Monday, July 30, 2012

Here we go

It's official.  I'm heading back to work in two weeks.  And...(cue dramatic music)...I'm going back to the NICU.

*Thunder, lightning bolts*

I spent a good two hours a day the last few months looking for a new job. One that would be personally fulfilling, not too stressful, easy to get to, allow me to maximize my time home with Kaia and provide enough of an income and benefits in order to sustain our lifestyle...and I just couldn't find anything else that felt like it was going to fit.  Unlike Goldilocks and her three beds, I'm giving up on *just right*.  No matter what, I'm going to have to make sacrifices.  We are not in a position where I could be a SAHM, and honestly, I'm not sure that I really want to be.  I LIKE having a career...I worked hard for it.  I've got *mad skillz* and it really is a shame if I don't use and build on them.


I'm going to miss being home with Kaia every day.  The days that I work I won't see her at all. I still can't quite wrap my head around this yet.  Won't.  See.  Her.  At.  All,  What?!  My baby girl!  My Kaia! My lovely little barnacle that's been attached to my arm for the last year will be half a city away for almost 11 hours a day while I'm at work... with an (almost) stranger??!  How can that be?!


Maybe it will be good for her?  Kaia LOVES interaction with others.  She's a people person and gets a kick out of going places outside her norm.  She takes everything in with her eyes wide open and seems genuinely happy when around groups. She has adjusted well to every situation we've put her in the last year, so maybe she'll be happy to have a change of pace. So far, the babysitter we have lined up doesn't have any other kids to take care of, but that might change.  If so, Kaia will have other kids to play with.  Kids that will talk to her, play with her, teach her things, fight with her and challenge her.  We may never be able to provide a sibling for Kaia, and if that's the case, I feel we need to start building in opportunities for her interact with other why not start now?


I'm nervous about going back there.  The last shift I worked in the NICU was the night before I started GUSHING blood when I was pregnant with Aidan at around 11 weeks pregnant.  So much has happened since then.  The NICU is such an intense place, with such high standards.  It's physically demanding being on the ball (and on your feet!) for 12 hours at a time.  It's never knowing when you are going to get a break.  It's placing the demands of not just the patient, but the TEAM above your own (hey, look it's almost 5 pm and now that everyone is squared away I can finally eat lunch!!!).  It's never knowing what's going to happen next (the baby was fine...and then 20 minutes later he wasn't).  It's switching your days and nights around and working weekends and holidays (sucky, made even more sucky when you're missing your kid enjoy fun family times). I know I can do the job.  I'm just not sure about the toll.  Will it be too much?  Just before, and when trying to get pregnant with Aidan, it was too much.  I was anxious about getting pregnant and it led to depression. I felt overwhelmed with the fear of what was going to happen and it translated into insomnia. I was consumed with the fear of what could go wrong when having babies, because I saw it every day.  I never had that safe bubble of "that won't happen to me", because I saw it happen to people like me all the time.  I'm not saying I'm psychic or anything of that nature, but the year before Aidan died, when it came to my anxiety level, it was almost like I was pre-grieving his loss.  It was like I *knew* something was just ended up being because of my placenta instead of my heart. Going back to the NICU is bringing all this up, so maybe it's understandable that I'm nervous.


Maybe it's time to pay it forward.  Go back to help patients and families who are still in the thick of it as they struggle to make it through, hopefully (but never guaranteed) with a well baby at the end of it all. I may find I have a lot more to give because I've grown a lot in the last two years.  I've had experiences that directly relate to the people I'm trying to help.  I've had two terrible, frightening, complicated pregnancies.  My first born died.  I grieve for him.  My second lived, and spent 50 days in an NICU being cared for by someone other than me.  I've (cyber) met all of you.  I've read so many powerful stories of women (and a few men) who've lived through the worst too and lived to tell about it.  Your stories have given me strength, hope and sometimes even made me laugh when I didn't think I could.  In my own life, I've had to learn to roll with things.  Learned to relax.  Learned to let go.  I had to.  It was that, or fall apart.  I learned I'm not in control.  I can't fix everything.  I can't be everything to everyone.  I can plot and plan until my heart's content, but that doesn't mean it's always going to go my way, it just means I have to keep trying.  All I can do is my best, and hope the rest falls into place.


I'm still nervous...and I'm really hoping it all goes well.

Supportive comments appreciated, as always.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"The Girl Who Lived" Turns One!

...and she partied like a rock-star.

It was a busy week in the lead up to Kaia's party. After a major house cleaning over the July 1st holiday weekend, and much shopping, baking, tidying, errands, multiple trips to the grocery store (Brian: Do you need more butter for your baking? Me: Yes, the answer is always yes.) and a last minute trip to Party City the morning of (apparently the canisters of helium you can buy to take home during this helium shortage do not allow your balloons to float for more than 6-8 don't blow them up the night before thinking you can be all 'prepared in advance'. You will wake up to them on the floor. Party FAIL), we were ready.  I must say that all the work was worth it and Kaia's party was a smash!

We had 26 people at our house, (10 men, 9 women, 2 kids, 3 toddlers and 2 babies) and while I had hoped that maybe our little backyard might be fun to play in for the kids, the weather didn't cooperate, so everyone was in our living room/dining room/kitchen. Brian barbecued (note: it's awesome to have a summer birthday here in Canada since your party can include barbecued hot dogs rather than boiled).  I baked (my ass off).  My mom and mother-in-law brought side dishes.  Everyone ate and drank and had a good time.  Kaia got presents and had her first taste of icing (after putting it in her hair).  What more could a one year old ask for?

When I thought about Kaia's party back in June, I decided that while I generally think the "rainbow" baby term can be a little overly schmaltzy (and I'm not), it would be a perfect party theme. Plus it was an excuse to use colour...and I love colour! Our rainbow theme was my own special nod to big brother Aidan as well as to how miraculously lucky we feel every day when we think about how well Kaia has done. She lights up our lives and I'm blessed to have her.  Happy Birthday my Kaia-Papaya.

And here are some photos!

Would you like some cake with your butter?
Kaia chillin' with her toys the morning of the party.
Home made chocolate cupcakes with rainbow frosting.
Kaia in her party hat!
La  "piece de resistance". The Rainbow Cake! It was covered with white icing and people actually clapped when I cut into it.  Super gratifying considering it was A LOT of work to make. It tasted amazing too! Score!

Kaia eating icing for the first time.  I gave her a purple cupcake. The frosting was a nice accessory to her yellow dress.
One of Kaia's new toys.
Parties are fun!

"So tired Mommy...I think I'll just stare off into space".

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Balancing Act

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I had a job interview today for one of the clinics at the hospital where I am currently on mat leave from.  It sounds like a great job, 3-4 days per week, day time hours only, interesting patients, lots to learn...but also very intense with a lot of very sick children counting on me to help get them better.  After being off work for over a year and only having my small little family to worry about, going back to being in charge of other people's kids and their health is very daunting.  In some of my better moments I KNOW I can do it.  In others?  I'm kind of quaking in my boots.  Does everyone feel this way when faced with starting a new job?

It's also stressful that I don't KNOW yet where I'm going to end up.  I put in another resume to pick up a part time position back on unit that I use to work on before going off on leave.  It would be great to be back with my old colleagues, and I am familiar with the position (I mean why wouldn't they want me back??!!), but I haven't heard anything yet. Not sure what's going on there.  Kind of thought I would be a shoe-in since before my contract was cancelled due to budget constraints I would have been coming back there haven't they called me?  Then today, I got a call from the administrative assistant from the NICU, who set up a telephone meeting for me on Friday with my manager from the NICU.  I know the question is going to be "so, when are you coming back?" and I honestly don't know how to answer her.  I would like to say "oh yes, I've got a new position starting in early August on the _____ unit, so I'll be coming back to the NICU for a few casual shifts a month".  But, if the other two jobs don't work out, I will need to work in the NICU more than that.  I'm nervous that she will think I don't care about the NICU, which I do.  I just don't think it's mentally healthy for me to work there more than part time.  Too much stress hitting way to close to home.

The other (major) concern is of course, Kaia.  What to do with her while I'm at work?  We live in a big city so there are lots of daycare and babysitting options...but not many that start before 7am  I had a lead on what I thought was going to be a great place.  Brian could drop her off as early as 6 am.  It was close by.  The woman seemed knowledgeable, interested and involved with the children she looks after.  Then I get an e-mail that this past weekend she has sold her house and is moving to a different area of the city.  Not REALLY far away...but far enough that it would make pick ups and drop offs a real pain.  I could have cried.  My stress level sky rocketed.  NOW what am I going to do??!!

Kaia is wonderful.  The hospital I work at is amazing.  I am blessed to have a career. Balancing all of it is HARD!!!

I think I need a nap.