Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Full Throttle

I have billed 60 hours so far this year. This year that just began 5 days ago.

The opposing party in my biggest case (the case that I am very attached to that caused me to switch from corporate law to litigation) filed a motion for a temporary injunction late in the afternoon on the 31st, and I have worked nearly non-stop since then. We had a Motion for Continuance yesterday so I drove the partner, senior associate, and paralegal to Fort Worth at 6 a.m. to attend the hearing. We got a whopping two day's extension -- an extension that is causing three of the partners to miss their planned trips to the UT Championship game in Pasadena -- and spent the rest of the day strategizing in our Dallas office (the partners are spread among various offices so we took advantage of being in the same city for the day). We got back to Austin around 11 p.m. last night and head back to Fort Worth tomorrow to prep our witnesses for the 2-3 day hearing.

It has been insane. We're basically putting together a mini trial on the most important issue in our case in two days. This case has four heavy weight partners but only two associates (a 7th year and me) so ... well, it's been insane.

The completely crazy part is that I haven't minded this at all. I love this case. It is fun and fascinating, extremely high stakes, and touches on every corporate law topic you could throw into a law school exam question. I like each partner on it and it's nice to have such a substantive, visible role as the only person who really knows the documents, exhibits, etc.

So the work part is good. The home part is also pretty good. I miss Landon, but I was home this morning and left the office at 7 tonight after being told to do so by a partner who remembered Landon goes to bed at 8. I worked from home on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, so Landon spent lots of time playing next to me and showing me his toys and crayon creations. Both boys are feeling fine and have been since Saturday evening (thank goodness for that). JP doesn't start class again until the 19th and Landon's daycare is back in session, so JP is very happy as a part-time stay-at-home dad.

Ironically my biggest source of my stress came from my initial pre-term labor prevention program appointment which was supposed to be all about reducing my stress. To back up, my OB recommended I enroll in this program offered through the Texas Perinatal Group since I had Landon at 35 weeks with no indicators or risk factors. And because I would love a full term pregnancy with no time spent torn between a baby in the NICU and a toddler at home, I was happy to go. Today was my first appointment, which I almost changed because of the overflowing inbox of emails and task lists, but I once read an article about signs of a workaholid and one of the signs was canceling doctor's appointments, so I forced myself to walk away from my computer and drive across town. Once there I met with the Nurse Practitioner, who I will see every visit (I will probably never see the perinatologist as I am not high risk and will continue to see my OB), and we walked through my last pregnancy, my picture-perfect delivery, and my bruised baby with broken ribs and his 12-days of NICU time.

I loved the NP. I really like my OB- she never makes me feel rushed and she is exactly what I need for this pregnancy. But it's nice to sit at a regular table, in regular chairs, and just chat with someone for 45 minutes about my last pregnancy and this pregnancy and how we can keep this baby baking for as long as possible. I feel like she fills a hole left by my midwife with her low key manner and long appointment times.

All that said, I nearly started crying when I got back in the car. I really am at risk for another early baby, possibly even an earlier baby. I will be getting progesterone shots starting at 18 weeks (next Tuesday) which have been shown to delay preterm labor. These need to be given WEEKLY at an appointment with the NP where we will also talk about my schedule and rest and any symptoms I may start experiencing.

Weekly. I have a three-week trial out of town in the month of April. I have another big hearing out of state in March. I already have regular visits with my OB. I'm supposed to see a headache specialist. Each of these appointments take nearly 2 hours out of my day.

I need to take breaks, to relax and breathe periodically. I need to drink more. I need to be more aware of my body and signs of stress. She told me after talking for about twenty minutes that I downplay my stress - I looked surprised and said how on earth can you know that? She said it was because I kept laughing when I talked about all that was going on in my life. Then I admitted to the tooth-fracturing tooth grinding habit and my headaches. I was prescribed prenatal yoga.

She was really very warm and positive, it was just in the middle of this crazy week at a time in my pregnancy when I basically just ignore it (I literally go hours and maybe days at a time forgetting I'm pregnant) and I can't really change my schedule, and even worse- don't want to, I felt overwhelmed and like a horrible mother who needed to be told to put a sticky note on her computer screen to reminder her that "nothing is more important than this baby".

Then I worked another 7 straight hours, came home to a dinner prepared by JP and non-stop hugs and kisses from a very charming Landon, and reminded myself that yes, my life is busy, but I do take breaks because I have this wonderful family I require time to enjoy. I pause to soak in the moment because of them.

And then I looked back at my blackberry with its 20 new messages and also realized that maybe these weekly appointments won't be such a bad idea...


  1. Hi Lag Liv,

    I am a management consultant with two boys spaced about the same ages as your own. They are 9 and 7 now...I had insomia and tooth fracturing grinding...so I feel your pain and I feel your sense of enjoyment about your personal/professional life. The best piece of advice a friend gave me was to use money wisely to benefit your quality of life. When you are working this hard, get a cleaner, pay for people to do things for you...when you can and within reason. It was hard for me initially because my husband and I were used to being grad students and we were starting out, we had student loans. But ultimately...your quality of life is the most important. The money will come, but the times with your family are fleeting and go by quickly. You don't want to remember just being stressed out. So give yourself the permission to get help and to ask for it when you need it.

    Congrats to you and I hope your 2nd pregnancy goes smoothly.


  2. I have been following your blog for a few years now, but this is my first time to post. I am so glad to hear that there is a pre-term prevention program. I have never heard of that, but as a mom of a baby born at 26 weeks, and 3 1/2 months of NICU time, I am thankful that you introduced me to the idea so that I may speak with my ob/gyn about it... when I am finally over the shell shock and ready to do this again!

    ALWAYS love reading about Landon and your family. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi LL!

    If you haven't already, you might want to ask the NP whether JP can administer the progesterone shots at home. These are pretty common nowadays, at least for women using IVF (as I did). I had daily shots, all given by my husband at home.

    Enjoy your big case, and best wishes for a wonderful pregnancy and delivery!

  4. I was going to make the same suggestion about doing the shots at home. I also did IVF and my husband did my shots. It's no big deal once you get used to it (and I have a major needle phobia).

  5. Wow. I worked as an in-house lawyer for a local government organisation in the UK, and our monthly billing target was 100 hours

    (5.5 hours a day, standard day 7 hours 12 minutes - 7 hours 15 Monday-Friday 15 minutes earlier finish on Fridays.

    The time allowed for our 26 days annual leave plus 8 days public holidays - just a little different to your environment!

    Our pay definitely reflected the hours though - and we did have the odd 12 hour day too - accompanied by time off in lieu!

  6. You can go hours or even days without remembering you're pregnant?