When Maggie was born, I had only been working as a nurse for about six months. I qualified for FMLA (barely) but I only had two weeks worth of PTO. The short term disability insurance my employer provides only pays after you have been off work for 30 days, so I was going to have to take 2 weeks off unpaid.
On top of that, my husband lost his job when I was about five months pregnant, and we were scraping by on unemployment(which was about half of what he'd been making). Needless to say, I was only able to afford to stay home for six weeks, which broke my heart.
I loved every second of my maternity leave. I spent days on end just laying on the couch staring at my daughter, trying to drink in every second of it. I cried the whole last week I was off because I was so sad about leaving her.
When I became pregnant with Lucy, I had been working a little longer. By working some overtime and not taking vacations, I was able to have enough PTO to cover my first thirty days off. I decided early on that I was going to take the entire 12 weeks entitled to me by my FMLA leave. (Especially since when Lucy was two weeks old, we finally closed on our house and subsequently moved!)
I'm currently in my eighth week of leave and I love and hate it at the same time. I love spending all this time with my girls without worrying about missing things. I love having every weekend off to visit with friends and family.
At the same time, I feel really isolated. The girls and I go to storytime at the library on Mondays and a playgroup from a local school on Thursdays, but the rest of the time we are home by ourselves (except for outings to Target or the park). My husband works 2nd shift mostly and is going to school full time so he's really busy. Also, I've been really delayed getting my short term disability checks from work, so I haven't gotten paid in almost four weeks!
As excited as I am to still have three and a half weeks left, I know it won't last and I'm kind of ready to get back to our new normal.