Monday, December 16, 2013

What I did on my Maternity Leave

As my twelve week maternity leave comes to a close and I head back to work later this week I'd like the reminisce about my time off.  Mainly for my own remembrance.

Weeks 1-4 were spent in a blurry haze.  The stay in the hospital was hell.  I was recovering from a c-section that I did not want to have and hated that my mobility was limited.  Ben seemed to cry all the time and we didn't know what to do.  I got more rest at home but things didn't get any easier.  I was beginning to think I should buy stock in Kleenex or Puffs.  I cried all the time. Even during an episode of the comedic sitcom The Goldbergs. (Poor Mike - dealing with a crying baby and wife!) There were many visitors...all of who I was hesitant of having because of my self consciousness regarding breast feeding (will they come when he has to be fed??).  I spent way too much time on my favorite chair (which I was beginning to resent) feeding my baby when all I wanted to do was cook dinner (something I knew how to do...breastfeeding felt so foreign to me).  I didn't understand the 'bonding' experience at all.  Ben and I 'fought' with each other more than we bonded, that's for sure!  I dreaded Mondays when Mike went off to work and I was left alone all. day. long.  I longed to go to work too.

Weeks 5-8 got a little better in regards to feeding.  I switched to all formula and was so much happier.  They say breast is best but I was not enjoying it or my baby.  I hated it and thought the switch would save us money on tissues.  It did!  And I felt like myself again.  For us, formula has been best.  The baby?  He was still a pain in the butt.  At first, I was OK with attempting to get out of the house, but he quickly turned into a difficult little one.  Even a walk in the stroller had me and him coming home in tears.  I was going stir crazy.  The nights weren't any better.  In fact, Ben was a bigger whiner then.  (Again, poor Mike.  He only saw the crabby side of Ben)  I'm surprised I have any hair left!  He did sleep well overnight at least...once we got him to sleep.  I can't imagine dealing will all of this AND being majorly sleep deprived (from the start I only had to get up once during the night to feed him).  My C-section incision healed but I struggled with the feeling of having no abdominal muscles.  Even though I had lost most of the weight I gained while pregnant, I felt weak.  Rolling over in bed still made me feel 8 months pregnant.  I hated the fact that I had to have a C-section more, but later found out from my doctor that that's just what it's like after being pregnant and it would just take time to retrain those muscles again.  Very frustrating when I felt in tip top shape before I got pregnant.

Weeks 9-12 were much much better.  Ben began to nap more regularly and I started to figure him out.  He was actually happy when he was awake most of the time.  He was smiling and interacting more and actually seemed to like me!  I got stuff done while he napped.  I cleaned the blinds!  I cooked sometimes.  I decorated for the holidays, online shopped, and wrapped gifts.  I cleaned the bathroom every week!  I vacuumed twice a week.  I kept up with the dishes.  I did the laundry twice a week.  I went on lunch dates (thanks to my mom who came to babysit).  I packed up maternity clothes, newborn sized clothes, our wedding albums and such into Rubbermaid storage bins.  I updated Ben's baby book.   I updated my recipe box.  Ben and I had Christmas card photo shoots.  I occasionally did a workout video (and feel my abs returning!).  I dusted the baseboards of the built up dog hair.  These were the weeks where I enjoyed visitors as my contact with adults was so minimal for so long. Ben became more bearable when out and about and we went to the mall a few times. We visited Santa.  He started to go to bed at a decent hour.  The days were still long but by week ten I had the hang of things.  Without my own honey to do list I would have been majorly bored though. I'm still not used to being tied to the house.  And honestly, once he gets more active and mobile, I'm not so sure I would like it anymore.  Kids are exhausting!

And so, just as I'm getting used to the routine, I am headed back to work.  I'm ready to go back so I can (hopefully) relax and have conversations with adults! We will all have to readjust to a new schedule again (and probably a dirtier and less organized house).  I'm just hoping I don't have to stock up on Kleenex for this round.

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