First week at Work

Not such an early Monday. I showered before working on Tuesday. Wednesday was a blur, and I was pushing myself too hard already. I was a walking zombie through Thursday and got the sincere feeling this isn’t working well. I sincerely don’t remember much from Friday.

I had grand plans of being up early enough on Monday to get ready maybe even a quick spot of makeup. Nope! I woke up at 9:07 when the team stand-up is at 9:15. I rushed to the call in my pajamas and said to the crowd, “this is going to be an adventure in figuring out my limitations. So expect a lot more conference calls in my pajamas.”

Everybody agreed. The team was just so happy to have me back that they said they’d be as patient as they need to be to get the maximum contribution I’m able to give. Get this: the team also decided that it doesn’t look good to have me back so soon, so I won’t be engaging with any customers just yet. We don’t want to explain to customers why my maternity leave was only 10 days.

Therefore, I am coming back entirely free to build my own schedule because I don’t need to build my day around customer calls. I do need to build my day around tasks that the team needs like a series of product videos, wire frames and mock-ups for new features that have fallen behind, and working with the ticketing team that need brushing up on procedures. It also looks like sprint planning did not happen the entire time I was out – even though I was not even gone an entire development sprint. Urg.

Monday I spent the entire day shooting, editing, and narrating a product video. This four minute video takes at least five hours to edit and produce to my satisfaction. Along the way, I was able to take multiple breaks for Eleanor’s meals and diaper changes. On Monday, she was in the 25 minute cycle of feed, burp, change, lay back down. But for the 2:30 session, Ellie was wide awake.

For about 45 minutes, I was able to cuddle with her and have some tummy time. She’s so strong already. She’s lifting and rotating her head from side to side. She even flung her left arm so she was half rolled over – already! At 13 days! She’s a little pistol and going to cause her Mama a lot of anxiety over the next several years. All of this was possible while I took a break while the video was uploading.

A successful day one. Video complete. Ellie could have my attention while she was awake.

By Tuesday, I was able to wake at 8:45am, and I consider that a massive improvement. In those first 25 minutes, I could get myself ready (minus the makeup) and be downstairs in time to greet my team with a bright smile. I told them that I’m working on improvements each day, and we celebrated getting up early enough to be ready for the workday!

After the 9:15 stand-up I only needed to make myself breakfast, but I also got to spend some time with Ellie who was wide awake again. I hope I’m encouraging her to be awake during the day, so she’ll sleep during the night, but I don’t know if that’s true. At about 11am, I was able to get myself back to work where I studied the specs for an old feature that hadn’t been user-tested in years. I was hoping to ship that feature to a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) group tomorrow so we can either improve it or sunset it.

Wednesday I started to feel like more of a blur. I was very sleepy, groggy, even that ‘just woke up from a nap’ feeling like you wish you hadn’t napped. I led the UAT session at 10am and felt all over the place. I didn’t feel like my usual, sharp self. I didn’t feel like I had command of the room the way I usually feel. I can’t afford to dwell on that feeling though because I gotta push through this to come out on the other side.

I responded to emails, shot another video, and left early for a haircut at 2pm. All the while Ellie slept and farted, farted and slept. She was so tired from her adventures on Tuesday that she slept the entire day – only to wake up to demand food or a changing. I came back from my haircut and instead of getting back to work, I took a nap on the couch. I thought I’d just rest for a few minutes and ended up sleeping for almost an hour.

I did have a moment of glee when I realized it was Wednesday evening – not Tuesday. I made this mistake because my pill case said Tuesday, but I had only started to take Sunday’s pills on Monday. So I went to sleep Wednesday night happy the week was one day closer.

The alarm went off Thursday morning hitting me like ton of bricks. I snoozed it until 9:11am even though I have a stand-up to attend at 9:15am. Didn’t wash my face or brush my teeth, so I felt like garbage. Immediately got called into outstanding issues that needed to be addressed immediately. Around 11am, I checked on Ellie who was wide awake. So I took the opportunity for some mid-day baby snuggles, changed her out of her pajamas, and promptly dozed with Ellie on the couch for 45 minutes. I was sensing a common theme of needing additional sleep.

Between Thursday and Friday, Ellie had a very difficult night. She woke at pretty close to her usual feeding times of 9:45pm, 12:30am, 3:40am, but between feedings she woke us to screaming cries. It looks like it may have been gas, but all this sleepy mama knows is we were up most of the night. She is far too young for sleep training, so everything I have read says to be there for her in these first few months. So we were dutifully up and hold her, bouncing her, burping her.

So when 8am came the next morning, I woke with that feeling that “I’m not going to sleep anymore.” I got up and got to work. Around noon, things started to get fuzzy. I had my coffee, but I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I made myself some cheese and crackers for lunch. I was still feeling fuzzy, so I poured myself a soda/pop [depending upon where you are from]. I remembered we had a doctor’s appointment for Ellie at 4pm that afternoon, so I packed a diaper bag. I also remembered I wanted to trim Ellie’s toenails before the doctor’s office, so I went upstairs to sit in the rocking chair in the direct sunlight.

No matter the coffee. No matter the extra glass of carbonated caffeine drink. No matter the impending pile of work not getting done for my day job. I fell asleep. Don’t worry: I wasn’t clipping Ellie’s nails at the time. But Sleepy-Mama said to herself, “I’ll just put these clippers here and rest my eyes for a moment. But I WON’T fall asleep because that’s dangerous. It’s a fall risk for Eleanor.”

Yeah, that didn’t happen. I fell asleep and now it’s time to leave for the doctor’s office.

So to wrap up my first week back at work: The sleep routine I planned to use will not be enough. So staying up until or after Eleanor’s 10pm feeding is probably too late in the evening. This week’s test will be if going to bed one feeding earlier is enough sleep or if I’ll need to add a nap in the afternoon.

Regarding work? I’m making this all up for the benefit of a company without a maternity leave policy. Maybe my personal experience is the exact reason why European countries offer parental leaves for over a year or more. Trying to take care of an 18 day old infant is a full-time job.

Published by @electrickduckdesigns

Eight days into motherhood, I needed a place to be myself again. Follow me as I grow into this new role.

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