Birth Control

I thought I might never take birth control again and we would just be “careful.” But now that I’m starting my brand new dream job, I don’t feel comfortable taking the risk anymore. Leave it to my asshole ovaries to actually ovulate at the most inconvenient time and get me pregnant as soon as I start a new job. So I’m jumping back on the wagon.

I mean, I’m not excited about it. Let’s face it, most forms of birth control suck-they have side effects, they take a certain amount of diligence, etc. I know I could do an IUD but I don’t really want something that “permanent” or, for that matter, something inside me long term. I have a weird hang up about that. Basically why I won’t use tampons. So that left me thinking it had to be pills which, as we all know, are basically the worst.

This is where AndiePants came in and gave me all the great advice! It really helps to have a kick ass sex educator in our community. We talked over my options and for now I’ve decided to try the patch. My pap smear isn’t due for several months so my OB just called it in for me (because he’s the best and thinks I should be empowered enough to make my own health care decisions as much as possible-thank goodness for good doctors amiright?) I’m going to see how I feel after a few weeks and reassess. I’m hoping the side effects will be minimal and I can just stick with it. If not I MIGHT be willing to try the ring, but you know, I have aversions.

Anyone have experience with the patch you’d like to share?

I got the call

Per passing the drug and background check the job is mine!

I accepted it before even hearing what the salary was, but considering that it’s 16K higher than the other job was paying, PLUS I can bill clients for research, PLUS profit sharing kicks in after a year, I think my decision was pretty sound.

I’m actually a paid librarian now. At my old system I never held a position that required a masters degree, so this is pretty amazing to me. I didn’t realize how incredible it would feel to have my hard work and education ACTUALLY pay off.

And to think that I almost let this job go by. From now on you can call me The Barren Research Librarian!

Speech Therapy and Job Stuff

Speech Therapy

Yesterday Charlie had her speech evaluation. The place we chose is brand new. Like just opened two weeks ago, they’re still working on the parking lot new. The kids in the waiting room were all really excited and loud which seemed like a good sign-they enjoyed coming there and were happy to be there.

They got us back on time and our evaluator, Shelby, immediately sat down on the ground with Charlie. Charlie wasn’t at all shy around her which was basically a miracle. Charlie is ALWAYS shy around adults she doesn’t know. But she got right in there and started playing with her. I was filling out paperwork so I was only half watching, but guys, I wish I could just have this lady move in with me. She was amazing with Charlie. She was great about praising her when she did something right and if she missed something she really brushed over it like “no big deal” and just moved to the next thing. Charlie clapped and gave her lots of “yay!”s.

On the other hand-it was obvious that she wasn’t passing the eval. There were things she should have definitely been able to do-like identify a picture of a cat on a page that had a cat and a bird on it. Charlie has four cats, she should have been able to do that. She is also really, really behind on consonant pronunciation. There are two areas they test and if you fail either of them you qualify for therapy, and she failed both by a moderate amount. When I asked how much therapy they recommended she asked about our insurance and if we would have a copay for every visit. When I said yes she paused, so I followed up by telling her that we would find a way to do what we needed to do, so for her not to consider the money part of it. At that point she said she would recommend two 45 minute sessions a week for six months to start, and then reevaluate.

So anyway, she’s writing up the report this week and then she’ll send it to my pediatrician who will have to officially prescribe the therapy before we can get started, so it’ll be a few weeks before our first session. But Charlie really loved it there and it was obvious that they had everything they needed for these kids. Charlie actually didn’t want to leave-to her it was just playing with a really cool, fun, sweet lady. Shelby said we might not get her as a therapist and Chief and I were both like “Uh…can we change that because we really like you.” So she’s going to look at her schedule and see if she can get Charlie on there.

Now that we’ve got a plan I feel better. Shelby didn’t see any concern that this is more than just a moderate speech delay. She said Charlie was obviously very aware and actually pretty advanced in some other areas, and that this isn’t uncommon. I don’t even care if that’s true or not-it made me feel better. It’s hard being a librarian with a kid who doesn’t want to talk. I’ve had so much early literacy training, and this whole time I’ve just been feeling like I’ve failed her, but no one mentioned screen time, or interrogated me on how many minutes I read to her every day. It was all about just moving forward and helping Charlie be her best.

We did ask about Early Intervention services and the insurance lady’s face got kind of dark. She said that it is available once private insurance has been exhausted, but that they were VERY worried that with the political climate in our state it would be taken away, or only be available to families who meet a certain income threshold. She basically said they would help us try to get it in six months if we needed it, but that we shouldn’t count on it. So now we’re looking at our options. Our state does have a program where you can buy into medicaid if your child has a need (such as a speech delay). You pay based on income. It wouldn’t be cheap for us, BUT it would be cheaper than paying out of pocket. The problem is that it takes three months to qualify AFTER your clinic sends in the mountain of paperwork you have to fill out. Like they have people at the local children’s hospital whose job is to just sit and help people with these forms all day. That’s one option. My preference at this point would be to find a job with an insurance plan that would pay what Chief’s won’t pay for. On that note:

Job Stuff

I had my job interview with the toxicology lab today and it went so well. I sat with four people, two PhD toxicologists and two office staff who have been filling the librarian roll the best they can since their long time librarian left. It was pretty informal. There was no list of questions. We just talked about my experience and what they were needing. I think I sounded pretty knowledgeable and there was nothing they mentioned that seemed outside of my abilities. They also made it clear that they had no expectations of me understanding everything right away. They encourage questions and work in a very team oriented environment. They said that everyone on staff is encouraged to make suggestions about the ways that things could run better-no one from the receptionist to the top of the firm is above or beneath anyone really. And they seemed to genuinely mean it.

It was also a really casual office-most folks were wearing jeans, it was quiet but relaxed and friendly. I was able to speak a little bit on OSHA which they do a lot of dealings with as they do a lot of expert witness for workplace lawsuits surrounding chemicals. They were pleased that I had experience with one of their vendors (Thomson Reuters is literally my biggest vendor at the law firm. I hate them, but knowing about them did me a solid today). They laughed at all my jokes and we talked about my kid a little, and they were totally fine with the schedule I needed. They said no one punches a time clock there-they just expect you to be at work when you need to and stay for about eight hours a day, and if you need to leave to go do something that’s cool, but just do your best to be there when you need to be. I asked if I would be allowed to take work home because they admitted that they’re pretty behind on library file maintenance. They all LITERALLY lit up when I said that and told me they absolutely would be fine with that, that I would be assigned a laptop and I get paid by billable hours-I can work as much as I want. It just means more money for me. They also said they would pay for me to go to ALA (American Library Association Conference) if I wanted to. In fact, they encouraged any professional development I wanted to participate in.

None of them were knowledgeable enough about benefits to speak with me about it but they all said the package was pretty good and they would have their HR person said me some info. I was hoping to get that today but it probably just slipped past them. I left the interview feeling so good. They said they were “continuing the process” for another week or so and would let me know, so I guess that means they could be interviewing other people which makes me want to die inside a little, but it is what it is. I want the job. I want it really bad. I never felt this way about the base job, and as you know I’ve felt nothing positive about it lately.

What today did was cement in me that the base job just isn’t right. Even if I don’t get this job I interviewed for today, I deserve to be happy in my job and to have transparency from my boss. So tonight I wrote an extremely polite and apologetic email to the contractor explaining that I had decided not to take the job, that there were personal developments in my life that had led me to this decision, and that the decision was not reversible at this time. I thanked him and wished him well, and then I hit send. He may send me a nasty one back, but if he does I don’t feel the need to reply. If he tries to get me to stay I also have no problem saying “I’m sorry, my decision is final.”

Honestly, I’d be fine if he never responded.

So that’s where we are. I may die from impatience waiting to hear from the toxicology lab. I’ll be absolutely heartbroken if it doesn’t happen, but today I chose to believe in myself, and I’m just really hoping it pays off.

Ramblings

Tomorrow is Charlie’s speech evaluation. She’s been doing better in the past few weeks but she is still behind her peers and the speech that she does have is very hard to detect. I’ve been working to get her this evaluation for almost a month (insurance is THE WORST) and I’m anxious. I know she’s delayed, but I’m so afraid they’re going to tell me there is something physiologically wrong with my child. I’m afraid she’s going to need intensive speech therapy. I’m afraid of the cost (I wish I didn’t have to be, but I am). Insurance covers it, but with a copay, and at $20 per visit if she has to go 2-3 times a week, that adds up damn fast. They also only cover 60 visits a year. Even at twice a week, we’ll obviously exceed that quickly. Adding on to that…

I still haven’t decided what to do about my job situation. I have a job interview on Wednesday with a toxicology lab that needs a research librarian. I am not qualified for a lot of what they want, but I do have the masters degree they’re asking for. They’ve had the job listed for a long time. Like I applied for it back in April. They emailed me last month asking for an interview and I had originally declined on the basis of me having this other job, but then when I found out how disposable I would be I emailed and asked if I could still come in for an interview. I figured the position would be filled because I didn’t email until two weeks after they initially asked me, but she got back to me and we set up a time. I know that I can learn the job, but I’m just afraid I’ll look like an idiot in the interview.

As far as the contract firm knows I’m still moving forward with starting in August even though probably I’m not. Even if I don’t get this job on Wednesday, or even if I get it and the schedule can’t fit my needs, I’m terribly afraid of getting into a miserable work situation. I’ve been in them before and I don’t want to do it again. I also don’t want to work somewhere for a month or two, discover it’s awful, and then bail out. That would look wretched on a resume, and frankly, while the contract firm seems to sort of be the worst, the people I’d be working along side probably wouldn’t be and I would feel hella guilty about that. I still have more than a month before i’m supposed to start, so I shouldn’t feel guilty about emailing and saying that after learning things that I didn’t know before accepting the position I’ve decided that this job is not a good fit for me, but I REALLY do. Mainly because he’s “held” it all summer (although he did tell me that no one else applied for it the whole time so it’s not like he turned down scores of qualified candidates for me). I don’t want to leave him high and dry but I feel like I have to protect myself.

Here are some things I’ve found out since taking the job:

1. No PTO for a year (I actually knew about this one, but it needs to be on the list because it impacts the other stuff)
2. If the base closes for weather I won’t get paid unless I use PTO (which I won’t have for a year)
3. If I leave they keep back half of my accrued PTO. Everywhere else I’ve worked it’s been paid out 100% in a check.
4. If I work overtime it will be at a reduced hourly rate. I know this sounds illegal but here’s how they do it: My base pay is $11.50 an hour but then when I didn’t take the benefits they were offering they added $4 and some change onto that. That only applies up to 40 hours a week, so on weeks I have to work more it will be at the $11.50 rate. No. Bueno.

All of this was in the employee handbook they sent me. The only thing I knew about was #1, and I was willing to deal with that because of all the things I was promised.

The lady who is running my old department at the library (not the Captain, she got promoted and is the boss of the whole world now) told me that she’s expecting several jobs to come open soon. If I go back to the library I really have to go back part time or I just can’t make the scheduling work with my kiddo and my husband’s work schedule. The captain told me that one of the part time jobs is already basically spoken for, and the other one carries no guarantee of when it will come open or if it will even be a part time job. Chief feels like waiting for one of these positions is my best bet, but I feel nervous hedging my bets on that. I worked there-I know how admin can change things up on you.

Finally, the lady who is taking my position at the law firm told me without knowing about any of my inner turmoil that if the job I was taking didn’t work out or I just wanted to come back she would gladly step back. She just works for fun-she has a lot of money and is retired. So that’s kind of a relief and my boss there really REALLY wants me to stay. She also said I could work 15 hours a week instead of ten if I want, so that’s something.

I need to email the contractor and tell him I’m stepping down. I know I need to. Chief thinks we should wait to see what happens on Wednesday. I have to make a decision by Friday. It’s not fair to wait any longer than that. Monday will be the four weeks out from when I would start. I’m just petrified of making a bad decision and bankrupting my family. I feel like I’ve made so many bad decisions lately that I feel like no matter what I do it will be wrong. My self confidence has really taken a hit too which has me not feeling great about the interview Wednesday. We both seem to have a lot of hope put into it and I feel like I’m just going to bomb it royally and let my whole family down.

I can stay out of work until January, possibly a little later. At that point I need to have something part time at least. I just feel frozen in space, afraid to do the wrong thing.

If it sounds too good to be true…

Then, it probably is.

So, around two months ago you probably recall that I accepted a job with my husbands unit. The job is working with the unit but it’s through a federal contractor. It’s not a librarian job but I accepted it because the work sounded interesting and I was promised from the get go a SUPER friendly, family flexible workplace. Told I could work the hours that worked for my family as long as a military member was in the building while I was at work.

I agreed to a start date of August 14th. In the last few weeks I’ve been doing paperwork for the job. Because of this I felt like I needed to touch base with my boss about my work schedule. Here’s what I was requesting:

MWF 7-4
TTH 7-1:30

I requested this because I need to be able to pick up Charlie from mothers day out while Jason is still in school. It adds up to 40 hours a week so I didn’t foresee it being an issue. I wrote a very friendly and deferential email asking permission to work this schedule. He instantly wrote me back saying that it could be a problem with the lt colonel in the unit. Then he asked me to call him.

In the call he basically lectured me about how I don’t get to dictate my schedule, that we work for the client (the unit) and they make the final calls. I flat out told him that this felt very different from what he told me in my interview, and that I have already resigned my very good part time librarian position for this job based on what he told me, but that at the end of the day I do have a small child that he knew about when I took the job, and she getting picked up from school has to be a part of my life right now. He said that he felt like he told me that while HE was flexible that that didn’t mean the unit would be flexible with me. He did not tell me that. I wouldn’t have taken this major risk having known that. I would have just turned them down and kept looking.

He went on to say that I needed to talk to the Lt Col when I started work about the schedule. I said I didn’t feel it would be responsible to go in not knowing whether they would approve me PICKING UP MY OWN CHILD from school on my second day of work. I felt like this needed to be resolved now. I told him I would email the Lt Col and ask about this. He basically told me that I shouldn’t email him because we couldn’t make it look like we were trying to call the shots, which, again, I was not trying to do at all. He said he would try to contact him next week but did admit to me that he’s had a hard time getting this particular Lt col to answer any of his emails or phone calls about me. In fact, he’s both called and emailed twice. And gotten ZERO response.

He then tried to reassure me that he thought I was the right person for the job and how much I would enjoy it, etc. etc….but at this point I’m pretty spooked. I have quit a really good job to take this job that was supposed to be good for my family, and now might not be that way at all. I had accepted some pretty unfortunate aspects-like the fact that I won’t earn any time off for a full year and that the only way to get a raise is to get a promotion within the company ALL based on the fact that I would have a very flexible, family friendly schedule. I had accepted the fact that I would not be a librarian for a while. And now I’m just feeling like I’ve been tricked. I had to get him off the phone because I knew I was about to lose my cool. I called my husband to tell him everything. He said he felt certain the Lt. Col wouldn’t care what schedule I work at all. I told him that’s not even really the issue anymore-it’s that the guy who is supposed to be my boss basically lied to me about everything that really matters, and now I’m REALLY not sure I want this job. I got so upset that I had to go hide in the bathroom (I was at the law firm and luckily no one was around-benefit of it being the Friday before a holiday).

So basically I’m looking for jobs again. I haven’t quit this one yet and maybe I won’t, but I did just apply for a librarian position with the local VA. I also got an email two weeks ago requesting I interview for a job I had applied for two months previously. I had politely refused the interview based on the fact that I had accepted this job, but I did email them back requesting to have one after all. It’s a long shot-the position is probably already filled, but what do I have to lose at this point?

Mainly guys, I’m mad as hell, and really really worried. And sad that I have lost the best paying, most flexible job I’ve ever had. I’ve already hired a replacement for my law firm gig and she’s really nice and will do an amazing job, but mainly I just wish I could go back six weeks and follow my initial instinct to not accept this job. If i don’t have some scheduling resolution within a week or so I’m going to let them know that I can’t follow through with the position. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to know what schedule you’ll be working before you start a position, especially when you have small children.

Vacationing with a Toddler

It was a bit of a doozy. I’m not saying I regret the trip, but there are things I would have done differently knowing what I know now.

It started off bad from the start. Sunday night as we were packing up to leave Charlie woke up four times in a two hour period crying. I thought maybe she was just having a hard time settling in, but after the fourth time I gave her tylenol just in case something was feeling bad. She slept through after that.

It was an auspicious sign.

We had planned to leave around 10:00 am the next morning with the goal of making it to St. Louis (where we were staying overnight with my uncle) by 3:00 pm. Unfortunately our doctor couldn’t see us until 10:30. and it was a Monday, so that quickly turned into 11:30. The verdict was that the ear infection she had just finished up amoxic.illin for the Friday before had rebounded with a vengeance. This is exactly what happened the last time she had an ear infection.

Unfortunately this left us with some tough choices. Our doc doesn’t typically prescribe any other oral antibiotics after amox fails because she says it has the highest success rate. Once it fails she goes straight to a 1-3 day course of rocephin IM shots. The problem of course was that we weren’t going to be around for the second and third shot. At that point I was on the side of staying home. I didn’t like the prospects of traveling with a sick child because a) what if she got worse and we were far from home? and b) even if she didn’t get worse, she was guaranteed to be pretty unhappy for at least a day or so. But Chief was hellbent on going if we could manage at all. My doctor administered the one shot and then wrote out the closest oral equivalent to rocephin for her to take for the next ten days, but she said that the better thing to do would be to find a clinic where we were going to do the last two shots.

So we left after getting the shot. If you’ve never seen a baby get a rocephin shot I hope you never have to-it’s a horribly painful shot. You can see it all over their faces. It’s not just the typical angry face of getting a shot-it really hurts. Doing it three days in a row is absolutely awful. We had to stop a lot along the way to check diapers and let her walk a bit, but we finally made it to St. Louis by dinner time. She played and ate dinner and went to bed tired, and the next day we got the second shot at a very nice urgent care in St. Louis before heading out on our way. We made it to Chicago by 3:00 pm the next day and checked into our hotel. Charlie was visibly looking better and I was cheered thinking that maybe the trip was a good choice.

After that it was sort of a mixed bag. The thing about being in a big, foreign city, is that I couldn’t let my anxious self let my kid have much freedom. Everywhere we went she was in a stroller or a baby carrier, and that’s just not making her happy these days. She wants to get down and RUN everywhere. And the streets of Chicago were not the place to experiment with her freedom and limits. We had more than one meltdown. Here’s the places Charlie melted down in Chicago:

1. Nordstroms
2. The Shedd Aquarium
3. Wrigley Field
4. The Lincoln Park Zoo
5. A patisserie near the zoo (though she was bribed with a cookie by the proprietor and they were basically best friends after that).
6. The hotel lobby
7. The hotel room (always at night so I could be really paranoid about other guests complaining about us)

By Friday it was very apparent that Charlie was done having fun-and don’t get me wrong, we did have some fun. Usually after the meltdowns she could find it in herself to find something good in the experience. The problem was she was tired and the rocephin, just like before, gave her a horrific yeast diaper rash. Seriously these shots are awful. They do the job like nothing else-but the side effects are the worst. Diarrhea for days. Every time we had to change her diaper Thursday and Friday she would scream her head off because putting the lotrimin cream on (our travel substitute for nystatin) stung the rash so bad. We were supposed to leave Saturday morning and go to St. Louis again and go to the zoo and maybe Grant Farms with my aunt and uncle, but I felt strongly like getting home that day-nine hour drive and all. So that’s what we did. We made the nine hour drive all in one day. We relied heavily on Charlie’s favorite movies on our laptops, plus snacks and frequent stops, and we made it home by 5:00 that day which was such a relief.

Of course, once we got home we discovered that one of our cats had been really sick while we were gone and had thrown up in every room of the house at least once, and had diarrhea on the couch and in Charlie’s room. We had people come to check on them every day so how no one chose to tell me this is beyond me. Luckily it wasn’t anything life threatening because we haven’t had any problems since. Everything we had to clean up was dried so they had probably been better for a few days by the time we got home, but the first 24 hours I was on a paranoid lookout for a really sick cat.

So what would I do differently? Well, I’m not sure I would have gone at all after we found out she was sick. That part of it was okay-we did find good clinics in both locations, but it would have been easier on all of us to deal with it at home. Secondly, I would pick a location that isn’t so big and busy so Charlie could have some more freedom. Maybe a small, Stars Hollowish town. We loved Chicago. i loved riding the subway anywhere I needed to go and being right on the water, but in hindsight it wasn’t a toddler friendly vacation.

Hiding in the Forest

Hi there.

I’ve had a lot to write about that I haven’t been writing about because to be honest, i’ve been deep in the forest lately.

I didn’t take my antidepressants for over a week. And not for any particular reason. It’s like I forgot to take it one day. No big. Then the next day I thought about it but it wasn’t handy and I thought “oh well, I missed one day with no problem so I’m sure one more won’t be an issue.” and then it turned into something like nine days.

Charlie has been sick for over a week. This isn’t unusual-she picks up every little thing that gets passed around at MDO, but Saturday things started to get pretty rough. She acted irrationally angry a lot of the morning and then absolutely refused to nap. I’m ashamed to say I let her cry in her bed longer than I should have because I kept expecting her to calm down. By the end of the cry I was so frustrated at her and mad at myself that I spoke more harshly with her than I should have when I went to get her (we gave up on the nap after about twenty minutes). Her poor face was covered in tears and red. She was obviously exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I felt like a monster. I apologized immediately and we cuddled in bed, but that was strike one for my emotional state.

The next day was much of the same. Chief had drill all weekend by the way, so I was handling this a lot on my own. Sunday she was not only cranky and mad, she was also destructive and unapologetic about it. I lost my temper and shouted at her. She didn’t cry, but I could tell she was frightened. I cried though. I picked her up and cuddled her on the couch and apologized again. I was so relieved when she went down for a nap that day because I felt so awful about my mothering and that she would be better off away from me. I was never worried about physically harming her, but I was afraid I was damaging our relationship with every raise of my voice or expression of frustration.

Sunday afternoon I took my antidepressant for the first time in over a week. I know now that I can’t be without it like that. Not at this point in my life anyway.

Yesterday Charlie was so mad and upset. We called the doctors office during her nap to try and get a spot but they said her pediatrician was out for the day. When she woke up she seemed better so we thought it must just be a phase, but then she was much the same today. Had a bad day at school and everything. Her doctor was still out so we ended up taking her to a really nice urgent care.

Double ear infection and an upper respiratory infection was the diagnosis. Cue the various guilts:

1. How could I be so angry and awful to my obviously sick daughter?
2. How could my intuition not have told me on Saturday that something wasn’t right and she needed to go to the doctor?
3. How could I let it get this bad?
4. How could I be so lazy about my antidepressants

I’m trying to let myself push this guilt away-it’s done. I can’t take it back. I made it through today and yesterday without yelling at her, though I was frustrated yesterday. I’ve tweaked my shoulder somehow and right now she just wants to be held. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but I can’t hold her on my right because of the shoulder, so my left is taking the brunt and it’s brutal-and it’s just me. No Chief, no grandparents-she just wants me to hold her. All the time. When I’m eating. When I’m using the bathroom. Always. I don’t blame her of course because she feels so awful, but it’s very hard to do all on my own when I’m down one shoulder (I am going to the doctor, reluctantly, tomorrow), so by the end of yesterday I was tired, and hurting, and feeling guilty, and frustrated. But I didn’t yell.

I can feel myself slowly and gradually getting back under control with every dose of bu.propion. But I’m sad with myself. I’m afraid that this weekend will be one of Charlie’s earliest memories of her mother. How awful would that be?

Tonight after she had her dinner, and her bath, and her nursing, and her facetime call with daddo, she just wanted me to hold her and rock, and I did with tears rolling down my face. She has of course forgiven me. Hopefully she’s forgotten what a rotten mother I was for 48 hours. It’s just so much harder to forgive myself.