My brother and his wife had a baby boy last week. I flew back to NY at the last minute and missed the delivery by four hours. I was able spend four days with my first nephew, Joseph, all the while studying for our upcoming maternity class. My very own field trip! I've held many babies and a few newborns, but this was the first child that was family. Looking into his eyes was an incredible experience that truly seemed to transcend time and my own sense of self. Holding his little body in my hands made me deeply aware of myself as a man, and the power to create that we each have within us. I can only imagine what it would be like to hold my own child. Cute, eh? So now I'm back here in California, reading about pregnant mothers and their newborns. Maternity class is a much needed change for me, after having spent last month in Intensive Care. My ICU rotation was not what I had expected it to be. My first weekend there was with a patient who was extremely ill, and I left feeling really inspired, thinking I wanted to work in ICU right out of school. By the end of the rotation, I was clear that it was not for me, which wasn't really a surprise, since I entered nursing school to become a pediatric nurse.
We're about halfway through nursing school at this point. For the most part, I have not enjoyed being in adult hospital care. I have however, really enjoyed spending time with my patients; I really felt like I was making a difference in their Lives. It's not that the other parts of nursing aren't important; they just don't fulfill me. This is a big part of why I've been unhappy for much of my time in nursing school. I'm not feeling passionate about nursing, and I need to feel passionate about whatever work I do. I wasted too many years sitting in a cubicle designing some silly router that was obsolete in six months. Never again for the Macho Nurse! This lack of passion has made it difficult to rise to the challenge of our insanely fast-paced classes. I just haven't cared about it that much. But with maternity, I feel this shifting in a big way.
I'm reading the maternity textbook with more than just an intellectual interest, which is all I've had in my classes so far. Now I read about mothers and birth and neonates and I really want to know more so I can be a part of it all. Spending time holding Joseph last week was not only an incredible experience, it truly transformed me as a man, and as a nursing student.
The birth of a child is something I've yet to personally experience, yet the concept of birth is as awe-inspiring to me as a the vastness of our universe. I think that's a big part of why I like working with children so much; they inspire me with their vitality, which is perhaps a reflection of their proximity to birth, creation, and who knows, maybe god.
Check back next week after my first clinical rotation in the maternity ward. I'm committed to writing this blog every week from now on, so keep coming back!