Returning to Work Post Rainbow Baby

By | 2017-05-04T08:12:00+00:00 May 4th, 2017|Parenting After Loss, The First Year|0 Comments

I work as a registered nurse on the postpartum unit at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. I am lucky enough that I was able to take 12 weeks off work after I had our Rainbow in January. Although I love my job, I could not wait to have three whole months off! I was due at the end of January, so I figured I would get to hang out in my cozy living room on those cold, bitter winter mornings, instead of leaving my house at 5:15am to get to work.

It felt great to have the time off work. I was able to just relax in my house, do absolutely nothing but play with my 2 1/2 year old and cuddle my newborn.

When Evan was about a month and a half old, I was somewhat excited to get back to work. I was looking forward to getting back to a normal routine, working three 12 hour shifts a week- a schedule I have had for about five years. I loved staying home with my girls, but I also love my job and my coworkers, and spending some time out of the house is what I need personally. After all, working this full time schedule still gives me four days off a week to enjoy my family.

With my first daughter, I was so excited to get back to work. I remember telling my husband that I felt so guilty because I felt like I was a kid on Christmas Eve. I craved adult interaction and conversation- at the time we lived out of state, away from both of our families. This time was different. Part of me was ready. Ready to get back to normal, and fulfill the part of me that needs to help people, the very reason I become a nurse. But another part of me was incredibly anxious, and it got worse the last week I was off. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my husband, my mom, or our daycare with our daughter. I love and trust them all very much, and they have taken care of Charlie our first daughter since she was six months old. It honestly had nothing to do with who I was leaving her with, I just didn’t know if I could handle be away from Evan.

As we went to bed on the eve of my return to work, I was just so sad. I wanted to hold Evan all night, as if I would never see her again. It took her a long time to fall asleep, like she knew I was going to be away for 15 hours the next day. But she slept great the rest of the night. I woke up extra early, in case I had to console her (or in all honesty, myself) while trying to get ready. I felt as though I could vomit. I was sniffling back tears by myself in my bathroom as I did my hair. Then I woke Jesse up to let him know I was leaving, and went over way too many instructions for him, as if he had never been around either of our girls in his life. As I turned to walk out to grab my bags and coffee, my pocket started vibrating- it was the night shift charge nurse putting me on-call! The relief I felt was unreal. Although they could call me at any time in the next 12 hours to come in, I could at least crawl back into bed and hold my baby for a few hours.

For the next 15 minutes I sat in bed staring at her, just hoping she would wake up. Finally she started stirring a bit, which isn’t unusual as she is a very restless sleeper, and I had my chance to pick her up. I sat in bed for the next hour and a half holding her against my chest as she slept.

I know she will be safe and probably just as happy as any other day, but emotionally I don’t think I am ready. I am not sure this anxiety of leaving Evan stems from the fact that she is my Rainbow baby, and there are several layers of emotions that are attached to that, or the simple fact that I wish I could stay home with my daughters. Either way, as of now, I get to push back me leaving for at least another few hours and enjoy the morning with both of my girls as they play.

Update: This picture is of Evan the morning I was on call, happy as ever. I never got called in on that “first day” back to work, and I had the next three days off. When I actually did return to work later that week, the morning did involve tears (shed by me, not Evan) but it was a good day. Both girls had a great day at daycare and my day went very smooth. It’s now been a few weeks, and although I still have some anxiety about leaving, I am so thankful I have a job I love to go to as well as people who take fantastic care of our girls when we are gone.

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About the Author:

Katie McKenzie
Katie McKenzie lives in rural central Ohio with her husband Jesse and two daughters, Charlie and Evan. A year after she had their first daughter in June 2014, she and her husband began trying to conceive again. They experienced 3 first trimester miscarriages in 8 months. In May 2016 she found out she was pregnant again and gave birth to their Rainbow in January 2017. She wrote about her pregnancy in a blog, and has began to continue to write about her everyday life, now as a mother of two. You can visit her blogs, Life isn't always Rainbows and A Princess and a Rainbow. Katie is a Registered Nurse who currently works on a postpartum unit. After her own experiences with loss, Katie has become passionate about speaking out about miscarriage and ending the stigma that comes with it.

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