On Tuesday, I told my boss that I am pregnant.
I didn't really want to tell her so early, at 10.5 weeks. It feels weird...and dangerous (this is my 7th pregnancy after all....and I have no children). But we are in the process at work of hiring a post-doc, and my boss was vaguely considering trying to hire two, but leaning towards only one. She really should hire two, in general, I think. And especially if I am going to be out for a few months next fall/winter.
I also am strongly suspecting I will not go to California for my two talks. I needed to let her know that as well. The Rochester talk must go on - there is a contract, and there is no one else to give it.
I had previously told one person on my team, who is in a senior position to me, and who knows my boss very well, that I am pregnant. She is a good friend and knows that we have had a long road with many losses. She has been advising me to tell my boss for some time. Has said that my boss will be very supportive and protective. That my boss is smart enough to know that I have been married five years, am on the older side, probably want a family, and obviously don't have kids. That she probably knows we've had some troubles, and that she would be a big advocate, but only if I tell her. I was scared, though. One, I think it is weird, and too personal, to tell too early unless someone is a good friend. Two, I wasn't sure she would be super supportive. She's a tough woman, and a single mom, and I honestly thought she might go either way. She's not the most sympathetic in general. She's internationally known, a big player in a male-dominated academic medicine clinical research area, and has the savvy and the thick body armor to prove it. Also, although we work on a larger team of clinician-researchers, the three of us (my boss, my friend, and me) make up the core of the team. I didn't think my boss would be very excited about me maybe not being at my best and then taking a bunch of time off.
But because of the hiring and presentation issues, I felt I had to take the risk and speak up.
So I met her in her office alone after another meeting, told her a few other things of importance, and then slid this in at the end. Saying I knew it was early, but for planning purposes, and because I trusted and respected her, I thought she had to know. That anything could happen and I very well may not have a baby, but that just in case, I needed to tell her.
And damn if she wasn't just wonderful.
Her response was so genuine that I almost teared up (the pregnancy hormones make this easier, but still...). She was thrilled for me, for my husband Will. She said she wanted to do anything possible to make things easier on me. When I told her I might not want to go to the California conference, she said no problem. I told her I started to miscarry in 2010 at another work-related conference and that I associated the travel with miscarriage, even though it was likely not causal. She said that I shouldn't go to California. That I "don't have to do exposure therapy during my pregnancy" by traveling to a conference if that makes me nervous. That she would try to travel in my place (!) and that if not, we'd have someone else give my talks. That if I didn't want to fly to Rochester, I could drive or take the train and take more time off. That if I still felt that was too stressful, I could just cancel it, contract be damned.
She did ask me pointedly if I would be returning to work after I have the baby ("after I have the baby" - ha! ha! egads!). I looked her in the eye and said yes.
She asked if I was 100% sure.
I said I've never done this before, so I can't be 100% sure (she started looking upset at this), but that I spent many years training to enter this field (8, including my post-doctoral fellowship), and that I loved my work. That seemed to mollify her a bit.
She said I'm entitled to three months off, and that she assumed I would take all of it. Then she said that given how long we have struggled for this baby, I might want to take additional time off, another month or two, and that she would strongly support that. This shocked me, and moved me. I told her that was wonderful, but that right now I really can't imagine that I'm even going to have a baby, so I can't really envision the time off aspect yet. That much further along, should I be so lucky to get that far, I would look into that, if that was ok. She seemed to understand. But WOW. That she would suggest I could take extra time off...that's pretty amazing.
She also asked when I planned to tell our larger team. I said I hadn't really thought too much about it yet, but I thought it wouldn't be for a long while. Maybe 20 weeks? 25 weeks? She said she would keep things to herself no problem and she understood that emotionally that would feel a lot safer for me to wait a long time, but she cautioned me I might not be able to wait that long. She said people started asking her when she was about 12 weeks pregnant (the audacity!) and she ended up telling sooner than she planned because of that. So hmmm....may need to get clothes that are roomier to try to buy myself more time...some of my regular clothes are a bit snug already.
It was really scary to take the risk and tell my boss. I hope I didn't tempt fate by telling.
Symptomwise, things are a bit strange. I was feeling a little better, but then I actually threw up on Tuesday night and was feeling very nauseated last night as well. Fatigue had seemed to be lifting too but then yesterday I felt like I was hit by a truck. And headaches! I'm not a headache person, but blinding headaches almost every day for at least part of the day. That was a bit of a surprise. Not sure what's causing it. So, symptoms are still coming and going. All of which is fine. More than fine. Bring them on! I am just so, so grateful to be this far along. I still really can't believe this is happening, one day at a time, pregnant as far as I know. I had really given up on the idea that this could happen for me.
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