Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I miss it, I miss my friends and I miss having a weekly routine. Most of all I miss my paycheck. So yes, I need to go back eventually, but I am not ready. There are things I am afraid of and things I am waiting to pass to go back.

I wonder how I am going to react to patients and situations when I go back to work. I know I am going to be way more humble, but are certain things going to trigger me into a night full of hurt? I'm scared to work a code (cardiac arrest) and hear a "time of death"...because its my very last memory of Nolan. My last memory is holding him as they preformed CPR on his little chest and were bagging him and that's when they asked me if I was ready to stop since "it was time". How will I hold up in code situations now, or will it not phase me? I have no clue. I'm sure over time it will be easier but I am terrified, I think because it's still so brand new. So it is in peoples best interest not to say "well you have to face it eventually" because YES, I obviously know that. But I am also not going to throw myself into a situation I am not sure if I am emotionally ready for. I need to work on some coping skills in therapy before I face it.

My job is so closely related to a lot of Nolan triggers that I don't think of now, but know I will when I got back to work. Nolan lived in the NICU and on a vent. I work in the ER and ICU's all the time (they are my favorite assignments). I run the vents on the patients. I also have to with drawl support from patients sometimes. I tape ET tubes just like Nolan had. I know to an average respiratory therapist this means nothing, but now to me...the simplest thing makes me think if Nolan and my empty arms. I'm sure it will get better after being at work for awhile, but I know it will never go back to normal.

Death has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Before Nolan, death at work never really phased me. I guess I was desensitized to it, as many health care workers are. I mean there were patients that would effect me emotionally but it was rare. Now, I know when I see a family member loosing their loved one, especially a son or daughter, it will be 1,000 times harder for me. It will take me back to the emotions that I have gone through and still facing now. It doesn't matter if you loose your son after having your son 14 weeks early and his life only lasted 3 days or if your son is 20 years old and moved out of the house. Regardless, it's loosing a child and I now relate to that feeling all too well. It's the worst feeling ever and they don't make words to describe it in order to protect those that don't have to experience this.

Lastly, this was me last time I was at work. This picture was
taken the last week I was able to work. I was pregnant. I had a belly. I was still sharing my pregnancy with another friend/co-worker. And now...I'm no longer pregnant, no longer sharing pregnancies and most of longer have my son. My son is in heaven and not at home where he should be. It's hard to realize how different my life is now. I am forever changed. I miss being pregnant. I miss shopping for baby onsies. I miss trying to find the perfect thing for his nautical nursery. I miss his kicks, which by the way, I felt for the first time ever while standing in the ER. I miss the exciting feeling I got when I thought of September and his due date. I miss daydreaming about what he would be like. I miss all the "mommy" comments from co-workers. I have none of that now.

So yes, I would love to be at work right now. That is, if I had a desk job or retail job. But I don't, I work in an environment that is so closely related to my baby. An environment that puts me in situations that are so closely related to Nolan. And quite honestly, I'm scared and not ready. I wish I could say I was ready, but it hasn't even been 5 weeks from seeing my son last. So for now, I will just continue to work on my emotions and healing my broken heart.

And for those of you wondering...YES, I still have plans on working in the NICU, just not when I hoped to be. For those of you that don't know, I had all intentions of transferring to the NICU shortly after maternity leave. I had mentioned it back before the wedding but since we got pregnant right away, I put it off. The whole reason I went into respiratory was to work with babies and in the NICU. I was actually offered a job at Cincinnati Children's in the NICU in my last semester of school. I never ended up moving and landed a job in trauma here in Florida. I decided to do adult care first and gain experience before settling in with babies.

So yes, I have all intentions of one day finally transferring to the NICU. It will be awhile until I am anywhere near ready, possibly after another child. I feel as I belong there, and know that my personal experience will only make me a better NICU therapist in the long run.


Mrs. Mother said...

Definitely take your time going back. I went back to work two weeks after we lost Jenna, because they were so short-handed and needed me. Even though I didn't have very many triggers at my job (I was the Lifestyles Editor at a small newspaper), it was still hard for me, so I can't imagine how hard it will be for you. Big hugs.

Mrs. Goodson...Woo Hoo!! said...

Take your time; you will know when you are ready to handle going back!!

Toi said...

take your time going back, you will know when you are ready. and you don't know. maybe your experiences will make you better at your job. big hugs.

Lisa (Jasper's Mommy) said...

Take your time going back to work if you can. I was forced back into work before I was ready. Just like you I work in a hospital in small town Florida though. I work as a CNA and being there triggers so many things about Jasper. He was born at a different hospital since mine doesn't have a NICU. It's just the stuff like the vent's and people dieing and the lullabye music that comes on when a baby is born that still makes me cry and I have been back for three months now. Hugs!

tiara said...

I think about you guys everyday Ash. I miss you at work a lot. I am still pregnant and that's really the only reason I haven't offered to hang out with you because you've told me how hard that would be, and I understand and can only imagine. When you are ready to come back we will welcome you. You are still and will always be a mom, and those who care about you will never forget that or forget Nolan and what a special little person he was. Not a day goes by that people don't ask me about you.

Ashley said...

Take your time going back. The best think you can do for your patients is to be ready and prepared and "on it." Lots of hugs.

Bree said...

Hi Ashley,
I came to your blog from Lisa's blog (Jasper's Mom). I see a lot of myself in the things you are saying. I've been off work since March (almost 5 months now). I'm a teacher and just found it too hard to rush back to be around children. My co-worker was just 10 weeks behind me in her pregnancy and I just couldn't bear to watch her belly grow.
You're pregnant belly was fabulous. What a beautiful picture of you and Nolan.