I was on night shift for a few years as many of you may well know. Since I went back to work after Maternity leave from having Hunter, I was working 4pm until midnight.
The night shift WAS working for a while. It was certainly working when I only had one baby to run after and Hunter wasn't as mobile and physically able as he is now. Being pregnant with Phoenix and only having to chase the Bean wasn't too stressful. If hunter napped, I napped. But going back on night shift after my maternity leave with Phoenix was quite a nightmare. I would get home from work at 12:30 am, hopefully be wound down enough to be asleep by 1:30 am and then I would be awake by 5:30 am when Hunter decided it was time to rock and roll, basically leaving me with an average of 4 hours of a sleep a night. And 4 hours was Gratuitous! Some nights I couldn't sleep till 2 am or later, and it was not uncommon for the Bean to get up at 4:30 am! Running on two hours of sleep, working nights and taking care of a high maintenance child and 1 year old makes for an extremely psychotic mother!
Three weeks ago I emailed my boss in the hopes that she would understand my situation and help me get back on the day shift. She was less than sympathetic and I was told that she would have to find someone to replace me on the night shift before she could move me to days permanently.
Meanwhile, my life was completely spiralling out of control. I was CHRONICALLY angry at everyone. Extremely frustrated and impatient with Hunter and Phee, even if all they were doing was WAKING UP. I would be so mad that I was awake. I was angry at my kids and resentful of everyone else in my house who were all asleep by 9 pm most nights. The extreme exhaustion was making me a piss poor mother with no patience, no sympathy, no understanding for my son and i was just oozing resentment and anger.
I went to my doctor and spoke with her about my stress levels, as my eczema was taking liberty with my hands. I had to combat at least one heavy infection in my skin since January and nothing was working to clear it up for good. Everything I did with my hands hurt. I would cry on the phone to my mother because the pain was so bad I could barely function. I was afraid to change diapers or feed the kids because it meant washing my hands. I wore gloves everywhere and constantly had water blisters. The pain was immense and I would wish it on no one. I really dint know how I managed for so long. My doctor had given me antibiotics, creams, lotions, dietary suggestions and nothing was working. (Below are a few pics to give you a rough idea of how my hands looked, the white glove picture showes how much weeping and oozing was going on when my hands were infected)
When I went to see her 3 weeks ago she told me she was giving me 2 weeks sick leave. That I was not to continue working nights as it was only making my life miserable.
On top of exhaustion, sleep deprivation, extreme infection and eczema, my children were in danger.
I was falling asleep in the mornings on the floor. The only way i could function in the mornings was to get up with the kids, make them breakfast, put them in their high chairs and then I would go lay down on the floor in the living room and sleep while they ate. I would wake up when Hunter was finally yelling loud enough to wake me up. "MAM! DONE! MAAM! MAAM! DONE!" So there I was passed out on my living room floor, not watching my children while they ate breakfast. What if one of them had been choking??? But i just couldn't stay awake. The final straw was falling asleep on the floor one morning and Hunter climbed over the baby gate and into the kitchen. There, he got into the pot drawer, opened a bottle of Bactine, Poured it everywhere, smeared Vaseline all over the pots and was almost about to climb up on the counter when my sister in law came down stairs and found him. I was sleeping, too tired to know what had happened. She didnt wake me to tell me he had gotten into the kitchen. She merely put him back into the playroom and went about getting ready for work. While she was showering he hopped the gate a second time and that was when I woke up and found him back in the kitchen IN THE POT DRAWER AGAIN. I looked around the kitchen at the mess and everything that was out of place wondering.. what the heck has he been up to... That's when my sister in law came down stairs and told me she had found Hunter in the kitchen and I had completely slept through it all. I told Dave about what had happened and his first thought was that things could have been much worse as Hunter could have been under the sink and into the cleaning products or sitting on the stove!
I told all this to my doctor that morning. I was in tears before I even got to the Doctors office. In fact, my normal morning routine involved at least one hysterical crying jag and a freak out on the kids for the stupidest thing!
I was done. When my doctor told me she was going to give me 2 weeks sick leave I burst into tears of joy!
I MIGHT FINALLY GET SOME SLEEP!
Those two weeks weren't the most relaxing two weeks of my life but I managed to recoop some sleep and my hands have healed significantly, though not completely.
After making a few phone calls to work before the two week sick leave was up, I found out that I had a new boss. She is my angel. I have known her for a few years now, working here and she also knows Hunter very well. She was extremely understanding and emphatic that I be put on day shift right away as it was only going to cause more long term issues for my and my family's future. I started back on day shift Mon - fri 8 am - 4pm this past Tuesday.
AJ, I cant thank you enough. Ty for understanding. Ty for seeing me as a human being w needs. TY for doing everything in your power to make my life and my future a happier one.