Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Long December

Every mom is different when it comes to preparing for maternity leave. Some moms work right up until delivery (I even have a couple of friends who hard core went into labor at work, just like in the movies), whereas some take time off well beforehand in anticipation of giving birth. I always thought I'd be the former.

When it comes to work, folks always say "it's not who you are, it's just what you do." This doesn't really hold true for me. I love my chosen field of practice, my career, my job, and it very much is who I am. Something you'll learn about your mommy is that I am passionate to a fault, and when I commit to or invest in something, I do it with all of my heart and soul, sometimes at my own expense. Your daddy is much more laid back about life, which is why we balance each other out so nicely. I hope you're passionate, but not to the extreme that I am.

My passion for neurorehab made it difficult for me to transition to a quiet life at home. I worried that our clinic wouldn't be able to function without me (or would at least suffer tremendously). I worried that my administrative tasks would fall off the radar, and that my patients wouldn't get what they needed because I wouldn't be there to control these variables. But mostly, I worried that I'd be bored without it. I had several people comment on this to the tune of, "only YOU would be worried about being BORED during maternity leave!" but it was a legitimate concern of mine. Work is such a big part of who I am, and it's hard to turn it off. Leaving was like leaving a piece of myself behind.

I tried so hard to work the entire time you were growing inside of me, and I do believe I worked as long as I could. At about 36 weeks, I reduced my hours so that I could squeeze in a nap every afternoon. I still had work to do by the time I got home, but being able to work remotely at my own pace was a blessing. At 38 weeks, I threw in the towel. After months of priding myself in an active lifestyle despite the fact that you were growing bigger by the minute, I was exhausted. I developed some back pain, I started to have headaches, and I couldn't sustain the energy necessary to be on my feet all day because I couldn't take in enough calories. There's nothing like a big baby to reduce an appetite - there was simply no room for food!

My last day at work was December 13th, at exactly 38 weeks pregnant. My schedule fell apart that day, so I actually ended up going home at noon (okay, okay, 2:30). As I packed up my belongings and said goodbye to my friends, I couldn't help experiencing the sensation of "dead man walking." And do you know what? I think that's normal. It didn't mean that I loved you any less or that I was any less excited about your arrival. But I knew that this was the end of a life I'd known for a while, and the anticipation of change is enough to make even the strongest woman experience some mixed emotions. This was the last time I was able to be selfish, and that's absolutely worthy of grief.

Your daddy and I had a nice date night that evening, and then Saturday night we went to a Christmas party with friends. Monday was long and dull, as I had anticipated. "Relax," everyone told me. "Use this time to stock up on some sleep!" If there's one thing your mommy is NOT good at, it's relaxing. (I can't even relax on vacation! I'm just not a read-a-book-by-the-pool kind of gal.) I tried to watch tv, but ended up cleaning the whole house. I tried to take a nap, but ended up taking Chelsea for a long walk. Tuesday, I gave up on lethargy and did this:

I made 5 dozen black bottom cupcakes, 3 dozen peppermint sugar cookie bars, a baker's dozen red velvet cookies, and 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies. What?! I was bored!

Wednesday, I woke up sore from head to toe. For the first time in your entire gestation, I had swollen feet and ankles. I realized that my baking frenzy may have been overdoing it, and I quarantined myself to bed. My mind may have needed some activity, but my body welcomed the rest. I decided to let my body win this round. I'm glad I did, because the next day, my body took over completely as you prepared to enter the world.


  1. I love this! I am also going on leave at exactly 38 weeks, and am scared I will get bored, but at the same time, I'm struggling to work the hours I need to now at 35 weeks.