I had to work last night. Thankfully it was a slow night and we got to enjoy the holiday some while we worked. We also had a potluck with several desserts and a pasta dish. I made a carrot cake in my brand new convection oven and if I do say so myself, it came out really, really great!
My thought today keep coming back to teenage pregnancies. We had two young teens on our unit last night and it was exhausting and frustrating to see how they each dealt with the mantle of motherhood that had been placed upon them. One of them had had surgery. She was not even an hour out of surgery and still had not held her baby or had any desire to do so. She was, however, busily sending text messages on her phone (at nearly 1am). It took several hours before she was finally ready to hold her baby.
The other patient (I'll call her Jane) seemed quite disconnected from her neonate. She just couldn't understand why the baby would sleep. At one point she put on her call light and I could hear the baby in the background. She said, "Can someone come help me with the baby?" I went in and Jane was laying in her bed, looking over at her infant, who was laying in the bassinet. She wasn't trying to hold her or console her. She simply said, "I don't know what's wrong with her." So we went down the list... I asked her, "When did she eat last. She looks hungry." And then we went over the hunger cues the baby was clearly displaying. Jane answered, "Three hours ago." Then I said, "Have you checked her diaper? She smells very wet." Jane replied, "Oh. No." And indeed, her diaper was completely saturated with urine. The baby was not swaddled and was flailing her poor arms in every direction and upsetting herself further. Jane said, "I'm tired! I just want to sleep. She needs to sleep. And why does she eat so much?" And she said all this while sighing and frowning. In between all this, I heard her phone vibrating on the bedside table. Despite the fact that it was 3:45am and we were in the middle of trying to console her very flustered infant, she didn't skip a beat as she quickly picked up the phone to talk to a friend. Needless to say, I was in that room for awhile, trying to teach this young teenager how to care for her baby. We discussed everything and I said to her, "Motherhood is the hardest job in the world. I know you are tired and I know you just want to sleep all night. But you are a mother now and you don't have that luxury anymore. Your baby is not programmed to sleep through the night at this age. She has many needs that must be met." She was so exasperated.
I walked out of that room so frustrated. Teen pregnancy is a "cool thing" these days. "Everybody's doing it." Unfortunately, so many of these teenage mothers think that babies are dolls. They are really cute to look at and so much fun to dress up and pass around to all their friends. But unfortunately, they don't behave like dolls. You can't put them in a closet all night and sleep your cares away. They cry. They must be fed all the time. They want to be held and loved. They have aches and pains. They get frustrated and cry because it's their only method of communication. But the teens don't think of these things when they think about having cute little babies to show off. It's sad. It's so very sad. So often I want to bundle up some of these babies and bring them home with me because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are in for a VERY rough start in life. The prospect of abuse and neglect for some of these infants is frightening.
I am so thankful I never had a baby as a teenager. I had a college degree and was happily married when I welcomed my babies into the world... and it was HARD. I can't even imagine how much harder it would have been had I done this as a teen. I look at some of these young moms, shake my head and just think, "You have NO clue what you have just gotten yourself into."
On a happier note... my mom is here visiting and is going to watch the boys tonight so that Mike and I can go on a date! We are hitting the late showing of Sherlock Holmes tonight. It stars Robert Downey, Jr. and looks like a really fun film. We have been wanting to see Avatar but just haven't been able to fit it into the schedule yet. We want to go to Southcenter and see it in 3D on the IMAX screen. Mike leaves for Las Vegas this Wednesday for a business trip. He's headed down to the annual CES convention there. I tried to go but it's just too hard because I'd have to leave the kids with someone overnight during the school week. Oh well... maybe next time! Hopefully we can go see Avatar when he gets back!
Thus far it's been a great 2010! Hahahaha... hopefully the next 363 days will be as good as the first two of the year!