I've got more pregnancy stuff for ya.
A firefighter took a promotion exam just 12 hours after giving birth because of a state law requiring all promotion candidates to be tested at once.
Beda Kent gave birth January 10, slept for a little more than two hours and popped some painkillers before taking the exam. She scored 104 out of 110 and expects to return from maternity leave in March as a captain with a $6,000 raise.
When she was six months' pregnant, Kent learned the test would be given on January 11 -- just four days after her due date.
She asked if a proctor could administer the exam at the hospital if necessary, but was told there could be no exceptions except for firefighters on active military duty.
After her daughter was born, Kent left the infant named Brina Sue at the hospital within hours.
Kent, who has worked for the Houston Fire Department for 12 years, opted to take the test because missing it would have meant waiting at least two years before the next promotion exam.
But, she said, the department should accommodate those with legitimate medical excuses.
"The law said that they didn't have to, but they could have sent a proctor," Kent said. "The test is in a sealed envelope. It shouldn't have been a problem."
The Fire Department had an ambulance standing by at the test site in case she needed anything, but it would have been so much better if she could have taken the test without leaving her hours-old baby.
But the inflexibility of the Houston Fire Department pales in comparison to this:
After the exam, Kent's insurance did not allow her to be readmitted to the hospital so she and her husband returned every four to five hours to nurse the new baby.
"We made the best of it for the next 36 hours," Kent said. "It was tough."
ARRRGH! That's corporate medicine for you. A postpartum woman needs to be resting, not driving back and forth to a hospital five times a day. And even if Ms. Kent was no longer a patient, she should have been allowed to stay there as a part of her daughter's health care plan. If I had been little Brina Sue's pediatrician, I would have written an order directing that she have unlimited 24-hour access to whatever feeding method her parents feel is best for her. (Boy golly, a 4-to-5-hour feeding schedule would never have worked for JG. When he was a newborn, he nursed every 40-60 minutes!)
Kudos to Ms. Kent for her determination. But if we value motherhood as much as we say we do, let's not make moms jump through those kind of hoops.
UPDATE -- Rather than make another post I'll just append this cheesy celebrity story: Laurence Fishburne accused of pregnancy discrimination.