Pregnant During the Bar Exam
I found out three weeks ago, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about sharing it with the world. I haven’t even shared this with my parents, siblings, or friends yet. It’s not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed because there is no reason for that. My husband and I are absolutely thrilled. I am trying to get past this first trimester before I tell the world, but I thought that writing about my thoughts on this topic could be really beneficial for other women seeking to take the bar exam. If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that I have faced major struggles in dealing with bar exam anxiety. And then this happened:
I just sat for the bar exam while pregnant.
I was exactly 7 weeks pregnant on the first day of the exam. I was really nervous about having to take the bar exam while pregnant. The things that went through my mind were:
- What if I get morning sickness and have to puke during the exam?
- What if I have to get up to pee every 5 minutes?
- What if I just feel exhausted and unable to focus?
- What if the stress causes me to lose the baby, especially since I’m only in the first trimester?
To quell some of my bar exam anxieties and fears, I decided to file an accommodation request with the board of examiners in my jurisdiction. I filled out the form and had it signed by my obstetrician. On the form, I requested to be seated as close to a restroom as possible and stated that I may be experiencing morning sickness and frequent urination as symptoms of pregnancy. My request was approved, and I was seated right next to the restroom. With my earplugs in, being seated near the restroom was absolutely perfect. I didn’t hear any of the noise associated with the foot traffic, door opening/closing, toilets flushing, etc. And I was able to get up and pee. On day one of the bar exam, I peed eight times. On the second day, I peed less frequently because I decided to cut back on water intake, but it was still great to have the restroom right there.
I also wore a pair of terry cloth accupressure anti-nausea wrist bands that my husband found for me at Walgreens. They were Sea-Band Acupressure Wrist Bands. Before the date of the bar exam I hadn’t ever experienced extreme nausea or morning sickness, but I was so worried that the bar exam would be my “lucky day” and all of a sudden, I’d be hurling all day long. Wrong. I had not experienced any vomiting whatsoever until the day after the bar exam was over! Today, I was watching TV and then all of a sudden, blehhhhhhhhhh. I was traumatized. I actually called my husband at work, crying. I hate throwing up! It’s a huge reason why I’m not much of a drinker!
Two weeks before the bar exam, I was really freaking out. I was beyond exhausted. I could not keep my eyes open for more than 8 hours straight – I had to take naps every day and each nap would be for 1-4 hours. How could I study if all I can think about is how exhausted I am and how I need to take a nap? I would try to push myself through practice essays and then eventually I would have to give up. I decided to listen to my body. I took all the naps I wanted. On the dates of the bar exam I wasn’t tired at all. The moment I found out I was pregnant I swore off coffee, as the doctor said too much caffeine can lead to miscarriage. I missed coffee so bad especially because I kept having to see my husband drink it. It’s like he is taunting me. But on the days of the bar exam, I decided to pour myself just a tiny, tiny 1/4 cup of black coffee just to get me going in the morning. It did the trick. I felt great. I did lose focus a few times during the MBE, but I think everyone does once they get to question 50. I had to give myself a little mental pep talk to keep on trucking through it.
I figured that if I fail the bar exam again, then I fail it again. But at least I have something else to look forward to: becoming a mom! Finally, I realized that the bar exam is not the biggest thing going on in my life. The biggest thing going on in my life now is this baby growing inside me. I prayed almost daily for the big man upstairs to look after the baby and to not take this precious gift away from me. I worked daily on managing stress and anxiety by listening to a bar exam hypnosis CD. I downloaded the tracks to my iPhone and I’d listen to them in bed at night before falling asleep, and even during the day when I was starting to feel frustrated or anxious. More on bar exam hypnosis in a later post.