Archive for the ‘sadness’ Category

Still Upset

I’m still upset about how my work situation was handled before I went on maternity leave* back in September.

I have not written about it much yet, but it’s still bothering me, 9 months later. So, here’s the story.

Basically what happened is that I was going to cut my contract on Sept. 13th to go on “leave” (not really a leave, since I was on contract, and would have no guaranteed job to go back to). I was told that the $$ was there to pay someone to take over the position for at least the duration of the contract (March 31, 2014), with a possibility of give them an extension on the contract until I want to come back (plan was August 1, 2014, if there was funding at that point).

At the end of July, we interviewed someone, really liked her, and my boss gave her a verbal offer. She was going to start September 1st, to overlap with me for about 2 weeks to learn the ropes. The contract was drafted, and her references were being contacted…until it just stopped. During August, both me and the person who was to take over, contacted several people several times about the contract, and why it was taking longer than expected.

Then, near the end of August. she was contact by my boss and another staff member to have a meeting over Skype to talk about the position. She asked me if I knew what this was about, and I didn’t..I had no clue what was going on. They had the meeting on the 26th, and it turned out it was actually another interview (without telling her that). They told her the position was NOT going to be what it was at the time, and told her how it would be different (totally different duties, and much lower pay).

In the meantime, I was left out of the loop completely on all of this. I was frantically preparing everything to train the new person the next week, and to make sure everything was all organized for her. Three business days before she was supposed to start, she was offered the new job at the new pay and she turned it down. Again, I had not be told any of this, and never was.

I spent the last 2 weeks of my time there wrapping up loose ends. I knew there was not going to be a replacement for me, but not from my boss or other university staff. In fact, to this day, no one at the university has told me that 1) there would be no replacement for my position, and 2) there would be no option for a job for me to go back too (though we agreed I’d go back August 1, 2014).

Needless to say, I was not happy about how the situation was handled. It still upsets me. Nothing was done wrong in the legal sense, but it was just unprofessional. I have pretty much cut all contact with those I worked with/for**, but I have never brought it up with HR, my boss(es), or anyone else at the university.

What would you have done at the time? Would you do something now?

*Not really maternity leave, since I had no just to go back too.

**Though I do see one of my bosses from time to time with things unrelated to work, which can be awkward (for me, at least…can’t speak for them)


Car Seat Alarm

After reading about two cases in the last week (Ontario and Alberta) of young children dying because of being left in a car in high heat, my brain has been reeling. Though this doesn’t happen often (on average 38 times per year in the USA, 4-6 times per year in Canada), it seems needless to me. There must be something that can be done to help this from happening (here’s a heart-wrenching article about this topic).
We have alarms in our cars for all sorts of things – door being open, lights being left on after ignition is turned off, and, most related, seat belts not being done up.
I assume the technology for the the former consists of some sort of pressure sensor, and beeps if there is anything above a certain weight in the seat AND the seatbelt is not done up. The one in my car goes off sometimes if I have my work bag in the passenger seat, so clearly the sensor is fairly sensitive.
It makes sense to me that this technology can also be used in the case of a child being left in the car. When the ignition is turned off, an alarm can sound if the pressure on the seat (i.e. baby/child) isn’t removed within a certain time limit (or something like this). This alarm would be heard both inside and outside the car, in case the parent/caregiver has moved away from the car quickly. 
I know there are some issues with this – many people sit in cars with the ignition off for many reasons – but there are solutions to that. The “car seat” alarm could be activitated for those who need it, or it could be turned on for only the seat in which the car seat is on. 
In this day and age where we can find any bathroom within a 20 km radius with our cell phones, this shouldn’t be that hard. 


I’m still shocked and heartbroken about yesterday’s events in Connecticut. I just weep for those children who were so scared, for the families who lost young innocent children – either to the gunman or because they had to witness something so frightening – and for the entire community who will never live life the same way again.
I think about the parents who had to go home last night to half-opened advent calendars, to Christmas presents unopened, to the cereal bowl left on the counter, to the toys left on the floor in the living room. How can they move anything, change anything, and get on with their lives?
It’s unimaginable, what those families are going through. It was a senseless act that will terrorize hundreds or thousands of people for the rest of their lives. I feel like I can hear the screams of the children and the sobbing of the friends and families every time I think about it. I just don’t understand how our world can be so horrible.
I feel strange about going back to normal life – like it’s minimizing the tragedy and the grief of the families. No wonder we all put our heads in the sand when something like this happens. We can’t internalize the grief of everything bad in the world, or we would just be paralyzed.
One thing I’ll be doing is sending a sympathy card to the school. It may sound trite, but I figure the least I can do is let them know I’m thinking of them, as millions of us are. I urge you to do the same.

The M/C Saga Continues

Thank you to everyone for all your kind words and thoughts. 
This miscarriage has been far worse physically than the last one. It started on its own on Thursday, which I was relieved about. However, come Saturday morning, the bleeding got out of control and I ended up in an ambulance to the ER.
I spent 9 hours in the ER. My hemoglobin levels dropped about 30 points in that time (125 to 96), and it was decided I needed to undergo a D&C. At least that meant I got to go to a more private ward, but I had to wait another 5 hours before being called to surgery at about midnight.
Thankfully, the surgery went well, the bleeding has pretty much stopped, and my hemoglobin levels were rising again. I’m still feeling pretty awful today, but mostly because I have a brutal cold and my muscles are really stiff (from all the IV fluids going in and out quickly, or maybe from my blood levels?).
Here’s hoping I’m finally on the mend.

History Repeats Itself

About three years ago, I had a miscarriage. It was devastating, and something I would never wish on my worst enemy. 
So, here we are, three years later, going through it again. 
We found out we were pregnant about a week after Evan’s 2nd birthday. The timing weirded me out a bit because it was so close to when we had our first miscarriage (I know it shouldn’t matter, but all logic flies out the window after you have a miscarriage), but I was having strong symptoms and my beta levels were doubling on schedule. Everything was pointing toward a healthy pregnancy.
That is, until last week, when I had an ultrasound. I scheduled one early – at about 8 weeks – because that’s what we did with Evan to make sure things were going okay after the first miscarriage. When we got the results (baby measuring a week behind, low heart rate of 86), we were saddened, but still weren’t counting ourselves out. After all, u/s dating at such young fetal ages can have large errors. We could explain things away.
Then we had a follow-up ultrasound this week, and the results were conclusive: the baby had stopped growing at about 7 weeks and the heartbeat was gone. 
Then the world crashes down. Again. The worst thing this time around is I still have pregnancy symptoms, my temperatures are still high, and I have had no bleeding or cramping yet. I’m experiencing a missed miscarriage, where your body doesn’t realize the baby has died. If I didn’t have my ultrasound, I would be thinking that everything was perfectly fine right now. I might have to either take medication or have a procedure done to “assist”the miscarriage along.
With this, all the worries crop back up, along with some new ones: this is two miscarriages now, what does that mean?  Did I wait too long to have children? Will I be able to get pregnant again? Will I be able to stay pregnant again?
I’m thankful that we have Evan this time around – to keep our minds off things, to force us to keep some sort of normalcy in our lives, and to know that we have at least one amazing, healthy, crazy child to love.

Please send any positive thoughts you can spare along to us – we’re in need of them right now.

The End is Near

This is the last week for many of the ladies who work at Evan’s daycare. From now until the end of the summer, there will be three teachers, the director, and the chef.
It’s a sad time. Evan’s favorite teacher is leaving. He loves her, and she loves him just as much. There were times when she was the only one that could hold him, and they still snuggle together every morning. She was such an important person in his life – not just for cuddles, but for everything he has learned in the last year. Things we will be forever thankful for but will never have enough words or gifts to express that. Hopefully we can manage to stay in touch. She will be having her own little bundle in just a few weeks, and she’ll be an amazing mom.
We will be bring in cupcakes tomorrow and giving each leaving teacher a card with a photo of Evan in it, but I wish we could do more (like keep the daycare itself open). Inspired by Kim at The Money Pit, I am including a poem in each card:

The Hand Holder
A Tribute to Childcare Providers
There is no job more important than yours,
no job anywhere else in the land.
Your are the keepers of the future:
you hold the smallest of hands.
Into your care you are trusted
to nurture and care for the young,
and for all of your everyday heroics,
your talents and skills go unsung.
You wipe tears from the eyes of the injured.
You rock babies brand new in your arms.
You encourage the shy and unsure child.
You make sure they are safe from all harm.
You foster the bonds of friendships,
letting no child go away mad.
You respect and you honor their emotions.
You give hugs to each child when they’re sad.
You have more impact than does a professor,
a child’s mind is molded by four;
so whatever you lay on the table
is whatever that child will explore.
Give each child the tools for adventure,
let them be artists and writers and more;
let them fly in the wind and dance on the stars
and build castles of sand on the shore.
It is true that you don’t make much money
and you don’t get a whole lot of praise,
but when one small child says, “I love you,”
you’re reminded of how this job pays.
~ By Dori Rossmann
Executive Director, Kids Town USA

With this downsizing at the daycare and subsequent dwindling numbers throughout the summer, going on a couple long(ish) plane rides to visit both sets of grandparents in July, mommy going away on business for a few days in August, and finally starting at a new place in September, the next couple of months will bring big changes for Evan.

Dr. Susan Niebur

On Tuesday, February 6th, Dr. Susan Niebur passed away after a long fight with breast cancer. For those of you in the astronomy and/or planetary science community, you will most likely recognize her name from the Women in Planetary Science blog. For those in the mom-blogosphere, her blog Toddler Planet was also well-known.

Susan had a distinct ability to get women to pull together and rise up against sexism in the academic world. She started the 51 Women of Planetary Science, to show that there are indeed a great number of women doing amazing research in the area. I was very lucky and honored to be one of those interviewed.

Susan touched thousands of women through her work in astrophysics, as a mother, and through her battle with cancer. She leaves behind her loving husband and two young sons.

We thank you, Susan, for your tireless dedication to the equality of women in the sciences, and may you rest in peace. You will be greatly missed.

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