It’s such a cliche, but morning sickness is around-the-clock for me. After I wake, I lie there motionless, hoping that if I just don’t move, maybe my stomach won’t sound the alarm yet. I try to eat something to calm my stomach before I have to leave for work, but nothing seems to help. Once I get to work, it takes half my energy to not throw up and the other half to try and act like everything’s normal, to get through my day without seeming too distracted by the morning sickness, the being pregnant, and/or the looming unemployment, take your pick. On top of the morning sickness, I’m beyond exhausted but supposed to report to work an hour earlier than I had to in any of the previous 18 months in my old department, and even though they say caffeine in moderation is okay during pregnancy, coffee and Diet Coke are up there with cigarette smoke on the nausea-inducing richter scale.
I haven’t told anyone at work that I’m pregnant. Why would I? I was laid off as a writer last Friday, and I’m on borrowed time working in the museum’s registration department on a project that’s wrapping up in just a few weeks. Around New Year’s I’m getting laid off (again). For real this time. I report my hours and any time off to my “old” supervisor from the exhibits department, but I never see her or any of my friends from that department, and I no longer have a workspace or a computer. I report to duty in the museum’s collections storage room, where I work with and for folks I don’t know at all. I work different hours, I do different tasks, and I wasn’t about to tell HR I’m pregnant when I’m losing my job (again) in just 6 weeks anyway. Suffice to say it’s more than a little awkward – I don’t want my new, very temporary unofficial supervisor and coworkers to know what my official supervisor and friends don’t yet know.
I also don’t want them to suspect that I’m some sort of slacker whiling away the hours napping in a bathroom stall, though I don’t feel like I owe any of these people any explanation. But the morning sickness is becoming increasingly difficult to conceal at work. Until now, I’d had small, occasional bouts of nausea but now it’s unrelenting. Wave after wave hits me, resulting in a complete inability to keep anything down. And I mean anything – water, Ginger Ale, 7-up, Gatorade, rice, saltines. Sometimes I worry that everyone’s noticing that I’m running to the bathroom every 20 minutes. Then I realize that after I’ve worked here more than 18 months, I’m now reduced to being no more than a guest worker on a very temporary visa, and I could give a sh*t if I get “fired.” I’m losing my job one way or another – what do I care?