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Rather scared about returning to work :(

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by lauraflora, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. I found out I was pregnant very early on, I was 4w 1d. After a couple of days I was being sick all day and at 5 weeks was admitted to hospital with dehydration and was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum. I'm now 17 weeks and due to return to work tomorrow, I am terrified. During my time signed off, I've been admitted to hospital twice and have been on 3 different combinations of anti sickness meds. These are working quite well now, I haven't been sick for a couple of weeks now but I do still feel sick. The side effects of the meds is that they make me drowsy and dizzy but it's an improvement from being sick all day every day!

    I had a telephone appt with occ health while I was off (I was unable to attend in person as I was so ill and unable to drive) and they deemed me unfit for work and recommended when I did feel ready to go back that I went back on a phased return. I went in on Friday (still school hols) and caught up with the head. He said he would sort out a phased return on Wednesday in a sickness absence review meeting with some HR bloke from the LA. I explained that Monday was a full teaching day for me, Tuesday is our long day (we have CPD until 4.15) and the meeting isn't until Wednesday afternoon. He said he expected me back on Monday following normal timetable. I said I didn't know if I would physically be able to do it, between Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon I have 1 non contact period.

    I'm so scared about going back, pushing myself too hard, relapsing into major sickness again and needing more time off so I'll be letting my dept and the year 11s down. My dad works in industry and he can't believe they're getting me back working normally without some sort of a rehab plan in place.

    The hyperemesis is, I think, improving now but my pregnancy has been classified high risk due to all the complications I had in my last pregnancy (high bp, severe SPD, carpal tunnel syndrome, suspected pre-eclampsia, bleeding followed by a traumatic delivery). I've been warned that it's likely I'll get SPD again, I ended up on crutches last time...that was on the days I could walk, and my blood pressure will probably end up high too. So far my placenta is lying low but I know there is time for this to correct itself. My SPD has started but at the minute it's manageable, I don't know for how much longer though. This is worrying too because my school are going to be after my blood if I end up being signed off again long term. I know I could take maternity leave at 28 weeks but the reality is I really can't afford to.

    Sorry about this long rant but I'm just so worried about having to take more sick leave and my phased return not being "phased" enough for me to manage.
     
  2. Poor you and a big hug. It sounds like your head is completely out of order. I'm not sure where to go with going in on Monday, but my instinct would be not to and to phone my union, occ health, and midwife/GP for advice. As I would have though you shouldn't be in school until your phased return and with it your risk assessment has been organised, (I'm guessing as you've been off it hasn't been done.) I have no idea about the legality of all of this, but you and your baby are the most important. I suggest possibly posting this in pay and conditions as there are some really helpful heads and union reps who read there a lot and you might get a much quicker response about where you stand from them unless some of them happen to see it and post on here. I can't believe occ health have advised a phased return, and yet your head is expecting you pretty much to return full time.
     
  3. Although it may be difficult, I would stand my ground and refuse to start work until the meeting to organise a phased return and a proper risk assessment have been carried out. Could you arrange a doctors appt for Monday morning, explain the situation and extend your sick leave until Wednesday. It may be worth giving your union rep a call to find out where you stand.
    A girl I work with was signed off and then her fitness to work certificate said that she was to reduce her hours to 30%. She was on full pay the whole time as the alternative was that she would not work at all and be on full pay. Your doctor can set requirements such as 30% for 2 wks, 50% for 2wks and then a further review to determine future working hours. School has to adhere to this.
    As for later in pregnancy, if you are too ill to work then you can't work. You are entitled to be off sick until 36wks and if this means you can have more time after the birth to be with your baby then you should take it as sick leave. As teachers, I think we put everything and everyone before our own needs - I had an antenatal appt at 33+6 which resulted in them telling me to go home, pack a bag and come straight back that evening ready for a c-section in the morning (polyhydramnious and a massive gowth spurt). My son was born at 34wks, weighing 7lb! He was in SCBU for 11 days and they kept me as an inpatient as I was BFing. I felt so guilty as I was meant to go back to work after the appt for a parent's evening.
    I am now 15wks with my second and this time I am going to listen to the consultant and do exactly as they advise. With a 20mth old it will be much harder to have to stay in hospital if I have the baby early again.
    You and your baby are much more important than anything else right now and your Head is not exercising any duty of care towards either of you.
     
  4. i agree - refuse to return to work until the meeting takes place. occy health has classed you as unfit to work so your head can't oblige you to work full time.
    if you get signed off, you get signed off. i was signed off for 2 months before 36 weeks when my ML started automatically with SPD. your baby is more important than a head who is trying to bully you into doing something illegally.
     
  5. Thanks for replying everyone. I don't think it's going to be possible for me not to work tomorrow as I've said I'd go in and give it a try. If I manage to get through the day without throwing up or passing out it'll be a miracle. I'm really quite angry that I've been made to feel like this, it's an additional pressure that I really don't need. The GP said I ran the risk of a relapse if I was tired or stressed so I'm quite nervous about how I'm going to physically handle tomorrow :(

    I'm going to try and get my union rep to come to the meeting on Wednesday with me, I need someone fighting my corner. I'll try to get him for a quiet word before then and see what he makes of the situation. The nerves are really hitting me now, I'm dreading tomorrow.
     
  6. Laura, although you can start mat leave at 28 weeks, your employers can't make you. They can only start your leave automatically if you are signed off with pregnancy-related illness after 36 weeks.
     
  7. Hi! Well my first day back lasted until lunchtime, I was knackered by then and was feeling awful. I'd got to school for 7.30, did my tutor group and took them to assembly, taught periods 2 and 3 (year 7 and year 11) and then went home at lunchtime. I physically could not have stayed any longer and I started feeling really sick again so the deputy head agreed for me to go home at lunchtime.
    Today has been awful. I dropped dd off at nursery and threw up in the car park which was a bit embarrassing for all concerned. I then got to school for about 7.50, I was feeling dreadful (nauseous, weak, dizzy) so after I'd burst into tears on a few people it was suggested I went home. I then threw up for about 15 minutes in the staffroom toilets, it was just awful, I haven't been that bad in weeks. I honestly thought i was over the hyperemesis but this morning has been awful. I can't keep anything down, not even fluids, so I've booked an appointment with the GP for 11.30. Hopefully he can change my sickness medication or something. The thought of being as ill as I was and having to go back into hospital for the dreaded drip terrifies me. It was so lovely seeing all the kids again yesterday and they all said how much they'd missed me and they were so chuffed I was having a baby! I feel so guilty about all this to-ing and fro-ing, it's really getting me down. I just want to go back to some semblance of normality but it hasn't worked.
    With the HG, I've been warned that if I'm still suffering by 20 weeks (I'm now 17w 4d) then it's likely I'll have it the entire pregnancy :( Tomorrow is my meeting with the Head and my union rep is coming with me. I am hoping today has just been a blip and I feel ok again tomorrow.
    Sorry for the self pitying rant there!!!
     
  8. Tangit - I literally feel your pain with the SPD. I had it last pregnancy and was on crutches from 32 weeks. I also had carpal tunnel syndrome so half of my right hand was numb which made walking with the crutches fun(!) I can feel the SPD starting up again but am trying to stay positive about it, it might not be so bad this time. Unfortunately the doctor I saw yesterday took one look at me and signed me off for another 2 weeks. I'm still struggling keeping food and liquids down but tonight I did manage a cup a soup and a cheese salad wrap. I know that's not a lot but hopefully it'll be enough to prevent another hospital admission. I have to go back to the doctor on Friday if I'm still being sick so he can test my urine and see if I need to be admitted but I really hope it doesn't come to that. I had a sickness absence review meeting today with the Head and some HR bloke from the LA but it was ok. I think the Head realised he'd messed up by not sorting out my phased return before I came back so he was very supportive about getting me back to work and accommodating any additional support I'd need. He's said he wants another meeting with me before I return to work and another assessment from occ health so they have more up to date information about my "condition". (Sorry about the lack of paragraphs, my phone doesn't seem to like them!)
     

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