Wednesday, July 7, 2010

32 weeks, 5 days

I was reminded yesterday that it has been a ridiculously long time since I posted, again. I'm in my 8th month of pregnancy and still doing well...starting to get a bit more uncomfortable, from the baby riding up against my ribs and causing reflux, to the weight of this big baby causing pain in my pubic bone and the summer heat causing swollen feet and ankles. But overall, the pregnancy has really been treating me well. No complications - my "low-lying placenta" resolved itself completely and the baby has been head-down since my 25-week ultrasound. Hubby and I took a 12-hour roadtrip a couple weeks ago to go back to our hometown for 2 weddings and 2 baby showers, and I had no trouble with that either. We got a ton of loot from the showers - so much that we had to return a bunch of bulky items to re-buy when we got home! So with all that taken care of and a couple more people to take up on their offers of hand-me-downs, I think we're pretty set for gear and clothes. Time to start stocking up on diapers and wipes, I guess.

The more worrying thing that I have yet to figure out is childcare...I've really been dragging my feet on this because it's very anxiety-provoking to be trying to find the best possible person/place to care for your precious infant but to be restricted to such a ridiculously minuscule budget. So far, I've surveyed the field online, finding a dozen or so home childcares and centers that are on the lowest end of the price range, since that's all we can afford. I mean to call the other NAFCC accredited home childcares in the area to check their prices since they usually don't have websites...but somewhere between web/email and phone/in-person-visit is where I hit my brick wall and start making excuses like needing to take time off work to make calls and visits during business hours, etc. Any advice on getting over that anxiety and getting my ass in gear would be much appreciated!

I have a similar problem at work... Things have been going fine, generally. I've pretty much wrapped up the experiments I wanted to complete before I got too incapacitated by my big belly, and my undergrad assistant is back from a 6-week summer trip so she can finish up the rest of it without much assistance from me. The problem now is I have 2 papers I'm supposed to be writing (one of which I tried to get out of, but my committee "strongly encouraged" it, so 5 against 1 wins). There's still a load of histology and data analysis to wade through on both, in addition to the actual writing, so I just don't exactly know where to start. I've always had anxiety about starting writing projects, so this is nothing new, and probably partially explains why I'm beginning my 6th year of graduate school with no publications to my name (but there is a 4th author paper to be submitted any day now, whoohoo!). The other part of that equation is the fact that I chose a wildly ambitious project involving setting up a new technique in a lab (and in fact, at a school) where no one had done it before. Crazy naive me...but really, I wouldn't trade it for a thing. I learned so much more through that painstaking process of troubleshooting every little thing than I ever would have if someone had just handed down all the protocols and tips and tricks of the trade. Well anyway...speaking of work, I better get to it!

ETA: Oh! I completely forgot to mention a very important point! My project (and in fact, the whole lab) is now completely funded! We got both R-01s renewed, plus I had that other foundation grant I mentioned last fall, so we're all covered now. Whoohoo!

Monday, May 10, 2010

24 weeks, 3 days

I'm not sure I have anything particularly interesting to report on today, but I figured I'd pop in and say hi. I'm still feeling pretty only complaint is some hip pain when I wake up in the morning, but it's different from whatever I was experiencing earlier in pregnancy. It doesn't seem to be related to pressure, since it only shows up in my right hip, regardless of which side I spent more time on overnight. It's not alleviated by sleeping with a pillow between my knees or under my right hip. But it's not that bad and tends to go away eventually after I've been up and around for a few hours, so things could certainly be worse.

Hubby still hates Bradley class...a little more each week, in fact. He thinks the instructor is a sadist for enjoying seeing the dads pushed out of their comfort zones. But he's still suffering through because he knows it's important to me. He's a sweetheart like that. He also demonstrated his sweetness with the surprise I found on my nightstand yesterday morning. It said "Happy Mother's Day, You're Almost There" and had one of our 20-week ultrasound pictures with a bubble coming out of the baby's mouth, saying "You gestate great, Mommy. I love you." :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

21 weeks, 1 day

Hi blog-world. Long time no see...sorry about that. Everything is
going well with my pregnancy. I'm showing clearly enough that
strangers feel comfortable making comments now! :-P I've been
feeling the baby move a lot more lately, so it's been fun trying to
learn his likes and dislikes and sleep-wake patterns.

I found out last week that I'm having a boy, and I think we've decided
on a name for him... I wish I could ask you what you think, but it's
a very unique (and totally geeky) name based on a famous case in the
development of my field of life science, so it would give way too many
clues to my identity. Most lay people won't recognize the person, but
the name is recognizable and pronounceable despite it's rarity, and
the nickname we would call him by is popular enough to be in the top
500 on the social security baby name list. Of my colleagues who know
the story behind it, half of them think it's awesome that I would name
my kid that and the other half think Hubby and I are on crack. :-P
The grandparents-to-be all seem to be on the side of thinking it's a
bit odd, but they like the nickname. I've been feeling sort of torn
about it myself, but I can't seem to think of anything else that
sounds right and means something to us... Maybe we've just been
thinking about it for so long that it has kind of stuck. So, like I
said, I guess we have a name!

Let's see...what else is going on? Hubby and I started our Bradley
Method natural childbirth prep class last week, and so far I'm loving
it and Hubby feels a bit put upon, in that he has been assigned a new
set of duties (including nightly massage to help me practice relaxing
during labor, but we haven't been doing that anyway) on top of working
more than full-time and doing most of the housework. But he seems to
be giving it a fair chance, which I appreciate. We'll see how the
next one goes, tomorrow night.

So anyway, just wanted to say a quick hello to let you know I'm still
alive and well. :-)

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Monday, February 22, 2010

13 Weeks, 3 Days

Yeah, like I said...I suck at this blog thing. I haven't even been reading the other women in science blogs lately. And now that I've gone fully public about my pregnancy, I have much less motivation to post about it on this anonymous blog. I suppose I can use it to complain about some of the more embarrassing pregnancy symptoms (OMG the gas is AWFUL!). But I'll go ahead and update you few loyal readers anyway. :-)

My first trimester screening tests came back perfectly normal and healthy, and the angle of the genital tubercle suggests it's a girl. I did some Pubmed searching and those early ultrasound gender detection methods seem to be about 80-90% accurate. I'll be thrilled if it is a girl, as will my mother-in-law (who has no daughters or granddaughters), but I'll have to be on guard for all of the pink frilly gift outfits I don't want to dress my daughter in... :-P

Alright, that's all I have time for now. Drop me an email if you miss me! ;-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

10 Weeks

Man, I suck at keeping up with this blog as often as I intended...
:-P Oh well, here's today's update:

I made 10 weeks today, the beginning of the fetal period and
quarter-of-the-way mark. I'm still feeling reasonably well, although
I'm very tired, starting to experience some round ligament pain, and I
actually threw up for the first time in this pregnancy last weekend.

I mentioned a surprise visit from my dad last week, and that was fun,
although unexpected and without much warning. :-) He's just
spontaneous like that sometimes. He wasn't particularly worried about
my mom's organic food kick (have I mentioned she thinks her grandbaby
is in mortal danger because I don't eat organic?), but he did express
some concern about raising a baby in my dirty house. (Don't tell
Hubby...he's the only one who does any cleaning and would be so pissed
that Dad found his work inadequate!) I'm a big believer in building
the immune system through exposure to plenty of germs and allergens.
:-) Ah well, to each his or her own.

My work-life balance advocacy crew is also making great progress on
pushing that grad student parental leave policy through. We have a
meeting with the assistant dean next week and are working on
scheduling one with the head of the new work-life center soon.
Everyone has seemed so supportive so far that I'm feeling pretty good
that it will actually be implemented without much of a fight. W00t!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

8 weeks, 5 days

Things are a bit out of whack this week due to a spontaneous visit
from my dad, but all is well and I'll catch up more over the weekend.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

7 weeks, 4 days

I announced my pregnancy to Beloved PI yesterday, and it went perfectly. :-) Again, I find myself wondering, why do I stress myself out about these things? He always has my back! Best PI ever. So yeah, I said "I'm pregnant," and he smiled and said "I've been wondering when you were going to tell me that." I don't think he actually knew, since I hadn't told anyone else at work, but they all saw it coming. I had been pretty openly baby crazy since that last intimidating conversation back in May, so I guess he had plenty of time to work through any mixed feelings he may have had. Yesterday, he was genuinely happy for me, and somewhat cautious, anxious for me to make it past that 12 week mark. I'm just happy with my little bean's heartbeat!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

6 weeks, 6 days

I got to see my little lentil bean's heartbeat yesterday! It's just a little flicker in the middle of a 6 mm blob, but apparently that's exactly as it should be for this point in my pregnancy. Everything is going perfectly and I'm thrilled!

I'm thinking of telling Beloved PI this weekend (after confirming everything is good, before anyone else at work finds out, and over the weekend where there are fewer people around and he has some low key time to process). I expect somewhat of a mixed reaction from him. He'll be happy for me, because he has his own precious little girl and knows I've wanted a baby for a while, but he'll be upset at the prospect of losing me, if only for a couple of months, and he'll be terrified about affording to pay me during my maternity leave, since the last big grant runs out right around my due date. I'm sort of assuming the graduate division will take care of it, since they guarantee my stipend for 6 years of adequate progress (I'll be starting my 6th year then) and have a "recommendation" of 6 weeks paid maternity leave in the student handbook (which my advocacy crew is working to extend to the whole grad school as a minimum of 8 weeks for both parents). I'm hopeful that we can work something out, one way or the other, by starting as early as possible.

Anyway, any suggestions on breaking the news gently?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

6 weeks, 4 days

Halfway through the first trimester already, can you believe it? That
whole counting from last menstrual period thing makes it seem like
time has just flown by. :-P Anyway, I'm still feeling pretty good.
I've been a bit nauseas at times, but no vomiting. Shall I spare you
the details of my yuckier or more private symptoms? I think so. The
grad school related bits of the experience will presumably be more
interesting to my readers, right?

Still haven't told anyone at work, and I definitely won't until after
tomorrow's ultrasound confirms a heartbeat. I thought I'd wait for
the end of my first trimester, but people keep telling me they'll know
long before then. I figured as soon as my symptoms start to interfere
with my work, or I start showing, but I may decide to tell my PI even
before that. My thinking there is to hopefully get him to stop piling
more non-thesis-related work on me every day, but I doubt it will
really work.

I'm expecting (hoping) to get my first publication out before the baby
comes. It should, for one thing, serve as evidence of "adequate
progress" or whatever they call it, in case there ends up being any
debate on my request for paid leave. It turns out that I'm due at the
end of August, the same time as our 2nd R01 runs out, so the graduate
program may have to pick up the slack on my stipend during a brief
funding gap.

My division already has a recommendation on the books for 6 weeks paid
maternity leave, but I'm still hoping we can push this new 8 week
policy through in time, or at least I hope I can argue it successfully
for myself. Six weeks is just such a pitifully short time...the
absolute minimum for recovery from an uncomplicated vaginal
birth...nevermind bonding with the new baby.

So my little work-life balance advocacy crew has accumulated support
for our policy proposal from various other people and organizations
representing women or grad students, and we're just waiting on some
sort of official statement from each so we can present it to the dean.
I also volunteered (before I knew I was pregnant...) to organize a
larger group meeting to find new leaders and get sub-groups working on
other projects. Unfortunately, since discovering my pregnancy, I've
had a hard enough time focussing on work, and I haven't done a thing
on this meeting, preferring instead to chat on the bulletin boards at all day! <Sigh>

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