Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm Baaaack!

So a few weeks back, after Andrew's first birthday, I got it into my head that I wanted to do something. Something that would help people. Something that would take me back to the hospital. (So weird, right? It's like I couldn't stand to leave and all of a sudden I'm looking for an excuse to go back) I called up the volunteer coordinator who was "in charge" of me when I was on bedrest and in the NICU and told her I'd like to help out in any way that I could. When I was in the hospital I had weekly visits by women who had all done the bedrest/NICU thing before and it was a huge help when I was feeling stressed out. I remember acutely one evening where I was just in my room, sobbing away. My volunteer showed up and stayed for at least an hour while I basically sniffled and bawled until I felt better.

Anyway, yesterday I went in to meet with her and all of a sudden I am the new antepartum (bedrest) visitor! I'm super excited and super nervous about it, but overall I'm glad. I'll be going once a week to talk to the women on bedrest, visit with them and generally be there to talk to and bring them little things to ease boredom. Finally, something that uses my talent for talking to anyone and everyone! (Thanks, Dad.)

It was SUCH a trip to go back to the hospital last night. I literally hadn't set foot in the place since we left with Andrew last March. Walking through the door, I was chanting affirmations to myself: "You're fine, Jacqueline. You are fine. You are capable. This is just a building". I made small talk with a man on the elevator and made it all the way to the NICU entrance. From there, the doors opened directly into the Parent Room of the NICU, and I about suffered a massive heart attack then and there. We spent a lot of time in that room, ate there, slept there, everything. Once I made it past that hurdle I was fine.

The coordinator said most girls start in antepartum, but then transition to volunteering in the NICU, because it's hard to go back there. I think I'll stay in antepartum for a good long time; I had such good experiences while there, and the NICU was so hard for me that I'm not looking forward to going back. So I'm going to take my time, play it by ear and have fun with it.

I completely confessed to my coordinator that I was really only volunteering to help myself. She said it was fine, because that's the only reason she does it too. All of the girls that do nights there have been through both antepartum and NICU at some point in time, and I kind of love that whole cushion of support.

Of course, all of the patient's stories and information are protected under HIPAA, so you won't hear much else from me on the subject.

When I was there meeting with some of the girls, I had to walk down to the nursing station to check and see how many rooms were filled. The door to my old room was open and house cleaning was in there prepping it for someone new. It helps me to think that next week, I'm going to go see someone in my old room. If she's anything like me, she'll be waiting all day for a real person to walk in the door so she can stay in touch with civilization. If she's not like me, meh, we'll make it work.

The other cool thing? The office that is packed to the brim with donations from everyone for people on bedrest and the NICU babies. It restores your faith in humanity; things can't be that bad if mothers and babies are being taken care of, right?

Oh, and bonus! Volunteers get free meals at the hospital cafeteria. Booyah! Delicious prepared meals and cherry Coke, you will be mine!


Derek and Mary said...

Good for you! I think that it will be an awesome experience and that you'll be able to help a lot of other women through those tough situations. You continue to amaze me!

Bonnie said...

You will be an amazing help to any of the women that you meet Jacqueline...and of course there are the free meals...Cherry Coke?

designed by