I met with HR last week to talk about my maternity leave benefits. I'm in California, so we have state disability and family leave, which is better than FMLA benefits, since they actually provide some pay. In addition, my company has a pretty generous benefit that they call a "reserve illness account" that can be used only for a serious illness of over a week. It's fully paid time. I have 10-12 weeks of this time accrued, since I've been here >5 years. To be honest, I've always wondered when I was going to be able to use it, so I'm excited to finally get a chance to tap into it. The time can only be used concurrently with disability time, which means I can only use it for 6 weeks after the birth (assuming a vaginal birth, 8 for c-section.) So, given this time off, I could go out 6 weeks early and be fully paid for that time, provided my doctor will write me out as disabled, which I think he will if I explain. There's no way to shift it to be extra time after the birth, or I would totally do that. However, I wonder if I should go out so early. Will I drive myself nuts being out six weeks before baby comes? Would four weeks be more reasonable? The nursery is really, really NOT ready (crib ordered but not received, changing table selected but not ordered, no idea on the rocker/glider, not painted -- but I do have my crib bedding!) I don't have any friends who don't work and my family isn't local, so I'll be mainly on my own.