office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Monday, April 30, 2012

belly bane

the bane of my existence in the home office these days is this lovely antique bronze printer's drawer handle. as you can see, the placement of this little handle lines up exactly with my 38 week preggo-belly. As much as I love my pottery barn furniture for the home office, this little piece of metal is pushing me toward werking from the couch more and more...


It has been 9, almost 10 months, since I've been able to indulge in unlimited cups of coffee on a groggy Monday morning. It wasn't until about month 7 or 8 of my pregnancy that I actually allowed myself one small cup of regular coffee on occasion. Sometimes, that warm mug and distinct coffee aroma are simply irresistible. I know many women don't limit their caffeine intake much during pregnancy, but I haven tried to scale way back and only allow myself a small amount of caffeine as the occasional indulgence.

Last night I was awake and trekking to the bathroom every 2-3 hours, so this morning is definitely on the rough side for me. I'm about to head into an hour-long 'IT requirements gathering' meeting for a website I'm trying to develop, and I need to be sharp.

So, although Jake is currently starting his 'night' of sleep after working the night shift yesterday, I decided to make a pot of coffee. Normally, we make a fresh pot we can share. The best trick I learned about making coffee came from Jake...add a dash or two of cinnamon to the grounds before you hit the 'start' button, and you've infused your java with some tasty spice that only adds to the warmth and comfort of your morning cup.


Friday, April 27, 2012

How are YOU doing?

Lately, most of my meetings start with what one co-werker admitted was a very loaded question: How are YOU DOING?!

When you read between the lines, it's asking things like, are you in early labor, having contractions as we speak, has your water broken, or your due date been moved up? All very personal things that can only be asked in a werk meeting setting as: How are YOU DOING? (I just started hearing Joey from 'Friends' when I typed that...)

To answer the question, I am wondering if we'll make it to May (I'd like to order some sort of Mother's Day gift for the Grandma's, possibly with Baby D's birth stone in it)...and when in May Baby D will arrive.  No physical changes in this pregnancy yet, aside from storing water in my cankles like a cactus. So far, I feel confident we'll have a May baby, but I did start packing my hospital bags last night...just in case.

I woke up at 4am realizing that although I packed my breast pump, I had left the actual 'attachments', tubing, and bottles in the cupboard. This isn't a huge deal since most people have told us we probably won't even need the pump at the hospital, it's more of a 'just in case'. During my 4am wake up call, my 'What to Expect' email also told me that due to decreased levels of choline in my body, my brain cells have actually shrunk during pregnancy and they should bounce back within a few months of delivery. A medical reason for forgetfulness during pregnancy...not sure if I'm relieved or more worried that there's a legitimate chance I am forgetting a lot of other important things! Oh well!
Guess my swollen legs could be worse...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Netflix and Baby Center

Lately, my mornings have started anywhere from 2am to 7am, when I literally roll out of bed wide awake wondering what to do. usually this involves making myself some breakfast and tucking myself into the couch to watch an episode of my latest netflix addiction. Last week it was the tv show Army Wives...this week, I've moved on to Sons of Anarchy. Don't judge my tv show selection, I grew up without cable and sometimes I just need to indulge my sense of adventure through tv...since the biggest adventure I am physically capable of these days is a waddle around the block holding my belly up.

I have been lax in posting the last few days. as I told a good friend, I have tried to start a post a few times, but then my wandering mind just ends up googling random pregnancy what to pack for the hospital, will my swollen cankles ever go away, and something my mother-in-law told me about...lightning crotch. I'm not going to tell you what that is, you can google it for yourself on if you wish:).

Werk has been going smoothly the last few days. My meetings are slowing down (this is very intentional on my part) and I'm trying my best not to start any new projects from this point on...there's no point in leaving something hanging for 2 months unless I know I've got someone lined up to handle it in my absence.

The drama and tooth-pulling of dealing with Human Resources continues. My new plan is to compose a guide to having a baby for exempt employees at our organization. Instead of chasing answers down via unanswered emails and angry follow up calls...there should be a step by step guide for expectant moms to follow, in writing. Seriously, people.This is not rocket science.

On a bright note, I get to end my werk day with our weekly prenatal appointment. I'm not sure what this appointment will involve aside from the weigh-in, blood pressure check, measuring my belly, and listening to the baby's heart beat. But listening to the heart beat always makes my day!
baby center...everything you ever want (and don't want) to know. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

down to the wire

Life is really interesting these days. With Jake entering his final month of his nursing program and graduation on the horizon, he's got a TON going on...not to mention his three consecutive 12-hour night shifts at a local hospital. How's a guy supposed to sleep, work, do school work, eat, and breath at the same time? I'm not sure...but we're counting down the days until things slow down for him a little.

At the same time, I've got a lot going on with major projects at werk and different shifting dynamics in my job...all while I've got one pinky toe out the door on my way to maternity leave. We went to the midwife yesterday and learned that I'm measuring at 40 weeks, even though we're only 36 1/2 weeks along. In some ways, this was a big wake up call that we need to be ready for the baby any day now...but in other ways, it's not super surprising that I'm measuring far ahead because of my short stature, a potentially large baby, and the fact that Baby D hasn't 'dropped' my measurements could even out a little once the baby drops.

I mentioned this 'any day now' reality in a conference call this morning and I might have panicked a few co-werkers. Perhaps not seeing me every day makes it easier for them to forget how far along I am in this pregnancy. Perhaps it's hard to remember that family trumps werk, especially when it comes to a new baby arriving in its own time. I feel like I've got 90% of things lined up and ready to go should I have to step out on maternity leave soon...but for Jake's sake, I hope we can make it to May so that he can really indulge in his first few weeks of fatherhood.

We shall see!
this is how they measure your fundal height.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No Mas

I have journeyed down to four times in the past two weeks, and I'm officially drawing a line in the sand and saying, 'NO MAS!'!! I just can't do it anymore.

That's 400 round-trip miles added to Pedro the Laredo's odometer, and 400 round-trip miles added to my third trimester road weary body. I actually think I experienced my first braxton hicks contractions on one of those drives, because sitting in the driver's seat for that long simply was not comfortable.

I'm also starting to get a little paranoid about how close my belly is to the steering wheel, and often find myself thinking through 'what if the air bag went off?' scenarios...and then say an extra prayer for safety as I hit the road. Short legs and a big belly aren't exactly conducive to keeping a safe distance from the wheel these days!

I've got less than a month to go until the due date, so I should be able to manage everything for werk from the home office from this point forward. Including mid-day waddles around the neighborhood and my soon-to-be weekly pre-natal appointments!

this isn't me...but it might as well be!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


There is a reason I don't work in a human resources role. There is a reason I never pursued law school beyond purchasing LSAT books on a whim one summer, and never opened them. While I can be a very 'concrete sequential' person at time, I absolutely loathe legal-ease, financial terminology, and pretty much any technical speak that is created to cover a large company's behind and confuse the masses.

I thought I was in a good spot, because my organization just began providing a 'maternity leave benefit' for the first time in its 60+ year history. That's right, it's 2012, and this 'benefit' has only been around for about one year. Before then, it was up to the mom to cash out all of her sick and vacation paid time off, and if she wanted more time at home with her child, it was unpaid leave. Thanks to FMLA laws, moms weren't at risk of losing their position in the company or health benefits during these twelve weeks, but that's pretty much the silver lining of that cloud.

Now that I'm exploring my 'maternity leave benefits', I'm beginning to understand that not much has changed in that last year except this: I am eligible to collect 6 weeks of Short Term Disability Insurance, where I am paid 2/3 (pre-tax) of my regular pay check from a private company. Post-tax, my paycheck will look more like 55% of my normal rate. This is provided in place of taking un-paid leave.

First of all, it disturbs me that pregnancy and the birth of a child falls under a classification of 'disability'. I have tried to be open minded about this and accept the 'benefit' for what it is, but really, I would never call this situation a disability. It's a fairly misogynistic label and I'm not comfortable with it.

Second of all, I know I should be grateful that I can at least collect part of my paycheck from this 'benefit', but if it were a true maternity leave, I believe I should be able to collect 100% of my typical earnings. Why are my wages being garnished because I have a 'disability' and need to take a short term leave?

Thankfully, I have been able to max out my sick time accruals during my time werking from home, so I'm not concerned about tapping into that reserve of time once my disability benefit runs its course. I'll also return to accruing PTO and receive my full pay again.

As the sole income and benefits provider for our family, this entire process has been degrading and heart breaking at many times. I am feeling pressure to give up my precious baby's first weeks of life in exchange for being able to provide for our family more fully. I know I am in a privileged situation to even be complaining about this, but I just don't think that parading 'maternity leave' jargon around the office is acceptable in this situation, when really it feels more like a punishment to leave werk and bring life into the world. The very fact that it is labeled 'disability' speaks loud and clear to me.

I'll be thankful for the time off, and we'll figure out a way to make paychecks stretch during those six weeks, but the concept behind a short term disability leave masquerading as maternity leave still seems pretty bogus to me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Day Off

Werking for a religious organization, I have tomorrow, Good Friday, as a holiday. While many other people don't get this day as a holiday from werk, I'm glad I do. I just wish I would have thought ahead a little bit more and planned a get away with Jake.

Now I am brainstorming options for a stay-cation or day trip we could do tomorrow that would be fun for both of us (maybe Lexi, too), and wouldn't poop me out too much as Baby D gets heavier by the day.

Unfortunately, sleeping in and drinking a whole pot of coffee aren't really tangible ways to spend a day off anymore. Sleeping in involves waking up at 8am, and the coffee would have to be decaf if I were to consume more than one cup.

As for Easter plans this year, I'm looking forward to attending the Easter Sun Rise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheater with some good friends (and a thermos of decaf coffee)!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Yesterday I attended quite a doozie of a meeting. I actually hung up the phone and thought to myself, " I hope I go into labor soon".

Now I clearly have no idea if I would actually prefer giving birth over the angst experienced in this meeting, but the thought of being able to turn off my werk brain and forget about everything for a blissful few months sounded quite appealing to me. As I begin feeling and acting more and more like a mom, all I want to do is focus all of my attention on our little one, and our family.

I'm sure it's just the natural order of things, but of course, as I am trying to wind down my involvement with werk commitments and hand them over to others for safe keeping, things keep piling up. The intensity dial is getting cranked on, and my days feel busier than ever. Of course, werk related anxiety does nothing to help with my pregancy insomnia...and of course, I found myself wide awake at 4am today...pondering if I should play another game of Sudoku or turn on Netflix to occupy my time.

Thankfully, I eventually fell back asleep...but have been glued to my computer for the past two hours, furiously trying to cover the cracks things seem to be falling through.

If anything, all of this just makes me excited to get my bags packed for the hospital. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I journeyed down to the land of cubicles yesterday for our monthly team meetings, and my wonderful team also took me (and baby D!) out to lunch for a little 'baby' celebration. My team is composed of all men, except for one woman, so it was really thoughtful of them to pull a little celebration together for me. Plus it was great to hear them each share an embarrassing 'new parent' moment from raising their own children.

During my two and half years werking at, I have been a part of many baby showers, which typically include sitting in the empty lunch room with cake, punch, and playing slightly awkward shower games with a random mix of co.werkers.

I'll take my baby celebration from yesterday over that, any day!

Before we started our team meeting, one my dearest friends and co.werkers decided to announce the following: "There are 8 people in attendance today, but two of them are in hiding!". He was referring of course to Baby D, and our team assistant's baby who is due a few months later.

I love werking for an organization with people who honor the little life of Baby D, before they have even met him/her. As our due date approaches and I continue to get things lined up for my maternity leave, I'm trying to be very intentional in letting my co.werkers know how much they mean to me. While there are both good and bad days, I really do believe I werk in a special place and I have lots to be thankful for!
To see more ridiculous maternity pictures like this, go here: