Balance

It’s nearly two weeks into the new year and I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely been able to catch my breath, let alone blog about anything! I am smack in the middle of a 9-day stretch of something to go to every single day (be it work, class, clinical, or optional/extra-credit day-long seminars), and it’s wearing me out!

I love my new job more than I can put into words. It’s a pretty steep learning curve, being my first hospital RN job, but I am so enjoying getting to play a small role in the beginning of these families’ lives with their new babies. I had a moment today after I was able to help a baby latch who had been having latch difficulties, and it just felt so clear that I am in the middle of doing my life’s work. I felt so blessed to have found my path, my calling. I felt my grandmother smiling at me inside that hospital room, and I was just flooded with gratitude.

I finished my hospital orientation just in time: I start orienting for my new clinical rotation for school this week. I am excited and nervous both. I am eager to see how this rotation plays out, and how different or similar it will be to my past clinical experience. I have a much shorter commute this time, though not an insignificant one. I’m still in a different county, though at least this time I can (probably) get there in under an hour (compared to my four-hour commute each way last quarter)!

I feel like there is so much to learn and wonder when I will ever assimilate it all, but I am seeing that I need to trust the process and realize that it will come, in time. Turning into a midwife doesn’t happen all at once. It is a gradual becoming, one that I can still scarcely believe is real. It is now the year in which I will graduate with my MSN and sit for boards and become a certified nurse midwife. I will turn 29 in a couple months, and will be done with school (and then starting the job search process!) before I’m 30.

It’s surreal, and still feels like there is so much to do before the end. (Like, um, actually starting work on my scholarly project/thesis…) There will be so little time off between now and then (two weeks in the next 8 months!), and the thought of having to just be on so much scares me some. I am trying to embrace the immersion aspect of it, and just realize that I am absorbing this new role like a person in a foreign country steeps herself in language and culture. It can feel overwhelming at times, but there is a lot to be said for persistence and digging in one’s heels and not giving up. It also helps to be open to learning something from every interaction with patients and other care providers, and to be willing to do work that isn’t necessarily yours to do in order to help out a colleague (i.e., I gave flu and TDaP injections today because the other RN was busy, even though lactation nurses don’t typically do that).

Some things I need to remind myself of over the next few months:

Eat: Try to balance food. Eat enough. Eat small bits frequently.

Drink: Water and tea. Throughout the day. Don’t forget.

Sleep: Whenever possible. Even if that means from 5-8 pm after work and then again from midnight to 7 am. Get enough sleep and you’ll function better.

Learn: Do the work of this moment. Don’t try to do a whole week’s worth at once. Read your assignments. Go to class/work/clinic. Be prepared and on time. Pay attention. Stay always open to learning new things.

Play: Sneak some fun into every day. Take a picture of a kitten. Bake something gluten free and delicious. Crochet something. Watch a silly video. Read four paragraphs of a book (for fun!) before falling asleep from exhaustion. Blog.

Exercise: Walk places. Stretch your muscles. Move your body. Don’t get stuck.

Interact: See friends. Call family. Meet new people (if you find time!). This can be combined with play, eating, exercising, and learning.

Be: Take some time every day to just be present. Quiet. Find stillness. Sit with silence and be open to hearing small whispers. Find grace.

Love: Everyone. All the time. This includes yourself.

That is my plan for achieving balance and finding wholeness in the midst of chaos. It’s all fairly commonsense and simple but difficult to achieve. It will take focus and diligence and intentionality.

Starting now, with sleep.

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