After my transition to a new start-up biotech company in the States, I worked as Senior Researcher (a bit of work on the bench) and then as a Principal Investigator. My SBIR grant was awarded! I then transitioned to Product Management and Client Relations. The great thing about a start-up was that I gained experience wearing many different hats. My forte was in interpersonal communications and helping other scientists. I was fortunate enough to build working relationships with many researchers from various biotech companies, academics, government, and hospitals. It was a thrill to help their science with our company's technology and my personality.
As my pregnancy progressed, I spoke to the CEO about my maternity leave options. I told him I would help train someone to fill in for my 3 month mat leave, and if possible, the new employee could help me as I thought I would want a part-time work-from-home position at least for the first year. We worked out a deal so during my pregnancy, I trained a lovely newly graduate MSc student who had contacted our company about an internship position. None was advertised, but she had taken the initiative. Nice.
My delivery was an extremely difficult one, I could not step on stairs for 6 weeks nor sit down without a special cushion for 5 months. Sorry, did not mean to scare anyone, but I made it through strong enough to deliver a second one :) Anyhow, my boss actually came to visit me a few times and I received an extra month for mat leave. Along with two postpartum doulas during the first few months, I also hired a part-time nanny (M) to help take care of my nursing baby. M was a also an MSc sociology student interested in child development so it was part of her studies to be placed in a home like ours. She was fabulous and smart; and after her, I had high expectations with everyone else that came along. I still keep in touch with her and send her pictures of the girls. She told me that being in our home made her realize she herself would try to have children when she could have the option to have an assistant. It's hard with just one parent during the day!
Our nanny would play and take care of Baby while I would work in my home office, eat lunch with her and nurse her. I remember having a conference call and them immediately after, tend to a nursing. My baby did not take milk from a bottle, so it was all Mama! :) I would visit the office at least twice a week, sometimes with her, to catch up on meetings and the latest updates.
Since the new intern had taken over the product management duties, my title became Director of Application Science. I managed collaborations with pharma and other bio industries, helped the software team with bio applications and testing, and started a new area for me of sales and marketing. The CEO even hired a Dale Carnegie Sales and Marketing Instructor to come to our home to train me.
My first conference with baby was when she was a year old. Before we flew out to the west coast, I hired a nanny from a reputable agency recommended by the conference organizers, and she stayed in the hotel suite/louge area with baby. I would tend to my booth duties and attend talks, but come back to nurse every 4-5 hours. Since my husband was also there representing the same company, it was great having him there to help at night.
My integration of baby, marriage and job was very satisfying for me. I was happy at work and at home. What was the secret? I knew what I wanted. I knew I wanted to keep my job at least part-time or variation there of, so I made proposals about what I wanted to do that could meet the demands of the company. I had already proven myself to be successful for the company so they worked with me. I knew I wanted to stay at home with Baby and so I created the job to "work" for me and my personal happiness.
I kept right on going for a few years and then baby number 2 was on her way. What happened after that? That will be for another entry.
You can check out the stories of returning to full-time work with 3 month baby at http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2010_03_19/caredit.a1000029