24 weeks pregnant, facing bedrest and woefully underprepared for the birth of this surprise baby. FMLA, bedrest and c-section questions inside.
Anon due to medical/work questions. Throwaway email: email@example.com.
I am 24 weeks 5 days pregnant and entered the hospital Thursday with heavy bleeding and frequent painless contractions. I had two shots of Terbutaline to reduce the contractions which worked but not long term. They did work long enough to slow the bleeding substantially, although ultrasound showed one more large clot that will probably pass soon. I've been on magnesium sulfate for about 36 hours, being weaned off by half a gram per day. I've had a rhogam shot and two beta methazone shots for baby's lungs, along with two rounds of antibiotics for group b strep. I am now stable (not in labor) and baby is tolerating all of this very well.
I have been aware of this pregnancy for exactly one month, so I'm feeling a little behind in preparing. I have some questions about FMLA and disability leave, preparations for possible bedrest, and general HALP BABBY! type questions.
First up, my husband and I WERE trying for a baby- I was on metformin to regulate my cycles but mostly what it did was mask my early pregnancy symptoms, of which I had very few (no vomiting, 2-3 instances of mild nausea). I had heavy bleeding in my second month, which I assumed was either a menstrual period or the irregular bleeding I experience with PCOS. Otherwise, I have felt perfectly normal, and a metformin followup visit brought the pregnancy to light when I was 21 weeks along. I have a bicornuate uterus and I am at risk for pre term labor and breech positioning.
I just faxed off my FMLA paperwork on Wednesday. I understand the whole procedure as it relates to a normal or mostly normal birth--but if I am released from the hospital this week on bedrest and required to use FMLA to cover that, I will be expected back at work two weeks before my due date, if I am lucky to keep baby inside for that long. And if she's in NICU, I am not about to want to deal with TPS reports. I have short term disability (which has to be taken consecutively with FMLA) and long term disability, which I haven't had much chance to look into. I want to have all my ducks in a row before I talk to HR. (I am based in Minnesota, company HQ are in New York.) I guess if I'm put on three months of bedrest, I still want my twelve weeks of postpartum leave, too--knowing that my company is not necessarily obligated to provide this. (I know they value me, a lot, but no one is irreplaceable, especially when they're asking for half a year off.)
- Could long term disability apply to my situation, leaving short term and FMLA for post-birth? I will use up most of my sick days on this hospitalization and have only a handful of vacation/personal days left. What other questions should I ask HR?
- It might be possible to work from home if my doctor is okay with it. My company generally doesn't like people to work from home, but I'm willing to ask for it. What other questions should I ask my manager?
- I like my job and was planning to return to work--but we don't NEED me to work to maintain something close to our standard of living, even with the added expenses of a baby. Insurance is through my husband's job. At some point, should I just consider quitting if they can't or won't work with me on leave? Is there a way--and would it be ethical to do this--to get the six weeks paid disability (and any long term that qualifies) used up before I officially quit, just for that extra bumper of savings?
- my doctor has indicated that I may need to go on bedrest or modified bedrest. We have a lot of friends and family around to help, but they will need direction. What do I tell them to do?
- I have read the other threads on not going crazy while on bedrest. Additional ideas are welcome! I already play an MMORPG, quilt, read, and have podcasts lined up. Any other tips?
- I need some help prioritizing my baby-prep tasks, especially if I'm going to be taking care of them from bed. We don't have: a pediatrician, car seat, names picked out, nursery furniture, baby items, wills/living wills, etc. I do have an amazing, supportive, and about to be totally overwhelmed husband, and the aforementioned family and friends. My biggest priority upon getting home is packing a proper hospital bag for our next visit, so I won't have to send him home piecemeal for more socks and underwear and stuff to read. Beyond that--pediatrician? Wills? Please help me prioritize and delegate!
-well before I was pregnant, it was important to me to have a natural, medication- and intervention-free birth. I struggled with taking met to increase my chances of getting pregnant because it felt like cheating. Now, of course, I've already had much-needed interventions and am preparing myself for the very likely possibility of a c-section (she won't have much room to turn around due to the shape of my uterus and I understand that ECV is generally not recommended for high-risk pregnancies). I am very scared of having a c-section--everything from the epidural to hemorrhaging on the table afterwards. Please point me toward some c-section positive resources. Also, any questions for my doctor regarding bedrest, pre term labor, or c-section I may not have thought of?
Thank you for reading this far!