I'm expecting to give birth end of June, at which time I will have completed my first year as TT professor. Although I will have a little bit of time to recover over the summer, I'm wondering what to do about the fall semester. I did IVF to conceive during the first part of the fall semester and the treatment took up a lot of time and I was tired all the time due to the hormone injections. I taught two new classes and had one course release to do research but I didn't have energy to do any research though have two papers under review that I prepared over the summer. I did manage to keep up well with teaching and with all my other responsibilities and even served on an important committee. I think I could arrange to take a semester sabbatical (unpaid) but based on my experience this semester I doubt that I would get any writing done taking care of the new baby (my first). I also have some physical health problems and I'm older than the average mom so it might be tough. Perhaps it would be best to take the sabbatical but I worry about feeling isolated (I leave in a really boring place where I don't know anybody) and feeling depressed about not getting writing done despite being home all the time. So I'm considering NOT taking the sabbatical, just do the teaching, with no expectations that I will be productive writing-wise and try to work really hard next semester to get some papers lined up (my university has pretty low tenure publication expectations, I've been told two journal articles per year would be fine). I'd be grateful for any input from mothers who have faced similar decisions.
You might get more feedback if you asked the mods to move this thread to the tenure-track section of the fora.
Seniorscholar raises important points about health care and what might happen if you extended your family leave beyond the covered period--a reason that it's important to talk to HR to find out your options before getting too set on a plan of action.
Also seconding the advice to talk to women at your institution--certainly you aren't the first to go through this, even if your circumstances are more complicated (and they may or may not be--you never know).