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Jeanette's Pregnancy Journal

Week 19
~ Almost Five Months!

Five months has this fanciful sound to it, doesn't it? It feels like a monumental milestone for me and it is only a week away.

This week I have grappled with size issues. I was returning something to Walmart and noticed that the clerk was pregnant too. Pregnant women notice each other kind of like when you purchase a new car (or simply one new to you) and from that moment on you notice every single car just like yours. "Oh, you are just like me, huh? How many months are you?" I asked.

I always refer to my pregnancy in weeks, but I know that most people don't so I asked her in months. She said she was 4. "Really?" I asked surprised. "Well, how many weeks are you? I am nineteen." "Oh, I am nineteen too." "You definitely look bigger than me. Are you having twins?" "Oh no, thank God!" "Well, congratulations."

I left out of the store a little worried. Someone else had commented earlier that I really did not look to have the months that I do. Then my 12-year-old daughter said the same thing, but what does she know anyway? This is her first up close pregnant woman experience. Now, I do know that every woman is different--the way they carry their pregnancies. A few, miraculously, do not even know that they are pregnant until they are in labor. Well, that's an extreme example of course. But this young lady was quite noticeably pregnant and I am not. She was a lot thinner than I am though. My pregnancy can hide itself in my body fat still. However, my main concern is wondering if our financial difficulties wrought with frequent episodes of food insecurity is impacting my baby's growth. I have an ultrasound coming up. I will be certain to confer with my health care provider if the baby's measurements are within normal limits.

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I am concerned about my size (or lack thereof), but on another level it may have worked to my advantage. After what has seemed like an exhausting job search, I was offered a new position! Thank God! I start on Monday! I thought I would face serious discrimination--although illegal--if it were known up front that I was pregnant. I do not like to hide anything, but I did not feel that during the interviews was an appropriate time, for obvious reasons, to reveal that information. I still have to determine how and when inform my immediate supervisor after I start.

I have absolutely no idea as to when I should reveal this. Some Internet websites suggest doing so during the second interview, provided things are going good. I did not do that. Other sites recommend starting and proving yourself before revealing it along with a plan for maternity leave and assurance that you will return. I cannot decide and am starting to worry when and how should I make this announcement. I was told that I am under a 90-day probationary period, set to expire May 1st. My due date is June 15th. Could I be let go during this time once my pregnancy is revealed? Perhaps on the first day of orientation I will receive something that explains exactly how they define a "probationary period".

I am very concerned nonetheless. It looks as though getting the job was just half the battle. My husband is still not working yet and I almost certainly need to work up until my due date. I looked up state maternity law and it says that I am entitled to one week before my due date and four weeks postpartum. However, I could return as early as two weeks with a health care provider's note indicating that it was safe to do so. What is not clear is if I need to have worked a sufficient amount of time to qualify for maternity benefits under law? The best key person is the human resource specialist that hired me of course, but I will continue surfing the net.

Health insurance, which I need, does not start until after this probationary period. Will it start from day 91 with pregnancy coverage? These are questions that I need answered immediately, but do not feel as though I can ask tactfully.

Syed is still hitting the pavement in search of something locally. He also reports to a temp agency each morning at 5:00am with the hopes of getting assigned something. Every now and then he will reference Indiana and how he could be getting paid by now if he was still there, but quietly he knows that he did not like the place any more than I did.

For the longest time I refused to feed into the hype of an economic crisis, but I can definitely concede now that something has truly happened to our economy. It is not the same. Just last year, there was an abundance of nursing jobs. Every job I applied to and interviewed for, I was subsequently offered. I had to regretfully decline offers. Now, the Sunday classifieds appear dismal. It was most unfortunate to have to turn the psych job down, upon our return, perhaps things would not be so tight today. But I simply could not afford to travel the distance to the training with gas and daily road tolls in our car's condition for an entire month before getting paid. Since then, I have been applying to no avail. The job I have now is not the result of all of the jobs I have applied to since our return. I actually applied for it perhaps 7-8 months ago. They contacted me only after a shift in the organization left some positions open. None of those other jobs contacted me which tells me things have gotten really bad. Fortunately, this company still had my resume on file and phoned. In an ironic twist, one of the HR specialists told me that RNs are actually hard to find these days. Maybe because no one is resigning from their job these days. I know I won't be.

Jeanette

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