The Everymom Before 9am: An Infant Mom and Healthcare Provider Working With Cancer Patients

Welcome to The Everymom Before 9am, where we’re exploring the challenges of weekdays and shedding light on all that goes into mornings with kids. We’re asking mothers how they manage their mornings, from the time they wake up until the time they leave the house (if applicable). We hope by sharing a variety of stories, maybe we can help each other find hacks, shortcuts, and, at the very least, support in knowing we’re not alone. 

 

Today: A healthcare provider working with cancer patients while her husband is working from home and caring for their infant son with the help of extended family members. 

City: Portsmouth
State: New Hampshire
Relationship status: Married
Age: 29
Gender Identity: Female

Work hours: Full-Time
Work location: Outside of the home
Awake time: 5:00am
Out the door time: 7:45am
Commute time: 15 minutes
Number of cups of coffee drank before 9am:
 1

Partner’s age: 34
Partner’s gender identity: Male
Partner’s work hours: Full-Time
Work location: Usually outside of the home but now working from home.

Child 1 age: 4 months
Childcare: Usually full-time daycare but with our son’s daycare closed, my parents or in-laws have been taking turns commuting 90 minutes to our house daily to help my husband take care of the baby while he works from home.
Pets: 1 dog

 

 

5:00am: I am usually up because my son is crying. 4-month-old babies do not adhere to any strict schedules, so each morning is different. My husband and I exchange tense looks in the dark and try to decide if that is a hungry cry or a lonely cry, and if we should get the baby up or try to soothe him back to sleep.

5:30am: If the baby falls back to sleep, I go downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee (with way too much creamer) and sit by the fireplace for a few minutes to breathe before the day starts. Ideally, I would like to exercise during this time, but the baby has been unpredictable. Because the baby’s daycare is closed right now, my husband and one of our mothers take care of him all day while also working from home. I am unable to contribute to childcare at all during the workday, so I feel like I have to do all the morning and evening care. This is not the expectation but #momguilt.

5:45am: I open my work email on my phone to see if I received notification of any patient issues overnight. I spend a few minutes responding to email and preparing myself for the workday. I let the dog out to go to the bathroom and fill his bowl with food. I may be able to get a quick shower in if the baby is still sleeping.

6:00am: The baby is usually up and hungry. Recently, he was diagnosed with a cow’s milk protein intolerance that required that he abruptly switch from breastmilk to an amino acid-based formula. It tastes and smells terrible, but he has had poor weight gain, and it is very important he eats at least 24 ounces per day.

 

Because the baby’s daycare is closed right now, my husband and one of our mothers take care of him all day while also working from home. I am unable to contribute to childcare at all during the work day, so I feel like I have to do all the morning and evening care. This is not the expectation but #momguilt.

 

I prepare two bottles of formula: one I expect him to finish, and one that can be slowly poured ounce by ounce into the drinking bottle as he eats more. The formula is extremely expensive and hard to find during this time. I fill the bottle as he drinks to ensure there is no waste. It takes about 45 minutes for him to finish a 4-6 ounce bottle while he protests due to the foul taste.

6:45am: I put baby on the floor of the bathroom on a playmat while I put on makeup and try to style my dry shampooed hair. I only have the energy to wash and blow-dry my hair once or twice per week these days. Husband is up and showering. He typically works in an office but is required to work remotely during this time. He has a client-facing job, so most of his day now requires scheduled video conferences.

7:00am: I move baby’s playmat to the floor of the closet while I dress in a business casual outfit. I do not wear scrubs to work. I see patients in the clinic and wear a white coat over normal work clothes. I am especially cautious to ensure everything I pick out has been laundered since the last workday so that I don’t wear anything that is potentially contaminated with the virus.

7:15am: I get my to-go coffee and lunch ready. My mother or mother-in-law shows up to help care for the baby while I am at work. Both mothers are working remotely. Between one of them and my husband, they are able to share the childcare duties while working remotely.

 

I put baby on the floor of the bathroom on a playmat while I put on makeup and try to style my dry shampooed hair. I only have the energy to wash and blow-dry my hair once or twice per week these days.

 

7:45am: I commute 15 minutes to work. I fight guilt being unable to stay home with my young baby and potentially exposing him to the virus if I contract it from a patient.

8:00am: I arrive to work and meet with the nursing and pharmacy staff at the chemotherapy infusion room. I work in medical oncology and spend my day prescribing and managing chemotherapy treatments. These are intended to cure a patient from cancer or extend their life and are not optional, even during a global crisis. We discuss any potential patient issues for the day, including who is struggling with treatment and may need to change their chemo dose or require extra nausea medications.

8:30am: My first patient arrives to be seen. I take a swig of my to-go coffee and start my full day of clinic.

 

 

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