Baby girls, broken machines and mud tsunamis

First of all, and most importantly, I’d like to introduce you to my niece Charlotte:

She was 8 lbs 11 oz, born 15 March 2011 at 2350.

I was there for the birth:

Okay, so I wasn’t there there. But I was watching, thanks to Skype and Andrea’s phone!

Andrew met Charlotte in the hospital.

Finally, Charlotte sleeping at home:

She’s absolutely perfect and I can’t wait to meet her. She’ll be two months old by then! I’m so happy for Jaime and Dave, they have a beautiful family. <3

Tomorrow I will have been in Yellowknife for a full month. It’s hard to believe; it feels like so much longer yet it seems like I just got here. I’m almost (if not fully) adjusted to OBS and the routine there, and I take two pairs (two moms, two babies) each shift. It’s a pretty quiet unit for the most part, which I find I have to get used to. I’m used to chaos in the morning, and calm in the afternoon. The workload on this unit is pretty even all day, unless something urgent comes up. It’s great, because we get plenty of time for charting, which is important here because many things are double or triple charted. As a student that’s hard to get used to, because that’s two or three places you have to remember to chart things. One is hard enough!

My snowmobile has been out of commission for a few days after the starter broke on it. Chris fixed the starter, and then the engine seized. He and Erick spent hours trying to get the cylinder and piston apart, and when they finally did, the piston had a giant crack straight down it. Apparently that’s bad, and rare. Luckily Chris had an extra piston for my sled that he happened to buy on eBay months ago, “just in case”. The guys got the engine put back together, and she was alive again. We celebrated the rebirth of the Bravo by sledding to a bonfire on Yellowknife River. The next day the sled was popping and making all kinds of racket, which Chris diagnosed as a crusty spark plug and something to do with the carburetor. He fixed it again, and now it runs like a champ… just in time for the snow to melt.

We’ve had some crazy weather the past couple days, in a warm, hovering-around-0°C kind of way. The roads are bare, the snow is melting, and everything is wet. I went outside in a tank top to take the garbage out and didn’t freeze to death! Going from -40° to -2° is quite a change, and one that I will welcome with open arms. I’ll miss the sled.. but Chris started working on his car today. It’s been knocked out since the fall, parked and abandoned at Chris’s work. He saw no point in fixing it in the dead of winter, so was waiting for warmer temperatures. He’s planning on working on the car over the next two days. The tinkering, fixing and repairing never seems to end around here.

So, I did something bad today and downloaded a file from a website. This prompted the computer to restart and within 30 seconds a vicious virus made its way through the computer. I tried restarting four times, restoring three times, and even called my resident on-call nerd Joe (who had his nerd friend Adam with him) to no avail. Finally I called a cab and took it back to Staples. They swapped the tower and sent me happily on my way. I called a cab to get home and sat the open-box computer in the back seat. I told the driver I liked his car, and we chatted about the weather. Suddenly a car passed us and flew through an enormous puddle, sending a tsunami of mud over the car and in the opened sunroof. I was soaked, the driver was soaked, the car was soaked, and the new computer was soaked. I was so pissed off I didn’t even pay the guy. I know it’s not his fault but, sorry, I’m not about to pay for a service where I wound up covered in muddy water with a potentially ruined computer. That $10 is going toward dry cleaning my freshly-muddied coat. I came inside and wiped the computer off, and – voila – she worked like a charm. Meanwhile, I walked around the house for a few hours before noticing the chunks of mud on my face and hair. Niiice!

Day 12

Today is my twelfth day in YK and I have a routine pretty much down pat. I know where the trails are to get to common places like the grocery store, work, and the gas station from home on the sled, which is good because I can go do things on my own without needing Chris to show me the way. Mind you, I don’t really know how to get anywhere else, so I do kind of still need him for that :)

We’ve gotten accustomed to my work routine, too. When I work nights when he’s working, I see him once in passing in the morning and that’s it. I work 7:15 to 7:45, and he works 9:00 to 9:00. That’s the life of shift workers, I guess! We’re both off this weekend though so I’m excited for that; we’re planning a night out one of those nights, and probably a good long sled adventure too.

Last night I got off work and Chris called me and told me there were fireworks over the lake. I managed to catch the last of them, but Chris was down on the lake and he said there were about six other sleds just sitting and watching the fireworks. I think they were for international women’s day, which is celebrated in every nation except the North American countries. Chris’s friend Santos, who is from Nicaragua, wished me a happy women’s day yesterday. Apparently in other countries they get the day off, have parades, celebrations, give presents… It’s a big to-do. I think we’re getting gypped!

Anyway, what was I talking about.. Oh yeah, so I met Chris on the lake and we decided to go out for a sled ride before going home, so we went to Old Town through some super fun trails. It’s completely different sledding at night, the hills were steep and when the headlight goes off the snow it’s totally dark and, I admit, a little creepy. We encountered a snowmobile tunnel under a road with a sign next to it saying NO SNOWMOBILES. The other option was to go up an extremely steep hill and cross the road, so Chris checked out the tunnel and decided to go through. Turns out there was so much snow and ice on the ground that, at the end of the tunnel, there was only about 4 feet of clearance. We went slow and had to crouch and lean to the side to avoid scraping our helmets on the ceiling. That was really fun, buuutttt then I got stuck on some ice and Chris had to free me. My bad..

Sooo work has been amazing, I am completely in love with this clinical. Larissa is my preceptor, and together we help moms in labour, we teach breastfeeding, care for mom and baby, do newborn assessments (vitals, weight, head-to-toe physical exam), monitor for jaundice, and teach, teach, teach. New moms have so many questions, understandably. I love babies and I love that I get to snuggle them as my job. I absolutely want to work here when I graduate, whether or not it’s permanent full-time! I’ll take anything, I need to work OBS!

And otherwise, not much to report. The cats are settled and doing fine, Chris is doing well, and as of this morning, Jaime hasn’t had her baby yet. She was 5cm dilated three days ago… The suspense is killing me!! I can’t wait to see the little one, though I wish I could be there in person. Thank goodness for Skype!

Chris and I made a YouTube channel for our YK videos, click here to take a look!