As some of you may remember, I started the year off informing my boss that I would be doing a clinical IVF trial in February, which would entail me having to miss a few days of work (see here for that blog post). He was not only less than understanding but as memory serves, he actually physically backed away from me when I told him about my infertility issues... as if it were contagious.
Of course, the clinical trial failed and I eventually went on to IVF 3 around the end of May, which also required taking a few more days off from work. Given the current state of the economy and the overall job market, my “infertility trilogy” (which was definitely not as entertaining as ‘The Godfather’ trilogy) wasn’t looked upon kindly. And now that I’m pregnant and have regularly scheduled doctor appointments, I suspect my boss might have been rooting for my infertility to win. Sure, this would have meant I’d remain childless… but much to his happiness, I would also never have had any reason to leave my desk (except possibly to pee).
As you may or may not know, I’m a freelance writer and an occasional stand-up comic (I’m currently on a break from performing to avoid either throwing up or falling asleep while on stage). Even though I get steady writing jobs, it simply does not pay the bills... let alone for three in vitros. Therefore, I have a day job Monday through Friday where I use my B.A. in Theatre to portray a woman who finds expense reports, photocopying and meeting planning as exciting as an orgasm. I’m sure many of you can relate. It’s truly a rare thing to get paid for what you actually enjoy doing. I think Drew Carey said it best when he said, “You hate your job? They have a support group for that. It’s called everyone. They meet at the bar.”
So, until I figure out a way to collect paychecks without working, I have no choice but to remain a corporate ho. Perhaps if I were a REAL ho, I could not only get paid, but I could lay down for a bit during the day… which admittedly… would be nice.
Getting back to my review though: My boss pointed out that I’ve missed work due to several appointments and/or medical issues (the medical issues being infertility and pregnancy). Going forward, he stressed that he needs me to be in the office as much as possible. In theory, I really do understand. My ovaries and uterine lining have had their own timetable this past year and they know nothing of my boss’s schedule. I can totally appreciate that my reproductive trials and tribulations have often cut into work time. However, the fact remains that I am finally pregnant and this means, like it or not, I do have to take time away from work. I mean, I consider myself talented in many, many areas but I’m simply not capable of giving birth in my cubicle without attracting some attention. If that’s what it comes down to, I’ll at least have to make sure I put out a tip jar. Why not?
The thing is even when I have been out of the office after various retrievals, for my polyp removal surgery, while I’ve been on various bed rests and most recently, right after my amnio, I’ve always plugged in to work from home… even when I was still waking up from anesthesia (which explained the very unfortunate email I sent to the Chief Operating Officer of my company telling him how many eggs we got).
My point is that even though I have missed time here and there, nothing has ever been dropped, I’ve gotten my work done and I’ve made every effort to do everything I can to balance both my fertility and my job. And I swear - if he had any idea what it was like to go through infertility treatments, an abundance of hormones and worst of all – negative betas, all while trying to work and appear normal, he’d not only be shocked that I’ve shown up to the office at all but that I've managed not to attack fertile co-workers with my pencil sharpener.
I just can’t help but wonder if perhaps I had never taken time off for the infertility treatments in the first place, whether he might have been more patient about the pregnancy itself. There’s just nothing I can do about that now though. If only in addition to maternity leave, companies considered infertility time. Or how about just a mental health day? Something! Throw an infertile a freaking bone Corporate America!
For now, my focus is on trying to schedule early appointments before work and resist the urge to staple things to my bosses head. Hopefully soon, somehow, my boss and I can start 2012 in nothing but a positive, happy place where he and I never again discuss what is and isn’t coming out of my birth canal and how it affects my day job.
Lastly, I did want to briefly acknowledge the overwhelming response to the Neena Post from last week. I have no idea if she ever checked back or if she read any of your many entertaining, humorous, blunt and hard core responses but I personally was blown away by how insightful they were. I also want to thank you for so many kind, encouraging words. It meant a great deal to me – truly. It was ‘Exhibit A’ that many who read my blog are supportive, generous, thoughtful, funny as hell, good people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.