I came back to work on May 2. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I would rather give birth a thousand times over before going through that first night back again. I hadn't been gone from my boy for longer than an hour or two since he was created and all of a sudden I was leaving him for eleven. That is a long time.
I spent the evening of May 1 cuddling and loving on Nolan like I was never going to see him again. I sobbed through his entire bath thinking about how I wouldn't have the opportunity to bathe him again for five days. The absolute worst part was when I got him out of the tub and wrapped him in a towel. I wanted to spend some time rocking him in his room before putting him to bed so I decided I'd just keep him wrapped up and love on him before getting him dressed and ready for bed. We sat down in the chair with just the dim light from the hall coming into the room. Nolan peeked around his towel and gave me one of the biggest smiles I'd ever seen. He was so happy to be snuggling instead of going straight to bed like he usually does after he bathes. Well...I lost it. I burst into tears. My poor little love's smile instantly turned to a pouty lip and he followed my cue. We sat there crying together for a few minutes. Then I decided he needed to get dressed and go to bed before I depressed him any more.
I spent most of that night hoping he would wake up to eat so I could hold him a little while longer. I couldn't wait to get up with him the next day so I could get in every second possible before leaving to work at 5:00 that evening. Every time he smiled at me, I cried. I felt like I was abandoning him. All I could think about was how he has always had me right there and all of a sudden I was just going to be gone. It wasn't like I could explain to him where I was going. I didn't want him to feel like I didn't care. I didn't want him to need me when I couldn't be there with him. With each smile I saw a baby in love with his mommy. A baby that had no idea that in a few short hours, his mommy was going to leave and she wouldn't be back until he woke up the next morning for breakfast.
I held myself together pretty well until my mom showed up to sit with him until Chris got home (we had less than an hour between our shifts that was not covered that night and our house is on my mom's way home from work so she offered to just come over.) I was sitting on the floor with Nolan and she offered to take him so I could finish getting ready for work. Sobs. I couldn't even get words out of my mouth. Finally I was able to say "I...don't...want...to...leave...him..." Ugh, I really shouldn't be typing this at work...
I got in the shower and piled on eyeliner in hopes that it would keep me from crying more because I wouldn't want it to run down my face. I took a deep breath and went downstairs. I couldn't even look at my baby. I literally had to sneak out the door without telling him goodbye or I would have lost it again. I walked out covering my eyes and saying to my mom "I can't look at him. I can't look at him. I love you. Bye." As soon as I got in my car, I blasted some angry rap music and rolled down my windows. I guess I have a strange way of coping but it worked. I was okay (sad, but okay) by the time I got to work.
The next morning when buddy boy and I got up for the day, he did not want me to put him down. He has never been an overly cuddly baby but that day he clung to me like nothing I've ever seen. I carried him in his Moby wrap for hours and he snuggled up to my chest and gripped onto my shirt like his little life depended on it. If I tried to lay him down for a nap, he screamed. I didn't mind one bit. I carried my little one on my chest the entire freaking day and I loved every second of it.
After my first day back, things got easier. Not easy. Easier. I'm trucking along and getting through it because I realize that being a mommy requires more of me than just loving my baby. It is my responsibility to provide for him and for right now, that means I have to work. I wish it didn't, but that is a sacrafice I am willing to make to be sure that Nolan has everything he needs. I will do anything for him. This includes leaving him with his loving daddy while I sit away from him for eleven hours a night. I miss him but I can do this. For him.