My voice is in an IBM commercial! Such a fun experience. I took the train to NYC for the morning and spent a couple hours saying the lines of the video over and over again. They ended up only using my voice for a few lines but it was cool to be part of the final video.
IBM announced last year that it was going to allow employees to ship breastmilk home from work trips as a benefit for employees. I was excited when I heard as I was pregnant with my now 5 month old twin girls. Even though I breastfed the boys for 15 months I never had to travel. With my current job I knew that travel was going to happen. The process was relatively painless. First, I had to fill out a form with my hotel information and my return address information for the refrigeration boxes they were going to mail to me. Then I had to email the completed form to a specific address for UPS. I didn’t get an email response right away so I was concerned that my request hadn’t gone through. But then a couple days before my trip I finally got a response. The response included the three tracking numbers (I had requested two boxes for my three day business trip). I had specified that I wanted the boxes there by Monday. The next time I do it I’ll request it for the day before because when I arrived to my hotel the shipment was not there yet. It wasn’t a big issue as I was able to find a fridge to refrigerate the milk before I had to ship anyways. Oh, I also was able to pump on the plane! The delta flight I took had an outlet so I pumped close to when we were about to land and no one heard the pump because the sound of the engines overpowered the noise of the pump.
After work on Monday I checked into the hotel and asked if my package had arrived. It had… and it was HUGE.
I had to truck it along with all of my luggage up three flights of stairs (no elevator at my hotel). Inside were the two boxes I had ordered.
When placing the request I wasn’t sure how many boxes to specify since I was gone for 3 days. I didn’t know how much milk each one would hold. The first box that I returned had 24 hours worth of milk and it barely closed. I ended up pumping 12 bags worth of milk that ranged in size from 5 to 9 ounces. Hopefully I closed it enough so the milk doesn’t spoil on it’s return trip.
Packaging up the milk was very straight forward. I put the baggies that I had to supply with my milk into the cooler. I activated the cooling mechanism by compressing a little button. Then I closed it up with the supplied tape, perishable sticker, and shipping label.
Since I am traveling I wasn’t sure where to take the box for UPS to pick it up so I arranged for a pickup from my hotel lobby. IBM supplied an account code to cover the cost of a pickup being scheduled but they didn’t provide the zip code on the account. So unfortunately I couldn’t arrange for the pickup over their website, I had to call UPS to schedule. When I called I did ask for the zip code so I should be able to arrange for a pickup for future packages. When I got back to the hotel in the evening the package was still there. Their pickup window was 8 am – 8pm. However, I just checked the tracking information on the UPS website and it says it will be delivered by 10:45 am tomorrow. That will be nice for our au pair, Paty, during the day so she won’t have to worry about using frozen milk.
I’ll update this post on the receiving end to talk about my experience with the milk that made it home but sending the milk home was pretty painless.
Actually pumping milk while on a full day design camp meeting was not ideal. Sneaking away and trying to find a room that no one was using or would interrupt me in was a challenge. Then it took a while to setup my equipment, actually pump, then transfer the milk into the bags and wash out the bottles and pump parts. The entire process takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Today I was in a rush to get back and didn’t fully dry the pump parts so the next time I pumped it was not efficient and I ended up with a clogged duct and engorged breast. Talk about painful! It is a million times easier to throw a baby on and in 6 minutes be able to go back to work.
Overall I feel so lucky that this health benefit exists at IBM. Had it not, I’d probably just be pumping and dumping and worrying about getting in an “extra pump” on days I wasn’t travelling in order to have enough milk just in case I had to travel for work unexpectedly.
Things to Remember to bring when Pumping on a Work Trip
- your pump
- pump parts
- pump bra
- hooter hider (hide the pumping on the airplane or if other people are around for some other reason)
- LOTS of extra bags
- sharpie to write on the bags
- bottles with lids
- a hand towel to make sure your parts are extra dry
- an extra bag to carry all of this stuff. I didn’t have one that was easy to move around with me.
Earlier this month Steve and I took the Amtrak to New York City while my mom, aunt Laurie, and grandmother watched the kiddos. We were only gone for about a day but it was a nice little escape and the weather was gorgeous in NYC. IBM named me as their Working Mother of the Year. I was honored along with 100 other ladies from various companies at an awards gala for Working Mother magazine. Steve and I had a great time. It was so nice to meet the other IBM women who sat at our table and hear their “working mom” stories. I was hurting a little, even though I was 5 weeks postpartum during the dinner, all the walking around New York caught up with me and I was in pain standing for too long. I’m still glad we went and were able to get away just the two of us, even if it was a short trip.
Yesterday I found out on Twitter that I was listed in Network World’s fascinating 50 interesting people in the world of technology.
IBM Tops U.S. Patent List for 21st Straight Year
Date added: 14 Jan 2014
IBM received a record 6,809 U.S. patents in 2013, marking the 21st consecutive year in a row that the company topped the annual roundup of patent recipients. More than 8,000 IBM inventors residing in 47 different U.S. states and 41 countries patented a range of inventions in 2013 that are expected to enable the company to compete and lead in strategic areas-–such as IBM’s Watson, cloud computing, Big Data analytics and the new cognitive computing era. IBM Master Inventor Lisa Seacat DeLuca (pictured) received nearly 50 U.S. patents in 2013, including patent #8,494,851, which depicts a system that continuously analyzes terms and topics discussed during a phone conversation, and automatically identifies and displays contextually relevant social networking information (courtesy: IBM)
I can tell by the way that you look at me that you think I’m very special, but you boys probably didn’t know that your mommy is an inventor! I have over 80 patents granted through the United States Patent and Trademark Office with over 300 pending. In fact, I am the most prolific female inventor in IBM history.
Just yesterday, IBM published an article about me.
You should know that your mom will ALWAYS support your ideas, no matter how crazy they sound. Follow your passion and you will always be happy. Being creative is in your DNA… the world is your oyster