I graduated high school and all I knew was that I was good at math. Engineering was my first major which wasn’t a very good choice because all I did was lounge around and hang out with my friends. After 6 years of dragging it out, my mom suggested that I become a nurse. Becoming a nurse is intense. You don’t get a sense of how intense it is until you actually do the work and care for others. I learned many life lessons in nursing school and in the field. I held my first baby and changed my first diaper in nursing school.
I started my job at a small facility, caring for children who were medically fragile. It was physically and emotionally draining. This is the first place I saw a child struggle to breathe. When you learn CPR you never think you are ever going to use it but I had to. It was scary but it was also a revelation that I could work under pressure. I experienced frustration because the managers were playing favorites and some co-workers were bringing too much drama into the workplace. My second job was no different.
In the summer of 2015 I got married and moved to Maryland to be with my husband. I found out I was pregnant when I started working at this geriatric rehabilitation facility. I made sure that people knew I was pregnant so that I wouldn’t get certain patients. Typically when pregnant, it is safer to not care for patients with infectious diseases such as, hepatitis, HIV, shingles/chicken pox, ebola, zika, just to name a few. According to the CDC, these diseases can cause more severe outcomes in pregnant women and they can also harm the unborn baby. A few of the patients in the facility had hepatitis. I was given this patient multiple times even though I said that I didn’t want to care for the patient because I was pregnant. I didn’t care for the nurses’ insensitivity. I cared for another hepatitis patient and I had no idea she had it because it wasn’t in her paperwork. It was just so much of a safety issue for me that I wanted out.
That winter, my husband and I relocated back home to be with family. He started working in the city and I was hired as a home health care nurse. I decided to stop working shortly after. I didn’t think that it was worth risking my baby’s health because by then I couldn’t lift heavy objects. I also didn’t want to experience the same insensitivity I did in the past. I started to constantly worry about what I would contract or what I would pass on to my family. I was anxious and terrified. I didn’t want my family to catch anything I brought home. When I was working I was always sick. I got 2 ear infections in a row because I always had respiratory infections. I didn’t want to go through that again and see my child go through that. I know that it’s good for kids to get sick to strengthen their immune system but the microbes I could spread from working as a nurse are different from your average everyday common cold virus.
Mentally, I was relieved because I could get a break from all the workplace politics. I felt bad that I didn’t want to be a nurse anymore. I worked so hard and my parents paid for my schooling. My mom still wants me to keep my license current but I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I just don’t think it is in me to be a nurse. It takes a special soul to care for others. I’ve always felt that other nurses were more compassionate and more competent. I’ve always believed that I was meant to do something else and been struggling to find my own purpose.
Having a baby and taking care of a baby has it’s own struggles and challenges. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Even though I sometimes get so frustrated at her (i.e. doesn’t sleep at night, spits her foot out or doesn’t drink her milk), there’s just no replacing being a mother to a child. I’m blessed and thankful that I can stay home with her. I don’t miss being a nurse but I am grateful for all the lessons I have learned and the skills I have acquired. Even though I hated going to work most days, I owe my life to nursing. It taught me to be confident and to work hard. It taught me the foundations of raising a child and caring for a sick one. It taught me that no matter how you plan your day, it will never go as planned.