Book of the Month Review: Across That Bridge


Today is the birthday of Congressman Lewis, which is fitting that I share this review today. I chose Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America on my 2017 reading list after seeing an interview with Congressman Lewis on a talk show sometime last year, however I did not know much about the book or Lewis' life. I chose to read this book before Lewis recently called Donald Trump an illegitimate president and refused to attend his inauguration. That being said, this book was also written before Trump was elected president, however, much of Lewis's writing and insight in this book seems to be more timely than ever with the current political climate. I also chose to read this book in February, Black History Month, thinking the book focused more on the civil rights movement. Across that Bridge is not so much an account of his life or detailed work in the civil right's movement in America, but more the lessons he's learned along his road and in his work with nonviolent resistance in particular. Lewis shares his deeply spiritual beliefs that he attributes to his ability to participate in the nonviolent resistance, sit-ins, freedom rides, and protests. His writing reads like a sermon, and I found to be extremely inspirational. I particularly appreciated his chapter on "Truth"  which is so relevant in our current administration's world of "alternative facts." This was an uplifting read from a truly inspirational and intelligent man, that is not too dry or heavy, so this definitely gets two thumbs up from me! Share your thoughts below.

The Final Countdown to Baby!


I have reached the last week of my pregnancy, and have been taking some time in my last week to finish all the tasks on my to-do list. This pregnancy has flown by, and since I am not one of the women who relishes each minute of pregnancy I am grateful for that. Although there were some tough moments during these past nine months (and I'm sure labor will be #1 on the list) I'm pleased to say this time around has been world's easier than with my first time. Also, everyone keeps telling me I look so much better than with my first pregnancy (Thanks, guys I know I turned into a blimp last time). Here's what I've been doing to some what prepare for the arrival of our daughter (although I don't think you can ever really 100% prepare for the chaos of a new life in your family). 
1. Buying a few baby items. 
Most baby gear I already had in storage, but there were a few items I bought that should help out with having two children. I got a new diaper bag I had been eyeing that I had seen on instagram. This bag by Fawn Design works as a backpack, and is stylish enough to use as an everyday bag, and even a work bag. I also bought a double stroller that fits a convertible infant car seat, so I will be able to take the two kiddos on walks together after she is born. 

2. Pack the hospital bag and baby overnight bag
I think the hospital bag topic is a bit overdone on blogs, and I don't think it's as an essential piece of preparation as some people make it out to be. Nonetheless, here's what's in my hospital bag.

For Husband:
*change of comfortable clothes
*toothbrush and deodorant
*red bull and Lenny and Larry's protein cookies (his favorite)
*ipad and charger

For Me:
*sweat pants, PJs, robe, nursing tank tops and bras, flip flops, socks and underwear, zip up hoodie
*lanolin cream
*dry shampoo, deodorant, face wash, toothbrush, lotion and chapstick, hair tie, a few pieces of makeup

For Baby:
*swaddle blanket, zip up PJs, one outfit for first photo (hat and bow)

*Thank you cards for nurses
*SLR camera and charger

Everything else should be provided at the hospital.

I also packed a little overnight bag for my son with diapers, wipes, clothes, snacks and his blanket in case we need to drop him at the neighbor's if I go into labor at night or early morning.
3. Catch up with friends and family

Last time it became quite chaotic after my son was born, and I want to become a hermit for a bit after the new baby is born. Because I anticipate seeing less people and going out less frequently after the baby comes, I wanted to make an effort to catch up with those I hadn't seen in awhile. I had a small baby shower, which was fun to see friends and family I hadn't seen in some time. 
I've also been trying to make an effort to spend more quality time with my son, as this is his last week as an only child. I am trying to make time to take him to the park, out to lunch, and the library.

My husband and I are also trying to catch some alone time when possible. We got out to my friend's wedding together last weekend. I caught up with several friends from nursing school I hadn't seen in several years (who some were a bit surprised to see me about to pop nine months). Besides seeing the groom and bride so happy, the best part of the wedding was the course upon course of Mediterranean food served, which is my favorite! My husband and I are also hoping to catch a early breakfast and movie this week while my son is at preschool, if I have not gone into labor yet.

4. Clean and Nest
Dishes and laundry are a full-time job at my house, so I've been spending a good portion of my day trying to make a dent in the piles of laundry and dishes accumulating each day. I've yet to set up a nursery, as we plan to have the baby sleep in our room for the first few months to make nursing easy. Our son is still in his crib, and so when our daughter gets big enough she will inherit the crib, and we will transition our son to a big boy bed. At that point I intend to fix up the bedroom with some personal touches for our daughter. The current bedroom is a neutral gray, so it will go with any color scheme. I have also yet to organize her clothes. I have only washed a few clothing items and blankets, because last time there were many clothes my son didn't wear due to his large size, and I want to be able to return what she doesn't wear.

5. Pamper myself
After giving birth I felt like a huge slob and it was also hard to get out of the house to get my hair done etc. I got my hair cut short knowing it may be some time until I go back to the salon. I also got a pedicure since I can barely touch my toes at this point and got my eyebrows threaded, partly in hope the pain would stimulate labor!

6. Stay Positive
The greatest challenge next to labor during both of my pregnancies was maintaining a positive attitude. The changes in my hormones, body, life, sleep and freedom wrecked havoc on my mood both times around. This time around I also had the anxiety of the anticipation of labor pains, since I had such a hard labor last time. I can't say that I did much better this time with keeping my mood up, but working out and staying busy have helped tremendously. My good friend who recently had a baby has given me the advice in preparation of labor to write out positive affirmations to myself to say during labor and to imagine a happy place during contractions. I've been working on that as well, and will report back on how it goes!

Safety for the Pregnant Healthcare Worker

As someone who has worked in the healthcare field during two pregnancies, I wanted to shed some light on safety of the healthcare worker during pregnancy. I have no solid research on increased adverse pregnancy outcomes for healthcare workers, however I do have plenty of anecdotal evidence while working in various healthcare settings which has lead me to write this post. There are several hazards in the healthcare field to pregnant women I wanted to address:

1. Infectious Agents-When I worked in the ER unfortunately you often don't know what a patient may walk through the door with. This makes a pregnant person susceptible to contact with many infectious agents, some which can potentially cause harm to the developing fetus, many of which present with vague symptoms, such as fever and malaise. Zika has received a lot of attention, however there are other such agents, such as  Rubella and Listeria which also have the potential to cause teratogenic effects.  The CDC website has a list of infectious agents that are dangerous to the developing fetus. What can you do to protect yourself? For one, make sure you are vaccinated against varicella (chicken pox) and Rubella before pregnancy, since you cannot receive these vaccines after becoming pregnant. Second familiarize yourself with the signs/symptoms of persons that may be infected with these agents, and the modes of transmission so you may wear the appropriate protective equipment or avoid these patients all together. Some women are not comfortable telling their employers or supervisors about being pregnant right away, however I advise if you are in the healthcare field to at least tell your direct supervisor as soon as you know because the risk of miscarriage and birth defects is highest during the first trimester. If your supervisor knows you are pregnant you should be able to have patients reassigned if there is the possibility you may be exposed to a patient with one of the above mentioned infectious diseases.

2. Heavy Lifting-As the obesity epidemic in our country becomes worse, lifting and transporting heavy patients is commonplace among healthcare workers. Again, letting your supervisor know you are pregnant early on can allow for you to have modifications when it comes to certain heavy lifting. Make sure to let your OB/GYN know about the amount of heavy lifting required for your job, and if you need a note to excuse you from some of these duties get it sooner than later.

3. Radiation -Most areas of high radiation, such as x-ray and CT imaging room post signs warning about radiation hazards to pregnant women, however there are areas of hospitals and clinics where x-rays occur on the floor. Letting x-ray techs know you are pregnant ahead of time is a good idea, so they will be able to give you an extra heads up to keep your distance when a bedside x-ray is being shot.

4. Other Hazards- Stuff that may not immediately come to mind, but to be mindful if you are expecting are some other hazards of long shift work and working in the health care setting. Dehydration is one. Often with 12 hour shifts we do not drink enough water or give ourselves adequate periods of rest. I made the habit of carrying a 40 oz. stainless steel water bottle that reminds me to keep hydrated.

Another potential hazard among pregnant women are potentially combative patients. As a former ER nurse, having a patient that required restraints or was assaultive to staff was also commonplace. Being aware and communicating to your potential situations where a patient could be come combative is imperative.

I would recommend communicating with coworkers, supervisors, and OB/GYN early regarding pregnancy if you do commonly encounter any of these hazards frequently at your workplace. The safety of your child, especially in your first several months, should take precedent over all other work duties.