Back to Work

  • Posted on December 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

So, Monday was my first day back to work after being on leave since May.  Thankfully, I was able to use my summer vacation as part of my leave of absence.  When school started in the fall, I took 12 weeks off as a bonding leave to care for my daughter.  I simply could not justify returning to work when Gracie only weighed about 6 lbs and for all intents and purposes, was equivalent to that of a 3 week old baby.  Plus, I was trying to work out a nursing schedule with her to give her the best food to plump her up.

And, boy did she plump up.  She now weighs over 14 lbs and is finally on the growth chart for her regular age.  She’s even better on the growth chart for her adjusted age.  But, just seeing her on the growth chart at 6 months old, when she spent the first three months of her life in the NICU, is pretty dang amazing to us.

I wasn’t sure how the first day would go.  I didn’t know my students, but I hadn’t really heard anything negative about them, either.  Last year’s 10th graders were crazy.  Well, what a relief!  My students seem to be pretty good.

I’ll have to admit, though.  It’s been a crazy week.  I get up at 4:50 AM, change Gracie’s diaper and feed her.  I hold her upright for 20 minutes, and then put her back in her pack-n-play while I get ready for work.  I bring my computer, my pump, my lunch, and my purse with me every day.  I feel like I’m going camping with all the crap I bring with me.  Then, with very little time to spare, I run to the bathroom during nutrition.  I come back, pump for 10 minutes, and while the kids are waiting outside, put everything away.  If I time it just right, the kids are coming in for the next class right about when the bell rings.  I pump again at lunch.  Thankfully, there’s a little bit more time during lunch where I don’t have to rush as much.

I come home and before I even say hello to my daughter, I take the pumping stuff that’s been sitting on the drying rack from the night before and place it to the side so that I can wash the two sets of pumping stuff I took with me to school.  After that’s washed, I strip and place all my clothes into the dirty hamper and take a shower.  Only when I’m squeaky clean can I hold my daughter and give a big kiss.  Since I work at a school, the cootie factor is pretty high.  I am constantly using hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes to clean my desk.  I’m just worried I’ll bring something home and Gracie will catch it.  Being a preemie, her immune system isn’t as robust as a full-term baby’s system, so we just can’t take the chance.

I have to say, though, this week was exhausting.  I’m lucky in that I can now take three weeks to recuperate from it all.  Still, I have no idea how I’ll be able to keep up the pumping and nursing.  Gracie is eating more solids.  Eventually, she’ll be nursing less and eating more.

Christmas is just around the corner.  I haven’t done hardly any shopping and probably won’t do much with lack of money.  Being on leave was nice, but not getting paid was a bit difficult.  I’m not even really in the Christmas spirit.  We don’t have our Christmas decorations up, either.  No tree, no ornaments, nothing.  Maybe when I get home, we can get the tree set up.  It is Gracie’s first Christmas, after all.  I also received some ornaments for Benjamin and I would like to place them on the tree.   Maybe when we get all the pretty ornaments out and put the tree up, I’ll feel more Christmas-y.

I truly though that returning to work would be emotionally difficult.  I haven’t had a chance to really think about anything other than work and the business of teaching 10th graders, so I guess that’s good.  In a way, I feel guilty for not thinking about Benjamin as much.  I still think about him every day, but just not as much, or not while I’m working.  It’s when I’m home and holding Gracie that I remember him.

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