As of today, I am officially on maternity leave.
I have not yet delivered. But last week (at 38 weeks and change) commuting to work and moving around to see patients once there was getting to be impossible. I was so uncomfortable, slow, peeing all the time and was having trouble reaching my keyboard at my desk unless I was almost completely supine. Awkward.
Then on Wednesday morning I was on a train that ended up sitting in a tunnel for over half an hour due to a broken rail. It hit me at that point that this was one of the last places I wanted to be while so very pregnant.
And then, of course, Friday brought Nemo- THE storm of 2013. Needless to say, I didn't go in on Friday. Thankfully, we didn't have to go to the birth center in the midst of the storm. We hibernated at home and watched the world go white.
And after a fantastically relaxing snowed-in weekend, I am resting at home. My midwife and husband (and many others) are very glad for this. Admittedly so am I. I've hit the wall- I'm full on pregnant and tired of moving around to accommodate anyone's schedule but my own.
But... I am acutely aware of having started my official leave from work. My due date is a week from today and I am already using my maternity leave. This is a huge point of stress for me. It kills me that I am using time now, pre-baby, that will cut out of post-baby time. Maternity leave is what it is in this country (and I have a little better than others but it is still a mess) and James and I have planned ahead as well as we could, but I worry about this kid being late and having to go back to work with a 8-9 week old at home.
But... When I say I couldn't keep going last week, I am not being melodramatic. I woke up last Monday and literally said, "Fuck this. I can't, I just can't." It feels like my pelvis is made of lead (with a watermelon sitting on it) that now has a special (read stronger) relationship with gravity. I am pretty sure I worried a number of co-workers when I couldn't walk at work without holding onto a wall for support. This baby feels ginormous (I'm sure this is the case for all pregnant women at this point in the pregnancy). And the peeing, oh the peeing. Sitting or standing requires a commitment either way so you have to make sure you REALLY want to be in either position. And don't even get me started on sleep.
So, I needed to slow down. It has been pointed out to me that going into labor completely exhausted and worn out (from working full time till the very end) is less than ideal. Especially when you consider that once that long transitional time of labor and birth is over, NOW you have a baby to take of, so rest at that point is quite the challenge.
Multiple friends with babies/young kids have been in this same tricky spot with their maternity leave. And they have all reassured me that one finds a way to figure out down the road. And that the pre-baby rest is really important.
I hope very much that our kiddo is not too late (I may lose my mind if I am this uncomfortable for much longer) and that I am able to be home as long as possible with our baby. I also hope and strive to let go of this stress around my leave now because I know it won't help me relax and rest, which is why I am home in the first place.
I'm working on it... and not much else. It's kind of nice.