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Might be enrolled in a Junior College when baby comes... help?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone, first time I've posted in here!

I'm on disablity right now, and it looks like I may be doing voc. rehab when our son is born... I have no idea how I'm going to make school work for those first few weeks (my main concern is breastfeeding)... unfortunately I can't just wait to enroll until the winter term because if I do that, I'm out 80% of my disablity checks until I do enroll (and we can't survive without that money right now)... so I may be stuck optionless and HAVE to be in school around when my son is due. Hopefully I can enroll in a local college that breaks things up into trimesters instead of semesters, but even then I'm still not 100% sure if I can take off the trimester around his birth and still get my benefits (I'm speaking to my lawyer on monday more about this)...

So my question is how in the world can I make this work? I know I can miss a few days for the actual birth from classes without failing miserably. I'm HOPING the teachers will allow me to bring him in with me for that first trimester/semester so I can breastfeed... I was expecting to have to pump for him at some point, but I don't want him to get nipple confusion (so from what I've read earlier than 6 weeks is a big no no to give bottles so he won't get confused)...

So I've thought about spreading my classes out, an hour here and hour there, and then only being apart from him for an hour or so at a time... I could feed him inbetween... but an hour plus driving time apart might be too long for a tiny newborn feeding wise... my MIL would most likely watch him, so that adds a 15 min drive on top of things from class to her... and since I'm hoping to be in the early childcare program, hopefully I can have our baby in the daycare of the college (so I can get to him quicker)... and am *hoping* perhaps this first semester/trimester I can take the hands on classes, working in the daycare...

But these are a lot of if's and I'm not 100% happy with any of the solutions because it all depends on so many variables (probably mainly because I don't want to have to leave him!). Has anyone done this, or have any ideas, or anything else? I won't have someone available to hover outside of my class with baby in case he needs to eat, if I did, that would seem like a decent solution... but I don't know anyone who would be willing to do that for me (Dh works and goes to school as well)...

So any help would be SO appreciated.
post #2 of 17
wow, Lisa. I admit I don't understand your situation but I feel truly bad for you. I think it is completely ridiculous that anybody would expect you to go to school right after you give birth. Even the crappiest maternity leave policies seem to give you at least 6 to 8 weeks.

I don't want to get you down here, but I really think you are asking waaaaay too much of yourself. What if your birth is alot harder than you expected? What if you need time to recover physically or emotionally? What if your baby has problems (god forbid). I'm just saying that making plans for so soon after the birth is bound to put pressure on you, and that is the LAST thing you need at that time!

I also think it's just a crime that you would be expected to spend your precious early newborn days running around to classes and bringing him/her along with you. You need time to bond with him. He could need to nurse all day long just to get the hang of it, how are you going to do that? You can't schedule newborn feedings, so how are you going to go to classes or even plan classes around it?

You need time to bond, you need a peaceful quiet environment for you and your newborn, and you *really* need to get that BFing relationship off to a healthy start. Frankly, if I were you, I'd register for those classes and then just ditch the whole thing when baby comes. By the time whoever is paying you figures out you're failing miserably, maybe you'll be in a position to delay schooling. Sorry if this sounds bad but again, I'm pretty confused as to what type of disability insurance forces you to go to school when you are giving birth. Frankly, I'm stunned and so very very sorry that you are being troubled by such a matter during what should be the best time of your life!!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Unfortuantly that is the situtation. I can't just ditch it all because then I will loose out on the $ from my case settling, plus future medical care for my injury (and no insurance will cover the areas disabled ever).

And its not that I would be *forced* to go to school, but to keep my checks at the amount they need to be to live, that's what I'd have to do. I can take an "Interrupt" and not go to school until spring of 2004, but finacially that would be impossible for us. Hopefully I can enroll at the school with trimesters, because we could proably just barely eek by for 3 months...

I'm still looking into all my options and trying my hardest to not have to do this, but since I'm worried about it, I'm just wondering *how* anyone else has done it...
post #4 of 17
How many hours of classes will you have per week? Do you know what those classes will be? Do you know who will be teaching them? If so, you should probably speak with the instructors about the situation and ask if they have any suggestions. It might be very difficult to have your child with you in class, especially for the first several weeks. If he slept or nursed all the time, that would be one thing, but what if he's crying a lot, or needs a diaper change or what have you?

Re missing a few classes, again, talk with your instructors. It should be obvious to them that you're not trying to shirk work, and they may be able to come up with a way of making up the missed material. If I were teaching the course, that's what I would do, as long as it was within my administrative capacity to make that decision.
post #5 of 17
Hi! I was in college when my ds was born, and for about 5mos. afterwards as well. I talked to all of my prof. as I got closer to my due date, and made arrangements w/ them for the time I was going to be out. Most just had me make up any work/quizes, etc. afterwards. I was due right at the end of the winter semester, and missed about a week of classes. There was a 3 week winter break scheduled, but I did have to go in and take my finals during the regularly scheduled time (my ds was just a week old then, but the tests didn't take long).

Anyways, for the next sememster I just arranged my classes so I was only gone for 1-4 hrs. per day. I would feed my ds on one side before I left, and pump on the other so he could have a bottle while I was gone. He pretty much had bottles from the beginning and we never had problems w/ nipple confusion - he always preffered the breast. I also had to supplement w/ formula, and I was okay w/ that. Looking back though, I could have pumped during the break on the one day I had to be gone for 4hrs. but I just didn't know enough then. Anyways, we got by and did really well... my dh watched my ds much of the time I was gone but he also went to daycare 2 days per week.

Just talk w/ all of your teachers... I kept in contact w/ mine through email while I was out. I ended up having an emergency c-section and was in the hospital for 5 days, but I still went back and took my finals the next week. I had a really good recovery after the first few days, and I felt fine. It all worked out in the end. Hopefully your teachers will be understanding, I know most of mine were. hth.

(Sorry if this doesn't make sense, let me know if I need to explain something more clearly.)
post #6 of 17
I'm with Piglet. What sounds do-able now could be next to impossible post partum. We're assuming your birth and recovery require no unique care, assuming your precious son will not have nipple confusion or latch issues, you will be able to focus on classes despite being a new mom. What I'm saying is we are assuming a lot that we just do not know will be the case for you and your newborn. I know that I never expected the sleep deprivation to kick my butt so hard and it was critical for my sanity and survival to sleep when my son slept. I had to do that. Couldn't down coffee like pre kid college days. Or sleep in on the weekends after a tough work week. It's 24/7.

Can you do virtual classes? So many classes near me (like Cal State Hayward) have the bulk of their courses online.

There is no getting the post partum sacred time back. For me, someone would have to incarcerate me to seperate me from my newborn/infant son (one reason I stayed the h*** outta hospital!) What looks like an impasse right now might pale in comparison to being away from your newborn.

Keep us posted...
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help! My friend who currently goes to the JC here just showed me that they do have a good amount of online classes, so I'm going to try to take as many of those as I can that semester... There is also an extension of Hayward college here that does quarters (I was thinking trimesters, but was wrong) so if I enrolled there at least for the beginning it would *maybe* be possible to take a break from going to school that quarter (which I can do, just won't get paid for that time off). I still have to look into the exact dates of classes. My friend who attends the JC also says that in a LOT of his classes people bring babies, so hopefully I can bring my baby to classes (or at least some of them) too...

I have to go full time (so thats 12 units I believe...)... and if I choose to not go to school until 2004, between now and then I would have to get a job (and earn a LOT less than I'm used to due to limitations of what I can do now)... so I could get that 6 weeks off for maternity leave, but then I'd be right back to working until I could get enrolled in school in Jan because we simply can't make it without my income for more than a month... it seems like a better option to me to go to school, because while it would be tough during the beginning I would be home with him a great deal more than I would be if I was working... or I can schedule night classes so Dh can be with him.

I know things could get really really sticky if birthing is more difficult for me, if I or baby have complications, breastfeeding doesn't go well, and I KNOW I'm horrid on little to no sleep. But the choice between going to school or working full time when it comes to being able to be home most of the time, school does seem a lot better (and of course after I finished school I'd be able to do something I *like* for work, and not loose a significant portion of my income)...

So I'm really *really* hoping I can either a)take all/majority of online classes or b)go to the Hayward extension and finicially be able to take that quarter off (but that may be impossible due to paying for our midwives out of pocket)...

I'll keep everyone updated when I find out more (on monday). Until then thanks for the help, and the warnings... I know this is much much less than an ideal situation... just gotta make *something* work
post #8 of 17
Well, Lisa, my heart goes out to you. And I'm sending out a big DUH! for not suggesting to you that you check out online classes. I was just talking about this the other day with someone! We have an open university in our province, and many institutions offer online courses that you can do at your own time. I agree that going to school does seem the better option than working full time. I really really hope you can work out a good solution. frogertgrl is right that those newborn days are precious. Honestly, they went by so fast for me....I hope you are able to take time to "smell the roses" when it's your time. Good luck!
post #9 of 17
All the CCC colleges have online classes. You can take online classes from SCC too, Solano CC. Even that is going to be hard, I skimmed this thread, so if what I say is irrelevant, I apologize. I was in school at the end of my pregnancy and I left. I couldn't do it even then, I was tired, not sleeping well, lugging big belly everywhere and it wasn't working. I had asked all my teachers if I could bring the baby to school with me and I got the okay and all, but I never would have done it. I couldn't even make it to the bathroom at first. My SIL is still having trouble figuring out positions for BFing and dn is over a week old. What I have learned from my insurance scamming is that at least with health insurance, I'm young, so to stay on my mom's policy I have to stay enrolled in school full time, all you have to do is enroll, go to a few classes so you aren't automatically dropped, then leave and withdraw before the deadline so your transcrpt isn't affected. as long as I enrolled in the class at first, it counts and if I withdraw before the deadline, my fees are refunded. Now, as a student I can say that people who drop suck because they fill up the good classes and then drop them and I can't get into them, so if you do this, pick classes that are common, empty or need a few more students to keep going. Don't keep really serious kids from getting classes they need, kwim? Anyway, call me, I can't find your #, frgertgrl, you too, it was on the same piece of paper i put in a "safe" spot.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Lauren! Unfortunatly for my situation I can't pick classes and then drop them before they affect my grades... its not health insurance, its worker's comp insurance, and they run totally differently... it would be a great idea otherwise though! If I dropped the classes after he's born, I could get away with maybe a month of having my checks drop 80%... then I'd have to pick up a full time job until I could re-enroll in January... so when I weigh going to school "full time" (what is it, an hour *in* class per unit? So 12 hours a week away from/lugging him to class, and yes there is homework of course...) versus 40+ hours a week (at a crappy low paying job because of what I can and can't do for work now before retraining), it just seems a whole lot better to not be away from him if I can help it. I'm going to talk to teachers if I get stuck having to take classes at the school, if I have to miss 2 weeks of school so I can get breastfeeding halfway straight and be able to get up and *move* again, well hopefully they would be agreeable to that... My Dh would have no problems picking up work for me and such...

It is a totally sucky arrangement, but I think it is what I'm going to be stuck with. I'll find out soon... have a phone appt with my lawyer at 10am... and I'm SO nervous... hoping I can get everything to work the way I need it to...

I will call you soon... I got your email but hadn't called since then because I'm a big messy stress monster right now over this situation, and wanted to get it cleared up first so I didn't chew your ear off whining about it! :LOL But I have an appt with my midwives today, so I dunno if I'll get a chance to call today... but I promise if not today within a day or two!
post #11 of 17
No MY midwives!!! JK I will help you with whatever you need, I'm really familiar with DVC and I can watch him outside your classes and bring him to you for BF. I have a friend whodoes that with her dp at Mills. So yeah,call me.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
No MY midwives!!! JK I will help you with whatever you need, I'm really familiar with DVC and I can watch him outside your classes and bring him to you for BF. I have a friend whodoes that with her dp at Mills. So yeah,call me.
We can share them I *finally* got to meet Beah!

And thank you so much for the offer!! I might take you up on it I did find out today that potientially I might not have to be going full time... because they work with all sorts of situations to get people back to work, so its not *all* about college, its about what I'll need... so that's good news, hopefully I can take a light load if I *have* to go that semester/quarter...
post #13 of 17
Hi Lisa,

I've read this thread with interest, since I was in school when my daughter was born. I really sympathize with you about the inflexibility of your situation, since what the other ladies say about the unpredictability of birth is totally true: I was fotunate in that my school administration assured me that if I couldn't handle my courseload, had a difficult birth, or anything, I could drop classes past the deadline. On the other hand, we NEEDED my student loan to get by, so I was praying that wouldn't happen!

And you know what? It all worked out -- so it is possible. I had the luxury of having my husband at home (he was laid off, then we decided he would stay home with our baby on a more or less permanent basis), and he could lurk outside class with her as needed. Still, though, it was possible to take her into class -- I had choice in what classes to take, so I picked ones with instructors who I felt would be helpful, and contacted them ahead of time. I missed three weeks of classes entirely after I had my daughter, and more or less attended after that, a sixty percent courseload (once she was four months old, I added a part-time job). Instructors were fine with her being in class, me stepping out with her as needed, and me getting notes from other students as needed. I had previously been in class with moms and babes, and instructors were used to having breastfeeding moms in the first row. I also got a really good pump, and used a study carrel in the library for it. Babelet got in good with the lady who runs the cafeteria, which meant that sometimes I got to go to the bathroom by myself. When I had to do group projects, if I needed accomodation around meeting times or a pumping break, that worked too. Sometimes I miss not having had the full-on new mom experience, but I like how it worked out -- and I think that part of my now 19 month old daughter's happy, sociable personality, and passion for books, comes from being a law school baby!

So, yes, I sympathize with you immensely because of the stress and inflexibility of all this -- nothing's certain, but keep in mind that it CAN work out!! Just try to give up any ideas you have about what being a new mother 'should' look like -- women's experiences are never as universal as we're led to imagine by the media.

One thing I really appreciated about being a student mom was that, while I know women who are full-time moms for six months and then have to return to work full-time away from their kids, even when I was a full-time student my schedule was fairly flexible so I was almost never out of the house 8-10 hours a day. So, I was full-time on paper, but for a year and a half, I got to spend lots of time with my daughter.

Sorry for the ramble -- best of luck to you!
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mammastar! Good to hear that you made it!

If I may ask, how did you know which instructors were going to be helpful? Were you attending before, or contacted them before enrolling?

I am really glad that I found out that the voc. rehab doesn't revolve around going to school full time... I'm sure I'll have to prove I'm putting X amount of hours into getting retrained, but if I can put those hours in at home, that would be wonderful!
post #15 of 17

About 'knowing' which instructors would be helpful: I'd already attended 3 semesters, so I definitely knew the ones who were the right 'type,' for example a woman who had taken some time off for an adoption leave the year before. I did also take classes from profs I hadn't had before, using word of mouth and also contacting them by email while I was doing course selection. I would just say that I would be having a baby at the beginning of the semester (actually, it turned out to be the first day!), and that I was concerned to choose courses that would work with that: was there a participation requirement? what was the format? were there group projects? For me, I knew that lecture-based courses where I could get notes easily if I missed something would work well, and that I didn't want high-participation classes or ones where others would be counting on me. Not that I wanted to be a slacker, but I just had no idea what my needs would be around my newborn and didn't want to get into a mess.

I then chose courses based on a combination of the information they sent me and the overall 'vibe' I got from them! I thought of choosing based on schedule, but (aside from keeping on campus time minimal!) was pretty hopeless, since when you're pregnant, you have no idea if your baby is going to be sleeping peacefully through 8:30 am classes, or be regularly colicky from 4 to 6, or whatever.

Sounds like you can make this work!
post #16 of 17
When I got pregnant, I went back to school. I was in the middle of the fall semester when I had ds. I had a scheduled c-section so I went to class the night before, had him on Friday, skipped the next Thursday and went back the next week. I was only going one class a semester but it was a three hour class plus a half an hour drive each way. So I was gone ~ 4 hours a week from 2 weeks old. Fortunately, we didn't have any problems with our birth so that made it possible. Also, he started using a pacifier in the hospital so nipple confusion wasn't an issue, we just had to find a nipple that he would actually take, which proved tougher than it sounds. At 10 weeks pp, I went back to work, in addtion to doing school part time. Ds ended up having to have formula at daycare because I couldn't pump enough to keep him in milk all day and then one night a week as well. We were incrediably lucky but we were able to continue breastfeeding until ~18 months, when I decided I couldn't stand it anymore and weaned him. Which had nothing to do with work or school. So it can be done, it all just a matter of working it out. Good luck
post #17 of 17
i teach part-time at a small college and i am very flexible about these sorts of things.

approach your professors before enrolling in their classes. don't enroll if the professor is inflexible. students are human beings too (some professors forget this...) and as long as you're committed and telling the truth (I once had a student whose maternal grandmother died--twice--in the same semester) then you'll do fine.

i had a professor in college who brought her child to class and nursed him while lecturing. just think of this as YOUR opportunity to educate others!
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