34 & 35 weeks! And our maternity leave plans

34 week bump

Nearly 35 weeks! Officially 5 to go, so I guess we are looking at a 3-7 week time frame, which seems VERY SOON. It is hitting me that I will miss being pregnant. I will miss my bump, miss the ‘pregnancy look’, miss how much I love Oreos 🙂 OK, OK, I will also totally miss Wes running around after me too. I am still feeling great, but I do tire out more, which frustrates me. I am just back from a conference in San Antonio, and the sessions were 7am – 7.30 pm. Plus, some social/work dinners in the evening. I HAD to crash out most afternoons, and spend 3-6 in the hotel room, having a nap and then resting. Which annoyed me, but I guess is par for the course this late on. I also realized that I work super hard all week, fading a bit by Friday, and then crash at the weekend with at least one duvet day. The conference was Thurs-Mon, so I didn’t get a weekend, and I think that was part of the problem. In the grand scheme of things, it is not really a problem though: I got a lot out of the conference and had a great time.

5 weeks to go!

So… 5 (3-7) weeks to go, eh? I am mostly done with my crazy / crusty birth prep plans. I am just focusing on (1) some good positioning: finishing up my chiropractic treatment, brief daily inversions (20 seconds), pelvic tilts and trying to sleep in a good position (I failed to do this in the hotel); (2) My squats are going to start in earnest now – I am challenging myself to 300 a day (!); (3) getting good sleep in each night (it is frustrating that I can’t work and write grants late into the night at the moment, but it is so); and, finally, (4) eating 6 dates a day.

6 dates a day I hear you say? WTF? Yeah, really! check it out:


Can’t do any harm, and is probably nutritionally better than the Oreo / cake / ice cream sugar fixes I seem to have become dependent on.

We have been keeping up with our weekly ultrasounds. It’s good and bad. The good: Firework is doing awesomely, and passes his biophysical profile way quicker than expected. He also seems to maintain a good position: head down, starting to get into the pelvis, and facing towards my back. The not so good news is that the fluid is increasing, when it is supposed to be decreasing at this stage. So, when the OB’s view that I was ‘on the charts, just not a very good position on the charts’, has been refined to ‘off the charts’. The great chart of acceptability (my term) decided that women’s amniotic fluid should be under 20, but goes up to 25. I was hovering at around 23, so the high-risk OB said ‘eh… it’s not great, some people would let it fly, we’ll just watch you.’ This week it was up to 27…

What does this mean? No idea. Risk of premature labor, but at this stage, I am not too worried about it. Baby could go into distress… but he really does seem a happy little chappy. The most worrying thing is that the force of all the water, when it breaks, gushing out of me could cause a cord prolapse (DON’T GOOGLE IT UNLESS YOU HAVE TO, it’s not good. Seriously not good). So, when I see my OB in 1.5 weeks, I will talk to her about whether I should come straight into hospital when labor starts, rather than labor at home, as is my desire. At least then I would be in a good place to uh… ‘mop up’ and damage caused by gushing water. Yeah, terrible pun.

So, we don’t know what it means, other than that my bump is fairly ginormous, and I am carrying around an extra 2 lbs of water, which is theoretically harder on my body. But as my weight gain is still 20-21 lbs, I can’t really complain, eh?

Big Mamma 🙂

But still so many blessings to count. With my very wonky, and very small pelvis and my excess fluid I was extremely likely to have a weirdly placed baby. Not so: as I said, he is head down and facing back. I truly do attribute this to spinning babies and the chiropractic. And feeling great still: lots of energy, no backache, and I can even sleep on my front or back should my body so desire (weird image, I know).

34 week bump

So, with not much to report, I will discuss our maternity leave plans. In the grand old scheme of things, there is no maternity leave in Texas. I come from a culture where all my friends were home for 8 months with their baby, and it was just unheard of to put a baby in daycare until 6 months at least (actually, I was at a childminders before then, but I don’t know of anyone since). We can’t afford an in-home nanny, all our family are far away, and the thought of putting our wee one in group daycare when he was very wee, was just not something I could sit with. I pass no judgement on how anyone else chooses to raise their child. I personally think MY baby needs a full-time at-home experience for 6 (or maybe I need that – who knows?), preferably with a parent (at least until he gets some object permanence). But, I think of myself as a ‘true’ feminist: that is, I am for promoting equality (even if you have to give allowances to one sex to help them achieve that equality), not just women’s rights: so I had no reason to think one parent would be any better than another. So my husband and I put our heads together and figured Wes would stay home with Firework. My plan is to work from home for a good 6 weeks, going in as I am able and when I am needed: then back to full time. Wes will have the little un.

In fact, given Firework’s timing with my job change, we knew we had about 5 months in Texas before his arrival. 5 months in which (assuming a dip in productivity when FW arrives) I had to work like a proverbial to make up for any lost productivity. Wes would presumably take a few weeks to find a job… a week to start. 3 months of him working just didn’t seem worth it. So he stayed at home from the get-go, preparing to take on the job of raising Firework on a day to day basis.

So… I know a lot of people wonder: how has that worked out? How has it been? Obviously there was an adjustment period (for both of us) and that was a little tough – we moved tired and hormonal. I had a new job to adjust to, and a whole host of new responsibilities. Wes had a new life to adjust to. There was the odd fight 🙂 But… we did adjust. I dealt with some of my jealousy that Wes’ weekends are truly his weekends: I often have little ‘tasks’ to do (boring shopping, tidying my study etc) that I wish didn’t encroach upon my free time. Wes dealt with the fact that being at home could be boring, and that it does involve tasks you really don’t want to do – like all jobs. He says that on balance, he prefers it (being at home). I say on, on balance, no question: I prefer it.

Overall, it has been awesome for us, and in ways I didn’t expect. While driving to San Antonio, I had to think: was this choice worth the $2,000 Wes might bring in per month, plus the $400 we had to find for medical coverage? When it comes to raising your child in the manner you choose: of course, no question. But now, before the child? It has still been eye-openingly wonderful to me. I love feeling so cared for: Wes cooks dinner (and is getting really good at it!), and does most of the chores, so he helps me so much: he always knows where X item of clothing is and what foods I really like eating (like, he notices the foods I claim to like, but shove around my plate: hello most vegetables 😉 ). He knows a day-to-day side of me that he was just too tired or busy to see before. Also, Wes ‘maxes out’ easily: after a day from work he might watch a show or two with me, but mostly he wanted to zone out, play video games and surf the net. I ‘max out’ too: but when I max out, I want to talk and be near him. Now, when I come home exhausted and stressed, Wes is ready to spend time with me. We have just sat and talked and shared trashy TV and lazed on the sofa together way more in the last 4 months in Texas, than the last 2 years in Alabama. We’re closer. We ‘get’ each other more (although we still sit firmly on opposite sides of the political divide). It’s nice. In fact, it is wonderful. It is a glimpse of a life that yes, I think is worth upwards of $2,500 a month – although we are not exactly rich, and I baulk even as I type it. And, I recognize that I am lucky enough to have a job where I can afford to type that – you know?

I guess, I feel very grateful that I really now am living the life I wanted to lead when I threw away my 13-year long law school dream. I said I wanted to do something different: I wanted to (1) do something that made a good difference to people’s lives and (2) have a family life. A real, someone-at-home, close knit, advert family-life. But life gets in the way of that: academia is not so conducive to not only being home, but giving your all when at home. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to try the lifestyle I dreamed of growing up and to find that it worked for me.

Oh, Wes thinks my belly has ‘dropped’ – do you? Is he coming soon?

Image credits


8 thoughts on “34 & 35 weeks! And our maternity leave plans

  1. Fiona McEwen

    Hey there, love the belly shots too! I’m just impressed that you’re brave enough to share them. Mine are safely hidden away 😉

    We’ve done the role reversal as well, though starting later (Hugo was 7.5 months when I went back). Biri has been much more involved that he would have been if I’d stayed home or if we’d had childcare. I think it’s easy for men to be fairly ‘hands off’ unless the baby is literally thrown at them early on. It is still tough at times, especially as Biri is now starting a business and so working early mornings and after I get home from work. Basically we’re both working fulltime hours and don’t have any childcare, so neither of us really gets a break. But, we cope and Hugo is a happy little boy, spending equal time with both of us.

    I’m sure you guys will do great. However you organise things it’s still a massive shock to the system, but everyone muddles through somehow and the kids all survive…

    Good luck anyway, you’re in the home straight now!

    Fi xx


  2. Lekki Frazier-Wood

    Hahaha! I have never been so brave with my body 🙂 I always hated my stomach and now I love it – one of the reasons I will miss pregnancy.

    That’s true: there is no perfect solution and you just have to work it out as you go along. That message was good for anti-anxiety. I do just sit and think ‘we’ll figure it out, At the end of the day we will do what needs to be done to get things good for our son. If I have to change jobs, if Wes has to get a job, whatever, wherever, he comes first and we’ll figure it out’. At the end of the day, we are all way more blessed with advantages than a lot of the population.

    YES!!! Home straight. Must try to (1) still get work done, and (2) not be too impatiant!



  3. Sarah J

    you are the most prolific person I know, grants, papers, mega journal entries. I think perosnally I didnt miss being pregnant at first, your body is doing amazing stuff (surviving sleep deprivation you didn’t think possible, producing milk, dropping dress sizes) but I think at about 9 months I really missed it. Still really miss it. Being preggers was lovely, thank goodness. My labour was lovely too, hopefully they go hand in hand. It was heartbreaking for me to put ell in nursery so I understand the dilemma. Brilliant to have a solution. x


  4. Lekki Frazier-Wood

    Ugh, well I am currently grant-less, which stresses me, but working on it at least 😉 That’s true, I get so sad when I think about not being pregnant, but then of course (1) I’ll meet Firework and (2) you are totally right: it is going to be a whirlwind blur. I am pleased you understand what I mean though, most people look at me like I am crazy when I say that I love the third trimester most of all: for the first time ever I think I look beautiful, I think other people do, sleep and eating are so wonderful… I think it is great! And it gets better every day, I don’t get any less comfortable or anything. Fingers crossed labour goes the same way for me as it did you… any tips? I guess leaving FW will be hard, I am starting to face up to that, but at least I can ease in and know that it is a better solution than a nursery for one so young (for me – coolio if others go the nursery route).


  5. Sarah J

    I am certain, appart from his age (Ell was 10 months when I gradually started going back) and the inevitable guilt it wont be nearly so hard, leaving him with someone who loves and respects him is an entirey different bottle of milk (expressed OR formula! 😉 I would have done the same if we could, no question. The baby-farm (nursery) was not my first (but my only feasible) choice and I would gladly have walked away from my PhD to not have him go, but Dave wouldnt let me. Thank goodness he is happy and I have a PhD now! I honestly think there are some amazingly lovely hormones going on in late pregnacy. I turned into something mellow and laid back, nothing much could stress me. not my natural self at all!


  6. Pingback: To K or not to K…. « Lekki Frazier-Wood's Blog

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