Wednesday, March 23, 2022


We're at the point where I'm doing weekly biophysical tests, so ultrasound, NST, and doctor. If the stars align you can get in and out in under 45 minutes but that's rare. The first appointment happened to be at noon because it was scheduled recently and all the schedules were booked so I had a long wait in between and was there nearly 2 hours in the middle of the day. It's a busy week at work and I was frustrated to be stuck there. I was also really annoyed at the NST - I don't remember them being so uncomfortable. Lay in a specific position without moving for at least 20 minutes while this ancient machine tries to pick up information from a squirmy baby trying to avoid the monitor. Whenever I tried adjusting from the uncomfortable position, the signal would get lost. I was stiff and sore by the time it was over and asked to start the petition to switch out that horrible exam table for a lazy boy chair. The technician was also really grating on my nerves because her response to everything was to laugh. What's so funny?! Clearly I was sour and just overall grumpy at having to be there. When I was finally released I took a moment to breathe in my gratitude that it was just a temporary discomfort and that all the results were ok, BH. 

I've gained 12 lbs to date but feel very, very large. Looking back at my post from last pregnancy, I was at +21 lbs at around this time (27 total), but I'm definitely carrying higher this time. I never felt my belly was in the way last time and this time it feels like it's everywhere. Yesterday I felt very snackish but regardless of the mountains of junk food we've accumulated over the past week with Purim, nothing seemed to be appealing. I ended up chopping up a salad with tomato, cucumber, red pepper, olives, and avocado, with a little balsamic vinegar and salt. 

I've been in a mood lately. I was blue about canceled birthday plans. I was disappointed at various things. There's a coworker who I have a hard time seeing every day and when I tried to isolate the reason(s) why, there are just so many so I assume I just don't like this person. I'm emotional about all the changes about to take place. On one hand it feels like time is speeding by and I can't believe my scheduled c-sec is so soon; on the other hand I feel like I've been pregnant with this baby forever since this cycle started in August. I've been having trouble sleeping. Partially because I'm uncomfortable or have to pee, partially because it's harder to calm my mind these days with a lot going on. 

I have a few posts I started and then just left as drafts. Not sure if I wasn't happy with them or just didn't have the mental energy to fully formulate my thoughts, but I'll try to be better about it. I'll end it here and post before I find a hundred things to edit. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Can of worms

I had an opportunity to talk to my supervisor about my proposed maternity leave plan and I grabbed it! We are nearing the end of a contract with some consultants and I have been picking up where they're leaving off to make sure things continue to run smoothly. Since it's not the type of thing that can just be handed off to someone random, my supervisor will likely take those tasks on while I'm out and I needed to explain the process. I've been doing it a while so for me it's clear and makes sense, but for someone who is just coming into it, it might seem overwhelming. The conversation naturally flowed to timeline - when will I be out, when am I coming back - aka how long does my supervisor need to deal with all this until I come back? 

I mentioned that maternity leave sucks and I would consider starting some part time remote work while I'm on leave to complete my salary. In return, I would want to continue remote part time work through the fall, coming back part time to the office, and retaining my full salary and benefits for the duration. This way I could hire a nanny, offer her a decent multi-month contract, and not have to think about daycare until baby is 6 months or older. 

The response was better than I anticipated. The can of worms has been open and now the idea is out there. I'm glad I had a chance to think it through so that I could articulate the plan. I never mentioned the idea of finding another remote job - I don't think I want that and it really would be a last resort. My supervisor will bring it up to the boss and we'll take it from there. I did mention that I didn't think they would be open to the idea because they were so against working from home during the pandemic. The response to that was that it's different to work from home during leave versus permanently. I don't understand the difference but I didn't argue or push the point. I have a meeting in a few weeks so will follow up if I don't hear back by then.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Family leave

I'm baffled at what constitutes family leave in the united states. In every fb group I'm in, whether it's a finance group or a women's group or a mom group, there are people from all over the world who just can't understand why USA doesn't have any sort of established maternal or paternal leave after the birth or adoption of a child. 

Some countries give 12-18 months paid leave even if you're not employed at the time of birth; some countries go up to three years; some countries even give a stipend to parents for every child until their 18th birthday. In the US we get to not get fired while we go unpaid for up to 12 weeks. Not only does health insurance suck so the bills skyrocket around the labor and delivery, plus there's no such thing as reliable and affordable daycare, on top of that we also need to get by without an income while recovering from a major medical procedure on no sleep. 

With my son born in 2019, at 11 weeks old we were just getting into a rhythm with breastfeeding. He was definitely not sleeping through the night. I cried when I dropped him off at daycare the first day. When I went back to work I was not a productive employee. I had accrued the maximum amount of days off I could take and we couldn't afford for me to stay home past 11 weeks. I was pumping at least once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and rushing at lunch to visit my baby at daycare to kiss and feed him. Even at my most efficient it was still taking 30-40 minutes for each session. I would come home and it would be a mad dash to unpack the bags, clean off the pumping equipment, care for an infant and try to get anything around the house done. As horrible as those early days of the pandemic were, one silver lining was the relief of not to have to deal with pumping anymore while working full time out of the house. Breastfeeding lasted to 15 months mainly because we were home together - I don't know how long I could have sustained the pumping at work situation. 

So how do I want to do things differently this time around? If I had it approved, here's what I would prefer. First, I would go back to the office only part time. Very part time to start and gradually increase hours as the baby grows and sleeps through the night. I would prefer to get a nanny at home for the first few months then, around November or December, reevaluate whether I want to look into daycare and possibly start group care in January for more full time days in the office. 

My employer is not happy about remote work. It's a comfortable situation and I'm not ready to leave just yet but this might be the push I need to make a change. When I propose this scenario, I want to be ready to walk away. If they don't agree to letting me come back part time, and part time at home, then I will look for something fully remote. I'm not interested in making a career move right now but I'm not at all interested in the mayhem that was daycare at 11 weeks with my oldest. 

It took me years to accrue the 11 weeks I took off last maternity leave; I haven't had as much time to accrue that this time around. I've already started saving up for the days I'll be out but it's unlikely that they will pay my full salary for the duration of my full 12 weeks. I would hate to leave, and I would hate to have to spend my mat leave interviewing and applying for jobs, but I prefer to be home instead of sending to daycare those first few months. If they can't work with me, I might need to be ready to walk away. I'm a valuable employee who's been there for over ten years but I know everyone is replaceable and I don't know if they have any incentive to bend the rules for me.


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