While local friends knew about this, anyone I communicate with primarily online probably does not as I tried not to be public about it. My husband has been living and working in another state 3 hours away since August. It was something he signed up for before Naomi's diagnosis and we decided to proceed with it anyway. We actually drove an hour in order to squeeze in the appointment with the MFM specialist to get the official diagnosis a few days before he left, as a local appointment wasn't available until the day after he left. Through the end of 2012, the kids and I would make the drive and spend the weekend with him about twice a month, and he would come home once a month, and we'd have to skip a weekend, on average. He was home (and working, but locally) for the week in between Christmas and New Year's, then we went to see him for the long weekend over MLK Jr. Day, but that's all we've seen him since December. I've pretty much been single-parenting for the last six months.
He has been very careful to not use any time-off, as his employer, the federal government, does not offer any paternity leave. (Which I think is crazy, as Wal-mart of all places gave him a fully paid two weeks!) And he only gets something like 2-3 bereavement days. We had planned for his last day to be Friday, 2/8 and he would drive back either that night or the next morning. On Wednesday the 6th I heard the weather reports and texted him to say that I thought he should leave a day early. It's one thing to be 3 hours away with a due date one week away, it's another to be this close and have blizzard predictions of crazy amounts like 20"-40" standing between you. He made it home early this morning, in time to make pancakes for breakfast for everyone. He said the roads were fine until the very end, when it was getting thick enough that everyone was choosing to drive in the same lane on the highway that was clearest. He is home for good now, unless or until we decide he should volunteer to go back. He will go back to work locally on Monday.
Some have wondered why I didn't just move down there and stay with him as the assignment could have lasted until June. We considered it, but we did not know until he arrived that his accommodations would be so large (a 2-bedroom furnished apartment that we called "the hotel" instead of daddy's apartment). We also were nervous about the assignment being cut short for some reason, and disrupting our daughter's school year. Or how to handle taking care of our home while we were gone. But perhaps the #1 reason was that I didn't want to uproot us from our social support network here. The idea of an extrovert like me being stuck in a new area with no friends, home all day with kids while he was at work, did not sound like a good idea. As nice as it is to see him every day, I thought me being that secluded would actually be more stressful for us all than maintaining a long-distance relationship would be.
On that note, now I will share with you some of the beautiful gifts I have received in the last week, all from local friends. The first pic is from a blessingway that friends threw for me last Sunday.
I was presented with another special craft too, but will wait until I receive the finished masterpiece before revealing it.
I have not taken a picture of my deep freezer, but I've also gotten meals from several friends. It will be so nice to have some ready-made delicious meals on hand, that we can just make when the time is right without worrying about a drop-off schedule, returning dishes, etc.
I still have an incredibly long to-do list to tackle before giving birth. I would have thought there would be less to do, as we're not preparing the house for another baby, but it feels like more. I have four sets of paperwork to complete and several people to e-mail. Lots to keep me busy during this impending blizzard.