So we're entering the time where we need to begin thinking about what to do when the baby is actually *here*. When our lives are completely turned upside down, our schedules are no longer our own, and it all belongs to this little one inside me that is now about the size of a lemon, or an apple depending on which website or app you look at.
I'm going to admit, here, that I am scared sh!tless about this. Not so much the actuality of taking care of my child, that I know we will be able to do. I'm scared sh!tless about having to find money to buy all the stuff we need, finding someone to take care of our child, paying for it, paying for insurance, and paying for all of the diapers & formula this baby will need through their first few years of life when I know what's going to happen to my paycheck next year.
See...here's the thing. Shortly after I/we found out I was pregnant, I called our benefits office at school to inquire about FMLA. When I was diagnosed with cancer, we filled out the paperwork but never had to use it, but I know I'll have to fill it out again for pregnancy and have considered using it this time around. *IF* I don't have to take any more days for the remainder of the year (and I'm seriously kicking myself now for taking three days for that damn sinus infection back in October, or all the days I took in years prior that could have been banked for this pregnancy)...anyways, *IF* I don't have to take any more days for the remainder of the year, I will have 23.5 personal days to use once this baby is born. If the baby comes right on time, Sept. 22nd, then that takes me right up to Oct. 23rd to take off PAID. Then if I decide to take four weeks of FMLA, which is UNPAID COMPLETELY, that will take me to the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving. Here's what I found out through our benefits office. Not only would those four weeks of FMLA be completely unpaid, as in I would NOT receive a paycheck AT.ALL, but *then* they will recalculate my contract and prorate it for the remainder of the year because I wouldn't be working the contracted 180 days stated in the contract (never mind all the damn time I put in during marching season and ensembles that probably when added up would exceed those 180 days). So not only will I be out two full paychecks, but then I'll be bringing in LESS money per month during a time that is probably going to be one of the most expensive in our lives.
It just doesn't seem fair. It's like the powers that be are saying "Congratulations! You're pregnant and that is SO awesome, but we're going to cut your pay so good luck in trying to pay your bills, keep your house, feed your child, put diapers on it's butt, OH and don't forget you have to pay for daycare!"
It's really throwing me for a loop and I don't know what to do. If I take four weeks unpaid, that's roughly $2700 we have to come up with, on our own, to be able to just cover those two paychecks in order to pay the bills, buy food, etc...for that month. Yet if I *don't* take those four weeks off, then that $2700 we have saved could cover about six months worth of daycare, IF we can find a place that's $400 a month (anyone got any ideas?). Yet here's the rub...I just don't know if I can say, after one month off, I don't know if I can relenquish my one month old child into the hands of a stranger, who granted may not be a complete stranger by that point but still...I don't know if I can do it. Will I be emotionally ready to return to work after just one month with this new life we have created? What kind of guilt will I feel in knowing that I have essentially dumped my child into the care of someone else just so I can go punch a clock to make the money to pay for their care.
Then again, if I don't take the four weeks unpaid, then we're ahead in this money game, AND they won't recalculate my contract so I won't be out more money. I 'spose I could just take two weeks off unpaid because then I'm only out one paycheck and won't hit that 10day mark over personal days which will necessitate them to recalculate & prorate my contract.
Holy sh!tballs, what are we going to do. I know one things for sure. I'll be picking up as many extra shifts this summer as I physically can handle, stashing that money away just like I'm doing now, put off some house projects that although they need to be done, this is more important to put money towards, and hope this baby comes one week late cause that would help out with the leave better.
Maybe now that I've gotten this out of my brain, a solution will present itself, and I'm hoping that somehow, someway this will all work out. It's sure gonna be one scary ride though...