Where has the time gone? I remember thinking that 4.5 months of maternity leave would seem like an eternity, especially after being back at work 6 weeks after Sophie and working weekends 3 weeks after Josh (and back full time at 8 weeks). 4.5 months? That's forever! I had a huge to-do list, and I had big plans about taking trips with the kids.
Well, time's up. Some of the to-do list got done, but most of it did not. We did manage a few trips together (like to the local zoo), but those were usually weekends when we could all be together. I think yesterday was the first day I took the kids somewhere by myself (that wasn't to a family member's house), and that was just a quick trip to the library. I've taken them out in different groups, but one adult to three kids had me scared. Actually, it was mostly just worry about Josh--what if he bolted or wandered off while I had all three by myself? Sophie is a good listener, and Noah doesn't move yet--Josh is the worry. But, the library went fine, and now I wish I would've taken them out more on my own.
I am pretty nervous about starting back tomorrow. Some of it is due to the fact that I haven't touched a patient since November. I front loaded my fourth year schedule and didn't take any vacation so that I could take electives and maternity leave starting in February. I have a feeling the patient skills will come back--though I have been re-reading some med school material to make myself feel better.
A lot of my anxiety has to do with the kids. I know Sophie and Josh are fine at daycare. Actually, they are better than fine--they really like it, and they've each been upset when I've kept them home (though they usually get over it quickly). Noah is going to be nanny-ed by my sister until August, then he will go to daycare too. We have a mix of family coverage until my sister gets home from California, but I know he'll be fine.
At least he'll be fed...
over 300 oz of milk in the deep freezer, and a few more bags upstairs
Though I can't guarantee he'll sleep. He's surprised us twice now with 7 hours stretches of sleep at night, but most of the time we get a 3-4 hour stretch, then a series of 2 hour stretches. Hey, it's progress.
I do have a few regrets about my time home:
-I wish I had made more of an effort to pump. Yes, 300 oz is awesome, but that was just random pumping. If I had tried to pump regularly, at least once a day, we might've done better. I am not going to beat myself up if I can't keep up with him once I go back to work. I'll bring the pump, and I'll do my best, but I had trouble keeping up with Josh once I started third year. I am sure residency will be even harder. More in the freezer would've prolonged the guaranteed breastfed time.
-I wish I would've gone out more. A big problem was that I was so sleep deprived for probably the first three months. I got less than four hours of sleep--and those were in short bursts--most nights, and he wasn't a consistent napper. I think I got two naps in the whole four months I was home. I just didn't feel like I was coherent enough to take him out when I was so tired. And he was still colicky for the first few months--the last thing I wanted was a melt down in public.
-I wish I would've made exercise a routine. I just started watching my diet a few weeks ago, and I've lost a few pounds (and am now down to about 10 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight, with a lot more to go). Tim signed up for the Warrior Dash in August, and he's been getting up at 5 every morning to train. I wish I had that motivation. I had planned to get up before 5 several mornings a week so that Tim was still home with the kids. With the poor (or no) sleep I was getting, I couldn't justify purposely sacrificing potential sleep to exercise. Noah and I have gone out a few times walking, but the weather has really only started cooperating in the last few weeks. I've always been exercise-averse, and I feel like I just lost a once in a lifetime opportunity to make exercise a habit.
-I wish I would've cooked more. By no means did we starve, but I had planned to try a bunch of new recipes (especially for the crock pot) so that we wouldn't fall into a rut when I went back to work. Didn't happen. I am hoping that when my sister comes home, maybe she can teach me some healthy recipes that aren't too much work.
Things I am happy with:
-Despite having the to-do list, I did a better job this time of just going with the flow. I recognize this is probably the last baby we'll have, and this is definitely the longest time home I will ever get. If Noah just wanted to snuggle all day, that's what we did. Some days were productive, many were not, but I always tried to put Noah's needs first.
-I have so far avoided the mind games that plagued me the last two times I seriously committed to losing weight. This blog actually started while I was doing "crazy talk" and coming to terms with my binge eating disorder. Diets in the past have really messed with me, and ultimately I've ended up worse off than I was when I started. This time, I have been able to detach myself emotionally. When I have a rough day, I move on to the next day. I know why I have good weeks and bad weeks. The diet has been far from easy--if they were easy, no one would be overweight. It is a constant job to make good decisions. And whatever the outcome in terms of weight loss, my number one goal is to avoid the mind games that have plagued me in the past.
-I am looking forward to starting residency. Of course I am nervous, but I feel like I made a good choice in terms of my program and my field of interest. I am looking forward to the interaction with my co-interns and my patients. I've missed that.
Today is bittersweet. I am happy to take the next step--especially not being a student for the first time since I was 5! But I know how much residency will take time away from my family. I know Tim can handle it, and we stayed here so we would be able to call on family if we needed to. But I'll miss all of the time I've had with the kids. Seriously, all I have to do is look at them, and I smile.
I know I will still get time with them, but I also know there are many nights that I'll miss dinner, playtime, and bedtime. I make a point to tell them how much I love them. I tell them that just because I have to go to work doesn't mean work is more important. I love my career, and I love helping patients. That is part of me as a person. But my family takes priority. Once my training is done, I will have the ability to choose what type of career I want to pursue. Until then, it'll be about quality time, even if the quantity isn't what I'd like it to be.
Tomorrow, I'll be someone's doctor. That is frightening and exciting. I respect that responsibility, and I don't want to be just an ok doctor--my patients deserve better. It's time to find the balance in my life in a whole new way.