It’s been some time since I last posted here. Many things have changed in my life since then- the most important transition being my decision to move to Finland to work as a research fellow with the Baby-friendly Ventilation Study Group in Turku. The life of a beginning clinical researcher deserves a separate post here (it may even come at some point). To celebrate my first anniversary in Finland I would like to share 3 things I wish somebody had told me before I moved here. Enjoy!
1.Get nylon pants.
The weather in Finland is truly whimsical. We have had a kind spring, warm summer, and lovely, colorful autumn. I was able to enjoy each of these seasons, biking in the Archipelago, watching sun that never sets, traveling north to see ruska, and finally seeing Northern Lights for the first time in my life. My only concern here is rain. It doesn’t follow laws of gravity AT ALL. How is that possible, that those raindrops are not falling DOWN from the sky, but they are literally attacking you from every direction? It took me some time to overcome my frustration and find a solution. I have closely observed (relatively) happy Finns and discovered that the most important clothing item here is… nylon waterproof pants. The trick is they have to be big enough that you can pull them over your regular pants to keep you dry and warm when it rains. This small thing has definitely improved my comfort here. It has also created that precious feeling of belongingness- I could finally proudly join the rustling and swishing sisterhood of waterproof pants.
2. Drop in the fertility rate is a real thing.
Ok, I am a doctor and I KNOW it is a real thing. I know that statistics don’t lie. I know. But I kind of didn’t want to acknowledge that it may actually impact my study. We have had a fairly good start of the patient recruitment, which had kept me busy in spring. But then summer had arrived, and the recruitment slowed down. I kept thinking that maybe it’s just because of the summertime in general (like preemies would be able to pick a season when they want to arrive early, right?). But then autumn has come, and it was time to face the music- I have a problem. In order to recruit the desired number of infants, I may either stay here forever OR I need to come up with a clever solution very soon. Thankfully, I have amazingly supportive supervisors here and we decided- we are expanding! That means more traveling for me (and possibly more blog posts for you)!
3. Compulsive talking about 99nicu may help you to dance more salsa.
That statement may seem rather weird, but there is a logical explanation.
Very recently I’ve had a chance to attend a regional neonatal meeting in Finland. I was asked to present highlights from the 99nicu Meetup in Copenhagen. Since I like the whole concept of 99nicu.org and loved two conferences I had attended, I took that task very seriously- meticulously prepared my PowerPoint presentation and practiced my performance out loud at home. I decided to tell participants about lectures I remembered the best- neonatal transports, simulations in the NICU and infants surviving at the limit of viability. You may argue that there were more important lectures there, but those were the ones that still “spark joy” after all these months. Do you remember that sim scenario of postpartum seizures in a birthing pool that Ruth Gottstein talked about? I’ve discussed it with so many people in so many places already, that it might have become my favorite topic of random conversations with strangers. Anyways, I think the presentation went well- participants awarded me the prize for the best presentation of the evening! I received a gift card that I can use for cultural or fitness activities in Turku- including more salsa classes in my favorite dance school. Voila! Thank you 99nicu!