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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Almost Back

Returning to school is such a hassle. I went on PELP (Planned Education Leave Program) for the fall quarter so I could have some time as a full time mom while Eddie is still so young. PELP is a great program since you can purchase health insurance during it and you can return after your alloted 3 quarters without having to reapply. People use it when they need a break due to family issues, maternity, LDS missions, or simply need time to reevaluate their situation.

The hassle is that I have to be rehired for my position in my department since I am technically employed as a researcher. So I have to fill out all my tax forms again and bring in my passport. I have to fill out all the direct deposit stuff again. I also have to register for credits (classes, seminars, research units), which is impossible when the ladies in the Graduate Studies Office take their sweet time changing my status from "PELP" to "active." Hopefully they'll get it done soon because if I can't file my paperwork by Tuesday then I have to pay the $110 late fee...which I just don't have.

I also received a fellowship, which is supposed to cover half of my fees/insurance/stipend for the next year but I haven't received the offer letter in the mail yet so my funding for next quarter is still not finalized.

Since I'm employed as a graduate student researcher I don't get maternity leave, paid or otherwise. Grad students just have to take time off of school if they want any sort of leave at all and that means going without our stipend (read: pittance). Being unemployed for the last 5 months has been tough for us financially. Not only will earning an income again be nice but so will working--I love taking care of Eddie but I really do miss my research (and being around other adults).

Lucky for me, when I told my new professor that I will have to stay home two days a week to take care of Eddie since we can't afford full time care, he was very supportive. He asked how much it costs for a nanny or childcare and when I told him he didn't believe me! Back in 1990 when his son was born he said they paid a nanny $18/day. HA! The going rate in our town now for a nanny is between $8.50 and $10/hour.

We'll be interviewing 3 potential nannies this weekend, all of whom are college students at UCD and have experience with young babies. Hopefully we'll find one we feel really comfortable with so we can hire her and not have to worry about finding someone. On the days that I'm home with Eddie I'll also be watching two other babies for a few hours in the afternoon and evening while their moms (also students, one undergrad and one grad) are in lab or in class. One is a little boy who is a few months older than Eddie and the other is a little girl who is exactly Eddie's age. I met their moms through the UCD pregnancy support group last school year. My plan is to off-set some of the cost of our own nanny by earning some babysitting money myself.

I just got back from campus (walked both ways!). Eddie and I went to a breastfeeding support group meeting and then did some paperwork in my building. At the meeting we all introduced ourselves and our babies (those of us who brought them) and gave an update on how breastfeeding was going for us. One lady who is a resident doctor at the medical center had her little boy with her and she told us that everything was going fine until about 3 weeks ago when he got sick, stopped nursing, and started refusing to eat even his favorite solid foods. He's had an ear infection for about 2 weeks and is teething. He's lost so much weight that now, at 9 months old, he's down in the 3rd percetile for weight--his pediatrician has given him 2 days to gain some weight or he will have to be admitted to the hospital. His poor mom was trying to feed him but he just wouldn't latch on. She thinks his ears hurt too much to swallow. She said she and her husband have tried everything to get more calories into him (soaking Cheerios in olive oil, butter soaked toast, whole fat yogurt, bottles of formula and breastmilk) but he's just not interested in eating. It was SO sad--the whole room was crying as she was telling us this. She was so frustrated. I really hope her baby gets better soon. Everyone there told her she shouldn't feel guilty if he has to go to the hospital--if that's what he needs to jump start his health then so be it.

3 comments:

steph.kelley said...

Oh my gosh, what trials of parenthood. I respect you moms an enormous deal. You are the great troopers of humanity — you are what make it go! xoxoxo

mu rye uh said...

I think that would be fun especially since all the babies are about the same age so the stages will be similar and you won't have one running around while other babies just hang out

Kelly said...

It's so nice to read about your experience with all this Julie since I'm about to go through the exact same thing! I'll have to look up the support groups through UCD, I new there was a breastfeeding one, but not a pregnancy one.