Here I am on a leave of absence from work. How did I get here? Well since I’m a teacher my summer was pretty low stress. I still worked on curriculum, professional development, and special programs; but I wasn’t teaching. My hormone levels were all in the effective ranges during my summer cycles. Everything about me was well within normal ranges, then the school year hit and things changed drastically. To put it simply it was as though I hadn’t even had my laparoscopy. My estradiol levels only got into the 160s and since they need to be in the 300s for an effective ovulation, you could pretty much say that my reproductive system shut down due to stress. I had mid cycle spotting, and my peak day didn’t even come until day 20! Typically peak day should occur by day 15. Stress was taking away our chances of having a child.
I didn’t just say “that’s it I quit,” instead I tried to talk with my principal and superintendent about the increase in our work load, the changes in our work day, the fact that two of my classes had more special education than regular ed kids in them and there was no special ed teacher in the room with me. All of this was stated multiple times. Our superintendent said she had: “nothing but whiners” in our wing. Every time I turned around we got more work to do with no time to do it. They even took away our team time, meaning that our only time to communicate with each other about students and their needs was after school! My typical day meant that I spent 9-10 hours working on school grounds and then another two hours working at home after dinner.
After looking at my hormone levels, Dr. C. my NaProTechnology doctor called and said I needed to come in for an emergency appointment. Since we already had plans to go away for the weekend, my husband, Frank, came with me. Boy did he have a lot to tell the doctor. He’s the one who pointed out the differences between my charts over the summer and during the school year. It was Frank who also commented on the differences in my CM and its arrival time. Dr. C had one thing to say about this: “There’s only one of us in this room who can get pregnant and it’s not me.” I asked Dr. C. if it were possible to get a note for a leave of absence in case I needed it. He immediately wrote me one after he confirmed that the only cause of the drastic change in my fertility could be stress.
I went back to my superintendent’s office and told her that I had been recommended for a leave of absence. She was not happy. To be fair, it’s tough to find someone with one my certifications at this time of year, and it takes the knowledge behind both of my certifications to do what I do. Too bad. Had she listened when I tried to tell her what the increased work load was doing to her teachers, we wouldn’t have this problem. She asked that I give her two weeks to find someone who has the appropriate certification. She put out a call for long terms subs, and I sent an e-mail to my friends and colleagues asking if anyone knew a certified sub who would be willing to take the job.
Midway through the second week, I broke out in hives. Considering I didn’t eat any new foods, I was pretty sure they were from stress. The last time I broke out in stress hives was when I was about to lose my job four years ago, so knowing that it was indeed possible, I figured that had to be it. I popped a Benadryl, promptly made sub plans, popped another Benadryl and finally stopped scratching. I became drowsy quickly and fell asleep just before the Sox won the World Series. In New England, that’s just something you do not do!
While I was out of work the next day, I got an e-mail from a prospective sub. The hives had subsided and I was only resting, so I decided to give him a call. Since my husband and I had already decided I was looking for another job and had even begun applying, I explained to the sub that there was a possibility that this job might become permanent, he wasn’t sold but he was interested.
I returned to work the following day determined that my LOA begin ASAP. I informed the superintendent that I had a possible candidate and she was quite surprised since she had none. At that point I gave her his contact information, told her the date I’d begin my LOA, and got to making 5 days’ worth of sub plans which my contract requires me to do for any prolonged absence.