In order to survive my last semester as a law student with a brand new baby, I did a lot of planning ahead of time. KU Law offers two winter intercession courses that count for the spring semester, as well as an additional intercession course immediately following spring semester finals. These courses would account for 6 of my remaining 11 credit hours, leaving only 5 hours for me to take during the actual semester.
Things do not always go as planned when it comes to babies, though, and I barely made it through the first 2-hour intercession course after having two early labor scares. I was not due until the second week of the spring semester, but I did not want to risk being unable to finish the second winter intercession course. The school allowed me to drop without a penalty due to the circumstances, so I was able to relax at home those last couple of weeks before my due date.
I had to schedule a C-section since I had two prior C-sections with my other children, thus I was lucky enough to be able to pick any date from a week prior to the baby’s due date. My original plan was to schedule surgery the day before my due date, so that I could miss as little school as possible, but with the labor scares, my doctor decided it was best to schedule it a week before the due date.
On Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, I gave birth to my amazing little girl, Kendall Marie! She was 6 pounds, 2 ounces, and 19.5 inches long. She was also born with a full head of dark hair, which was a huge shock to me and my husband. Everything went extremely well, and I was able to leave the hospital after only two nights (at my request – if I’m recovering, I would rather do it in my own home and save the money!).
That first week home with my new baby girl was such a blur! Aside from being on pain meds while recovering from my surgery, my husband and I found ourselves deep in the life of no sleep as new parents. Kendall was completely mixed up on her nights and days, so she was sleeping during the day and awake at night. They say to sleep when your baby sleeps, but that is not realistic when you also have two other children to take care of (and one comes down with the flu that first week home with the new baby).
I was so grateful for the time I got with my new baby girl, and I enjoyed every moment before I had to return to school the following week. Even though I was only getting about two hours of sleep at a time, there is something about being a new parent that keeps your adrenaline going and allows you to not even care about your sleep schedule. During many of those late-nights feedings, I would just stare into my new baby’s beautiful eyes and think how amazing she is. And as I thought about returning to school so soon after having her, I reminded myself that I was finishing school for her as well. I wasn’t finishing just to better provide for her, though, but also as an example of how women can pursue both a career and a family without sacrificing either one.
— Joni Bodnar is a third-year law student from St. Joseph, Missouri. This is her fourth post in a five-part series about being pregnant during law school. In the final installment, Bodnar will talk about adjusting to law student life as the mother of a newborn. Previous posts recounted her reaction to finding out she was expecting a baby during law school, how she got through her summer internship during her first trimester of pregnancy, and staying focused through classes and finals while pregnant.