Wednesday, April 14, 2010

31 Wks, 2 Days: Random Stuff

Saw my doctor yesterday, and all was well with my BP. I finally gained some weight, 1.8 pounds, making my net gain for the pregnancy totalling 12 pounds so far. Not too bad. We discussed my situation, and I left the office reassured that they will not let me go any further than necessary with the pregnancy. His exact words: "You're in pain, and we're concerned that you are in pain, and we are not going to let you suffer any longer than necessary." So the plan is still to wait until 34 weeks, stop everything and do an amniocentesis to test out Z's lung maturity. They cannot plan a c-section that early without a medical indication. I don't think I will last more than 8 hours without the meds before I am contracting. But what they can do is let me start contracting at that point, then do my c-section.

We discussed the end of my FMLA job protection on May 1st. The doctor had the idea that maybe, once I reach 34 weeks, they can let me return for some piddly 4 hour shifts a couple times a week to try and buy me more time. I would be thrilled with this idea, but for the first time ever, I had to make the statement that I don't think I am capable. I am so de-conditioned right now that it isn't even funny. I'm relying on the post-partum period to gain some strength and get my chops back before I start running around the hospital. I hated admitting that to him. I really miss work, and would give my eye teeth right now to return.

So speaking of work: Yesterday was the big Gainsharing disbursement. In lieu of giving huge sign-on bonuses, my hospital has this employee incentive they call Gainsharing. Basically, the hospital keeps tabs on those patient satisfaction surveys, compares them to the national average, and if we meet certain criteria, since it is a private hospital, they determine a portion of the hospital's proceeds and disburse it to employees. The amount you get is based on the number of hours worked for the year. 2080 hours is considered full-time, and thus earns you the top-out, maximum amount. I worked 2,778.4 hours last year. Since I work 36 hours per week, that was the equivalent of 77.178 weeks of work in 52 weeks. Kinda like me squeezing an extra 25 weeks out of the year. So of course I got the full disbursement amount. The check had to be picked up in person, and each department in the hospital has a big to-do over it: catered lunches, mandatory meetings, etc. My boss was going to allow J to pick up mine, considering the circumstances, but I wanted to do it. J dropped me off in front of the door, parked the car, and came and got me in a wheelchair to take me to my department. I got a very warm reception, making me think that the feelings I had of being snubbed were more my perception than reality. I'm sure that, just like anywhere else,there are people in my department who talk about me behind my back, who think this has been a vacation for me or some kind of lame excuse to not work. But for the most part, everyone got it and seemed genuinely concerned. My supervisor's exact words: "just have a healthy baby, recover, and get your butt back here ready to work!" as she hugged me before I left. This gives me hope that they see my value there and will not post my job.

Of course the money could not have come at a better time. I was sort of bummed that I couldn't just go on a binge and spend it like I did last year. Instead, this year, I used it to pay bills. The plus side is that I can now breathe a little easier, and will be until I am back to earning my full salary. I paid a couple of rent payments (through June) and huge advanced payments on electric and phone/ internet/ cable. My car-loan disability insurance came through, so I no longer have to pay that. They actually calculated my post-partum period to end 8 weeks from my scheduled c-section, so I am free from car payments until July 27th. And my bank, since I have been a Good Girl and never been late or short on any payments, actually restructured my other loans (education, personal, overdraft line of credit, etc.) into my car loan, refinancing my car to a payment that is actually lower. So when the insurance pays my car payment, they will be paying toward all of my loans. This frees up my income from my short-term disability pay for simple living expenses like groceries, gas, etc., for the next couple of months, at least. I can breathe again.

We did have a little fun, though. I treated myself to a stack of books that I cannot wait to lose mysef in. And E: that kid has been sitting quietly by, watching every spare dime that comes into the house go toward baby stuff. I'm sure it has been harder on him than he lets on. He is used to getting everything he wants. It is bad enough that my earnings have reduced so drastically, but then to have to watch any little extra go toward another baby? Poor E. And he has been so good about it. So I was going to buy him a new bike. He outgrew one a while back, and got a new one from his Grandma, but he has a little problem: the kid is short! And small. So while his old bike was too small, the next size up was way too big and no matter what adjustments we made, his little feet could not adequately touch the ground. Too dangerous for my taste!So the new bike is still brand new and in the basement right now. It has been for almost 2 years, as we kept stalling on buying him one, thinking he would grow into it. But summer is either coming, or is here, and my kid still doesn't have a bike to ride. We took him to the store to find one that would fit. Of course none did, so I gave him the equivalent in cash to spend how he wanted. I did place some guidelines on him, though. No video games, no dvd's, no computer games. Toys or books only. He made some good choices. As for the bike, I think Iam going to have to wait until later in the summer when I am back to work and take him to a cycling shop and get something customized for him. We then swung by and bought him some summer clothes. This is my favorite time of year for that. Usually I am a kid/ baby clothes snob. My child has been dressed in designer everything from the time he was born. But somewhere around the time he started school, I changed this a little. I think it was the first time he went outside to play in summer in a brand new Ralph Lauren outfit, and chose to roll in mud, and the outfit ended up in the garbage, as it was too ruined to even donate to charity. So in summer, we buy cheap clothes. And I have found that if you are choosey, you can find clothes at the discount stores for dirt-cheap prices that look like designer labels. So for once I can get him an entire summer wardrobe for a couple hundred bucks instead of the thousands I spend during the school year. Bonus for mom! And on the way home, E says this: "Thanks, Mama, for the ...." And rattles off a list of every litte tiny item I bought him, all the way down to the candy he got in the checkout lane. Arrrgh! I love the kid so much it hurts!

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