I thought after I pushed out an eight pound, three ounce baby I could handle ANYTHING. Now when the going gets tough I tell myself, "Remember, you did a REAL HARD thing just a few months ago - nothing in the world compares to that kind of pain. You can do it!"
I found a worse pain.
The day I had to leave my baby and go back to work.
|Look mom! Dad dressed me all cool!|
The day I dreaded for years had come. Leaving Jackson struck my heart in a way I'd never felt before. My heart physically hurt. My stomach churned. The lump in my throat kept growing to the size of a boulder. The guilt ate me alive.
Wednesday night arrived and I didn't get much sleep. Ever since I became pregnant - in my mind - I was always going to be the caregiver for our children and this daycare stuff was all new. I thought we'd be able to find a way. I believed some sort of miracle would happen. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. I never learned by example how to be the working mom - it wasn't in my blood! I was feeling crappy that I wouldn't be able to follow in her footsteps.
Reality was right around the corner - I was NOT going to be the primary caregiver for our son throughout the day anymore. Plus, I wasn't sure how everything would go yet. How did I know I wouldn't have a major meltdown at work? I was so NOT in the right state of mind to deal with even more change. I was using all my energy to trick myself into thinking work would be so much better than looking into my son's eyes - like I had awesome projects waiting for me, I'd be getting a break...and whatever else I could think of to help me. Instead I started internalizing and laid awake for hours. Horrible time for insomnia to hit. Finally, I let out my frustrations to Karl hoping that would help me sleep. I had learned I can't keep things in anymore. But getting everything out didn't help because the frustrations I expressed didn't come out right. I was never able to get to my point.
Instead, I walked downstairs knowing very well I'd be going back to work functioning on less than four hours of sleep and I'd be doomed. I started writing a blog post for the Star Tribune about everything I had dealt with over the past three months. Tears filled my eyes. I swallowed them back. I couldn't go into work with puffy, swollen eyes. I tried to block the funny feeling creeping up my neck and in my stomach. Finally my eyes became heavy and I slid back into bed.
I didn't need my alarm to wake me. I had Jackson for that. I had an hour and forty five minutes of sleep under my belt. I don't know how I managed to shower and put on clothes (that fit) and made sure my pumping machine was ready to go and all the parts were washed, that I had a lunch, that I put mascara on both eyes. But I did.
Jackson looked so sweet lying in his bassinet. I wanted to jump in with him and spend forever there. My husband would have to pry my fingers from the edge. I could barely stand to look at Jackson because it hurt so much. He'd soon be waking and and his mom wouldn't be there to greet him. What would he think?
I couldn't hold back the tears anymore when Karl hugged me goodbye and told me everything was going to be OK. No it wasn't OK. I kept telling him how unfair the situation was even though I knew Jackson would be in good hands. I had my parents come up and stay over with us Thursday and Friday to help me transition into my new routine as working mom, but even with them there, I still wanted to be the one home with Jackson. At least I knew he'd be in a familiar place even if his mommy wasn't there.
I cried in the car. I bawled when I found the note Karl had left for me in the passenger seat of my car, telling me I was an awesome mom and he and Jackson loved me no matter what. I was so angry though. Why did I have to go through this?? Why wasn't I smart enough to save more money? All that money I spent at the bar when I was younger and stupid...why didn't I put that in the bank instead? Why wasn't I rich enough to afford staying at home and saving for Jackson's future? Why was I being punished? Why? Why?
I cried all 30 minutes to work and then I turned my brain off, sucked it up and kept my head down all the way to my cube. Soon my parents were sending me texts and pictures of Jackson and I knew he was OK. I started to get into the groove of things, though I had to find an extension cord for my pump so I could go in the bathroom every three hours and not have to worry about going through a truckload of C batteries, and then I had to get a chair moved in there. I was barely at my desk because I had to get that all set up. Soon I was flying to the bathroom, pumping (crying all the while) and then pumping again..and pumping again. Before I knew it it was time to leave.
I couldn't WAIT to see our little guy. I flew out of work and panicked when I hit traffic. Don't you people know I have a baby to see? Move!!
And then there was my little man. We were reunited. I threw my beloved cell phone aside and just snuggled. I fed him and massaged his arms and smoothed his hair and told him over and over how much I loved him and missed him. He'd look at me and smile and all was right with the world. I wanted to freeze the moment.
Friday came and leaving wasn't as hard. Still sucked. Maybe because the weekend was right around the corner, I was feeling OK. But I did pull out of a volleyball tournament so I could spend all day Saturday loving him up. Sunday dread started building the minute I woke up. I'd be going back to work the next day but this time I'd be bringing him to homecare and I'd be away from him five days instead of just two.
Monday morning came and even with getting everything ready the night before I was running all over the house hoping I wasn't forgetting anything. Then Karl grabbed me and scooped me into a hug. I bawled all over again!!!!!! And I sobbed, "This isn't fair!!"
Dropping him off wasn't as painful as I thought (but it still stung) and I think it's because our homecare person is AMAZING. She made me feel so much better. Jackson warmed up to her and her kids were so great around him. And every day gets better and better. I miss him like crazy and it still doesn't feel right being away from him but I get updates via email throughout the day. I hear about how Jackson is smiling and playing with her kids. How much he's eating so I know how much I should be pumping. How long he's napping. A routine is building. Jackson has grown leaps and bounds in the past week. I feel like we have an angel watching our Jackson! I feel so blessed and lucky. So many great things are going to happen to Jackson because of this opportunity. Yes, I wish I was more a part of it. But I count my blessings every day we found such a wonderful homecare.
I'm still on a mission to make my dreams come true though! And experiencing this has given me the push I needed to really kick things into high gear.
What helped you through your first week of daycare?
|Dad dressed me again in this crazy outfit!|