My first day back to work, after three months off... so much has happened in the past three months, and my life has changed in ways I never before understood or imagined. Sebastian is an incredible gift, and I love him more than I believed was humanly possible. He has stolen such a huge chunk of my heart... and he also makes me love my wonderful husband more and more each day. Being a mother is truly amazing, and sharing this journey with Tim is even more amazing.
Last night I cried myself to sleep... not because I don't like my job (in fact, I normally love my job); not because Sebastian wasn't going to be extremely well cared for (he's being taken care of by his two grandmas and an aunt, who are all fabulous and love him to pieces); not because I didn't think I could do this thing of being a mom and a professional at the same time; not because I was afraid he wouldn't love me anymore; not because I'm afraid that I'll miss him rolling over for the first time (he's oh.so.close!)... simply because it's sad. And I was (am) mourning. And I have the mom guilt thing going on.
But I survived. My first day back was OK. I felt awful about leaving Sebastian. I hated to think about all the bottles he would get instead of the time I normally spend nursing him. I felt like my brain was mush, and I couldn't remember things - I had to ask my partners what you called this or that test, diagnosis or medication on several occasions. I was anxious about not getting my "pumping time." And I was frustrated to be running behind schedule. Oh, and I was not excited about having to do a two hour customer service training on my first day back. Seriously? The staff at work were compassionate, oohhhed and aahhhed over my pictures, tried to help me out to get to my pumping time promptly, and kept telling me that I was doing just fine (thanks, Julie ;)). My patients were very understanding, even when I entered their rooms sometimes 30-40 minutes late... and they all wanted to know about my little boy - his name, how big he was, who was taking care of him, where the pictures were, etc. Plus, throughout the day, I had hugs and notes from partners (who have made it very clear that they're thrilled that I'm back), smiles and words of the most sincere empathy from my boss (well, maybe it was really the most sincere sympathy, cuz he's a man...), and kisses and caresses from my husband, who wiped the tears off my cheeks last night and reassured me as he left carrying Sebastian out the door this morning, leaving me behind...with one of the emptiest feelings I recall ever experiencing. And then at the end of the day, when my little boy came home to me, he still smiled at me, loved me and nursed right away as if I had never left him (the bottle hasn't destroyed him, thank goodness!). He laughed and cooed, was content to have me hold him and smother him with kisses, and he followed his regular nighttime routine like such a good little boy. And to top it all off, I had ice cream with some friends to decompress a bit. So, so yummy...! And they all love my baby and fight over who gets to hold him, which is such a special gift. Of course, Sebastian eats it up - the spoiling and fussing over him that is, not the ice cream (yet!).
So, all in all, it was OK. I certainly could never say I love this transition. But it is what it is for now. And we're all surviving. And now both my boys are fast asleep, the diapers are hung and drying (thanks, Timmy), the bottles are washed, and the diaper bag and milk bag are packed for the morning. Tomorrow (today) will come soon, and we'll do it all over again. I know each day will get a little bit easier, and I'm thankful that it's only the first day once.
Sebastian has changed my priorities forever. That means a lot of things; but today that means doing the best I can for my patients while I'm at work, all the while being the most efficient I can be, so I can finish on time and race home to see my precious little babe. It means saying "no" sometimes. And it means soaking up every opportunity to love on him that I can get.
I was blessed to have three months at home with Sebastian; some women have far less time. I count it a privilege to have partners who understand the value of family and children. It's a blessing beyond belief to have family helping to care for Sebastian. And I know God will continue to use me powerfully in the service I provide to patients who are "the least of these."
Today I pray for balance, patience and rest... so off to bed I go.