Murphy’s Law of Jobhunting

Will this be my last post before I give birth? Maybe. Or maybe she’ll come late and I’ll be back in November moaning about how sick I am of being pregnant. I did think she’d be late for a long time, just because I’ve read that first pregnancies tend to last 41 weeks instead of 40, and myself and one of my sisters were both quite late (the sister had to be induced). For some reason I can’t seem to let go of the idea that my mother’s pregnancies somehow influence how mine will go, despite all evidence to the contrary.

So here’s how it’s really going:

Had another monitoring session yesterday, during which I had a big-ish contraction right at the beginning. The midwives asked me if I could feel it, to which I replied no (actually I did feel a bit gassy right then but it didn’t occur to me to say so). Later my gynocologist told me that contractions were somewhat like pressing a tube of toothpaste: if you press in the middle, it just goes to either side and nothing happens (you don’t feel much), but if you press from the end, it’s stronger, and, well, stuff comes out. Basically, even though it was a big-ish contraction, the fact that I didn’t feel it – since it was a Braxton-Hicks – doesn’t mean I’m not going to feel the real contractions once they start.

She examined the cervix, found the baby’s head very low – apparently she’s fully engaged now, which means her entire head is below my pubic bone – but the cervix was only half a centimeter dilated, which isn’t that much. This means that depending on how active she is and how fast the cervix “ripens” (ew), baby will probably come very fast, so as soon as the contractions start I should make my way to the hospital. She also said it could happen earlier that we thought, perhaps within the next week or so, which would be cool as long as it’s not Monday night or Tuesday morning…

Which is where we talk about the title of this blog. Nearly three years ago, my boyfriend applied for a job as an advisor at the job center here in Belgium. They have 100 posts to fill. Part of the recrutement process involved taking a written test. He was marked in the top 20 among over 200 applicants, so you’d think he’d have been amongst the first candidates to get an interview. When he didn’t hear anything from them, he rang them up, emailed them, and was eventually told he was still on the waiting list for an interview, and to ring back next month.

So he’s been ringing back every month for more than two years, asking when he’s going to get this interview. Note that having to wait years just for an interview for a job in public service isn’t that unusual here. You keep looking for other jobs while you’re waiting, you do temp work, and if by some miracle you find better work elsewhere, that’s their loss.

My boyfriend did not find better work elsewhere, despite his efforts. As my due date drew closer, he’d stopped looking, thinking to make the most of his free time to spend time with me and the baby once she’s born, before searching again.

Yesterday they sent him an email telling him to come in for an interview – and another written test – on the 27th of October, which is next Tuesday. I’m due on Sunday 1st of November. The interview is in a town 30 minutes away, in the opposite direction to the maternity, which is also about 30 minutes away.

We’ve just been told the baby might be coming early. And probably very fast.

He rang them up to ask if he could come in at a later date. Turns out there’s been around 100 different test / interview sessions, and he – by some random twist of bad luck – was put in the very last one. There will be no more, so it’s take it or leave it.

Is this job worth the risk? Well, it’s a public service job, which means a lot in terms of job security. You can’t really be fired from those unless you do something really bad, like murder your boss (you could probably get away with murdering a client, the government doesn’t care much about those). It’s in a sector he’s very interested in, and he’d probably be good at it. Maybe too good – everyone knows job advisors aren’t meant to help out their clients too much – but that’s ok, because like I said, job security. I’m unlikely to be able to get a stable, well-paid job for the foreseeable future for various, infuriating reasons I won’t bore you with (in a word: bureaucracy), so it’s important that he finds one if he can.

We’ve asked a friend with a car who lives nearby to come and stay with me on the Tuesday morning just in case, and should I happen to give birth on Monday night, he’s still going to turn up and say “I know I look like shit because my girlfriend gave birth last night but I’m here anyway because I’m REALLY MOTIVATED.”

Even the gynocologist agreed that it’s worth the risk, not because there is no risk but because she knows what the system is like here.

I’d have preferred not to have this kind of stress put on us so close to the due date, but some things in life you can’t control.

Well, I mean, you can try. I’m certainly encouraging our baby to come a little sooner by going for walks etc. and today I bought some raspberry leaf tea, on my haptonomist’s advice. Note about raspberry leaf tea: it looks a lot like weed.

The most ghetto herbal tea you’ll ever drink.

And it made me very hungry after drinking it, which makes it even more suspicious in my opinion; luckily it just smells and tastes like mild nettle tea. No, not like raspberries. Sorry to disappoint.

Apparently (Bf read this on the Internetz), vets give it to dogs to induce labour. Not sure how I should feel about that; as it is I don’t really care much as long as it helps things along. I’m starting on one cup a day, indications say to gradually go up to two or three cups around the due date. It’s also supposed to help the womb recover after childbirth.

Despite being thoroughly sick of being pregnant (and baby is getting sick of it too, I can feel her stretching out against my cervix and pushing her feet over my lower ribs, which shouldn’t be anatomically possible but she’s doing it anyway), when my gynocologist – who is going on holiday the day before I’m due – offered to induce me the day before she leaves, I was hesitant. In fact, I still am. On the one hand, it would be reassuring to have her with me, since she knows me best. On the other hand, I’ve often read – and been told – that induced childbirth is more intense, the pain harder to manage because the contractions come on strong immediately, without the gradual build-up that allows you to get used to it somewhat.

I have a week to think about it, but I’m probably going to decline. Much as I’d love to have her there, my instinct balks at the idea of forcing things along artifically – which might sound contradictory when I’ve just bought a tea that’s supposed to induce labour. I know there’s another woman due on the same day as me who’s stressing about it a lot more than I am, and who would probably benefit more from the opportunity than I would. Besides, if the baby does come early, I won’t need to be induced for my gynocologist to be present.

Yesterday she said that of all the pregnant women she’d examined that morning, our baby was the most perfectly presented. So I’m not that worried about giving birth. And since we’ve finally put the maternity bag (well, suitcase) in the car, I feel like she can come whenever she’s ready. Except Tuesday morning. That would really suck.


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