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Jeanette's Pregnancy Journal

Week 20
~ The Cat Is Out of the Bag!

So, this is what the big 2-0 feels like! I am happy to be here. Just twenty more to go. Please note, I am in no hurry for my baby's arrival. Not yet. Each one of us needs every one of those twenty weeks to prepare ourselves individually and collectively to the idea of a new family addition. Right now it is still somewhat an abstract thought. Nothing abstract for me though because I feel this baby moving around, see my uterus expanding, and know that I am not the same person energy wise that I once was.

The beginning of my 20th week (fifth month) has been christined by the start of a new job and complete exhaustion when I arrive home.

I am in the first of a 3-week orientation program. We sit and listen to a stream of people and look at their colorful power point presentations. Talk about serious information overload, but that pales in compare to my sore bottom. The sitting all day is painful. This is not my first desk nursing job, but my tush just seems to go painfully numb most likely due to the increased weight. I felt a weird sensation in my legs and feared that I might have deep vein thrombosis. I am still alive so I must be okay. We do get an hour for lunch and I am determined to walk as much as possible during the lunch hour because the sitting is too much. Although I usually wind up taking a power nap in my car.

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I am hoping that no one in my training group pays too much attention to my ticks. I rub my stomach a lot, almost instinctively. Is that a pregnant lady thing? And, I frequently scratch my itchy breasts as discretely as possible. I arrive home and despite my fatigue the last thing I want to do is sit down. So, I will sweep out the driveway or get busy with some household chore. In lieu of this, I am just happy to be employed at this time.

On the first day of orientation I sat there wondering when and how I was going to inform my superiors about my pregnancy. I absolutely hate secrets (although some in certain situations are justified) and felt compelled to reveal my pregnant state before it became visibly noticeable. I would feel awful if someone accused me of being dishonest or thought me untrustworthy because I was not forthcoming. Plus, being the only non-Hispanic "gringo" in this company I did not want to draw anymore attention to myself than I already do. I flipped through the company policy guide on sick leave and maternity leave to get a feel of things, but still lacked confidence and assurance that it was in my best immediate interest to inform them until an exercise was introduced.

We were given one half of a common adage and were sent out to find the person who possessed the other half for a mutual interview with them. I had hoped that I would get either the company President or the Human Resources lady that hired me. Thankfully, I got the latter. As I sat in her office interviewing her when I noticed a marked lactation room and a woman exit with bagged milk in hand. I just took that as my cue. Besides I was tired of this internal debate wearing me down. Either this company, which obviously hired me because of my experience, references, impressionable interviews, and Spanish-speaking skills, respects family and women's reproduction--a completely normal part of our life cycles--or they don't.

After interviewing her, I asked if I could speaking with her privately. She agreed and we went into a neighboring conference room. "It is important for me to let you know that my husband and I are expecting a baby and I would like to reassure you that I intend on returning and staying with the company." If she was stunned or felt bamboozled, her face did not betray her. "Oh wonderful! Please let me know if I or your supervisor can be of any assistance," was all she said. She did not ask about my due date or how much time I might be out. Nothing. It was short and sweet. As we left out of the room, I thanked her for her time and we parted ways.

I was afraid that some action might be taken against me. Instead, I showed up every subsequent day and never heard anything else about it. I must take her response as a genuine one. I also believe that I must be protected by some law. Nevertheless, I feel great that my secret is out and even better that I informed her the very first day of orientation. It just looks and feels better that way.

Some of those other jobs that I applied to have started calling now. Go figure. Attending the interviews briefly crossed my mind, but this is where I need to be for the time being. I am not going through that: "Guess what, I'm pregnant thing" again. So, that was another one of my milestones this week.

Another milestone was meeting with my thesis advisor and being given the green light to schedule a date to defend. This is just absolutely wonderful! It will be the third week in February (my 22nd week of pregnancy), two weeks from now. It has been such a long time coming marred with difficulties. I could not be happier to see this chapter of my life come to an end. It has run its course and it must come to a close in order to make room for my new baby. Imagine having a newborn and a Master's thesis over your head. Guess which one is going on the back burner? Not the baby. So, this just fits perfectly.

Jeanette

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