Maternity Left

Maternity Left


“Life sure has changed. It’s A LOT for one year… this has been both the best and worst year of my life.”

After 10 months, we could clearly say 2017 was a year of disrupted plans. Our pregnancy went wonky, we cancelled vacations, I moved into the hospital, our baby came three months early, we had to wait 69 days to take her home, I delayed my maternity leave until she did come home, and then we were faced with the decision to proceed as planned or to make some significant, longer term changes in order to best accommodate the cards we were dealt.

For most of my working days, I’d split my time between two part time jobs, largely in the non-profit world. When we were first expecting Oaklee, our plan was clear. I would quit one of my two jobs – the one that paid less and required a commute – and stay with the non-profit around the corner from my house, working three days each week. Oaklee would be babysat by my mother and my husband’s mother. We had it all figured out.

But then as I began planning for my return to work, God began opening and closing doors. I was approached by the national organization of the local affiliate I had planned on returning to. They knew of our situation and offered me a 12 hour/week position to work from home, suggesting I could achieve all of my goals with this offer – staying home two days with Oaklee and keeping my three days with my local affiliate. My gut reaction was to close that door, but instead, God closed another one for me.

When negotiating my work/babysitting schedule, things did not align due to the pre-established babysitting days of Oaklee’s grandmas and the requirements of my employer. I turned back to the national organization and dreamed with them where this position could go. They upped the offer to 15 hours/week with a slight increase in pay. It was still a step down for me, a cut in hours and a cut in pay from what I had planned. I would not be advancing my career in any way by taking this position, but I would be focusing on the current needs of my family.

I put in my two weeks notice to my local affiliate and never returned from my maternity leave. I maternity left.

Instead, I began a new job, easing in the week of the 22nd with just eight hours of training and starting my first “full week” the week of the 29th. Amidst all of the “different” and “new”, I managed to sneak in a job change, too. Every day I woke up, I did not know what I was doing during any portion of my day – whether working or taking care of my first child, my preemie.

Every part of my life had changed.

On the 29th, I also wrote,

“I’m ready to actually do this phase instead of flying through constantly changing phases… Though I guess I have to figure out how to do this phase first.”

While learning new programs and processes at work, I was also still ears deep in the breastfeeding battle. I was only attempting to breastfeed two to three of seven or eight feedings each day so Oaklee had the opportunity to continue gaining weight at an adequate rate through her bottle feeds. On the 29th, Oaklee breastfed a total of 26 minutes. This was significantly better than the days I saw 6-12 minutes, of course, but not enough to convince me she could really do this.

I just kept trying.

In every part of my life, I just kept trying.

In the stats:
Birth weight: 2lb, 12oz
Last known weight: 7lb 15oz (10.6.17)
Adjusted age: 5 weeks, 1 day
Actual age: 17 weeks, 3 days
Days in the hospital: 69
Days home: 54
Appointments since home: 9