For the past 7 months I worked as the sole clinical and community dietitian at tiny country hospital, covering someone else’s maternity leave. This got a lot of laughs after I learned I was pregnant! Work is hard to come by as a dietitian so when Alex spied this job he suggested I apply for it. Afterall, it was only 2 days a week and I could stay near by with my parents. We’d just spent 6 months living apart during the week, so 2 nights seemed like a breeze. And that is how I ended up driving 757km each week, 10 hours of driving for 16 hours of work.
A lot of eating was done in the car, not something I recommend but I often ended up driving over meals times and my pregnant appetite left me wanting lots of snacks. Smoothies, yoghurt and date bars were my go to snack. In fact, I’m sure this drive was primarily fuelled on smoothies. Lunch might be a dip, crackers, veggie sticks and cheese. I’d arrive home starving on Thursday nights to a delicious dinner Alex had prepared and kindly waited to eat together.
(Catching some sunshine in the local park at lunch – salad sandwich, yoghurt and a good book)
You’d think I’d get my packing down pat pretty quickly with this weekly trip but that could not have been further from the truth. I packed Alex’s toothbrush instead of mine more than once and then forgot a toothbrush altogether another handful of times (I bought a spare one to keep at my parents house). I forgot to pack clean undies and ended up running to the supermarket in the morning to buy new ones more times than I care to admit. I blame pregnancy brain. I lugged a bag of extra work around that I intended to get to in the evenings… that never happened. Instead I had the loveliest time catching up with family and old friends, or crashing into bed ridiculously early because I was often so damn tired.
This job was so much more tiring and disruptive than I thought it would be, but I’m sure being pregnant goes a long way to explaining those feelings. It also gave me a whole new level of understanding of what Alex had been through in the previous 6 months, leaving home each week, and he would go for 5 days. But now our year of disrupted living is over and we couldn’t be happier. I don’t think we’ll be signing up to do something like that again any time soon.
Of course there were positives. I got some valuable clinical experience and the job helped me with decisions about my future career path. I made some lovely friends at the hospital. Towards the end of my time I started staying with one of the girls one night a week to save me some driving time in and out of my parents house. She’s a lover of good food and we made some delicious meals together. Below is a dinner prepared together on one of my last weeks – baked brie with all sorts of vegetables and sourdough. I can’t wait to do this again once baby is here, glass of wine in hand.
The countryside on my weekly route was stunning. I wanted to stop and take pictures all the time! We really do live in a beautiful country. Living on the coast for years I’d really missed seeing the change in seasons. This year I saw autumn leaves, drove through snow and watched the spring lambs grow. There are lots of little towns I’d love to go back and explore. I would usually pass through late at night so stopping wasn’t really an option. Some of them aren’t so far away so perhaps baby and I will go on day outings next year. I have my fingers crossed baby will travel well in the car!