When I tell people I work as a newspaper reporter, most often the first reaction I get is, “That sounds like a fun job!” And while there are many not-so-fun aspects of my job, there are plenty of unique events I find myself at—concerts, fairs, an alligator pit (okay, it was the farthest corner on the stage away from the gator during a show with a trained professional but still…)—that I wouldn't have been at otherwise. But I'm very quickly discovering that being pregnant makes the fun parts of my job rather miserable.
Case in point: Last week I took photos at a traveling circus that came to town, an assignment I would have jumped at, normally.
At the time the circus started, it was 91 degrees outside. But the circus wasn't outside, it was inside a tent (which happened to have been set up in an area with no shade) that had enclosed sides (which happened to ensure there would be no breeze) with about 150 other people stacked in bleachers (which happened to make it feel like 120 degrees to a pregnant woman).
Throughout the show (and waiting for everything to start) I wanted to make sure I stayed hydrated so I didn't get sick from all the heat. But the only place to pee (which was guaranteed to happen more than once if I actually stayed hydrated) was a beautiful, blue porta-potty. Besides the obvious gross factor, the porta-potty was even hotter than the circus tent.
Once the show started, I had to maneuver around to get the right shots, bending to shoot through the fence that was set up to keep show critters out of the audience. Kneeling to get the perfect shot is getting much more difficult as my belly gets bigger and bigger. By the time I left (which was when the show was only a little more than halfway over), I had a nice sheen of sweat to take with me to my next assignment, a not-so-fun school board meeting.
After a quick dinner (skipping meals to make it to a meeting on time isn't an option anymore), I headed to the meeting, in an un-airconditioned room sitting in a hard wooden chair for an hour (it was, thankfully, a relatively short meeting). I finally made it home around 9 p.m., making it about a 12-hour day.
The circus was just the start of our busy summer season, and I'm sure I'll have many more run-ins with 90 degree heat and not-so-convenient porta-potties. And once fall gets here, it won't be safe for me to take my usual spot on the football sidelines to take pictures, since I won't be able to waddle away fast enough if a play gets pushed out of bounds, not to mention a mid-season maternity leave.
But at my favorite events to cover for work, there's typically an abundance of little kids. And realizing I'll be able to take my son to the circus (outside of my belly) and get to show him all kinds of new experiences for the first time—that makes the miserable events just a little more bearable.