What good timing, eh?
I started my maternity leave this week; well, the annual leave entitlement I needed to use up before starting official maternity leave as I couldn't roll it over to next year and I'm not expecting to return to work this year. I know I worked two or three weeks longer last time around, but my brain function hasn't felt brilliant for the last few weeks and I've felt myself feeling a bit stressed, low, and physically slower and achier - so I think it was time.
My team threw me a mini baby shower at my favourite local cafe a couple of weeks ago, and we had a final lunch with the wider team on my last day before heading to the pub for our last digital team meeting avec moi. Earlier in the day I had also been presented with a huge box full of presents - mostly practical things such as wet wipes, teething gels, swim nappies, bibs and nappy creams - but also some sweet little tops, shoes and socks... and chocolate. It was so lovely and I even loved the box they gave me, and it will go nicely in my little nest-room (which has suddenly turned into a junk room again; probably contributing to my recent feelings of frustration. It was sooo so nice just a few weeks ago!) I was really lost for words when most of the department came to my desk and I just got incredibly flustered, awkward, and felt like an idiot afterwards for not saying any of the things you'd probably expect someone going on maternity leave to say. I did say thank you - a lot - but I didn't open the gift box as it was selophane wrapped so everyone could kind of see inside without me going through each item, but that was probably the expectation. I'm possibly over-thinking it. But I do wish I could have had that moment again and been more 'normal'.
So back to this week, and my first day of leave...
I dropped Joseph off at nursery in the morning, as I would have if I were working, and headed to the hospital for my first consultant appointment of this pregnancy. Because my mum had Deep Vein Thrombosis once, and because my pregnancy with Joseph was high risk and consultant-led, my midwife referred me again (back in October) but it has taken until now to be seen. I hadn't actually been worried about having not been seen as I figured they must have looked at my notes and figured I was ok; but my midwife pushed for an appointment just to check.
I always forget to bring pee samples to these things so the appointment started with me peeing in a pot and having my blood pressure taken. It was low. It's always low. I waited for a few minutes before being called in. After a couple of questions about how I've been and whether I've been feeling movement, I hopped on the bed to have my bump measured. Though she didn't say what it was measuring to (at my last midwife appointment it was measuring 30 weeks when I was 32), she said it was fine. So I guess it must be in the healthy range. I definitely think this one's going to be bigger than Joseph. I mean, he was teeny - 5lb 14 - and second babies are generally bigger, so I don't think I'll be so lucky this time. Just to triple check everything's ok, the consultant has requested a scan and booked a follow-up appointment; but I'm expecting to be discharged from consultant care after that.
After my appointment I popped to town to return my library books, and had a look in Tiger but I managed to emerge empty-handed - amazingly. I then took advantage of the free coffee in Waitrose before heading home and spending time pining after Joseph. My dad was in the vicinity so he dropped by for a cup of tea and I then took the photos I used for my outfit post the other day. Ironically, after saying that I felt ok about my style; yesterday I had a meltdown over what to wear. Now I'm not at work - and now it's slightly warmer - loads of what I've been wearing seems 'wrong' again and yesterday I just didn't know what to wear. So I just threw on my leggings, a vest then the blazer-cardigan and scarf over the top again. Ugh. Joseph was on good form when I collected him from nursery, but when we got home he threw an enormous tantrum about nothing. I went from missing him dearly to wanting to put a bullet in my head within the space of an hour. When Ruari got home I had to just spend 10 minutes alone to gather myself together again. His tantrums actually scare me sometimes; it's as though he has been possessed and I don't know who he is.
On Tuesday, Ruari and I went to Ikea whilst Joseph spent the day at Granny's as he normally would if I were working. We've figured we're going to keep Joseph's routine the same even though I'm not at work as I don't want literally everyyyythinggg to change for him in a short period of time. I can imagine gaining a little brother is going to be quite a big deal for him; and I'm expecting his sleep to change and for toilet accidents to happen. Ikea was a bit fruitless; everything Ruari wanted was out of stock - and I changed my mind on loads of things I thought I was clear on for my nest / new nursery. Joseph stayed overnight at Granny's so we wouldn't have to rush back and I watched the final part of The Replacement. For me it fell apart in the last 20 minutes, but overall I enjoyed the mini-series, which is about a woman going on maternity leave and being replaced by a psycho, basically. Though I am someone now on maternity leave, I couldn't relate to it at all, but made for good telly.
Yesterday was one of those days. Nothing went right so I'm just going to leave it at that, but I'm hoping today will be better though I have woken up feeling very low.
I finally decided to re-join Instagram this week (though I've instantly hated both photos I've posted!) Insta was such a great source of support when I had Joseph, but I do feel like a bit of an outsider so I need to get back into the swing of regular posting and engaging. I just want to try and get some balance and set a couple of boundaries as I don't want to be on my phone all the time - which I felt like I was on Tuesday, the day I re-joined. My last maternity leave was wrought with feeling bad and sad about spending so much time online (or not getting the chance enough) and constantly feeling as though I was neglecting something else, whilst not even doing the online thing that well either. I felt like I couldn't win. I want my maternity leave to be productive, though that feels wrong because shouldn't maternity leave be all about family and raising babies? I do also need to take care of myself though, so if being productive will make me a happier mum, then that can't be wrong - can it?
God; I just had a cry. Hormones everywhere!