I worked for the first time in about 10 weeks last night.
None of my colleagues could believe I was being told to go back to work at this stage of the game (30 weeks pregnant), but at this point I’ve gotten stubborn. I had very legitimate back issues when I was written off sick at the end of January. I couldn’t stand up straight, sit or even sleep without pain.
Obviously since I haven’t been working I haven’t had to stand for such long periods of time and the pain has, for the most part, eased. That makes sense, but the part that doesn’t make sense to me is that now the physicians and the gynecologist seem to think that since my back pain is much less that I should be able to go back to doing what was causing the pain before: standing for several hours with no place to sit. Thing is, when I was 20 weeks pregnant, I was also a bra cup size smaller, about 15 pounds lighter and the baby wasn’t 3 and a half pounds of very active child.
I’ve been told to go to the work doctor by the other doctors but basically been told by everyone else not to go that route because it’s very difficult to get a work doctor to write someone off of work. This, from what I gather, is because if I’m written off sick my health insurance takes over paying me (at 60% of my usual wage) while if I’m written off due to work conditions not being good for me, my employer has to pay me 100% for the time I’m written off. So obviously, work doctors aren’t in a hurry to tell people to stay home while their company pays them like they’re working full time.
From what I understand (and from what I’ve seen with my two other pregnant colleagues), in the case of pregnancy most doctors understand this and simply put pregnant women in work situations like mine on sick leave till the start of the maternity leave. Obviously, none of the doctors I’ve seen follow this philosophy. Piet very much wanted me to try to find a doctor who would keep me on sick leave until my maternity leave automatically started (May 23) but I’m done playing musical doctors. I decided to go back to work and work the 5 weeks until I could officially start maternity leave (May 23) and if my back starts up again I’ll go to the work doctor, hopefully with a note from my manager saying the work concitions simply aren’t fit for a pregnant woman almost halfway through her last trimester. Otherwise I’ll be working until the 23rd.
So how did it go last night?
Not bad. It’s been sunny and very warm here the past week so business has slowed to a near halt. It gave me time to sit extra and my coworkers didn’t seem to mind that I was sitting extra. In fact they encourage me to, while I sat there feeling guilty. My back started getting crampy and achy towards the last 2 hours of my shift, but it wasn’t anything debilitating. My feet are killing me, not only because I haven’t stood that long in a couple months, but also, like I said, I’ve gained a significant amount of weight and it’s a lot more pressure on my feet that it was before.
The main issue was actually that only the skinniest of my coworkers can get past me in the kiosk. One side of the kiosk is very close to a wall in the station and the door only opens halfway and I discovered I no longer can squeeze through that door, so I can only go in and out through one side. Both of my coworkers, although they were being as careful as the could, were bumping into me constantly and for one I was constantly having to press my stomach into the counter in front of me to let her past and it wasn’t easy. We got stuck several times.
I really want to do my best and try to make this work as long as possible. I’d hate to come back for a week and then leave again, even though I’ve already been replaced until October or November. I didn’t mind the customers last night (2 months is a long enough to have made me less jaded I guess) and I really liked smiling and laughing with some coworkers again.
I’m just not sure how long I’ll be able to fit in the kiosk with them.