoulder scared and excited all at once. Our NICU nurse educator ran up to us exclaiming, “Oh good! You’re here. We’re admitting a 27 weaker right now. You need to come and see this.

My first thought as she led the way was she seemed just a little too excited about admitting a baby born 13 weeks too soon. My second thought, as we approached the bedside and as the four caregivers stepped aside so that we could see was what in the world had I got myself into. That baby seemed to be no bigger than my hand. Her skin was translucent. I could see some of her blood vessels. She looked like a broken baby bird that had fallen from her nest.

Just a week later, I picked up her less than 2 pound body and flipped her from her tummy to her back, breathing tube, monitor wires and multiple IV lines all still attached to her impossibly tiny body. “You need to breath.”, my preceptor whispered into my ear…quite possibly the best advice I have ever received from an RN who helped to train and educate me; second only to always, always take a break when offered.

Twenty-five years ago, I received a card from that baby girl’s mama that she, Baby Bailey, was expecting her first child.

Yeah, that seals it. I’m one of the old nurses.

Twenty-five years of always doing what I love to do…taking care of the tiny humans and their mommies, daddies, brothers, sisters and grandparents. Lots of babies. So many babies. So much love. So much laughter. So many tears. Learning so much…always learning…always….as one does when one is practicing one of the finest of Fine Arts. Always appreciating the opportunity to do what I love…enjoying the grateful hugs from a mommy and daddy as we together pack up their baby to finally go home from the NICU after literally weeks and weeks and then only a few hours later hugging a tearful mama who is literally experiencing the worst day of her life as she hears that her baby is dying. Twenty five years. Some days are worse. Some days are better. Some days are frustrating and exhausting. But rewarding, exhilarating and wonderful all the same.

Some days are hard….horribly hard. But most days are good…the goodest of good which literally saves you from the most heartbreaking, pain-filled days. Then years later receiving a card like Bailey’s mama sent me reminds me again the good my practice has done because Bailey is soon going to be a mommy. That, my friends is indeed Fine Art, Fine Art that I can lay claim to as is each and every tiny, mighty human and their families I have had the privilege to lay hands upon for over the last twenty five years in the NICU. Here’s to many more years, for as long as my mind, my heart, my eyes and my body allows me to.

ready to shake your hand

Six years ago a friend of mine met my darling son for the very first time. As I introduced him to Jessica, Daniel extended his right hand and as he shook hers he said, Hello, I’m Daniel”. And with a firm handshake, my friend and coworker met Daniel face to face for the first time. A day later, I received a message from Jessica telling me how impressed she was that my 7 year old little boy shook her hand and said hello. Clearly his introduction made an impact on her as she reached out to me to share.

Yes, that’s my boy. That’s who he is. Who he has been for as long as he has been old enough to respond when his mom would introduce him to someone.

Hello. I am Daniel.

My baby boy always would reach out and offer his right hand to say hello. Without hesitation. My boy. My baby boy.

Hi, I’m Daniel.

His Dad and I lost count this weekend how many times our son would extended his hand, without our prompting, to say hello and introduce himself to his father’s colleagues at Dad’s company picnic and then the next day to his sister’s co-workers at his niece’s birthday party.

Perhaps this is not what one might expect from the average thirteen year old kid given the reaction from the people who work with Bill and with Hollie; but this is my baby boy, my young man. This is who he is and who he has been. He shakes your hand…or he might reach out to hug you. Fair warning that if you choose to accept his extended hand and introduction he will follow with a discourse on Lego figurines, Nintendo game or, perhaps, the absolutely perfect birthday card he chose (by himself) for his niece. Just go with it. Accept it. Allow yourself to be educated, enlightened and consider yourself so damn lucky to enjoy a hearty handshake and introduction from this remarkable young man

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photo dump: triple digits edition

Dear East Coast, I’m sorry you are dealing with all that annoying wet stuff falling from the sky and saturating your neck of the woods. What is it that you call it? Oh, yeah, rain. I think I heard of rain before. I might have even seen it…then again, I don’t know for sure. Perhaps it’s just what I seen on the evening news. Meanwhile we are hot here in the Central Valley and pretty much everywhere on the West Coast. Very hot. Very dry, miserable hot with sticky clouds up above that only offer dry lightning strikes in the mountains because what’s one more raging wild fire right now?

Whatever!

We’re going over to Casa de Scarborough-Jacques because they have a pool and it’s hot…freaking, broiling hot.

Yeah, this will work. This will work out just fine.

At the end of the day the added bonus for Hollie and Ben…

…sleepy water babies.

not wasted

Nothing brings me more pleasure that the the sweet, unaffected laughter of any of my circus clowns. It’s so bright and so pure. Something so perfect I sometimes want to catch and keep forever with me; which is why I am always so very happy when I capture a moment like this.

In spite of the heat and the dry, dusty wind that has caused my allergies to flare up in such a way that is nothing but miserable, it still was a wonderful weekend because through swollen, red, itchy, tear-filled eyes I enjoyed the laughter shared with my family and their friends.

As for today, I have Benadryl and Motrin and so much laughter in the images that I collected.

I’m good.

A day without laughter is a day wasted. ~ Charlie Chaplin

too tall and other squad adventures

The perfect time to get away from the dusty triple digit temps that is the Central Valley is right now.

And in Santa Clara at California’s Great America, today was practically sweater weather. Kidding. But it was literally 20 degrees cooler than Manteca. So sorry work for not taking that call to come in and work extra.

This guy was literally counting down the days until we could play at California’s Great America.

So was Abby

And Abby’s BFF, Maci.

It was a great day enjoying all the food, all the drinks and all the rides in the park, courtesy of Bill’s company. Bonus, Daniel was more than tall enough to ride any ride of his choosing.

Well, almost any ride of his choosing.

One disappointment in a day filled with adventure for this squad?

We’ll take it!