I’ve lost count of how many people haven’t come into work because they either have a sick kid at home or the weather in New Jersey is so bad that they couldn’t possibly make it in to Manhattan, which is where I work. There is public transportation available, but for some reason, whenever there is snow, there simply isn’t a New Jersey employee to be found. Maybe they’re afraid of snow? I’m not sure.
The reason I mention this is because I took off a few days last week for my IVF. Monday was the retrieval, Thursday was the transfer and Friday was the day I watched crap TV while trying to comfort my sore uterus.
When I had asked for the whole week off, my boss was not at all agreeable. As you may remember, I told him about the clinical trial in the hopes that he would be understanding and flexible. It became clear by his reaction however that I was wrong and he was anything but. Instead, I ended up getting a lecture about how busy things are at the office and at some point, I needed to ask myself if I’m capable of keeping up with work and dealing with “this fertility thing”. This fertility thing? He made it sound like a hobby. It had the same tone to it as someone saying, “When are you going to give up on this whole acting dream of yours? Be happy with your job as an accountant!”
I tried to explain to him that neither myself of the clinic could reason with my ovaries on the state of our current work flow. My ovaries have follicles and these follicles know nothing of the business world. All of us: me, my husband, my family, the doctors, my therapist, and even my boss are basically at the mercy of my female organs.
His response was, “Look, we had four kids without any problems so I don’t know how it all works for you…”
I said, “I’m happy that you don’t know how it works. I wish I didn’t know how it works because it’s annoying.”
“Well, I don’t know if I would use the word annoying.” he said.
“You don't have to use that word because I just did. It is annoying but again, you wouldn’t know that.” I was losing my patience.
As he launched into a monologue where he tried to be sensitive while stressing his needs, I began to think about the Oscars and how they get winners to wrap up their speeches. Wouldn’t that be great if you could do that in real life? If someone is going on and on about something you think is total B.S., you could just start humming an orchestral piece and get them to shut the hell up. Think about it. I think it could seriously catch on as an effective device.
In the end, we agreed that any day I could come in - I would. This sucked donkey balls as having the whole week off would have been a huge help but I really had no choice. However, as far as he knew, I only took off Thursday and Friday. The reality though is that I actually took off Monday as well, but he never knew it. Many were out that day for a meeting, including him, so thanks to the assistance of a few of my co-workers and my handy blackberry, we pulled off ‘Operation-No-Really-Jay’s-in-the-Office”. I think at one point in the day, I even emailed someone, “What do you mean you don’t see me at my desk? I’m sitting right there!”
Working Tuesday and Wednesday was not at all fun. I was uncomfortable, hormonal, tired, bloated and frankly, pissed off and resentful that I had to be there. If you could take off because you had a sick kid, why couldn’t I take off in order to acquire a sick kid?
This week, when I returned to the office, I received an email from my boss double-checking that I used my vacation days for Thursday and Friday. Had I known those two days were my vacation, I would have taken more pictures to show my colleagues when I returned. Never mind photos of me sunning myself on a beach! Here’s a picture of me in a hospital gown getting knocked unconscious!
Better yet, perhaps I should have sent him a post card, “Wish You Were Here!” with the words, “So I could stick a needle in your vagina and extract your eggs!” hand written in.
“Fertility things” (as my boss so delicately put it) are medical issues. They are not hobbies, vacations or even something I would describe as remotely fun. I would think they would count as either sick days or perhaps if we all signed a petition, we can get “infertility days” instated.
It’s also worth noting that a woman who holds a similar role as me at my day job is off this entire week on a cruise. Why she gets to take a cruise without getting as much crap as I did remains a mystery. Maybe my boss likes me better and just doesn’t want me out of the office. Maybe going on a cruise is far more acceptable than getting an invitro. Maybe if I had the invitro in New Jersey, this all would have been a non-issue. I haven’t a clue. The only thing I do know is this whole matter was handled poorly.
For now though, I’m focusing more on my two week wait. I’m following the doctor’s orders, trying to remain calm, taking deep breaths and visualizing Rudy, the lone embryo implanting. Hopefully, this cycle will be successful. For if it is, I’m immediately moving somewhere it snows a lot and giving my kid an ear infection so I can stay home.