Monday, September 19, 2016

Nursing: Diary of my Back to Work!

Mat leave is officially over world (for the rest of my life)!
Now back to full time shift work, and really if you look at in reverse, it's also full time mothering- but  in my case with a better balance. On mat leave, it's day in day out routine. let's face it, mom's do the extra large breadth of the child rearing from 0-12months. As a full time RN, our shifts are 2 day shifts (0730-1930) and 2 night shifts (1930-0730) with 4-5 days off in between. Sounds awesome to have so many days off? yes it darn right is even though one of those days i'm basically fcked up trying to readjust my circadian rhythm without too much over caffeinating all the while trying to stay patient when lacking sleep.

I was fortunate enough to be given 1 orientation day shift on Sept 16th and 1 night shift on my own, after that- as in as I'm typing now, I'm off for another 10 days due to vacation and change in job overlap of days off. back to work feels like i just got my foot in the water and had a glimpse of when i can sneak in sleep and rest so i don't kill anyone at work (ha! but true). For Dad, great way to get a reality check on how hard it is to manage 2 kids and hopefully be more empathetic and take more initiative in helping out MOM.

This is a diary of my first shifts back in employment.

Sept 15- lots of talks with Max about how I'm going back to work and who's going to cosleep with him and wake him up, how to behave and be patient with dad as he's a creature of routine. He's been telling me, "mom i don't want you to go back to work!" with some tears shed by him. what truly has helped, and I'm glad he's old enough, is to tell him that 'Mom always comes back' and if he ever missed me, I'm a FaceTime away as well as a call. I remember it was harder going back to work when he was younger because he was so attached, less so now by a few degrees.

As for me, i remember when i had to go back to work after having Max; I had to have a goodbye cry (cries, even). Guilt, separation anxiety, annoyance that baby daddy didn't help so much with the child rearing and now needs a crash course in Max's scheduling. This time, I had no cry, ready to work (!!) absolutely needing change, slight guilt, and every presence of annoyance because again, do i need to mention that I DID 95% OF THE WORK with these kids while on mat leave?! I was really done. i also literally had to write down a schedule for dear husband on when things happen, what they liked to eat, and what options he had if something didn't work; not impressed.

Sept 16 0400: Baby cried per usual, i went out to feed her to get her back to sleep. Max woke up a few minutes later crying because he thought i left to get ready or go to work without saying goodbye to him. So once Mikkel went back to sleep, I scooped him up and we went back to bed and though i was officially awake from the overstimulation, Max resettled with some reassurance and although he stirred when i had to get up at 520am to get ready, i was able to say bye and he was content.

0600h: baby officially wakes up. breastfed and happy. Cried when i had to go leave and Gene went out with her to distract her.
0700h: SOS text from Gene to come home lol. At this time I also go a quality coffee treat (iced Americano) to fuel me up for the day.
0730-1930 (while at work): talked with adults. Great day. Had regular breaks and HOT FOOD. Got rest. Got quiet time and time to think. Practiced and reoriented my skills.

2000h: came home, Max had a shower with me, told me all the hiccups of the day he could remember, and his day at school. We had a snack and then went to bed at 2045h.

my sleep was pretty crappy this night as the 0700h caffeine drink i had not only fuelled me for the day, but also the night as my brain DID NOT turn off and I didnt feel mentally rested at all the next day. Yes, I'm that much of a quality caffeine virgin. for next set, I'm not sure if i will be opting for the espresso.

With Max's mat leave, i wanted to know anything and everything that happened during my time away. but this time, knowing that Gene didnt have the same resources i had (read: boob), and to save myself from getting upset at his techniques at a job that i appreciate is uber hard for him, i told myself to be just dandy that the kids were fed, had a sleep, and were alive. To boot, the house wasn't a disaster when i came home. Kudos to dad (mind you, he didnt volunteer much information either haha)!

Sept 17 0200h: baby wakes up, breast and back to sleep until 0600h.
id like to mention that by 0200 my breasts were ENGORGED like heck. I hadn't breast feed since about 0600h of the previous day. This also contributed to my poor sleep as my breasts were just in the way and was uncomfortable to sleep on my stomach, on my side, on my back. I'm not sure about you but when I'm engorged, i feel a sense of urgency and need to empty and a flight or fight response. Once the overnight feed started, the other breast actually started leaking which hasn't happened for the longest time. I'm surprised I didn't lactate at work!

Sept 17: This day is my pre-night shift day and the morning is treated per usual routine, except I'm completely still exhausted from the day before and I'm trying to not drink any caffeine as i need to sleep during the day to be able to stay awake for the rest of the night. On regular days, Gene wakes up at 9am, this day i think he himself was so exhausted from his experience of overstimulation that he woke up at 1100am.

1000h: Mikkel had her first nap, I took a 20 minute nap in bed with Max chilling on the iPad. did you know 20 minutes, according to literature, is enough time to regenerate and refresh for another few hours? more than 20 minutes, one is actually slower to recover and more groggy.

I told Gene that I wanted to have an official nap from 2pm - 4pm, or at least set aside some time to rest regardless of how much sleep time I get in that two hour window. I put the baby down at 2pm, crashed on the bed with Max per his request, again on the iPad. I slept for maybe 1 hour (?), didnt feel rested because the caffeine from the day before was still in my system I guess. Max was in and out of my room from 3-4pm and i basically just shut my eyes but didnt sleep. Sucks but still helps. Gene had the baby and cooked the rest of the dinner which i had prepped in the morning.

1815h: left for work, kids and baby daddy went to the park.

1930-0730h: worked. talked with friends. had a sleeping break.

Sept 18 0800h: home. Got a report that Gene had a shitty night (sensitive sleeper). He coslept with Max, but since he was a light sleeper and the baby monitor was on, he never really had a sound rest. baby woke up at 1am and had an hourly whine for a few minutes. She ended up waking up at 0545am and Max, who usually sleeps till 8 or 9am, woke up at 7am.

prior to coming home, i texted Gene that i was coming home within minutes so he can hide with Mikkel and i can sneak in to have a shower. Max seeing me is no longer a problem thank goodness. Before I shut the door to sleep, about 815am, Max says, "mommy, i slept with daddy but I missed you!" OMG I love how this kid loves me! I had a poor sleep from 830am until 1045am as i just had a shower, the house was noisy, Max kept coming in to visit as he was excited I was home, and it was just generally loud. Got ready for the day at 11am and took over the reigns as well.

I whisked the kids off at 12pm to the mall and my parents so Gene can rest.
Home at 4pm.
Life per previous routine.

Max and I crashed for night sleep at 845pm.

Work is much easier than home life because I get a BREAK. Both are equally rewarding in their way and I'm glad I can now use different parts of my brain and body. The lack of sleep I get is just so freaking horrendous. Next set I'm doing a full 2 days 2 night and totally not looking forward to it. When i reminded this to husband in text, the response I got was "Shit" (lol). What I am looking forward to, is next year when Max is in full day kindergarten and Gene can manage the 1 child while the other is away. It's like having 1 child all over again! haha. This is also another reason while i just love their age difference.

Thank to caffeine and makeup for their different powers!
'tis my new life.


  1. Good luck on the transition Mitzi! If it makes you feel better and gives you a giggle, when I went back this third time all the babies crying and the oxytocin flowing all over the place caused me to leak through my scrubs on multiple occasions. Im sure my body was all 'what the heck lady?!'. Now it is regulated and not a problem but there was a few times where I was in report after a night shift and wasn't sure if I had just spilled something on me or..oops! never mind, just leaking over here.
    Also, my big trick after going back the second time was to do a dream feed if the baby was sleeping when I got home. Helped keep my milk supply up and also helped with engorgement and gave them a bit of a full tummy. Good luck!!

    1. i totally forgot about the dream feed! thanks you

  2. I ordered medium lab coats for men and they fit great! I do need to hem them, but the fit is perfect everywhere else. And the crotch does not hang practically down to your knees like some other scrubs do.


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