For many working parents, the first day going back to work after having a baby is filled with so very many emotions. With the nature of family leave in the U.S. the way that it is, many people are returning to work just 6-8 weeks after the baby is born. Just as a point of reference, it is a misdemeanor to sell a puppy under the age of 8 weeks in California and Nebraska. So yeah, by all means, force people to leave their babies after 6 though. (Don’t even get me started on family leave.) Anyway, it’s hard for some people, though not everyone, because these babies are so tiny and helpless still and all you can do is trust that things will go well. My first day was no different in most ways, but came with a little added flair because, honestly, we can’t do anything normal.
To set the stage: my first day back to work was June 4, which was 10 weeks after he was born. B had already gone back to work about 2 weeks beforehand and, while she worked 15 minutes away, my commute was an hour with no traffic. That’s 56 miles each way. So, if something happened, I wasn’t going to be the one to rush home and I would have a full hour to be in full-on panic mode trying to get there. We had hired a nanny who was coming to our house twice a week. She ended up being amazing and I would trust her with a billion children of mine, but at the time, we really didn’t know her all that well. Okay, the scene is set.
To avoid traffic, I was working 7:00-3:00, which meant I had to leave the house by 6:00a. The night before, I was a ball of nerves and barely slept. Even though you’d probably peg me as one of the least anxious people you’d ever meet, when it came time to leave this baby, I was worried. On top of that, I was dealing with things at work (all of my things had been moved into a different office, there were new people there, some of my favorite people had since quit, I’d had to advocate for myself with my boss, etc), so I wasn’t returning to the best of situations. So, I slept like crap, but L actually decided that night was the perfect time to sleep through the night for the first time and kept doing it my entire first week back to work.
B was always in bed when I left and that morning it was supposed to be no different. My alarm when off and I got in the shower and left the two of them in our bed (he was still sleeping in his Snuggle Nest between us at the time). There I was, enjoying my peaceful shower, trying to get my mind right for this day, when B literally comes bursting into the bathroom, cradling a tiny L and yelling about how he had just projectile vomited everywhere. She announced that she was calling out of work and cancelling the nanny and was on her way back out. I can’t even fully articulate the drama of it all; it was like something out of a freakin soap opera.
Of course, her nerves were just as rattled, if not more, as mine and in her defense (because she will read this) he hadn’t ever vomited that much before and the projection of it went right into her face. Like a cup of warm water had been randomly thrown into her face while she was sleeping; it literally took her breath away. But, we had to keep our shit together and at the time, all I thought was that she was looking for any tiny reason to not leave Baby. So, I calmly and very matter of factly told her “no you’re not, he’s fine” I asked her if he seemed bothered by it. No. I assured her that he hadn’t vomited, but had only just spit up and he would be fine. And he really was fine.
I finished getting dressed and was waiting forever for my bread to toast only to discover the toaster oven indeed was not even on. Then, all morning at work, I was alternating between wanting to cry and being pissed. I was pissed at my boss and every last one of my coworkers, you know, just run of the mill irrational anger that comes with sleep deprivation and hormones. I feel like I barely spoke all morning because I was either going to cry or yell. Then, around 11:30, I discovered that my underwear were on inside out.
But, we both went to work and came home to a baby who had also made it through the day. We didn’t end up putting new sheets on our bed until right before we got back in it that night, but that was irrelevant in the bigger scheme of things. We decided instead to reward ourselves with fro-yo, because we’d made it!!!