I have yet another pregnant coworker.
I want to predict that I will be okay with this one, and then I immediately want to revoke that prediction, because what if I’m not? But I feel like I’ve set myself up for success here.
The other day, a few of us girls happened to be in the back room at the same time, and this one girl, Melissa – who is married and has a 5-year-old already – mentioned that she’d felt like puking all day, and wondered if they’d let her go home.
“You’re not pregnant, are you? Or are you?” I called from behind a stack of apple boxes, bracing myself for the response.
“Yeah. I am,” she said quietly. “Which is why I don’t think they’d let me go, even if I did puke.” (I’m not sure how that works; I’m not sure what the rules are, except that usually if you vomit at work, you automatically have to leave. I guess morning sickness isn’t a contagion risk, so you have to stay?)
“Wow, way to be blunt,” the other girl said to me, after she and I had walked out onto the floor. “I love it.”
“I have to do that, to protect myself,” I explained.
I shook my head. Not that I didn’t want to tell her, there’s just a time and a place. And the middle of the grocery store in front of our bosses and our customers is not it. And anyway, she wasn’t the one I owed the explanation to.
I walked back outside and found Melissa. “Sorry for being blunt and possibly offending you,” I said.
“Oh, you didn’t offend me. It’s just that not everybody knows yet, so we’re trying to keep quiet about it.”
“I have to do that to protect myself,” I said again. “I, um…” She was looking at me – I hate to say it – expectantly. “I lost one, two years ago, and we decided not to try again for a while, and I can be pretty messed up about it.”
“I know how that is. I lost two,” she said, “right after each other, about a year ago. The first one, I hadn’t even gone to the doctor yet, and then the second one, we weren’t trying again that soon, but I got pregnant. And we went to the doctor, and they did an ultrasound and – I should have realized something was wrong, because they didn’t act excited or really even show me the picture, they just said I must not be as far along as we’d thought I was, and to come back in a week.”
“So a few days after that appointment, I started spotting, and even though with the first one, it had happened naturally, I didn’t want to wait like a week and go through all that again, so I just told them to give me the pills – they’re the pills they use to induce labor, and you stick them up in you to break everything up and help it come out faster. And I’m so sorry I did that. The pain was worse than when I had [my son]; I was throwing up because the cramps were so bad.”
“And then a bunch of my friends got pregnant like right after that, and they were all having girls. I couldn’t go to any of the showers; I just told them I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t make it. They all have, like, one-month-old babies now.”
I nodded, as I realized the crop of pregnant women during the worst of Melissa’s post-miscarriage pain included the last two pregnant coworkers, whose daughters were born in August and September.
“It’s weird,” she went on, “because [miscarriage] is so common, but you never hear about how painful it is, emotionally. There are other girls here who have had them, too, but nobody ever really talks about it.”
“Anyway, this time I feel… I don’t want to say I feel good about it, because I’m still scared, but I went in for an early ultrasound at six weeks, and you could clearly see and hear the heartbeat. Which is another reason why I think they knew the last one wasn’t right, even though they said it looked fine and it was just early. So I’m at nine weeks now, and I’m still scared, but I feel… confident.”
And I, having found out about this latest pregnant woman on my own terms, and knowing that she understands exactly where I’m coming from? I feel confident too.