Taking it easy

…or not. Every once in a while I stumble across an online forum (which I probably should stay away from, but sometimes they can actually be helpful!) where the topic of taking it easy comes up.

In fact, the question posed on the forum I read last night asked if she, at 11 weeks pregnant with twins, should plan for leaving work by a specific time period. About 50 people answered her, and the majority of them had received timelines by their doctors. Most of these timelines suggested that if you were working an on-the-go, on-your-feet job, you should consider taking a leave around 24-28 weeks. Um, really?

Of course, I have been very, very lucky during this pregnancy and I’m aware of that. No issues with the babies, no cervix or placenta problems – all my appointments have been textbook, short and sweet. I’ve never been told a single thing about taking it easy in the weeks to come,  nor have I thought to bring it up and ask. Then again, I’m not sure they know I’m an elementary school teacher.

So I wonder to myself, as here I am at 21 weeks – am I going to make it through the school year? Am I going to make it through the next month? Hmm..I start pondering all the things that are going on at school I would miss, or at the very least, what my classroom needs are. I’m in charge of my school’s first-ever talent show, with rehearsals coming up in a few weeks and the show at the end of May. There are field trips, our “graduation” ceremony at the end of June (my students go on to middle school next year), parties, assemblies. Things I help to run. In my classroom, nothing at all has been taken down for summer (as we’ve still got 3 months left). And my students – what a crappy way for them to end their year, with the teacher all of a sudden gone, with no warning (if I was put on emergency bed rest).

I’m not in a panic whatsoever. I know that if I need to stop working, everything at school will be handled, and other people will step up to the plate and help me out. It’s not like things won’t be handled. So that’s not the issue. It’s just that taking a leave from your job (especially when you’re a teacher) affects so many people. I would get help, and everyone would have to deal, but that’s a lot to ask. So, in the coming weeks, while I’m not yet waddling or panting like a buffalo, it might be smart of me to at least – clean up my room. Put away things that are no longer needed. Organize my files. I have a whole shelf of my personal things – a scrapbook, pictures, notes from past students – I don’t want a sub, or worse, my students, trying to clean all that up for me. Obviously I can’t take down things like my calendar (oh, but so many little pieces that can get lost!), but what I can straighten up, I guess I should.

From the outside, I just look like someone who’s pregnant with one baby. Noticeably pregnant. And so I think people assume I feel like I’m just pregnant with one baby. Considering I’ve never been pregnant before, I can’t say for sure that they are wrong. I’m not sure how uncomfortable singleton pregnancies are at 21 weeks – they’re not too comfy for twins. However, from what I’ve read, if I haven’t started feeling like I’m carrying twins yet, I surely will soon. Isn’t it true that at 30 weeks, you’re full-term sized if you had one baby? AKA – the size of someone carrying one at 40 weeks? Well, 30 weeks is the beginning of June. We’ll still have 2.5 or 3 more weeks of school to go. If I were pregnant with one baby and 40 weeks, would I still be teaching?

I doubt it.

So I have this feeling the end of June will be quite interesting. Granted, I’m not due until the end of July. If there are no other problems and the doctor just wants me off my feet, I wonder if, once the school year ends, I could get up and at least somewhat enjoy the summer. Poolside.

None of this is in my control, and that may be the bottom line. Teachers don’t like when things aren’t in our control, but I’ve fully accepted that whatever happens in terms of bed rest, happens. However…

To what degree should I be “taking it easy” now? I teach sitting down, so there’s that. But between subjects, it’s up and down, answer the phone, help kids on their projects, moving all around all the time. To the copy machine. To the bathroom.  Last week, we held talent show tryouts, and I was up and down many times, hooking up kids’ iPods into the speakers, helping students with the microphone, and then I even got down on the gym mat to hold it down for a kid doing flips. At the time, I didn’t feel as if I was straining myself. It felt physically right, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. But yeah, I was super tired that night. And wondering – did I overdo it?

When I run errands, or when I pick up my 22 pound dogs from the driveway into the car, or from the floor to the bed, am I overdoing it? We’ve been walking the dogs, albeit slowly, around the neighborhood. Is that too much?  I’m not exercising, so that’s not an issue.

Are there any activities that I should not be doing, even if I feel like I can, to help prevent bed rest or taking a leave from work? I guess I just don’t know. I won’t be checked on again until the end of April, so until then, I really want to work as long as possible. I also want to cook these babies as long as possible, and that really is my first and top priority. What should I do now to help both of those things happen, as much as what’s in my control?


13 thoughts on “Taking it easy

  1. aj says:

    I did my best to take it easy at work, sitting down whenever a could and not lifting anything over 15 lbs. I also drank a ton of water. I also stopped all extra forms of exercise like walking around 22 or24 weeks mostly because my job is so active and I wanted three babies to cook as long as possible, but I was never out of bed rest and I worked until I was 37.5 weeks with the twins and I was induced at 38 weeks. Starting around 32 or 34 weeks I started walking a lot again. My doctors encouraged me to keep working if I felt up to it but also told me to rest when ever possible. It’s a delicate balance.

  2. Kate says:

    Listen to your body-those babies will let you know when enough is enough. It will get harder to do basic things, and probably soon for you bc of having two in there:) You will know when that happens. Not sure if there is anything you can do to prevent bed rest or early labor (talk to your dr at your next appt), but I’d be surprised and very impressed if you finish the school year. Maybe being proactive about that possibility now is a good idea!

  3. Not-So-Fertile Girl says:

    I can’t give you a medical yes or know to what you should or should not be doing, but I can give you a warning from my experience. Somewhere between 22 and 23 weeks, I became USELESS. I was somewhat tired and uncomfortable before that, but 23 hit, and the tiniest little things are wiping me after a couple of minutes. I have slept and rested so much this week (Spring Break), but still feel like I have no energy and am very easily short of breath. So, I’d say get it in while you can before you hit the wall! Also, I am planning to also prep my classroom as much as possible when I go back this week for possible bedrest towards the end of school / maternity leave in the fall. It was horrible having to leave my kids/classroom for 2 months when I went on emergency bedrest, and I want to be more prepared in the event that it happens again. Good luck with keeping your energy! 🙂

  4. Sunny says:

    As one who is pregnant with a singleton, and also one who intends on working till hr water breaks, I’m not sure I’m the best advice giver on this, but I say, your body knows best. There isn’t an exact science to when you will feel ready to take a break, but try to pay attention when you’re fatigued. I know that I tend to overdo it in terms of errand running and walking, but I’m stubborn, and don’t want the pregnancy to stop me from moving around. This was all fine and dandy until 24 weeks when the back pain started and I became more easily fatigued, forcing me to slow down this weekend. Listen to your body on this one!

  5. waitingonaangel says:

    I would say that if you’re appts are going well, listen to your body. You’ll know if you’re doing too much. I would also discuss your concerns with your doctor, but most likely they will tell you the same. I know with my job-a desk job, not on my feet, I’m planning to work until there is a reason not to-i.e., shortening cervix, high blood pressure, ect. At almost 27 weeks I am definitely feeling uncomfortable, but definitely not bed ridden yet!

  6. robin says:

    Drink lots of water and, as you get bigger, try to spend as much time lying down when you are home as you can. Listen to your body, pay attention to your braxton hicks contractions, and don’t over-extend yourself. People kept saying things to me like, “is doing the dishes worth having the babies early”. It’s true. Someone else can do the dishes. That was later on, though, when I was so big it was hard to walk faster than at a very slow old-lady pace. If you ever start to feel uncomfortable, ask yourself that question – is [fill-in-the-blank] worth having the babies early! It’s so hard because we don’t want to be useless, we want to keep doing our jobs, but gestating is also a job. Don’t freak out, just be aware 🙂

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