Robert "Rocket" Romano schmoozes a strapping young woman by telling her how exciting it is to work at County. They stop at the elevator, where Strapping says that she's intrigued, and that she'll be in touch. They shake hands, and Romano smarms, "I look forward to that." Romano watches as Strapping gets on the elevator, and turns to see Elizabeth standing directly behind him and fixing him with the stink-eye. She's wearing maternity scrubs and has her hands on her hips, the better to stick out her belly and brandish her womb like a shield as she demands, "Is she another one of my replacements?" Romano's all hearty, "Lizzie! My, how you've grown! How're you feeling?" She smiles tightly and then makes with the snarling: "I was doing wonderfully until I got in to work." Romano ambles off, casually asking, "What 'work'? I thought you were on bed rest!" Elizabeth huffs, "See, I wish people would stop saying that. I took a little time off to recoup some energy, but now I'm fine!" Romano couldn't care less: "Well, that would explain the baby monitor strapped to your belly -- or are you just glad to see me?" Heh. Elizabeth protests, "I spent forty-eight hours in the hospital. Yes, I've been doing home monitoring, but I can assure you I'm ready, willing, and more than able to return to work!" But...wouldn't he have to get a replacement for you for when you actually do give birth? Couldn't he have been interviewing Strapping for that position? Even if you never spend another pre-delivery day in or near a bed, you'll still have to take off, say, a couple of weeks to a month after the baby's born, right? So...isn't he allowed to replace you then? Do you think you can perform surgery on the porch at Valium Villa while the GreeneSpawn takes an afternoon nap? Because you can't. So stow it. Romano whatevers, "Uh huh. For how long? A week? Look, I appointed you Associate Chief so that I'd have a lieutenant on the front lines that I could count on. Now, you want to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, you have my blessing! Go forth and multiply! But this is why surgery's an Old Boys' Club." Elizabeth sputters, "Have you any idea of the hospital's policy on sexual harassment and discrimination?" "We still have one of those?" Romano dismissively asks. Elizabeth snaps, "Yes, we do, and I'd be so happy to reacquaint you on the section of maternity leave." But...you're not taking your leave! My god, R. Scott Gemmill, you are not making it at all clear what Elizabeth is asking -- nor why, other than that she's a big bitch, she's getting so upset! Everyone is fine with her being pregnant! No one has a problem with her taking any leave! But she's not taking it! She's still working! So what's at issue?! It's totally opaque, and the result is to make her seem like she's completely unhinged and hysterical. Anyway, Romano has no interest in her histrionics, and says he'd rather do a bowel resection. Elizabeth threateningly says, "You know, Robert, I read somewhere about a pregnant woman who killed her husband and got off on a temporary insanity defense because of her hormone imbalance!" Romano yells, "Okay! You want to work! Fine! We're presenting three cases for M and M tomorrow. Pull the charts from medical records, track down the charts from Radiology, and get the slides from Pathology." Elizabeth petulantly spits, "No! No! I want back in surgery!" Yeah, I want you operating on me. It would be worse having her operate angry than it was for her to operate when she was having that crisis in confidence a few weeks ago. Romano breezes, "First things first. Then, you can set up the projection microscope and make thirty-five-millimetre slides of the gross pathology specimens." Elizabeth sarcastically asks, "Anything else?" Romano replies, "Yeah! Make sure there's coffee and donuts for a hundred -- especially the ones with little sprinkles on top." She scowls at the elevator as the doors close. Get bent, control freak.
I feel I must take a sidebar, here, to explain my position. Believe me, I am all for working mothers. My mom worked throughout my childhood and I thought she was the bomb, and still do. I had no problem being in day care -- loved it, in fact -- and as an adult I know she would have been miserable and bored if she didn't work full-time outside the home (and I know that choice is not for everyone, and I'm not judging those who do choose to work full-time within the home, because that's a hard job, too; I'm just talking about my own mom, here). But my point is that Elizabeth can't have her cake and eat it, too. Having made the choice to have and keep her baby, she has to accept the fact that every other facet of her life, particularly those related to her career, will not remain exactly the same. She will have to take some time off. She will have to delegate the responsibilities of her position to another person, at least for a time. She has to chill, in short -- or, at least, the screenwriters have to make her motivation more clear, because I still don't know, after transcribing nearly every line of dialogue from that scene, exactly what it is that she's so upset and paranoid about. I gather that we're supposed to think that, because she was arguing with Romano, he's automatically wrong, and a bastard, besides, but I thought he was being pretty reasonable. Of course she has every right to have as many kids as she wants, and when. But as a hospital Chief of Staff, he has to have a surgeon on staff upon whom he may rely. If you were going under the knife, would you want that knife to be wielded by a woman who'd already undergone pre-term labour, and for whom the possibility of a repeat was so likely that she had to walk around with a fetal monitor strapped to her womb 24/7? I am 100% dyed-in-the-wool feminist, and I wouldn't, because her health would always be her paramount concern -- as well it should -- and I'd rather be in the hands of a surgeon who didn't have a pre-existing condition that might cause her to lurch over me screaming in pain while she was performing my arterial bypass (God forbid). I'm saying, just as Mark shouldn't have been treating patients when he couldn't remember the word for hepatitis, so, too, should Elizabeth be at home kicking back when she could go into labour again at any moment. And she shouldn't be so egotistical not to recognize that her physical limitations do affect the lives and well-being of others, and should just take her fucking mat leave, already, and quit being such a drama queen about it. If her job is gone when she comes back from leave, she has a lawsuit. Besides which, if her job is so much more important to her than the baby's health is, why is she having the kid at all? Why, finally, aren't the writers making this plot line more clear, for god's sake? ARRRRGGGGH!