Friday, October 23, 2009

She's leaving work, bye bye...

It's interesting, telling people that I'm leaving work to be a stay-at-home mom.

I suppose that if I had done so in 1989 I would have gotten some flack from women for quitting my career, but these days I get nothing but positive reactions. Top responses include "Good for you", "You're lucky", "Wish I could have done that", "It's what's best for the kid". Most of these are closely followed by "you can always come back". In my profession it's especially possible to come back as a part-timer...that is, if the hiring freeze ever thaws.

That's the other interesting aspect. The City has a hiring freeze in place, meaning that no matter who leaves and no matter the reason, we can't hire anyone else. We've already lost people and things are beginning to get rather tight. Add in that another full-time person with my same title is retiring this December, and it makes things a little more personal.

With all this in mind I decided to let my management know as soon as I made the decision. I knew that they would make a case to City Hall to attempt to fill my position, and that this would take a while. I also knew that even under perfect circumstances it takes 3 months for the City to hire anybody, due to a lengthy application process, multiple interview panels, and full background checks.

So, I told them. I told my coworkers. I said, I'm planning to leave, and it'll be sometime in January. This was probably in early September. They assured me I had plenty of time to put in my paperwork, and thanked me for the warning.

After a while I called up Human Resources to figure out how all this works. I knew about the Family and Medical Leave Act which ensures that I can get unpaid time off and not lose my job. It's lovely - if you're coming back to work. But how does maternity leave work when the leave is permanent?

At first the HR person seemed to say I could get my sick leave and my vacation time via the Act. After a while I realized she was still working on the idea that I was coming back. When I insisted that yes, I was leaving for good, she finally said "Did you tell anybody? See, if you don't tell anybody, then we can give you all this, and then you can just quit from there." She then revealed that since I was stupid enough to make my intentions known, I would now lose my sick leave (all 34 days of it). I would get my vacation paid out, though.

I was horrified that in order to work the system, I would have had to lie to my coworkers for 6 months and put my management in a disadvantaged position. Without the advance notice, there would be no way to even make a case to City Hall, and my division would be totally screwed.

In talking to the library director, she said there was a person in Finance who had a baby, took the medical leave, and actually called from home to say she was quitting...and that this is the standard way to get your money. This had just happened a month ago, in the midst of all this hiring mess.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who say that I must do what's right for myself and my family, and if that means setting up my workplace and all the people I've worked with for 7 years for a world of pain for probably a year to come, then that's just fine.

I simply can't fathom it.

Working with my director and HR and searching my own soul, we worked out a compromise.

I put in my official leave date as February 12th, two weeks after my due date. This is the last possible moment I could be working. If I have to leave sooner (which I probably will) I will get a note from my doc and be able to use sick leave from that day to Feb 12th. Seeing as how I plan to work as much as possible simply because I'd hate to stay home and wait out the last few weeks on pins and needles, this isn't a dishonest scenario. As long as I am able, I'm going to be at work.

We'll see how things go later on...I may feel the need to take a sick day here and there, or just leave early...and I do have that kind of leeway, which is nice. It is a bit of a bummer to lose even some of my sick leave pay, but whatever. This job has been very good to me.

To answer your other question, no, I don't know how long I'll stay home. That depends on many factors. In the meanwhile, if anyone knows of any freelance web work I might be interested in, let me know...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

25 weeks

I keep feeling like the photos don't do it justice. Maybe it's just me. I really am big now. More later!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bebe Decor

Many have asked me if we've picked colors or a theme for our baby's room. Yes, we have.




These alphabet cards are by the artist Jenn Ski. We adore her style. Our taste skews towards clean lines and mid-century modern looks, so her stuff is right up our alley. You may want to check out her blog, which links to all sorts of cool things.

We purchased her flash card set of the full alphabet, and we intend to hang them in the room. Ikea has a clothesline-style wire with clips that we'll probably go with. In the future, these cards could be easily taken down and replaced with new looks for the room. We can even use them as flash cards! They have fun facts about the animals on the back of each card.

We'll take our color cues from these cards. I like how they are a good replacement for traditional baby pastels - colorful yet not hard on the eyes. We haven't yet decided on a wall color, but we'll probably go rather neutral and let the cards stand out.

If you clicked the link to Jenn Ski, you'd see she has an Etsy store. Etsy is a website where people sell items that are handmade. There are thousands of crafty people out there with beautiful, one-of-a-kind alternatives to the usual stuff. Yes, we are going to register for the usual stuff at the usual stores, but I'm going to also set up a Favorite Sellers list on Etsy and allow everyone to see that. It won't be like a registry where I choose items for you, it'll be more like an ideas list or a style guide. That way, when it comes to the non-essentials like cute baby outfits, you can surprise us AND be sure that we'll like it. :) (Ok, I take it back, cute baby outfits ARE essential.)

Here's another example of an Etsy store I like.


Wonderland Studio
makes mobiles. If you send them your color palette and size requirements they'll make them to order. The one above is just an example, they've got many different patterns and sizes. I love these. They're designed to look cool no matter if you're standing next to them or laying in the crib. They may not actually be Alexander Calder originals but they sure look close.

Speaking of registries, it looks like we're going to make our first foray into baby stores this weekend. At 5.5 months, it's time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm OK!

After I received a few worried inquiries, I figured I'd let you guys know here - I'm ok. :) My cold has subsided and I was back to work today. Seems a lot of people I know got it. I never did get a fever, thankfully.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Big month.

Last week we did our standard OB visit. All the results from our technical ultrasound came back normal. Also, my 2nd diabetes test came back normal. I'm very happy about that. My completely average experience continues, thank goodness. I'm definitely a lucky person - or maybe it's the kid that's lucky.

The slight bad news is that I have a cold. My nose is alternately stuffy and drippy, and my throat is a bit worse for wear, probably from the nose draining. Can't take anything for it, since mucus is a baby's friend. I do not have a temperature, which is good, because as soon as I have a high temp I have to hit the doctor's office. At that point I either have the regular flu, which is dangerous, or H1N1, which is extra dangerous. Six percent of H1N1 deaths are pregnant women but pregnant women are only 1% of the population. I stayed home from work today and am keeping tabs on myself. No worries, pregnant women have colds all the time.

They say that this month is a big one. The kid doubles in size from one pound to 2 pounds, as he just grows in earnest, laying on the fat and density. I stand to gain 4 pounds this month, including all the surrounding stuff. He's making his presence known, moving around, kicking and pushing. Sometimes it feels like he's crawling up into my chest, others he sits low on my pelvic bone. I can usually feel when his position is such that he will kick for a bit, so I can let others put a hand on the belly and feel it. It's a lot like having the hiccups, where you feel weird somewhere in your abdomen for a while and then it goes away. I've had it happen that he moves, I feel the shift in weight, and then I am off to the bathroom, as he is obviously leaning on my bladder.

I know I've mentioned this before but I really hit a wall regarding bending over at the waist. At first it was merely uncomfortable. After a while I couldn't bend over more than 3 times in a row (or for a longer period) without feeling like my stomach was pushed into my mouth. Now I get that acid-in-the-back-of-the-throat feeling every time I fold my waist, along with actual pain. Ok, I give up, I'll crouch, every time I drop something! For me it's especially annoying because I'm the type to crawl under desks or bound up stairs. I can't do these things anymore. Opting for elevators and asking other people to reach for things has never been my style. Now I have no choice.

None of my old pants will close now, so I'm using my BeBand a lot. The BeBand is a "maternity band", a piece of spandex that helps keep my pants on even though they're unable to zip. It squeezes me pretty tightly, so I don't wear it every day.

I recently bought a pair of very-low-rise jeans at the Gap which I figured I could wear all the way through, since the belt line is lower than the belly. One day last week I put them on for maybe the 4th time and realized my legs had gained some heft, making them a tad tighter than I'd like. They're still the only pants I have that close naturally so I'm sticking with them as long as I can.

More and more, I'm getting the "when are you due" question, matched with the sly smile of conspiratorial motherhood. Once I get back in I fully expect an all-day barrage from library patrons, especially during children's events and storytimes.

What else...I'm hoping my cold won't set our baby room schedule back too far...we've got names chosen and the initials are TA...and we're still working on a Hebrew name.

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 22

Just a quickie update. Took this 1.5 days ago already so I better get it online. Yup, definite difference now.

I'm taking more time for stretching and am more careful about how I lean down. This is especially true at work, where getting to a bottom shelf is a daily requirement. I've been working on squatting down instead of bending over and the muscles in my legs are already much stronger. This will come in handy in the delivery room, too...