I am officially unemployed at the moment. Today is the first day of our strike...I worked last night and was in charge. How in the world did I end up being in charge the night before our strike? It was so busy...we got a 30 weeker admission and 32 week twins. Then one of our babies passed away. He was 24 weeks when he was born and 138 days old. So sad...he was a twin, the sister was home already and doing well. The parents were there til late last night, and mom got to hold him even though he was really sick. They left, and soon afterwards when I was going around getting report his O2 sat was in the 40's for a while, then it dipped down into the 30's...his heart rate was 90's, then low 100's...normal for him is 02 sat of 90% and up, and heart rate of around 130's to 150's. Just went downhill from there. We started doing chest compressions around 3:25...gave several doses of epinephrine, gave sodium bicarb, 2 boluses of normal saline...no improvement. The parents didn't even make it home when we called them...they turned right back. Oh my gosh, it was so sad...after 30 minutes the attending MD told the parents that there wasn't anything more we could do for him because he wasn't responding. The mom was saying "no, no, please don't stop. tell me what to do, i'll do it if you're tired...." I almost started crying. But at least the poor baby is with God now...he went through so much. He should have gone a long time ago. It was so surreal...he's been sick for a long time, but I don't know....I was the one who wraped him up in the shroud...So yeah, that was my night. This morning, we walked out at 7:30am...we gave report to the head nurses and left. They didn't let the SCABS come in yet while we were still there. There were a lot of people picketing outside, and channel 4, 9, NJN, 7 were all there broadcasting. So tune in later on today, you might see me picketing. Around 10am I went to put more money in the car...and I realized that I was still wearing the beeper that the charge nurse has. Oops. So our tech had to come downstairs to get it. She said that there were about 10 nurses up there, plus our head nurses....scary because we have a couple of really sick babies on the unit. If this was 2 weeks ago, it would have been fine, but now our acuity is really high. She said they were all old nurses who didn't even know how to use a glucometer or a syringe pump. My friend spoke with the mother of the baby that she primaries...the mom said that she had to tell the nurse how to put her baby's feeding up. She had to show her how to use the syringe pump and that the nurse almost gave the baby formula when the baby was only taking breast milk. How scary is that. And there is only one head nurse that has done bedside care before. One head nurse who knows how things go on our unit. I feel sorry for the babies and their families. All because the stupid hospital doesn't want to change our benefits. They're paying how much money to the SCABS to work our units, pay for extra security so that nothing happens at the picket line, losing so much money because the ER is not taking any more admissions (and our NICU isn't taking any transports - they tried to transport a 29 week baby to use last night and we had to defer the baby to St. Peter's) all because the hospital doesnt' want to give us a better health plan. And the media is making it seem like we make $90,000 average and that we just want more money. I don't know ANYONE that has made close to $90,000. All lies...ack it makes me so mad. I'm glad that our hospital lost its Magnet designation because of this strike. We're one in four hospitals in the U.S. who got re-designated for magnet status 3 times in a row. For those of you who don't know, Magnet is given to a hospital that has excellent nursing care. Excellent nursing care, and they can't even provide the nurses with ok health coverage. My co-worker's son was in a snowboarding accident last Feb...the insurance didn't cover ANYTHING because snowboarding is considered a "hazardous activity". They had to pay it all out of pocket. The helicopter ride alone from the mountain to the nearest hospital in PA was almost $20,000. Um...isn't football a hazardous activity? And what about driving? Ah, it makes me so mad. Ok, need to get to sleep...Sorry for rambling...I'm just tired...I was practically sleepwalking while we were picketing earlier.