19 weeks from the day I birthed my daughter into this world, I had to be separated from her. Duty called and I was needed in Chicago for work. I would be away from her for three nights. The good news is it was just to Chicago which meant I was close to home considering I’m typically jumping time zones when on the road. It also meant no additional days needed to be padded for flying. And big bonus, Rachel would be there too and we could drive down together.
I was dreading the week leading up to the trip. Not for the work aspect, that would be great. But being away from my sweet girl, whom I felt relied so heavily on me, riddled me with guilt. The day before and of my departure I spent time thawing breast milk and packing bags with clothes and diapers and the needs of a 4-month-old.
I rolled out on Tuesday evening with tears in my eyes. Once I got here I thought of her every other moment and worried for her and the caregivers. Would she be fussy without me? Would she sleep well? Would they be able to soothe her? Could she possibly understand and forgive me, or would she forget me?
Tuesday night, it was her and daddy. She went down around 9:30 pm, woke at 2:30 am ish. It took Cody about 40 minutes to feed her and put her back down. She was still sleeping after he left for work that morning! Night one was a success. Wednesday morning welcomed her nanny who reported that she took a two-hour nap in the morning and a one hour nap in the afternoon and played contently between. ….so far so good. Wednesday afternoon my folks picked her up for an overnight with them. I know they were pretty excited to have her all to themselves. But how would she do away from home? Amazingly. She went down for bed at 9:30 pm. She fussed around 2:30 am. Mom went to make a bottle and when she returned, baby girl was back asleep and stayed that way until 5:30 am. She again took a long morning nap and was sweet, talkative, playful and content all day. Tonight (Thursday) she returned home to her daddy who again, put her down at 9:30 pm without issue. Wow.
It is bittersweet. I am relieved that she did so well, that her caregivers were not challenged to soothe her in my absence, and that she bonded and found comfort with those that love her (almost) as much as I do. On the other hand…. did she have to do so well without me!? She is a blessing and a really good baby. I thought some of that might be her confidence with her primary caregiver–me–but she is simply calm and happy, genuinely. And that makes me one very proud mama.
I am so thankful for the updates and photos taken and shared with me to keep me going. As everyone said, “it will be harder on you than on her, ” and it appears so. I have missed her and longed to hold her close and witness that gummy smiled first-hand.
I am also thankful for Rachel. She kept me distracted. Without her, I may have holed up in my hotel room and cried my time away. Instead, we ventured around the city, took photos, jogged, saw the sights, and some how she even managed to get me on the Navy Pier Ferris wheel. I’m not a fan of heights so that was a small feat on her part.
The event that brought us here this week has been successful, and while the time has not “flown” by, it hasn’t dragged on at a snail’s pace either. Tomorrow I return to the loving arms of my husband, fall in love all over with my daughter when she smiles at me, and will be greeted by three very excited pups who probably missed me the most. Life is grand.
One more day. Tomorrow, Miss Connie will be shuffled to yet another caregiver, and I am sure the trend of contentment and happiness will continue. Rachel and I will attempt to beat the traffic out of Chicago and will not be able to get home soon enough. I can’t wait to hold you, my little one!
Here’s to continued success, loving family, and safe travels!