Thursday, 18 April 2019

Baby Blogging: The End of Maternity Leave!

It's been 3 days of being back to work after maternity leave. My wonderful wife helped me time my return so that I had a bank holiday at the end of my first week and start of my second. So even though Annabelle and I have had 3 days apart we will have 4 days together to make up for it.

How have I felt? Well where do I start. Emotional. Pleased. Sad. Positive.

I had grand plans to be in London twice in the week to see my team but last minute the company who acquired us announced we had a company day in Bournemouth on the Wednesday. On reading the email my heart sank. I had prepared myself to head to London for the day and race back to see Annabelle at bedtime. I hadn't prepared myself to be away overnight immediately.

After a few deep breathes, a lot of tears and a period of gathering myself Laura and I started on a plan for the week. If there is one thing Laura does so well it's plan. And once a plan was in place things didn't seem so bad.

Lovely good luck messages
Rather than heading into London on Tuesday I would work from home clearing my inbox and completing eLearning. The urgency of seeing my team was lessened as they would all be in Bournemouth the next day. Laura dropped Annabelle at nursery and she popped home for lunch. We went to pick Annabelle up together so we could both get the low down on her first day at nursery. My first day was a dream.

Heading to nursery
The good news is nursery went well. We have video access that means we can log in and see how she's doing. We saw her eating, sleeping and crawling around the place. No tears and no drama. She is a superstar. Laura and I on the other-hand had a kind of heavy sadness and missed her all day. The sadness only lifted when the nursery staff said she had a great day.

After I finished work we spent the evening as a family, this included bathing Annabelle as she stunk of the mackerel she'd had for snack at nursery. We played, we made her smile and it felt so good to be back in our bubble. After getting Annabelle to bed I then hit the road.

A three hour drive from Birmingham to Bournemouth meant I arrived at my hotel at 10pm. Well I say my hotel.....they had no record of my room being booked and there were no rooms left. After 45 mins and the receptionist rushing around looking stressed they found me a room and I fell into bed at 11.15pm.

My trip to Bournemouth left Laura to get Annabelle up and ready the next morning. Not a major challenge except as I have never spent the night apart Annabelle has never had a bottle in the morning - first thing feeds are our thing. Laura rocked it though, after initial tears Annabelle took the bottle and made it to nursery in time. Laura is a hero!

My all day meeting in Bournemouth had an end time of 4pm (and then drinks which I skipped). As soon as I could I rushed up to my colleagues room where I had my bags and where I been pumping. Turns out breast feeding and work - especially all day meetings - are not good combinations. I had to leave the meeting twice (although timed one pumping session for lunch) and pumping is not a 2 mins task. Each time I was gone for almost half an hour. What with the sterilising and the prep and then the pumping. Oh and then having to have storage - I went with bags and ice packs that the hotel kindly kept in their freezer.

So after getting all my stuff together it was 4.30pm. A 3 hour drive - at rush hour - made the likelihood of getting back for Annabelle's bed time unlikely. I was devastated. I had consoled myself on missing the morning by being home in time to see her face before bed. Throughout the journey the traffic got worse, then better, then worse, then better and then by some miracle cleared so that my journey took 2 hours 48 and got me back for 7.20pm. Laura had kept Annabelle awake and it was so worth it. The smiles and hugs were amazing. My heart was so happy.

And then as all my team stayed down in Bournemouth it made my Thursday trip to London  redundant as there was no-one there to see. Instead I worked from home getting myself set up for the next week and getting all my log-ins restored. It meant I could have from 7am until 9am with Annabelle before my parents took her to theirs. It made up for the being away from her the day before.

I know the whole work/life balance is a challenge for everyone and our challenge isn't unique. What I am proud of is the way we handled this challenge. I know we are 3 days in and it's nothing to get excited about BUT Annabelle got on well at nursery, Laura managed to manage everything and I managed to go to work. We managed, we succeeded and we survived without too many tears! And our reward - four glorious days together, back as a four, back in our bubble, back being us.

The new us can wait a few days, we'll figure that out soon enough!

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