Monday, January 12, 2009

Are things totally backwards, or is it just me?

I swear, sometimes it just hits me that our society is just backwards in so many ways. There are many things that led me to this thought path...and I will elaborate on a few. First is the one that peeves me the very most...the issue of our dog, Max. You know, the Boston Terrier that we adopted a few months back? Well, when we were transitioning from Walnut Creek to Fresno, a friend of our watched our cats and dog while we were gone. They sent Max to a friend of theirs (who has a fenced in yard, etc.) and they kept the cats...we had met this friend a couple of times...nice girl. Well, we went back to Walnut Creek to get our stuff and our pets, and we can't get in contact with her. Long story short, all attempts at communication with her have failed. She ignores our calls, and does not return them. We don't know where she lives. The people who watched our cats say they've tried to get ahold of her multiple times on our behalf, but can't get ahold of her. I don't really believe this, but whatever. So, we can't get Max back. She loved him at first sight when she met him, and we think either something happened to him while he was under her care and she's afraid to tell, or she just wants to keep him. In any event, it's been over a month since we've seen Max. We've resigned ourselves to the fact that we're most likely not going to see him again. What kind of a world is this? Why would they keep our dog? It wasn't theirs! In any event, Deklan had been asking about Max, saying he loves him and misses him, etc., and it was just breaking our hearts! So, after much discussion, I posted an ad on craigslist asking about adopting a small pup. So, after a couple of puppy interviews, we chose our new puppy!! This is Ziggy, our little mutt! He's a Pug/Lab-Shepherd mix...his mom is a Pug. He's a pure joy, and really well-behaved (for the most part!) already at 9 weeks old. He's great with the kids, and the cats are teaching him all about cat/dog respect. They still puff their tails every now and again, but are pretty chill for the most part. So anyway, lesson learned. It's amazing how few people in this world one can actually trust.

Another thing that has been making me think about our society is again along the topics of pregnancy and childbirth. Yeah, I guess I'm a little obsessive about those topics. I can't help it, though! From the beginning of my career as a nurse, before I even started nursing school, really, pregnancy and birth fascinated me. Then I made a brief departure as I began my career in the medical field, concentrating so intently on what I had studied...but the pull back to the miracle of new life returned, then became even closer to my heart with the birth of my two sons, getting to experience it all for myself! The contrast between my first and second pregnancies and the subsequent births is sharp...Deklans was a very medical, traditionally-Western birth. Gavins was more relaxed, back to common sense and the roots of our history as a race, looking back past the recent era where birth and womens bodies have been claimed by medicine to the centuries past when a woman depended on a trusted midwife and her own body and baby to guide her through labor and birth. Wow...sorry for the tangent! So this was my thought: what happened to traditions regarding the postpartum period? A woman is expected to give birth, get used to the role of motherhood, then be back to work in six weeks or less. Now, of course I understand that there are women out there who are blessed with family who helps during that time, but I'm just thinking in general. Most women have little to no help after birth...her husband might get to stay home for a week or two, and maybe her mother comes and stays with her for a week or two if she's very lucky. Most women have to attempt to run their homes while still recovering. What happened to the days gone by? I've read stories of traditions where a woman was secluded with her baby and female friends and relatives for the first week following the birth. During this time, her family was cared for by others and she and her baby were pampered and supported during that first important week. She was dressed and her hair brushed and her feet washed, she was fed good food, full of calories and protein to help her body recouperate. She was expected to relax, rest, and bond with her baby. She was waited on, hand and foot. Then, after the first week was over, she spent the next 7 weeks (for a total of two months) in her own home, but only directing her household, while friends and relatives took care of everything. She wasn't expected to lift a finger, just heal, bond with her baby, and be pampered so she could feel pretty again. And that's just an example. Why don't we do things like that anymore? I really wish I could have been there for my best friend, Laura (a.k.a LoLo) a few weeks back when she gave birth to her little girl. I wish she could have counted on me to help her, to cook and clean and wash for her, to take care of her and just let her enjoy her baby. I want to be able to do that for my friends someday. To make my friend or family member feel special after the birth of their baby. To not just keep their house and feed them, but to braid their hair and wash and rub their feet, make them tea and tell them how wonderful and strong and perfect they are. But our society makes this difficult. Not only does it have no room for such traditions, but the fact that many women work outside of the home makes it difficult to take weeks off at a time. Even when I reach my goal of being a midwife, I'll still be working. It would still be difficult to find the time to take off. You know, maybe I could try to incorporate some of these elements into my midwifery. Thinking back, I had many ideas that I would have loved to have done, like doing a belly-cast or having my belly and feet and hands hennaed in my last weeks...I just never had the opportunity to do them. My family members hated the idea of henna...too much like tattoos, they said. Didn't want any part of it. I didn't have the energy to orchestrate something like a belly-casting...getting instructions, supplies, finding someone willing to do it. I wish I could have. Maybe I could have a few things that a momma could choose have one of her latter-week appointments be something special like that if they chose. Have her bring a couple of friends, or have it just be the momma, doula, and midwife if she wishes...but to let her have the chance to do something special like a belly-casting or henna. Something commemorative, even if she doesn't have the support of friends or family. Maybe that's a weird idea, but I think it's pretty darn cool. Midwives have a relationship with their mommas unlike any other healthcare professional. I don't think it would be crossing any lines to have something like that available to a momma if she wanted to do it. I would have loved to have the chance to do something like that with my midwife.

On a less contemplative note, I've finished a few projects that were on the needles for a while. I finished my Dad's hat, MamaG's bag, my sister-in-law Donna's t-shirt yarn bag, and LoLo's baby blanket. I also started a red woolen crochet tam for myself, now that my hair is starting to get long again. If I like it, I'll make another. It's my first truly free-style crochet piece, where it isn't even based on a pattern, I'm just winging it. Kinda' exciting and liberating! Kinda' scary...I'm worried that it'll suck and I'll end up just unravelling it all and starting over from scratch. I love the yarn I've's Kashmira, a 100% wool yarn by Sensations. It's got a nice stretch to it, and I think I chose just the right hook for the job. Speaking of hooks, Gavin stuck my very favorite, most-used crochet hook into the fireplace vent, and I can't get to it. Bugger. So I'm looking for a new one today to take its place. And maybe I'll pick up a skein or two to make me feel better about losing Old Faithful! Hehehe...the excuses I find to buy yarn are so silly...

Oh, I guess I should throw in an update about our situation. Well, I parted ways with Agostini after a long, turbulent time with them. I would never recommend them to anyone as an agency. Ever. I ended up being without work for a week. This worked just find since we had the family reunion to go to. The whole time we were in Newport Beach, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get paperwork and whatnot in order for the Fresno job, found for my by Bestaff. So far they've been a really good agency. I started in Fresno on Dec. 15th for a 13-week contract at Community Regional Medical Center's Neuroscience unit. It's very interesting, and I've learned quite a bit. I'd like to extend here for another contract, if they still have the need. The unit is comprised of four seperate units: the Stroke unit, Step-down unit, Med-Surg Neuro unit, and Neurosurgery unit. I float between all four of them. I deal with everything from strokes to head trauma to neck/back surgeries to seizures and alcohol withdraw. I went ahead an completed my ACLS training, which has opened more doors for me travel-wise. The funny thing about all of this is that we're living in Fresno, the very town where we were robbed 5 years ago. We actually live just a few miles from that area. What's funny is that, on that fateful day 5 years ago, we decided for the first time on our trip to stay in a nice hotel instead of a total dive. It's a nice area where we live, in a gated community, two bed/two bath apartment, huge, with a fireplace, washer/dryer, and fully furnished, for free. Oh, the perks of being a travel nurse!! Not only that, but I'm making double what I was making in Walnut Creek!! FINALLY. It feels like we're making progress on our financial situation! When I was offered the position here, I was uncertain about coming here due to past experience. But then I just closed my eyes and dove in and trusted that all would be well, and I'm so glad that I did. The unit where I work is full of hard-working people who work together as a team and help one another. That's rare. Anyhoo, that's what's going on with us. Just chillin' in Fresno. Enjoying the San Joaquin Valley and the dense winter fog. Not really looking forward to the summer, if we're still here. I hear the summers are pretty much terrible...scorching hot, no rain, dusty and dirty...yuck. Well, we'll see...

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