2015 packed a punch right from the very beginning.
Our last day in London Chris and I were both suffering from ominous tickles in our throats (foreign germs in combination with tourist exhaustion combined with pregnancy (on my part)? Not a good combo…) After a harried flight home from London we arrived on New Years Eve just in time to go to our friends’, the Olsens, house for new year festivities (Nostalgia moment: On a plane heading to Stavanger on New Years Eve. Flashback to when we first arrived 4 years ago!). While it was fun to hang out with Carrie, Kjetil, Erin and Barrett, staying out until well past midnight and traipsing through the cold rain to see the fireworks probably wasn’t the best decision on the heels of an exhausting trip and the edge of a cold.
Chris didn’t end up so bad in the end, but I ended up steamrolled by a nasty sinus AND chest infection for almost two weeks. Being 8 months pregnant and majorly congested (more than I already was due to the pregnancy) with a raging cough was downright miserable. I had a moment or two where it felt like I was having an asthma attack it was so hard to breathe. I finally made it in to see the doctor and they gave me antibiotics for the sinus infection hoping that targeting that would help give my body the energy to fight off the viral chest infection, which thankfully it did. Most unfortunately, though, I missed a whole week at the bakery that we were counting on as a team to continue training Lynne, the cake decorator who would be taking over for me once I started my maternity leave. When we only had a month left every week counted so losing that week was pretty stressful for everyone involved.
Work in general was pretty stressful all of January, despite it being our slow season. Because of the lingering cough and overall weakness as a result of fighting off such a nasty bug, I was commanded by my doctor and midwife to take it as slow as possible (I had pretty much coughed the baby down into my pelvis and it was starting to get pretty painful to stand for too long) but my job isn’t exactly the kind of job where I can take it easy. It was a mad scramble to get everything ready for Lynne to take over for me. In Norway, it’s expected (and often mandated) that a woman begins her maternity leave 3 weeks before her due date. That was SO not going to happen for me at Slikkepotten. Way too much to do! I surprised everyone who came into the shop when they asked when I was due and I would reply “In 2 weeks…” Katrine would quickly add, “She’s American.” as if that explained everything. I was planning to start my leave the week before my due date to give me time to finish up the things I needed to do before the baby was born (we figured she would be late, since we were told most 1st babies come after their due date), but the running joke at the bakery was that I would work straight up until the day I gave birth. Despite the pressing need to finish my huge to-do list in a truncated amount of time it was getting harder and harder to walk due to the baby pressing so far down in my pelvis and the residual swelling from London. I was so exhausted I would come home and crash as soon as I got home. So handling pretty massive stress while trying to keep my body calm for the baby was my primary task for most of January.
The question I got asked most frequently throughout my pregnancy was, “What are you going to do with Slikkepotten once you give birth?” Here in Norway typical maternity leave is ten months or more for the mom, so people were quite shocked when I replied that I was planning to come back after three months in time for the confirmation and wedding seasons. Three months is great from an American perspective, but utterly insane from a Norwegian one. In the beginning, Katrine kept telling me I needed to take the full time off and I would just say, “Can you really run the business by yourself for an entire year?” The answer to that was always no, so it settled the matter. We did hire a lovely lass from Scotland named Lynne to take over for me on the bakery side of things for those three months though. Overall, not an ideal situation from a business perspective, but Katrine and I went into it knowing Chris and I were trying to get pregnant so we were able to plan far enough in advance to make it work. Life and work once the baby comes is a whole lot of unknown territory, that’s for sure!
Once Christmas and our London trip were over, our due date suddenly seemed WAY closer. Christmas was always the milestone in my head (“Oh, the baby won’t be born until after Christmas…”) but now that Christmas was over it got real REALLY fast. I was struggling to finish my to-do list at work, let alone everything we needed to do before the baby arrived! Aaaaaah! So much to do!
2015….here we go!