So I met my hubby at 15 (thats a story for another time) and have wanted to be a Mummy for as long as I can remember. But everyone said I was too "smart" to be a stay at home Mum, so off to Uni I trudged...
So I kicked my science degrees ass, and was offered a place with one of the uni's top research teams to do my Honours. What a FANTASTIC opportunity! They approached ME! So I started filling out the paperwork, then broke down. I was devastated. Why? Because I felt like I was choosing a career over a family, as honours leads to PhD, a four year round trip. So I turned it down. YES, it was a fantastic opportunity, but I wasn't going to take it because it was an opportunity for someone else. Not me. It wasn't what I wanted. So I enrolled in a Masters of Clinical Biochemistry instead, one year then I could enter the workforce... then by my calculations, work for a year then get maternity leave!!!!
Fate is a funny thing, and I ended up getting a lab job before I started my Masters, and figured out that I didn't need it! I had the job I was going back to uni for. So there I was. Fresh out of uni. In a lab. Handling sick people's blood... FUUUUUUCK!
So it turns out I was very good at my job, I took pride in being efficient and accurate. It really was a great job! To be more specific I ran tests on blood, urine, fluids, cerebrospinal fluid, and yes, the occasional poo. Once I was involved in a trial which found me diluting poo with poo... I DON'T recommend it! When my boss told me the experiment didn't work and I would be doing it again, I almost DIED. We did have a fume hood so you couldn't smell it, but there is only so much mixing and measuring you can do with a sick patients diarrhoea without wanting to hurl! I think I was pregnant at the time too...
It wasn't all shitty work (haha), actually we didn't handle poo much at all. I actually got to do some really cool stuff as well, which involved being in the operating theatres (I didn't touch the patient, just their blood). I also got to help out with clinical trials... sometimes using my own blood!
More than playing with blood and maintaining analysers, I loved my colleagues. OK, not ALL of them, some of them made me want to scream, but I had great friends. We laughed A LOT. We were in a unique position, where we could make a difference to patients without contacting the public. So we could have a giggle without being insensetive. And giggle we did... my Supervisor was great, I could tell him I hated him 3 times a day and he knew I was kidding. I once told my boss he was evil (as a JOKE, God!) and got ranted at for an hour... pfft.
The laboratory is not a good place for a clutz though... and I am a massive clutz!! I ended up in emergency twice in my 3 year career, once for getting my fingers crushed in the centrifuge (no major damage, but DANG it hurt!) and once for getting blood splashed in my eyes. That one sucked. Imaging lying on a hospital bed with SUCTION CAPS applied to your eyeballs, while freezing saline is pumped over them... not pleasant. Meanwhile worst case scenarios are running through your head... that I have contracted HIV and can never have kids! Luckily we knew whose blood it was, and they were all clear. PHEW! Apart from that, the worst injury I got was from a molten hot pie from the cafeteria! That REALLY hurt!
It was not the best being pregnant in that environment, I had to be extra careful about my infection risks etc. We actually perform pregnancy tests, so when I was TTC I would try to bleed myself on night work to see if I was pregnant! It didn't work, though, I am too much of a wuss and I couldn't get enough blood out of a finger prick. Had to go the ol' pee stick option!
I do miss work... being challenged on a daily basis, the satisfaction of doing a job well, my friends. But I won't be going back. Technically I still work there, I am on 2 years unpaid leave, and am entitled to another 2 years if I get pregnant again in that time. But it is just an insurance policy. Like, in case my husband loses both arms and legs! And even then, we will call that plan Z... I am exactly where I need to be, exactly where I have always wanted to be...
With my beautiful daughter!!!