I've spent the last few days feeling like the worst mom ever.
Early last week, Acorn got hand foot and mouth disease from daycare. We've been paranoid about handwashing since he started there, but Leaf got it anyway.
Acorn's been cranky, and it seems like the rash is painful at times. He's had trouble sleeping. But other than that, no real issues.
Leaf, on the other hand, seems extra fussy....and won't eat orally (or at least, wouldn't until Saturday morning). Which is a problem, since we've only been working on it a couple of weeks and she was just starting to get the hang of it.
Now, HFM is extremely contagious - so contagious that doctors don't generally recommend keeping kids out of daycare when diagnosed, because they assume the other kids have already been exposed. But I still feel like it's my fault all around that my kids are sick.
I was ambivalent about daycare to begin with. I wanted a nanny, and then was unsuccessful at finding one, and my spouse was unhappy about the cost of a nanny. I was the mom who went back to work when Acorn was in the NICU because we needed insurance and we needed the money.....and I was the mom who wasn't willing to give up things like music lessons for my kids because there wasn't money (which is what happened when I was a kid). So it's my fault he needed care to begin with.
I also felt like there's something we missed in washing or sterilizing or something that resulted in transferring germs from Acorn to Leaf, since he generally stays in his stroller when we visit, and since we all scrub when we enter the NICU.
After Acorn's birth, I needed to go back to work. I needed the mental stability of having responsibilities other than the NICU - I needed that anchor in reality. I was depressed, and running away from my issues (namely, the NICU) seemed like a good idea.
This time around, things are eerily similar at the hospital, but dramatically different at home. Work isn't a helpful anchor, it's a distraction in the way of doing what is important. And that makes a heck of a lot of difference in the way it feels to leave Acorn in someone else's care, much less having to leave Leaf in someone's care when she leaves the NICU.
I'm sure both Acorn and Leaf will be feeling better in a few days - their rashes are already improving, and Acorn is going back to daycare this afternoon. Leaf and I had our best nursing session ever yesterday morning.
But right now, it doesn't leave me feeling any better about heading back to work today.