Jack waves goodbye and runs to join his new friends, first time at daycare and it’s a breeze, my worries over his reaction to my leaving him were for nothing. In fact, I think to myself on the way to work, I’m actually a little aggrieved he wasn’t grabbing my leg to stop me going, or at the very least making a scene enough to afford a shrug at the staff that says “he loves me what can I do”. Instead….nothing…just a calm, assured wave, a cheeky wry smile and he’s off to play with a bunch of little strangers.
Daycare was a doddle. That was the conclusion by the second day, Jack was loving it, and I was beginning to find my feet back at work.
Then it began….Jack had a cold by the 3rd day and by the end of the week the doctor confirmed he’d caught two viruses, a stomach bug and RSV, which in turn gave him bronchiolitis…it began to dawn on me just how much of a cesspit daycare places must be.
He was sick the whole weekend and by Sunday night we were at the hospital as his breathing was labored. He was released the next day, but his condition got worse and we ended up getting a free trip back to the hospital in an ambulance…one of the scariest moments of my life.
He now had pneumonia, needed oxygen support, a drip and antibiotics. I spent 3 nights at his little bedside and I felt completely helpless to protect and look after my own baby.
We met other babies in our extended stay who had also just had their first week at day care.
The fact that 30 kids, in a confined space, essentially passing toys mouth to mouth could potentially create a germ factory never occurred and the only warning I got from more experienced mothers was about the waitlist!
Jack recovered quickly after his hospital release, but just as quickly caught the next virus on the list. By the end of my first month back, I had clocked up 2 weeks of carers leave and felt like a terrible mum for sending him back to Bug-town for his next dose. I also felt guilty for letting my work down and strived to make up time by working late into the night.
Six months at daycare and he’s either had all the diseases going or his immune system has finally kicked in. Either way, I’ll take it. I can only offer this comfort to mothers returning to work. Know that however unpleasant it can get, the storm will pass….