Maternity Leave & the “Halfway Point!”

Today would have been my first day back from maternity leave.

Instead, I’ve been back to work for the last two months, and in a few short weeks I’m leaving a job I’ve thrown myself into for the past 5 years.

So much can happen in just 12 weeks.

The Hubs and I scrimped and saved all year to set aside the extra cash we’d need so that I could take 12 weeks of maternity leave. Instead, I didn’t even end up using all of my paid time off bank. All that “extra cash” is going to cover the somewhat hefty bill 3 days in the NICU and a high-speed helicopter ride to Spokane can wrack up.

So much can happen in just 12 weeks.

I was 13 weeks pregnant before we shared the big news with our family.

At the time, waiting so long to share the news seemed like an absurd and agonizing task.

Now, waiting 12 more weeks before we can start trying for our next baby is the agonizing task at hand.

Have I said it before? So much can happen in just 12 weeks.

When I first started running, my sister (Auntie Shiz) took me to buy my first pair of Nike running shoes, complete with the Nike+ chip for my shoes that would help me keep track of my pace and distance. You could program in how far you wanted your run to be (say, 5K) before you started, and the Nike+ would give you encouraging little milestones along the way.

“One… kilometer… completed.”

“Two… kilometers… completed.”

“Halfway point! Two… point… five… kilometers…  completed.”

When that voice would come on and announce the halfway point, I was always ecstatic. You know that saying, “It’s all downhill from here”? It really was. That last two…point…five kilometers was always faster and easier somehow than the first. Something about hearing that computerized voice announce “Halfway point!” galvanized me to pick up the pace, correct my gait, swing my arms more, engage my core.

Today marks that magical “Halfway point!” for the Hubs and I in Baby Limbo. It’s all downhill from here. I’m feeling somehow galvanized to get in my best after-baby shape, correct my habits, make a career change, engage my creativity.

Last April, I ran the Yakima River Canyon marathon with my sister. At 20 miles, there was a brutal 2 mile hill. I’d been running for some 4 hours, and BOOM – I had to run uphill for 20+ minutes. The little 80 year old man running behind us (yes, I was paced by an octogenarian) muttered under his breath as we started our ascent, “Here comes the big bear.” He was not talking about how he was about to overtake us. He was talking about this beast of a hill. At 22 miles and the peak of the “big bear”, I experienced the inevitable wall-hitting that nearly every long-distance runner anticipates during a race.

I have a feeling that the holidays will be our “Wall”.

But then that last blissful mile was all downhill. As we reached the “chute” at the finish line, my sweet sister sprinted ahead, waving her arms and “getting the crowd into it.”

“Everybody root for my sister! This is her first marathon!”

My amazing sister amping up the spectators as I neared the finish line!

With all that energy and attention, how could I possibly not pick up the pace?

With all that support and encouragement, the least I could do was square my shoulders and compensate for my increasingly noticeable limp as I sprinted for the finish line with 3 minutes to spare on my goal time.

You don’t want to go all Quasimodo on the finish line of your first marathon. Not when your sister has so much faith in you. Not when your family and friends drove for hours to witness this accomplishment. Not when you never thought you’d make it to this moment, but now it is here and you’ve exceeded even your own lofty expectations.

So as we cross the “Halfway Point!” of one of the more significant milestones in this journey, I am preparing myself for the “Big Bear” of this final stretch towards BDD. I’m readying my heart for the subsequent Wall. I’m looking forward to that last mile downhill.

And I know that my indescribable family will be sprinting ahead of me and the Hubs as we make our way toward the finish line, whooping and hollering and amping up the crowd. And so we’ll square our shoulders and compensate for any limps we’ve developed along the way, and we’ll marvel at how we made it this far because in July it seemed impossible that we’d make it out alive.

We might even beat our goal time.

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6 thoughts on “Maternity Leave & the “Halfway Point!”

  1. It’s not unusual anymore that I read your posts with tears in my eyes. I thought I might get through this one dry, thought, but then I got to that incredible picture. Now I’m typing this comment with tears streaming thinking about the bond that you and Nik share, and how much freaking love runs through your fam. I hope you run through that holiday “wall” and I don’t know, blast it down with love or something. XO!

  2. Nelita says:

    I second Shawna. Every post brings on an onslaught of tears. They’re sad tears because I hate that you have to write about this. But, they are proud tears also because you are moving forward and it’s inspiring and encouraging and a bunch of other good stuff. Love you and love what you’re sharing!

  3. Katie says:

    I third Shawna. Cousin, you are my hero. I am constantly in awe of you and the hubs. Sending you lots of love and hugs today. You can bet your bottom your family is whooping and hollering for you two.

  4. […] so it begins. The wall that is the holidays has officially […]

  5. […] when Hudson came along. She was an “accident”, but not the kind that breaks your C-4 and C-5 vertebrae – she was the kind of accident that changes what you want and puts your whole life in […]

  6. […] talked about halfway points before… both while pregnant with Hudson and while waiting to get pregnant with Bullet. I can’t get that Nike Running computerized voice out of my head – “Halfway […]

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