I dreaded my first day back. I imagined every worst case scenario - that I would get a frantic phone call from Andrew that Sawyer wouldn't stop crying or that he had an accident and was headed to the ER. I imagined showing up at work to find a schedule full of new patients all of them cranky and difficult. I imagined 8 hours being the longest 8 hours that I've ever gone through and wanting to quit when I walked out the door and never come back. I spent some time praying that God would make it clear to me if he really wanted me to be working.
I was put slightly at ease with an email from my manager saying he had blocked out my first couple of patient slots so that he and I could discuss some new policies that had gone into effect on my leave and so I could get oriented with my patient charts for the day since I wasn't familiar with any of the clients I would be seeing.
I hardly slept the night before. Sawyer was awake at 1 to eat and was up again at 5. I got up and showered and dressed and fed him at 6:30 before I left. I packed my lunch and my pump and off I went.
I was surprised to find a light schedule - I had 3 hours free before my first patient even showed up. I said hi to everyone in the clinic and met with my boss. I did a couple of other random things that I needed to do and then I sat and drank my coffee. It was odd to be in the clinic without a ton of things to catch up on. My box was empty (for the first time in years). I was actually a little bored.
Andrew brought Sawyer in over my lunch hour so I could feed him. Sawyer seemed his happy self and smiled at everyone in the office. He did not seem at all traumatized by his Mommy being MIA for the morning. Hmm, maybe this was going to work out after all.
Another surprise on my schedule that day was the return of one of my favorite patients. Normally I don't like to see familiar patients on my schedule because it means I didn't fix them the first time. This man is like my adopted grandpa. He is so cute. Two years ago, around this time, I saw him for the first time. I found some concerning things on his examination and called his physician. It ended up that he had an abdominal aortic aneurysm (which was my suspicion) the size of a tennis ball. He was discharge from our care at that time (and had that surgically repaired) but returned later that year to resume treatment for his back. He saw me again this past summer because he ended up getting a part of his lung removed. I had discharged him right before I went on maternity leave. He ended up being hospitalized in December and was referred back to physical therapy to regain his strength. So it was nice to have such a great person on my schedule.
I've decided I really like a part time schedule. I'm working two 8 hours days on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then alternating a 4 hour day on Friday or Saturday. I used to work 4 ten hour days. I would leave the house around 7 and usually not get home until 7. It was so nice to get off at 4:00. It was light outside! Traffic was a little worse but I got home and actually had time to make dinner! Then I had a day off the next day to spend with my little man (and my big man since he's currently on his parental leave from work).
I'm also realizing that I really do enjoy my work and the people I work with. We've had a lot of staffing changes in my clinic over the past year but I think that the team we currently have is really great. I'm also good at what I do which I forget sometimes. Its nice to have people leave the clinic telling me how much better they feel than when they walked in the door.
I think God has been showing me over this week that it will be okay. I can be a physical therapist and a mom. I won't be missing my son grow up. I can still make it home for snuggles and bath time. I feel so blessed that we can afford for me to work only part time. I don't know how you moms who work full time do it. I love my days off that I get to spend with Sawyer and now cherish them that much more - even on days like today when he is fussy all day long.
Is it possible to have it all? Because I'm pretty sure that I do.