April 14, 2017
Remember When I Said This Plan Had No Flaws?

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about prepping to take time off for maternity leave.  Around that time, I thought future Nell might title her follow up post, Returning From my 3 Month 'Holiday'. Today I think the more honest headline would be The Complete Unraveling of a Maternity Leave Plan. Or Ignorant Girl Learns True Meaning of Multitasking.

Suffice it to say, the last two months have been a bit of a wild ride. 

back at it - maternity leave at a small business

{Murray and I hard at work / taking selfies with the Photo Booth App in our poorly lit studio. This wrap is the only way I can get two free hands these days.}

I spent March 15th, a Wednesday, at the studio catching up on printing. We had a fairly busy month with orders (!!), and there was a lot of fulfillment and then prepping, cleaning, organizing that needed to be done before the baby arrived. I felt surprisingly good, was on my feet all day, and got a ton done. A day before I was due, there was no doubt in my mind this baby was going to be very late. No signs of pre-labor and more importantly, I just wasn't ready. This definitely wasn't happening anytime soon.

I should have known the Ides of March had it in for me. 

I felt a little weird towards the end of the day, but was sure it was all in my head. After talking with a doctor friend I decided to stop by the hospital quick, just so they could tell me everythign was OK and I could get dinner with friends guilt and worry free. Two hours later they were admitting me to the labor unit, and 12 hours after that our sweet Murray James arrived on the scene. 

Luckily I had tied up every loose end like I mentioned in my blog post, so I was gliding away blissfully into the first few weeks of motherhood.

Right. 

About 5 days before Murray's arrival, we learned that our primary supplier, the several times bankrupt American Apparel, had finally shuddered most of it's wholesale doors (and almost all retail stores) and cut the majority of it's product line. It doesn't look like the baby and toddler lines are coming back any time soon.

Ten days before that, my beloved production assistant was offered a full time job, so had to leave our little team. There would be no one to take over orders while I was out, and more immediately, there would be no one to take over orders while I finished up all the work I needed to get done before the baby came. 

This all timed up perfectly with when the world started to notice I was very, very pregnant and every encounter with a human involved a reminder of just how close I was to popping. Wow! You could go at any minute! My sister/wife/cousin had her baby three weeks early! Hope you have your bag packed!

Each of these reminders ticked up my stress meter a notch (or ten). I had a lot of problems to solve and was running out of time at a rapid pace. I needed to find a new supplier to make sure we didn't run out of inventory. (We did! More on that in a later post.) More immediately I needed to find and train someone to take over production so the business didn't come to a screeching halt when the baby arrived. (We did and she's amazing! More on that in a later post as well.)

The irony is that even with this surprise stress, month 9 was far and away my favorite part of pregnancy. It felt like I was running the last mile of a marathon and everyone from the check out lady at the grocery store to the random man on the street corner was there to cheer me on. Look at you! Wow, still working! You're in the home stretch!  I was a super hero and everyone was noticing. 

It's incredible how much the support of a stranger can help you keep you chin up when you feel like you're drowning. (Note to self: doll out positive words of encouragement all day, every day for the rest of your life.)

Ready or not Murray is here, and now we're a family. He turned 7 weeks last Thursday and I'm so sad at how big he's getting. One of my biggest concerns going into this was worry over feeling claustrophobic, too tied to the baby, not myself and not able to get back to my pace of life. I have felt a little bit of that for sure, but overwhelmingly what I feel is that things are happening and I'm missing it. I spend 90% of my day starting at this baby, and somehow I miss him when I put him to sleep. I watch videos of him while I'm holding him—Murray on Murray on Murray. More Murray please. 

So much change in so little time.

Brand Spanking New Newborn Onesie

I've gone from a person who never ate in her car as a matter of principal, to eating lunch almost exclusively behind the wheel. Murray is a man of the world! He needs to get out of the house! NOW! DRIVE WOMAN! I have learned to find pride and accomplishment in something I hate. I used to shop exclusively online (99% of my life happens on Amazon), and now actively look for reasons to go to Target and stroller through the aisles. There have been lots of tears (some even from Murray), more poop than I've ever seen in my life (which is saying something), and more love and appreciation for my husband and this tiny (extremely bossy) baby than my heart can hold.

Last week I turned off my maternity out of office. That plus getting clearance to exercise from my doctor gave me a little (alright huge and somewhat debilitating) pang of anxiety. These are both good things, milestones I was looking forward too. But now that I'm here it feels a little bit more like the honeymoon period of this new baby is over and it's time to get on with life. Even if I'm not ready for that. 

So I'm working at being kinder to myself, taking one day at a time, and being my own stranger-cheerleader. You're out of the house! Look at you changing diapers without getting peed on! You responded to an email today, lean in, girl! 

We'll see how this goes ;)

Nell Lindquist