The Circle of Life *Cue Lion King soundtrack*

Sorry for the title

… I am functioning on no sleep these days. I bet you’re thinking it’s because of the long ambulance shifts I’m pulling. Guess again! Mommy shifts!

Sawyer Finnley Cavender was born on July 10, 2012 at 3:32am weighing a “whopping” 5lbs 15oz and measuring 19 1/4 inches. The doctors told us time and time again that he would be so big… well… color me shocked when out popped our tiny guy! Needless to say, we are so in love with him! This makes wanting to become a stay at home mom an easier decision.

I’m so tired, and will leave the gory childbirth details for another day. Instead, you get baby spam!!!

a few hours old :)

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Me playing the role as mom and Sawyer in the hospital :)

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Mav and Sawyer relaxing at our home away from home for now. (My parent’s house)

Abandoned? Yes. Forgotten? Nope!

Well hello, strangers!

I am TERRIBLY sorry for not keeping everyone updated on my life. I guess I don’t feel like much of a paramedic these days… being that I haven’t touched a stretcher since the end of November!!!! There are several things that I want to say about my future.

I haven’t abandoned all things medical. I still research and read blogs galore! I still talk about disease processes and protocols with Mav most every night- it’s true nerd love. But the thing is, it hurts for me to think about the career that I adored so much and know that it may be ending sooner than I imagined. 

Yes. You heard it here first. Mav and I are seriously talking about me being a stay at home mom for a bit and then returning to school like I’ve always dreamed of. We feel that with him offshore now as a remote paramedic, it would be nice if I spent more time with the baby and at home than working constantly. I also feel like I should step back and explain something. I trust my partners with all of me, and I trust my own intuition. I DO NOT trust the people that we pick up, though. I’ve had some rough calls and I was even pushed down by a psych patient when I was 6 weeks pregnant. It really made me want to reevaluate where I’m going in life and what is important to our family. I want a healthy baby, a healthy daddy, and a healthy me. I want to be there to see our child grow up and I want Mav there as well. That being said, I feel safer in a more stable environment.

I know. There are so many of you parents that still work. I admire that. Maybe it’s a first time mom thing, and I’ll be less cautious eventually but at the moment, I feel this is what is best. For now I think I’m hanging up my street pants and embracing my maternity jeans. That being said… I guess it’s time for mommy-ish updates!

First off, Mav proposed on January 22nd!! He and I set our wedding date for November 2, 2012. Yes! That is the day that EMS Expo ends in New Orleans. We are extending all of our EMS friends attending Expo to drop me a message on Facebook or Twitter if they want to attend the wedding. It is a 2 and a half hour drive from New Orleans. There will be some renting cars, etc and I will help set up car pools and give you good bedding information. There will be a full dinner following, as well… so FREE FOOD. There will also be kegs and wine as well that’s free so… you know… I’m probably saying all of the right things right now ;)

On the baby front- on January 26th we found out that we have a baby BOY! This was at an elective ultrasound, though, so we are holding off painting and such until April 9th when we get my 27w anatomy scan. I’m pretty sure he is all boy, though. That being said, we also have a name picked out. 

Sawyer Finnley Cavender is still expected to enter this world on July 9, 2012. He apparently (according to the u/s tech) has huge hands and feet and loves to kick me in the right kidney. I think he’s imagining football already!! One can dream… I just grew a baby bump about a week ago, though it is still small for 24w (6 MONTHS!!!!!). Mav and are so excited and can’t wait to meet this little kicker. 

For now… I am still a medic. I will be keeping up my certs and doing a refresher this year. I am not giving up on EMS, but I am giving my family a chance to rank #1 in my hectic life for now. I hope all of you understand. This is a big year for me… engaged, expecting, and marriage all within a few months!! Though I have abandoned this blog as of late, I haven’t forgotten why it is that I started writing. In time, I feel like I will be able to share more when my mind isn’t full of pregnancy fuzz. (Which totally isn’t a myth. I literally forget the simplest things sometimes!)

Stay safe out there, my friends!

Am I in time out?

If anyone missed the announcement on my facebook and twitter account on Thanksgiving- I’m happy to announce that Mav and I are expecting a baby in July. Today, I am 10 weeks and 3 days pregnant. This is the farthest any of my pregnancies has progressed. There was never any worry- never any indicators to show that it would end in tragedy like the others.

Still, I worry constantly. I’m going for my 4th ultrasound in a few days and I’m terrified that I won’t see a heartbeat on the screen, or that s/he will be smaller than s/he is supposed to be. I can’t help but worry. Then- at my last appointment, my OB dropped a bomb on me. At 7 weeks and 2 days pregnant, she advised that I go on light duty. No lifting more than 25lbs, no sitting or standing for more than 2 hours at a time without a break. It felt like the end of existence for me. All that I’ve known since I was 20 was working on the truck. Now, I had a doctor telling me that even though everything looks healthy, she doesn’t want me to be stressed and she wants the best chance for my baby and I to be healthy.

Mav has been more than supportive and is really stepping up to the plate. He’s seeking highter positions at The Borg, looking for overtime to make us extra money. All I can do is hope that The Borg finds me a light duty position and wait. I feel like a waste of space sometimes. I’ve never been good at playing “housewife.” When all of my friends played Mommy in Kindergarten, I shrugged and played the Mommy with a job. I didn’t want to be the house mommy. I wanted to be the successful and smart mom who provided for her family. Now, it looks like I’ll be playing that role. I’m sure when our baby comes, I will gladly take on that job with open arms, but what happens in the end? What if I lose all of my skills? Will I lose all of the qualities that make me a fun partner and employee? Will I even want to go back onto the truck? Was that my last shift as a medic?

All of these things swim through my mind as I stay at home and pack my things. Mav and I are moving back to my farm- my sister is selling us her trailer and it will be nice to live close to my family for when the baby comes. I will greatly miss my little place of existence here in New Orleans. I’ll greatly miss the convenience of the city. I’ll miss my managers and partner in Bayou region. Excuse my rambling people, I’m hormonal and I feel like I’ve been put in time out in my career. I’ll post pictures soon :)

The other side of the Radio- part 1

So. Now that I no longer work for Small Mom and Pop EMS, I thought it’d be nice to share my experiences ie: my last few months there. My supervisor asked me ever so politely to jump on the other side of the radio, temporarily of course, as they had just fired our night dispatcher. Mind you, I didn’t mind the pay cut… I needed a break from the roads and the hour and half commute to my new station.

Thus started my adventure on the other side of the radio. I made a REALLY weird video to go with it. I’ll post it at the end, I suppose if I can find it. I digress. I started dispatching and IMMEDIATELY hated it. There was no honeymoon period, or early marriage stages. I wanted a divorce and quickly. This was like a Britney Spears “oopsy” marriage in Vegas sort of deal. Granted, I was able to go home every night and sleep… and only most nights I had nightmares of post assignments and late doctor’s appointments… the other nights I drank myself into a dreamless slumber. Kidding- I don’t have an alcohol problem, I swear. (Only at EMS Conferences, ok?) Anyways, it was just as frustrating as I imagined it to be.

My main anxiety with dispatching was having to tell my co-workers, some whom I considered friends and others I just respected or at least tolerated, where to go. These places I sent them were never pleasant. Maybe they had to sit and post while a crew made a LD trip 3 hours away. Yay! You get to sit on the side of the road for a while and try to sleep… until I make you run a call 30 miles away because YOU ARE MY ONLY TRUCK. Oh. There is frustration number two. At Mom and Pop Backwoods service, there were only 3 ambulances that ran 24 hours a day. 1 that ON A GOOD DAY ran from 8-5… depending on who was on it and what they felt like doing. (Usually, my supervisor was on it. Though I like him now in retrospect, I couldn’t STAND him sitting at my desk in dispatch and making my decisions for me. Grrr.) Anyways. I’m digressing again. We had 3 full time trucks. To in the main city, and one 15 minutes out in this tiny city that didn’t run that many calls in my day. Granted, this parish has 3 ambulance services in it. The Borg, MedDeath, and Mom and Pop. So you’re thinking- 911 rotation + 3 services= sleep all night? WRONG. MedDeath may have… The Borg can be sent anywhere in the state so most of the times, at least one of their 2 units was out covering a busier parish, like Lafayette or posting somewhere waiting for the deathpatcher dispatcher to send them to their fate. So, that being said, Mom and Pop ran.

So, there I am, answering business calls, routing bill payers and dodgers to the billing department, taking emergency calls, sending ambulances out, writing down call times manually, and calling my units for updates because of course, we didn’t have unit tracking. Oh… and posting my poor crews to sketchy gas stations that were midway, or of course the creepy graveyard. Both were options. I… I am a medic. I didn’t WANT to understand what happened on the other side of the radio. I wanted to be blissfully unaware and just gripe about my assignment to PushEmDown Nursing Home at 3 am for ANOTHER fall. I wanted to believe dispatch was out to make me miserable. I wanted to believe they all had magic 8 balls and were pulling us at random to run crappy calls.

Now? I can’t gripe. Now that I’m at the Borg and things are a bit more complicated than just 3 ambulances in a region per dispatcher… I can’t complain when I get sent to post at the Wallace bridge. I know that the dispatcher, no matter how sinister the reputation may be, is probably struggling for coverage. The last thing he wants to hear is back talk. I remember hearing a unit gripe about post assignment and call me “A Terror.” (Please folks, remember to not sit on your radio!!) When I had an LD that night at 2 am- I had a choice. The crew that brought me lunch… and the crew that called me a Terror. Guess who I sent? Bye Bye, mean crew. YOU are a terror.

So folks, remember… your dispatcher, who may sound like a crazed psychotic lunatic most of the time, is a person just like you. Sometimes they make mistakes. (I’ve pointed that out to Borg management recently. They always say “Dispatch is God.” I always come back with- I was a dispatcher and I know differently!) Sometimes, you are for real the only truck available for post. Sometimes, you’re just up for a call. This is EMS. Eat when you can. Pee… and erm… other things… when you can. By all means, sleep when you can! When your shift is other, bid your dispatcher a good day (or night) and go home and take care of yourself. At the end of the shift, that’s all that matters.

More The Other Side of the Radio rants to come.

 

EMS world expo 2011- day 1 recap

Day 1 of EMS World Expo went by almost too quickly! It was a wonderful day of podcasts, seeing old friends, and making new ones! It was particularly great finally hosting a GenMed show with new host Random Ward. I’ve greatly looked forward to that for a while an yesterday’s session with the NAEMT was perfect. As newly appointed state advocates, Random and I were able to hit the important points of EMS advocacy and mentoring with Jules Scadden, vice chair of NAEMT Advocacy Committee. 

After an awesome day of shows, I was able to hang out with Jeff, Nicole, and Scott by the pool/hot tub. It was a nice and relaxing hour. Then we met with Random and Justin for the cheapest meal vie had in Vegas that wasn’t in a paper bag. For 6 people, we had steak for under $100 and it was great steak! We then piled into a few cabs and headed to Hofbrau Haus for drinks with a huge twitter crowd, which eventually migrated to The Hard Rock Casino. It was a full but excellent day filled with lots of laughs. 

Day 2 has already started for me, with lots of set up again and running about. My new job as Production Assistant is never finished! Enough typing here- on to run the social media empire!

Follow @socialEMS for show floor updates or the hashtag #EMSWorldExpo for all EMS Vegas happenings.

EMS world expo- Second Greetings and brief silence

I am sitting in a nearly silent exhibit hall at EMS world expo in Vegas. Today is the first day that it is open to non exhibitors… And in roughly 36 minutes, I’ll hear my favorite sound of the conference. That is the sound when the doors open to the public, and the place becomes it’s own moving entity of excitement. Vendors are enticing waiting responders; medics, fire, and police are greeting each other and talking shop; podcasters are yapping (go figure); old friends are excitedly greeting each other; and the phenomenon of “The Second Greeting” is happening between the social media crowd. The Second Greeting is when I say, “Hi. I’m Natalie,” and normal conversational pleasantries follow. Then I mention my Twitter handle. THIS is when the second greeting explodes into hugs and screeches, vigorous handshakes, and the realization that you may have just met this person in real life for the first time, but you have known this person digitally for months or maybe years. I sit here in the Physio Control sponsored Social Media Lounge, anxiously awaiting my chance to “Second Greet” some new faces and to visit with the regulars!

More to come later!

EMS World 2011

Once again, i find myself writing in the airport about to embark upon an adventure. It’s time for EMS Expo, oops… EMS world again. This time, we get to meet in Vegas. This will be my first trip to Vegas… and i am quite apprehensive for the epic times ahead! A short 2 years ago, I hadn’t travelled alone. I always had family by my side. Though I a well traveled, it wasn’t until i went to my first EMS Expo in Atlanta that i embarked on airport adventures, taxi cab exposures, and public transit as a single unit. Now i have this travel thing down to a science. Like getting to the terminal early to grab an outlet for phone/iPad/laptop use, wearing closed toe slip on shoes for easy removal at security and in airline seat and to keep draft away as opposed to flip flops, packing snacks in my tiny tote carryon because airport food is expensive, and always making sure that my essentials are in my carryon in case my luggage is misplaced. See? I’m an old pro now. 

I’m getting off subject, as usual. I’m stoked to know that in the course of a few days, I’ll be seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and podcasting with the greatest group of EMS pros this decade. Then again, my heart is heavy as i leave behind my wonderful boyfriend, Mav and our 3 dogs. I’m also missing 3 shifts so I’ll be hurting greatly next paycheck… But this is worth it. For the first time in a long time i am coming to a conference free of emotional baggage. No boyfriend drama, not worrying about a certain male friend leaving me for his ex (because it already happened), not feeling guilty for missing work and praying my job is waiting for me upon return. Finally, I work somewhere where they support my every step… though I feel it’s because they’re publicity hounds and love the positive exposure my involvement brings… It’s still nice to not have to worry about my boss calling to chew me out for following my dreams and advancing my career. 

This week is for me and my career. It’s about having fun, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and taking the next few steps to better this career that we all burn so passionately for. So for those coming to Vegas- get ready to work, have fun, and nurse the inevitable hangover. For those watching from around the world- keep an eye on us, stay connected via social media, and make plans to attend next year- it’s in my city finally! 

New Orleans 2012, baby!!!!

I’ll be updating periodically throughout the conference, so stay tuned and watch for GenMed podcasting live from the show floor on wednesday at 2:30pm and Friday at 11am (central time). Watch the other awesome shows live as well, because they are all awesome!!!

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