I was pregnant throughout the summer of 2008. Hot summer days often remind me of swollen feet, Braxton Hicks contractions, and sweaty anticipation. Six years later I still sympathize with pregnant women this time of year.
I became pregnant within the first month of a new job. Shortly before my son suffered breathing problems, which led to two months of sickness and later surgery. Needless to say the first year at my current job was tense. Would I make it past the ninety day probationary period? Would I be able to manage having a sick child and pregnancy? How in the world were we going to pay the mounting medical bills?
As a result of these worries, I took a bit of time informing my employer that I was pregnant. I didn’t gain a lot of weight, but I was about five months along when I confirmed I would in fact need maternity leave. My boss actually smiled, congratulated me, and laughed that I took so long to let her know. Later I discovered she actually has an odd talent of knowing when someone is pregnant. For example, year’s later she actually asked a work colleague, “Do you know your pregnant?”. True story, my colleague did not suspect until that very moment. She was in fact pregnant. Clearly I had very little to worry about. My employer was more than supportive and at my workplace often jokes that there are at least three pregnancies at a time.
I went into labor at work following a rather dramatic ‘medical event’. I typically spent two days out of the office for outside meetings and was thankfully not driving that afternoon. When it was clear I needed to be taken to the hospital, I had a room full of folks offering me assistance. My memory is pretty sketchy, but what I have been told is rather amazing. When someone used my cell to call my wife, who directed us to the ‘right’ hospital and to support what was a rather chaotic delivery.
I spent one week in the hospital. I visited the NICU almost everyday for a month, and spent two months recovering at home with our daughter. When it was time to return to work, they allowed me to work part-time for another two months. All of these events took place before my first performance appraisal.
Over the past six years, I have had various people fill in the details of that day. Sometimes I’m glad I don’t remember on my own and other times I’m a glutton for information about one of the most traumatic events in my life. It is strange to share such a deeply personal experience at work and yet, I am so grateful to have such a supportive employer. My job was truly the best place to work that year!