It’s Back to Work
As I’ve shared on one of my blog posts, I went back to work earlier than expected. My maternity leave started 05/21 to 07/02. I took exactly 6 weeks off. My short term disability was not approved and my paid time off and sick time were used up in 4 weeks.
I have never been sadder in my life than the last week of my maternity leave. Knowing that I would leave my son and daughters to go work was dreadful. I had no choice! I begged for a miracle every day leading to my first day back at work, but nothing.
The Dreaded 16hr Shifts
Before having my son I worked 16hr shifts. I would clock in at 4am and if I got lucky I would clock out by 8:30pm sometimes later. That seemed to work for me. I got all the walking excercise I needed in one day. Did I get all the sleep I needed? Probably not.
So once I returned I went back to work 16hr shifts. I would work two 16hr days a week and one 8hr day if we were short nurses. Luckily, we were never short. But to my fortune, at the time I went back, another one of my collegues had gone on FMLA. So now, I was scheduled to work two or even three 16hr shifts because we happened to be short.
This is how my week was broken down. I would work Monday a 16hr shift, I would come home at 9pm. If I was lucky my husband would have the kids sleeping, which did happen about 7/10 times. My husband would then work Tuesday a 16hr shift and be up and gone from the house by 3:30am. I would wake up to feed the baby throughout the night. Then everyone would be up by 8am or 9am if I was lucky. Then after an exhausting day with the children my husband would come home at 9pm sometimes 10pm. I would be in bed by 11pm and wake up at 3am Wednesday morning to do another 16hr shift. And repeat the process over and over each day.
Notice I say “lucky” often. That is because I would beg for another hr of sleep. I would beg for the kids to be asleep by the time I got home so that I could go to sleep right away. I would hope to clock out sooner than later so that I could be home earlier to sleep just a little more. It was just luck if any of those things happened.
In the midst of the work week as you may know my son had appointments and therapies. Not to mention the daily tasks of the house and my other kids.
Needless to say, my mental health took a toll. I was no longer a person, I felt like a robot. At work I had to monitor patients and hoped that my day went smooth. At home I had to take care of my children and hoped that my day went smooth. I never actually took the time to do a self-check.
I was running on low fuel most of my days. This portrayed on my work and on my parenting. It took a while before I realized the damage I was causing my family and my mental health.
Short Term Disability
I just want to touch basis on this “benefit” that often gets tricky. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading your company’s policy on this. I was under the impression that I would get paid maternity leave. The reason I opted in for this benefit is because I wanted to be covered incase I got injured in or outside of work.
However, when I claimed my short term disability I was denied. I did not get injured but I would need to take time off of work to have a child. Which was covered under the plan.
The reason of my denial was because at the time I opted in for the benefit I was pregnant. My benefits would not take effect until January 1st of 2018. As I have also mentioned I was unaware that I was pregnant. I got hired as an RN 11/05/17, I elected my benefits. I found out I was pregnant 11/22/17. I sought my midwife in February 2018. Although I fought with HR about this I was still denied. In their eyes, I was trying to outsmart the system. They believed I knew I was pregnant and waited to seek treatment until my benefits went into effect. I call it Bullshit (excuse my french).
So please read on this policy. It is a great benefit to have as long as you are aware of all the conditions.