Saturday, June 21, 2008

Whine

Where to start? I came to the realization last night that part of the reason I haven't been posting is that all I feel like doing is complaining. I feel awful, almost all the time. Eating is a chore and no longer a pleasure. My face looks like a teenager's face (and not because it looks youthful). I'm exhausted. A constant intake of stool softeners has helped, but I still get painful cramps after eating. The snot never seems to stop and the constant drip down the back of my throat just makes me more nauseous. It takes an extraordinary amount of effort to get through work each day. This means that I'm usually miserable by the time I get home. I haven't made phone calls or even sent emails to friends for weeks. I've hardly posted at all lately and I've completely quit commenting on other people's blogs (I'm sorry!). I've basically fallen off the face of the earth going from home to work and back again and nowhere else. Weekends are spent lying on the couch and forcing myself to eat and drink.

See? I have a lot of complaints. And it just seems so wrong that we've worked SO damn hard for so long to get here and all I can do is complain. Still. I'm over 10 weeks now and wondering when (if) I will start enjoying this pregnancy and being happy about it. When will I want to plan? There is really a lot we need to do and I would normally be in my element writing lists, starting to shop, looking at daycare options, thinking about names, reading books. But all I can do is lie around and moan. Every once in awhile I break down into tears pitying myself and hating myself for not loving every minute of finally being pregnant. Last night it took me 10 minutes to catch my breath after a crying fit. And it was a fit-real ugly sobbing, snot streaming down my face. On the one hand, the tears are a release for me and I know the hormones have a lot to do with these episodes. But it doesn't help me calm down and the crying always makes me feel worse. It took another half hour for my sinuses to clear up last night.

To make matters worse, I spoke with someone in HR at work yesterday and got some horrific news about our maternity leave policy. There isn't one. How is it possible to work somewhere for 3.5 years (and 3 years prior as a consultant) and not know this? I have no idea. I though I understood the policy as it was explained to me by one of the females in the department prior to my taking the job there. I was told that prior to 2 years of service, there was no separate maternity policy and you simply got 3 months unpaid leave under FMLA, although you would get some short-term disability at reduced pay for 6 weeks (I think). After 2 years of service , you were covered under short-term disability and were entitled to 3 months at FULL pay and up to 2 more months at half pay. I should have known this was too good to be true. The literature I received at orientation wasn't sufficiently clear to change my understanding of the policy.

I made life decisions based on the misinformation. I took the position and we actually WAITED to try to start a family until we were sure a baby would not be born prior to my 2 years of service (hindsight...sigh). I have passed up other opportunities and not even considered talking to headhunters because I was at my 2 years of service. I stayed at my job even though the insurance covered not a cent of infertility treatment (knowing full well there were other places in town that would pay for IVF) because the maternity leave was the light at the end of the tunnel.

HA! So much for that dream. If all were to go perfectly and I somehow manage to carry these two babies to term, I will use 3 days of vacation/sick time and then go on short-term disability and get full pay until my doctor releases me to go back to work (usually 6-8 weeks), even if I have a c-section. I will then switch over to using any unused vacation/sick time. My FMLA time will run concurrently from the start and will kick in as unpaid leave when all of my vacation/sick time is gone. This means that at best, I will be home with the babies for 12 weeks, most of it paid, but likely some of it unpaid depending on my vacation time. I will then have to go back to work with 3 month old twins and have not ONE day of vacation/sick time. The only way I would get the full 5 months of short-term disability is if there were a medical reason for a doctor to keep me from being released to work. The medical reason would have to be for me, not for the babies. (I suppose I should be grateful that I would at least get some short-term disability with full pay as I know some places don't offer it).

And if I end up on bed rest or having to stop work before the babies are born, it gets even worse. The bed rest time would fall under short-term disability after using 3 days of vacation/sick time. It would eat into the total allotted 5 months of short-term disability if for some reason I was medically unable to return to work after the birth. It also would eat into the 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave as it runs concurrently with short-term disability. For example, if I end up having to stop work 4 weeks prior to the birth, and my doctor releases me to go back to work 6 weeks after the birth, I will only have 2 weeks left of FMLA time. Unless I have more than 2 weeks of vacation/sick time built up, I will have to go back to work 8 weeks after the twins are born. 8 weeks! How the fuck am I supposed to do that? Even if they are completely healthy, this seems impossible.

This is a far cry from the 5 months paid leave (3 at full pay and 2 at half pay) I thought I was entitled to. How could I be so stupid? I am kicking myself and trying to figure out how in the world I was so misinformed. But that doesn't even matter. What matters is that I have no idea how I will go back to work after 12 measly weeks (at best) and it puts the pressure on to try to work right up until I go into labor to avoid eating into that time. Not a fun prospect.

Part of me knows I shouldn't be writing about this on the blog because it is work related, but it is just the facts and the fact is I'm really pissed off. And pissed off doesn't go well with nauseous.

See why I haven't been posting? I'm just a bowl full of sunshine.

(Please don't take this post as me being ungrateful. I know how lucky we are and I wouldn't give this pregnancy up for the world-even though I'm miserable).

20 comments:

Phoebe said...

Whine away. Pregnancy with twins is hard. I've been worried about you since you haven't been posting. I know it's a chore to eat, but make sure you are taking your prenatals and extra omega-3s. You probably should be taking a minimum of 2000 mg of omega-3s per day and probably more. That should help with your mental state.

No maternity leave? Isn't that unconstitutional or something? Aren't they supposed to have maternity leave outside of FMLA?

Have you been able to connect with any of your local twin clubs? Usually, they have some kind of "big sister" program where someone who has been through it can support you. Maybe they can give you some ideas you haven't thought of on the leave issue. I'm sure someone has been through it before.

One of my favorite twin pregnancy blogs is Geohde's. Check it out sometime. (((hugs)))

BB and MTB said...

Here's how I feel about this whole thing: you ARE NOT complaining about being pregnant, rather you are simply documenting how you are feeling these days after working hard for something you wanted and still want so much. Please don't feel guilty about how this pregnancy is kicking your body in the behind... you have two amazing babies growing in there!!!!

As for the work thing, that really does stink to think one thing for over 2 years only to find out something completely different. Best of luck to you finding a good solution for you and your family.

I, for one, look forward to reading more about this pregnancy!!!! Good luck, Sweetie, and I really hope you start to feel better soon!

Io said...

Dude, that BLOWS. To go from thinking you had a kick ass maternity leave to having a super crappy one? I am so sorry. I wish there was some way to change it.
I wish you were feeling better too - after having to go through all you did to get pregnant it seems you should get one of those happy fuzzy pregnancies. ::hugs::

On the other hand, how.freaking.CUTE is your husband? That last post was adorable.

Rhonda said...

i have been quite worried about you and glad to see this post, even if it had such harsh info about the maternity info...that bleeping sucks!!!

also - don't use your energy worrying about what all of us read when you blog...we all care so much for you and b and the babies. i agree with bb and mtb - if you cannot "document" your feelings here - on your own blog...where can you?
xoxo

annacyclopedia said...

Yeah, I don't think this is whining either. Feeling crappy and finding out that your employer offers basically nothing in terms of mat leave are very valid reasons for needing to vent. I am just in awe that pregnant women and mothers are treated so badly under the law there. The time offered is so incredibly inadequate for someone with a perfectly healthy pregnancy and birth, let alone anyone with complications or multiples.

I am pissed off on your behalf that you are having to deal with this. I hope the nausea calms down somewhat and the magic benefits fairy decides to bless your employer with some compassion and common sense.

Duck said...

Don't worry about complaining and being misserable, you have 2 in there throwing around crazy hormones (and it's nice to hear that pregnancy isn't all just glamourous clothes and nice baby bumps... you're making me feel good).
Sorry things are going so hard, hopefully maybe it gets better once your in the second tri?
ALSO let me just say this, your maternity leave sucks. I forget sometimes why I live in Canada (we get a year pay, not full pay but around 35000 or so and some companies top up to full pay). Now if only I could get someone else's uterus to carry that baby thing...
Keep your head up!

heather said...

ugh, i'm so sorry about the work fmla situation. I hope they're willing to work with you somehow on it. Maybe you'll be the first to get them to see their messed up (fucked, even?) offerings.

as to feeling better. I started feeling generally better btwn 12 and 14 weeks (more like 14) and worlds better at 18 wks. Granted our twin situation ended around week 8 and I only have one cooking in there. but i sure was sicko anyway! (yay Zofran!)

I'm now just over 22 weeks and the whole 'golden 2nd tri' thing is proving to be true. This from somebody who threw up every hour, just about!

www.saltandpickles.com/journal

Melanie said...

God love you. I can't even imagine how crappy you must be feeling...I get an upset stomach and make like the sky is falling. Hang in there. The yuck has to end soon. I'm blown away by the maternity leave policy. Can you negotiate something with them, like a part time schedule for a while??

Meg said...

Good to hear from you again! Although B's post was a wonderful catch up. I am so sorry you are feeling so crummy. I would not be surprised if you have two girls in there with the amount of nausea you have.

Work leave around pregnancies just sucks. Is there a way that after the 8 weeks or so you can work 3/4 time or something and work some of your days from home?

Seth & Jill said...

D, I'm so sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, I know first hand how dissapointing benefit plans can be. I know this is the last thing you wanted to worry about after finally conceiving. But if you can (and I'm sure its incredibly hard) try not to dwell on what you could have/should have done differently and enjoy the fact that these two little ones are on their way! No matter how daunting this seems now, I'm sure once you lay eyes on them, it will be the furthest thing from you mind.

s.e. said...

You are writing this blog for you. It is a journal to mark your feelings...all of them. We are all just lucky enough to read and learn from your journey so what you consider to be complaints are not. The fact that your posts always state your appreciation shows that you are just in a really yucky place right now. It too shall pass.

Shinejil said...

Argh! You poor thing! I think you're not the only woman who struggles to find joy in a state of constant discomfort. Acknowledging that pregnancy sucks doesn't mean you're ungrateful. It really does suck. The whole "beautiful pregnancy" thing reeks of myth.

I'm sorry to hear about the shitty leave policy at your job, too. That's just fucked up and completely designed by men who have no clue what it means to care for two infants.

Maria said...

OMG, that is such B.S. that your work doesn't cover any maternity. I'm so sorry (and royally pissed off) for you.

I'm also so sorry to hear how sick you've been feeling. That's definitely not how we want to feel after trying so hard to get pregnant.

Alison said...

You sound absolutely miserable and I'm so sorry for that. This blog may be the only place you can whine away and you'll get backing for it all! That really sucks about your work. It just takes the little bit of wind you had right out of your sails. :( Hope you find the strength to keep your chin up.

mrsyak said...

I promise it gets better, don't be discouraged if the magic switch doesn't flip at 12 - 14 weeks, but know that it will eventually get better. You will have some energy again. You will enjoy eating again. You will go entire days without gagging/puking. It will happen.

On the benefits side, in the event you go out at 20 weeks (I've heard that sometimes they just want you off your feet early with twins), did you ask if you have long term disability?

I'm in TX and a friend at work had twins and went out early, she exhausted short term was placed on long term, her FMLA did run out, but while she was pregnant she was "protected" by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. See the link below...

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/planningandpreparing/pregnancydiscrimination.html

sweetpeapod said...

Oh, it must be so hard for you to keep going about your day when you're feeling physically sick and exhausted. It's okay (and important) to express your feelings, no matter what they are, so I hope you keep writing when you feel you need to. Yeah, the maternity leave policies are just awful in this country. It really is unbelievable how little time is given to women who really, really need it. It sucks! And yet, it will be all worth it for you, but I'm sure you already know this :) Hope you feel better soon. xxx

Kristina said...

That was the same maternity leave I had. FMLA running concurrently, PTO first, then unpaid. I think, sadly, it's pretty standard. My two perinatal friends lost several weeks to bedrest and it sucked. I tempered that a little bit by working part-time while on bedrest. You can legally take FMLA part-time...you may want to look into that.

Christi said...

do NOT feel bad for being a bad blogger, you are responsible for 2 more people, you need to get your rest and take care of yourself.

btw, need your email to add you to my readers list!

Christi said...

forget about the email, I found yours!

nancy said...

I darlin!

Sorry I haven't been commenting much, it's like I wanted to say so much to you, I didn't want to leave just a small random comment to you - although you are one of the people I want to comment to the most. If I had to pick 3 people that I was only allowed to comment to, you'd be one of them. Really. It's a bizarre thing with me. I end up almost ignoring the people who mean the most to me.

I wanted to talk to you about what you are considering "whining". Honey, you are having a HARD pregnancy. I would say you are in the top 10% of the worst sickness. The only ones above you are the ones who have that technically names sickness where they literally cannot make it out of bed for 9 months - they are hooked up to an IV 24x7.

Denise, I just want you to realize that your pregnancy is fucking HARD. And you have every right to talk about how hard of a time you are having. EVERY right.

There are women who do complain "too much" - most every pregnancy has a small amount of uncomfortableness - queasy feeling - exhaustion - you know, the minor stuff. And listening to that whining is SO fucking annoying. And yes, especially when they had been trying for SO long. Only to whine about being tired and going to sleep at 8pm. Or taking days off work because they feel queasy. Denise, this is NOT you. NOT at all!

So please, try to think about how hard of a time you really are having. This is a time I'd actually ask you to compare yourself to someone else. Look at how most other pregnant women feel. It's not as bad as you have it. So you just go ahead with the woe is me (when you feel up to it).

We were here to cheer on your cycles. We were here to hope for you. We were here to send you online hugs when you had a failed cycle. We were here to jump up and down with your BFP. We were here to be scared along with you during your spotting episodes. Don't you think we'd be good at holding your hand as you struggle through being sick? Of course we are. And nothing would make me feel better than for you not to feel quilty about it.