Caring For Life
The nursery is bright, warm and quiet on this Saturday night. Two newborns gently sleep, one with a shock of beautiful silky, black hair, swaddled tightly. The other slumbering on a warming bed. Every once in a while little whimpers or cries alert us that they are here on the planet with us, this their first new day. It's a happy place. Wendy Yemec loves her job as a registered nurse at the Hilton Head Hospital Women's Center.
Wendy has the quintessential characteristics of a nurse. She is caring, curious to learn better ways of helping people, and comfortable and confident giving care. Her soft-spoken voice is soothing as well as her demeanor, and her smile is very warm. One of the newborns cries out for a little attention and Wendy straightforwardly picks up the tiny bundle, resting the baby's chest against her hand as she gently rubs her back, allowing a tiny burp to escape. For about ten minutes this new little life serenely rests in this position, feeling the reassuring confidence of her adult caregiver.
A mother of four, Wendy is also certified as a lactation nurse. "I love to help new moms. I had a hard time when I tried to nurse my first baby but it's so important and worth the initial effort." Her advice to mothers that can breastfeed, "Give your baby the best health-related benefits that you can to start them off in life with just that much more to go out into the world with. Humans need to drink human milk. Our bodies make it because it is the perfect food to feed our babies. Moms are open twenty-four hours a day. It's always hot, it's always fresh, it's always ready to go and it's portable," Wendy explains with a giggle.
Hilton Head Hospital experiences on average about 60 births per month, so Wendy has seen a lot, but her favorite birthing story is one of her own. "During the labor of my third child, Hannah, the contractions slowed down considerably after my water broke. To get the contractions moving again I agreed to take Pitocin in conjunction with an epidural to block the pain. Everything worked so well and so quickly-under an hour. All I did was laugh and Hannah came without even a push. I laughed her right out," Wendy recalled happily.
Wendy works Friday through Sunday so she can stay at home with the kids during the week and help her husband with his business. "My husband, Greg, and I are like two ships passing in the night, but our family is the priority. I want to be there to help with homework, drive them to activities, and just take care of them." She continued, "They're all straight-A students-they're smart little people. Madeleine is 12 and she is very compassionate. She has a sixth sense about people and their feelings. Andrew is ten and is very funny. He has to be. He's sandwiched between three sisters. But because of that, he will grow up to be a wonderful boyfriend, husband, and father. Hannah is eight, has a great laugh and is very giving; she'll give anything to anybody. And finally, Amelia is five. She just loves people and feels she can be the boss of them all," Wendy proudly describes.
Wendy's life can be very hectic and the words that she and her husband live by are her husband's favorite quote from Willy Wonka: "Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous." She also uses these words with her new moms that may be feeling a little anxious-sage advice for us all.
Years in the Low Country: 15 years. Moved here from Cleveland, OH.
Greatest indulgence: "Buttered movie theater popcorn with a root beer."
How she decompresses: "I am a very hard sleeper so I'm usually well rested, but getting lost in a good movie with friends is great too."
Schooling: Earned her nursing degree from Case Western Reserve University. She also was offered a scholarship for music, she plays the flute, but opted not to pursue a musical career. She plans on nurturing her fluting skills when her kids get a little older.
True passion: "Taking care of people and my family fills my cup."
Good book on breastfeeding: "The first book I bought about breastfeeding when I was a new mother was The Womanly Art of Breast Feeding, by La Leche League International. I still have it on my shelf."