Friday, August 31, 2007

Blah

Thank goodness it's Friday. The week has just dragged by (well, at least the part I spend in lab has dragged). Since my cells all died last weekend, I've been growing new cells, but they won't be ready till Sunday. So, it's been boring.

It stinks too, because I had a lot of momentum going in the lab. That really doesn't happen all that often with me. It's not like I suddenly liked lab--let's not go crazy here!--but I was getting a lot done. That kept me motivated to keep going. Now that things have ground to a halt again, I've got to try and find that motivation.

It's especially hard since I know I've only got a few more weeks. I plan to work up till I can't anymore, either due to actually delivering the baby or because I'm put on bed rest (which I've had no indications for yet). But even then, it's going to be hard to get everything I want to get done in 6-7 weeks. So I sort of feel like giving up now, but I know I can't.

Yeah, anyway. It's just back to the old routine. At least I think I only have to come in Sunday this weekend, if all goes well. It'll be nice to have Monday off--tomorrow is booked with my cousin's wedding, Sunday will be lab, but Monday looks mostly open at this point. A definite plus.

I guess that's it for now. The weather is back to being beautiful--high 70s and sunny! I'm hoping getting out of lab and getting outside will boost my mood. It usually works pretty well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Promise not to laugh?

Ok, I promised pictures. Here's one from Thursday with Tim and I preggo posing. Don't laugh, ok? And just to give you the full effect of the belly that has taken over my body, this is from this morning (I swear, I have completely exploded in the last week):
So, there you go. I can't guarantee more pictures--come on, it took me 33 weeks to get these up!--but once the baby comes, you'll get tons of pictures of her, I promise.

It's weird how much things have changed in the last week. Other than some insomnia and swelling, I had been feeling great. Then, starting Friday night and lasting since then, I've had wicked heartburn, those scream-worthy leg cramps, and lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions. LOTS of contractions. Yesterday morning I woke up with a sore stomach from how many contractions I had on Sunday. And yesterday during the day they were coming every 2 hours or so and lasting a good 5 minutes.

She hasn't dropped yet, and the contractions aren't painful or strong, so I know she's not ready to come out yet. But the thought of seven more weeks of this? I understand now why people are ready to get the show on the road. Before Friday, I thought, "man, this third trimester stuff is a piece of cake!" Now I get it!

I'm still doing good overall though. Sleep is tough, but I'm functioning. And the heartburn/cramps/contractions are irritating but not painful. Overall, I think I'm doing pretty well.

This weekend put me to the test a little bit though. Friday night Tim, my parents, and I swapped out the stove from our old house and put in the stove from my parent's house. The stove at the old house was a hand me down from his mom and super nice--only a few years old, with a ceramic cook top and two ovens built in below. My mom's stove is functional, but that's about it. So, we gave the nice stove to my parents and left theirs. Really, as far as selling the house goes, buyers in our price range only care if the appliances are present, not what they are. You should've seen the 1984 piece of crap combo stove/microwave that was in when we moved. And it was fine for years.

Anyway, I didn't actually move anything (there's a shocker, right?), but it took us a few hours to do the running between houses. And then we hung out down there for a while, which was nice, but I always feel it the next day when I stay up too late the night before.

And there was no sleeping in on Saturday because we had our childbirth class. We left about 8ish and got home a little before 5, so it was a full day. Totally worth it though. Tim and I were both a bit nervous going in. It's called "express prepared childbirth", and it's offered through the hospital, but it's still based on natural childbirth methods. We were nervous it was going to be another Pre-Cana experience. Pre-Cana is a class Catholics have to do before they get married. 90% of it is communication skills, etc, but there is a section on natural family planning. At our Pre-Cana, the NFP people were crazy. Batshit crazy. The guy said he was a doctor, but he was giving out completely non-factual information about birth control. He was totally pushy and nuts about only using NFP. Tim was so angry at the way things were presented that he wanted to leave right then, but once I explained that we were basically done when the presentation was over (and if we left, we'd have to do it again to get married Catholic), he sat down and took it. But it was not a good time.

We had visions of another Pre-Cana experience for this class. I was pretty sure I wanted an epidural during labor, but we both agreed to just keep our mouth shut if the class was anti-medication. Turns out we didn't need to worry. The class was actually very good. It was taught by a very nice nurse who had a ton of OB and peds experience. The first half of the day was normal labor and delivery, and then after lunch focused on medical interventions. I had read a lot of books and things about labor and delivery, but I still learned a lot from the videos and charts she went over. It really encouraged us to ask questions. The class is also geared a lot towards the husbands and their role as supporters and coaches. She had practical tips on how to know when it's time to go to the hospital, what to expect, etc. I thought it was great.

We also learned some breathing and relaxation exercises. Right before lunch, we all got down on the floor (I understand now why we bring a blanket and pillows) and did a conscious relaxation exercise. If you've ever taken a yoga class, it's the same type of thing. We started with the deep breathing, and about a minute later, I noticed Tim's breathing had gone from the rhythmic deep breathing to more of a natural, shallow breathing. When the exercise was over about ten minutes later, she told us to open our eyes and sit up. There's Tim, eyes closed, totally asleep. I knew he was, and I sort of gently tried to wake him up. At least he wasn't snoring like someone else's husband in the class :) I teased him for the rest of the day--how was he going to coach me through it if he can't stay awake for the directions :)

We also learned some massage options, which was awesome, and a few pushing techniques. With the exception of the pushing, we're supposed to practice. We haven't been great about it yet (although I've used some of the breathing for the Braxton-Hicks contractions), but we'll work on it.

I wish now we would've signed up sooner and done the several-week classes. We didn't have time to get into breastfeeding or infant care much with this class. I'd still recommend it to people though. I learned a lot about pain med options and epidurals specifically. We also saw a c-section (or, I saw one. Tim got grossed out with just the little cartoon c-section, so we made sure he didn't watch the real one). I am still nervous about the whole process, but I think we both feel much more comfortable with labor and delivery now. Plus, it was nice to hang around other expectant couples for a day.

Really, we were both exhausted from the class Saturday night, so we watched some preseason football and just relaxed. Sunday we hit church and then went to his uncle's surprise 60th birthday party (after checking on my dead cells in the lab). It started at 3, so we figured we'd leave about 6 and be home by 7 or so. Not so much. We didn't leave until after 9, and we were home after 10. A long, long day. Everyone is very nice, but I heard so many baby stories and pieces of advice I thought my head was going to explode. We tried to start leaving several hours earlier, but each time we stopped to day goodbye to someone, we got pulled into a baby conversation for at least twenty minutes. And you can't be rude and walk away, really.

I ended up talking to his cousin Liz for a long time. She's pregnant with twins and already has two girls, so she's got a lot to talk about. She's very nice, and she gave us a whole bunch more girl clothes, but I was so exhausted by the end. And I love his aunts and everything, but I was definitely feeling a little violated by the end of the night. It's one thing to just touch my stomach--it's another thing to grope me all over trying to feel the baby move! Seriously, I was worried I was going to have people sticking their hands down my pants to get a good feel. A little icky, thank you very much.

Overall, it was a nice weekend, but I was totally exhausted by the end of it. The weekends for me are usually my chance to recharge after a week of work. I didn't really have that opportunity this time, and I think I'm paying for it. But, this week is pretty slow, and we have a long weekend ahead. My cousin's wedding is Saturday, but other than that and painting the nursery, I think things will be quiet.

That's it for now. I'm half falling asleep at my desk. But only a few more hours to go. Tim's classes start tonight, so I'll have the house to myself for a few hours. I'm thinking little dog and I are due for a nap.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I knew things were going too well...

Things have been clipping along in lab the last few weeks. It's been promising, especially since I want to have as much done as I can before I go on maternity leave. It actually looked like I'd be super productive over the next 8 weeks.

Yeah, well, the best laid plans...

So Friday I had cells set up for an experiment. They weren't ready on Friday, which meant they were growing slower than usual, and they looked a little sickly. I figured I'd come in this weekend and take care of them.

Well, Saturday didn't happen, but I wasn't worried, because I wasn't really sure they'd be ready enough by Saturday anyway. I came in Sunday to check them, and I could tell as soon as I opened the incubator: they were all dead. Twenty plates, all full of dead cells.

I looked at them under the microscope. They didn't look like how they do when they are infected with bacteria, and the media didn't have the hyphae and clusters like when they have fungus. It was a whole new type of contamination. Ossama had similar contamination about two weeks ago, but he threw out all of his contaminated cells, and mine had been growing fine while his were contaminated (of course, if he had told me that they were contaminated at the time, I would've put my cells in a different incubator).

So now, I've got to clean the incubator again and thaw new cells. Hopefully it only sets me back a week, but I had planned to assembly-line three big IP experiments this week. Not so much anymore.

I haven't seen Dr. B yet today, but I know he's in. And now I have to tell him, "Remember all those experiments I was going to do? Yeah, about that..." I mean, not a lot I can do to change things, but I'm sure he'll be unhappy anyway.

That's my current frustration. Plus, I'm cranky anyway from lack of sleep due to leg cramps/horrible heartburn/shortness of breath/Braxton Hicks contractions. I really jinxed myself--I was just telling my parents Friday night about how lucky I've been to have not experienced any real third trimester issues other than general insomnia. And that night, I was up all night with all of the symptoms I had just told them about. And they've been non-stop all weekend. So it's made me a little stressed.

Had a good weekend overall though. I'll post later today hopefully about the childbirth class, and I've got the pregnancy picture loaded on the home computer, so I promise I'll put that up too. I just needed to lab vent for a minute.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This day will drag, I know it.

So here I am, in lab. My cells won't be ready till tomorrow, which means I need to come into lab (which is on the east side of town) after our seven hour childbirth class tomorrow (which is on the far west side of town). Such is life, really. But what that means is that the experiment I had set up for today can't happen. Which means I'm just waiting around. Which is booorrring.

Initially, my boss had told us he wouldn't be in today, because he was driving to Cincinnati to catch a flight. That would've worked out well--I could have come in, checked my cells, done some upkeep-type stuff, and gone home. It's going to be 92 degrees and humid today, and the A/C at work is sketchy at best. It would've been much better.

But, my boss decided not to go on his trip. So of course, as I came in this morning, there he was. Poop. So much for that plan. Of course, the other people in the lab had similar plans to mine, hence why they showed up at 10:30-11 and had the same sort of reaction I had.

That's life in lab though, really. Sometimes, it's insanely busy. And sometimes it's just dead. But as long as the boss is here, you've got to do the face time.

In other news, I finally took a new pregnancy picture last night. I took one in June I had planned to post, then one in July that I didn't really like, but since those were a while ago, I figured I'd better take a new one. Tim's been bugging me to do it for a while, and I've had four different people mention it in the last week, so I figured I'd better bite the bullet. I left the memory card at home, so I'll have to post it this weekend. Don't laugh, ok?

Back to killing time. There are a few papers I've been meaning to read, but I'm sort of distracted, so that hasn't been very successful yet. But I'll keep trying.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The newspaper: master of the obvious

One of the leadoff stories on cleveland.com (home of the Plain Dealer, the city newspaper):

Summer not so hot for pregnant women

Gee, I think that's the first time I've ever heard that!

Nice to know that news in Cleveland is slow enough that common knowledge makes the first page.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Just another day

Not too much exciting going on. Stressful, yes; exciting, no. There was a little bit of drama over the paper I am writing with my old lab, but thankfully, it looks like that is figured out. The current lab is weird as usual. I'm trying to be as productive as possible in my last two months before maternity leave. I can't say that staying motivated has been easy, but I am doing my best.

Pregnancy is going ok. I've developed wicked bad insomnia to the point where I don't sleep at all some nights, but my doctor said this isn't all that uncommon. The heat hasn't helped my hand and leg swelling either, but that comes with the territory, I guess.

My check-up this morning was fine. My doctor seems to think that the baby is head down already. That doesn't mean much--she likes to see head down by 36 weeks (I'm 32), but just because she's already down doesn't necessarily mean she'll come early.

So, that's pretty much it. We've got express prepared childbirth class this Saturday (they usually do 5-10 sessions--we're doing it in one.) I don't know how much the class will help, but we felt like we should do something. Tim's also taking a new dad bootcamp class, and I'm taking a breastfeeding class. We're just really into learning, I guess :)

I feel like time is flying, but it's moving slow at the same time. It feels like I haven't been pregnant for all that long. And yet, eight weeks till the due date seems like forever. I guess we'll just keep hanging in there.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Typical lab dysfunction

Let me paint a picture for you. Yesterday, about 3:30 or so, I was sitting at my desk ordering for the lab when Dr. B. walked up:

"Just to let you know, I won't be here Monday or Tuesday of next week," Dr. B says.

"Ok, thanks for letting me know," I say.

"Actually," he says, " I won't be here tomorrow either. I'm having shoulder surgery tomorrow."

"Oh, I hope everything is ok! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help while you recover," I say.

"Well, I tore several muscles in my shoulder when I fell a few weeks ago. I'll only be in the hospital a few days, so I should be back in lab by next Wednesday," he says.

Umm, ok. General anesthesia, repairing a bunch of torn muscles in his shoulder and chest, and him not being a young guy (he's in his late 60s/early 70s, I think). And he's coming back to work less than a week after surgery? Really?

You know what's weirder? He came by the lab this morning, before his surgery next door at the hospital. Seriously.

I told Ming and Kim that I'm not stopping by the lab on my way to the delivery room, no offense.

The man has this need to be involved in the lab at all times. Funny thing is, even though he's around constantly, he still doesn't really keep up with what's going on in people's projects. He gets very caught up in the minute details, but when we meet to talk about where we are at in the big picture, he acts like he's never heard of half of the experiments you've done. Frustrating. I'd think he was getting a little senile, except that he most definitely is not.

Another sign of the dysfunctional lab came about today. For background, Dr. B's grant was up for renewal last fall. He put it off till January, then March, and at least once since then. He then stepped down as endocrinology chair effective July 1. And the main lab grant ended May 31, 2007, so we're living on what's left. He let Sriram go, but he took Kim on as a fellow in March. He talks to my committee like he plans to stick around, but talks to me like I'm a tight timeline (besides the one for med school return next summer/fall).

That's the background. This morning, Kim was talking to Ossama (who's back in the lab part time), and Ossama said Dr. B told him he's not planning to renew the grant and he's going to retire early next year.

OK. Communication, people. I know we don't have a good track record of it in the lab. Example 1, not knowing Dr. B was getting rid of Sriram until Sriram told Ming on his last day. Example 2, Nadia moving up to a lab space near her husband in another department and Dr. B not telling us until she'd already cleared her desk and bench and moved. Example 3, his decision to step down as chair--he never actually told us, we found out from prospective endocrine fellows who asked us what we thought about it at their interview (and it was the first we heard!). There are many other examples.

But still. I've asked him flat out, for almost a year, how much time I had. I've been asking him even since before I joined the lab almost two years ago. His exact conversation, when asked about his future plans, was that: 1. he had plenty of grants, 2. he was taking on new projects in the lab, 3. he didn't plan to retire for at least 7-10 years, 4. he was in the middle of a large clinical trial and wouldn't move to another university because of it. Those were his exact promises less than two years ago.

Now, I understand things change. I don't begrudge him if he decided to retire early. But for God's sake, when I flat out ask you what is going on (and I do, several times before each committee meeting), don't lie to me! And don't tell Ossama, who is only in the lab for a month or two before going back to residency, and not tell me, Kim, and Ming, who are here full time! That's just rude.

I can't rule out that Ossama got things wrong--he's not the brightest crayon in the box. But we've been feeling like Dr. B's petering out over the last few months. Once he's back from surgery, I think we need to have a lab come-to-Jesus about the way things are going.

For me, it's not the end of the world. I can get some space in another lab for a few months hopefully, finish my experiments, write my paper and dissertation, and go. For Kim and Ming, it's different. Why even take Kim, who is supposed to have a two year lab appointment, if you were planning to leave? And Ming's in the process of applying for citizenship. She can't change her research focus (diabetes) without starting the whole process over, and there isn't any other diabetes researcher at the university with money to take her (as unbelievable as that sounds, it's true, she's looked). So they are seriously screwed. I wish Dr. B would at least have the courtesy to tell us what's up so we could make contingency plans.

This is the feeling I hate. I was totally blindsided when Frank left, but that's pretty typical for faculty moving to other universities. They can't exactly broadcast that they are looking (unless they are so vital to the department that they can risk the backlash). So nobody knows until right before the move happens. Some people are lucky enough to get a few month's notice; some, like me, get a few weeks.

But to retire? There's no harm in putting that out there, especially if you don't plan to renew grants. Just let people know. Especially the people working for you!

It's all a mess. I'm not as freaked as I could be, I guess, just because nothing surprises me anymore. I take that back--I'd probably be surprised if I was actually kept in the loop.

Gotta love the dysfunctional lab. One more reason I am quickly losing interest in ever having a lab of my own.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hungry hungry hippo

Ok, can I just tell you that I have been a bottomless pit the last two days? Today was the worst--I had some egg whites and a whole grain mini-bagel for breakfast (pretty standard for me), and not a half hour later, I was starving! The eggs and bagel usually tide me over until lunchtime or later, sometimes two o'clock! I thought maybe my body hadn't registered that I had eaten, but I kept getting hungrier and hungrier. I had a granola bar mid-morning, a sandwich for lunch, and then a yogurt later on. And here I sit, about 4 PM, feeling ravenous! I'm eating every few hours, eating lots of protein and high fiber, and eating amounts that have kept me full up until this point. What gives?

I usually eat a bigger dinner and maybe even some cereal before I go to bed, so I've still got food on the horizon for the day. But why the sudden appetite surge? She's still got a few weeks to go--I hope this doesn't last the rest of the time!!

I'll fill up my huge water bottle for the way home and have some more granola in the car to tide me over, but dang. I know I'm getting plenty of calories!

As a side note, can I just tell you that I found a new love? Yoplait light fat free banana cream pie yogurt. The best stuff I've ever had. I hate chunks in my yogurt, so I am limited in my flavor selection, but this is by far the best creamy yogurt ever. I could eat it every day (and I nearly do!). Key lime, regular banana, lemon, and the orange creamsicle ones aren't bad either, but nothing is as heavenly as banana cream pie.

Random, I know. Just thought I'd share my find. But don't go buying it all up so there's none for me!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Time is flying!

Time sure is flying. Since the last post, Tim got home from DC ok. The airline couldn't get him a flight out until later in the day Friday (he got to the airport at about 1 PM Thursday, to give you a reference). So, it was either get a hotel room and hope for a flight Friday, or drive home. He and his co-worker elected to drive, so they got home about 2:30 AM Friday morning. They drove through lots of rain, and Tim got a speeding ticket (just as they traded off drivers once they crossed into Ohio), but otherwise it was a much better option that waiting around all day at the airport again.

So he's home now, which is a plus, and I can only hope there won't be much more traveling before the baby comes.

Speaking of which, today we are at 31 weeks gestation. Since a pregnancy is usually about 40 weeks, that means we've got about 9 weeks left. 9. That's a single digit number. It's always been double-digit. 9 weeks? Can that really be right? We'd better start planning for this, I guess!

It's not that we haven't been planning. Um, or maybe it is. We've been excited--just not preparing necessarily (unless you call buying a new house preparing. But her room isn't ready yet.)

We've got a few hand me downs, thank god, from family and a girl at work. So the baby will be clothed, have a changing pad (but no dresser on which to put the pad, and no diapers with which to change), and have a swing and a vaporizer (given to us by our new neighbors). But, no crib, or diapers, or other important items.

We're sort of waiting to see what we get at the shower. It's a little last minute--my mom and his mom were going to throw two separate ones, and then each one individually either couldn't find a place to rent that they liked or couldn't get the place they wanted on a day that worked. So, they decided to re-combine the showers and have it at my mom's house. This meant, #1, we are inviting many fewer people than we had at my wedding shower (mostly family), and #2, we had to push the date way back. So, it's Sept. 22. Which is fine. Except that I'll be almost 36 weeks pregnant. So here's hoping the baby decides not to come too early.

Really, I'm happy it worked out that way. It's a smaller group at an easier place. I feel bad inviting everyone I've ever met and asking for gifts. Like I said, I never mind going to showers, I just feel a little bad when it's for me. So, keeping it mostly family makes it more comfortable.

And both of our parents are going to come up the next day and help us set up the nursery. So we're really waiting until after the shower to panic about what we need for the baby. Waiting till then doesn't give us a lot of time to pick up what we didn't get, but we know we'll have the essentials before the baby comes. All we need is a place for her to sleep, diapers and other necessities, and I'm the food supply, so we should be good.

It's really amazing to think about how fast the time has gone. The first trimester went so slowly. I was so sick, and we wanted to get past the biggest miscarriage window to know things were ok. Once we started the second trimester, things have flown! And now we're almost done. We signed up for a few classes at the hospital, so hopefully we'll hear back soon that we got into them. Maybe that will make us feel more prepared.

I can't wait till she's here. Sunday night she was rolling around, and we definitely either felt her head or her butt--it was a firm, round ball distinct from the rest of the uterus, that's for sure. It's getting tougher to sleep and get around, but it's all worth it.

That's the most exciting stuff for us. Lab is lab--my department and thesis committee have been super helpful with leave stuff--almost protective, I would say. They've made it a point to tell me over and over again not to stress myself. My boss doesn't have the same mentality, but I'm dealing with him. I'd rather not be in the lab until 10:15 on Sunday evenings like I was this weekend, but I want to get as much done as I can. Things are actually moving well for the moment, so I'll take it while I can get it.

We had a little nibble at the open house on Sunday. A girl about our age came through with her parents and really liked it. She wants to come back through when her boyfriend is in town so he can see it too. It's far from a sure thing--hence a nibble--but it's something. It's only been two weeks, so that give us some hope. Things would be a little tricky if they bought since they want to use an FHA loan, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

That's all for now. Back to gels and blots!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Waiting out the storm

Actually, for once, that title isn't a metaphor for something. I really am here at work, waiting on a huge thunderstorm system to pass. Based on the flooding I saw on Tuesday, I decided I didn't want to be out driving in a huge storm during rush hour. So, I'm just hanging out.

I feel worse for Tim. For the second business trip in a row, he's stranded. Last time, he was stranded in New York after his flight was cancelled (without Continental telling him). This time, his original flight (Continental again, is there a theme?) out of Dulles was cancelled, but he found out early enough to trek over to Reagan Int'l airport for another Continental flight. Unfortunately, he just found out that one is cancelled too. There's only only more flight out to Cleveland the entire rest of the night, and that's not looking good. So, he'll probably have to get a hotel and stay another night. Nothing like being in the airport for four hours just to find out you're not going anywhere tonight.

I think this series of trips has just strengthened my position on "no traveling after September." The last thing either of us wants is for him to be stranded somewhere while I go into labor. Seeing as how the last few business trips haven't worked out, I think he's got a pretty good negotiating position with his company.

So yeah, running a protein assay to kill some time. I'm going to hang out for a little while longer and then try to make the trip home. I'd wait even more of the storm out, but I've got a dog at home that, I am sure, would like to use the outdoor potty. He hates rain, but I'm sure he'll be more than happy to go out for a minute or so.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nothing special

Just a little update to not leave a downer post up forever. I had my checkup this morning--my blood glucose was a little bit higher than ideal with a finger stick/glucometer this morning, but still within normal. And my weight was fine--2 lbs since the last visit 4 weeks ago, 21 pounds total. So, the doctor isn't worried. She said just to watch the sweets, but everything else is fine. I've got my next appointment in two weeks instead of 4 because we're nearing the home stretch--how crazy is that!!! I can't believe I'm less than 10 weeks away.

My clothes from Old Navy came yesterday too. Bad news: the skirt I ordered was out of stock, so I'll have to look for one at JC Penney or something. Good news: because I ordered everything a size bigger, I am sure this stuff will last me till the end of the pregnancy. And I have undergarments that are actually a little loose! Hooray!

Lab is ok. It's just me and Ming right now, and Dr. B is bored, so he pesters us constantly. The good news is that I had an experiment show some promising results. I'm repeating it today and Friday, but it could really help speed things up. Or not. We'll see. But I'm hanging in there.

And another good thing: since I had to wait for the dishwasher repair guy yesterday (good news: it's fixed), I missed the torrential downpours that flooded pretty much all of Cleveland. It was pitch black outside about 9:30 AM. The easement next door filled up like a lake (which explains why it's there), but we had no flooding at the house. A bunch of the highways and roads around town were shut down due to flash floods, and although they weren't all reopened by the time I left around lunchtime, enough were that I made it in. But if I had been driving in around the normal time, it would've been miserable. They had to rescue a whole bunch of people from their cars when the water swept them away. Glad I missed that.

So that's where things are at. Tim's traveling for work again the next few days, so I'm home by myself. A little creepy. I'm trying to keep busy--Jen came up and hung out last night, I have some errands to run tonight--but it's hard not having Tim home at night. And the dog is still unfamiliar enough with the house that he barks at nothing. I can't really rely on him too much--it's like the dog version of the boy who cried wolf. He thinks the cats are intruders--not helpful.

The weather's been really hot and humid, but most of the time I'm in the A/C. It was broken at work on Monday. I was miserable--my ankles swelled up huge, I was sweating constantly, and I felt dizzy most of the day. It's still not functioning at 100%, but at least it's better. Ah, the things I do for science. At least the home A/C works well.

So basically, same old, same old. I'm really tired today, but I've got a few more time points to take yet, so I'll just have to try and stay awake. Now is when I miss my Diet Coke/Pepsi. I could sure use the caffeine. Hmm, I wonder if I can have it again once the baby's born, or if that's a no-no for breastfeeding too. I'll have to check it out.

Friday, August 03, 2007

A weird week

This has been a weird week for me. I thought I'd feel so relieved by now--the thesis committee meeting is over, the old house is set up and on the market, the new house is slowly being unpacked--but really, I'm in a weird stage. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones. Ask Tim--I really haven't been very moody (yet) in this pregnancy. Maybe the time is starting. Or maybe it's just that I've been so busy that I haven't really had time to get in touch with my emotions. I'm just not sure.

Really, the thesis committee meeting was fine. They seem to think there is a lot more work to do, which I agree with, but they couldn't give me a lot of direction. I didn't really get the talk about how I should be working harder and longer hours at Monday's meeting--I got that Tuesday morning with Dr. B., and really, I knew it was coming. It always does. So overall, lab stuff isn't bothering me more than usual.

The house stuff is a little weird. We're starting to settle in more at the new place. I'm still learning where things are, both inside and outside of the house (I had a gas station emergency the other day and didn't know where the closest one was). But the new place feels closer to home than the old place does. We were over at the old house yesterday checking on things, and really, it's kind of sad. I liked our old house. To see it empty, unused, is just sad. I don't regret moving, but I hope it sells soon. The more we go over there, the more bittersweet it is. Plus, it'd be nice to be done with two mortgage payments. There's always that.

This has been a tough week for me with the pregnancy too. It's not much more physically tough than it has been. It's that the physical changes are really taking a toll on me emotionally. Again, a lot of it may have to do with the fact that I've been too busy to focus on it until now. I know I didn't get this big overnight, even if it feels that way! And really, the issues are minor as far as third trimester issues go. I've got minor edema in my hands and feet by the end of the day. I've got some stretch marks over my stomach too. But other than that, things have been ok.

I guess the struggles are more about how I feel about the body changes. I'm totally pumped about the baby. I can't wait till she's here! But I hate the way my body is at the moment. I know, big shocker, right? I've got years of body image problems. No revelation that I'd have issues getting huge. Even though I knew this, and I tried to mentally prepare myself for it, it's been pretty tough. Up till a few days ago, I was still wearing regular t-shirts most of the time. Same goes for my regular undergarments. Sure, I was wearing the larger items in my closet, but it wasn't a big deal that I only owned four maternity shirts. I could stretch out my wardrobe between laundry days with the regular stuff. Heck, I still had a pair of jeans that fit until a few weeks ago, and I've actually got a pair of regular, non-stretch drawstring linen pants that have some room left in them.

And then, all of a sudden this week, things changed. My regular shirts were tight. The regular underwear wasn't making the grade. Even my early-pregnancy shorts (just a little elastic and a drawstring, not the huge full elastic panel) were getting tight! My weight hadn't changed much more than a pound or so, but I was gigantic. My tank tops were rolling up over my belly. My shoes were too tight. I felt like I had walked into someone else's closet!

That has been hard. I am uncomfortable with my body changes anyway, but to be uncomfortable in my clothes now--that makes it ten times worse. I always have to worry about if something's bunching, or if my shirt is coming up, or something like that. It just magnifies everything.

I did suck it up and order a few things online this morning from Oldnavy.com. Actual maternity clothes. I hate spending the money, but my cousin gave me a 20% off code, which made me feel better about justifying it. And everything I bought was on clearance. I just hope it fits. I got big sizes, just in case, but if maternity clothes come and are too small, I may have a total breakdown.

Tim's been really supportive of all this. He thinks it's so cute. I try not to dump on him too much about how I really feel--I remember how overwhelming it was for him when I really explained about my regular body image issues. I think this would be exponentially worse.

And I'm trying to get past it. I've taken only a few pregnancy pictures, all of which look huge in my eyes (hence why they haven't been posted yet), but I'd hate to look back one day and have no pictures of this time. So I suck it up as best I can.

My mom was joking the other day about some of the shower games she wants to play. She was talking about one where people get toilet paper or string or something and have to guess how much of it it would take to wrap around the pregnant women's belly. I almost had a heart attack. Yes, it's a cute game, and I always had fun with it at other people's showers. But MY belly? What if people think I'm huge, and they have four times as much length as they need? Or they have too little, and are shocked when they find out how big I really am? Yes, these are really the thoughts that go through my head.

I'm working on it. It's hard for me on several levels. There's the innermost level, the voice that gives me all of the body image ideas I have. Then there's the level above that, the one that can hear the negative voice and feels bad for having such thoughts. And then there's the outermost voice that says I should have control over those other voices and just move past it. Basically, three levels of my psyche giving me issues--either negative thoughts or guilt about those thoughts. We worked on some of this a few years ago in therapy, but I never quite figured out how to change my entire line of thinking. My therapist was only a graduate student--I think she was a bit overwhelmed by the body image issues I had. The eating disorder ones were more textbook, and therefore we focused on those.

Anyway, I hate feeling so negative about my body. I really do. I think other pregnancy women are so cute. I just wish I could get to that point with my own body. At least I've been staying away from the destructive behaviors I used to associate with all my body image stuff. I haven't gone back to either of the extreme eating behaviors I used to have. No severe restrictions, and no binges either. I've just tried to be normal about it all. I eat as best I can, but I also eat what sounds good. Maybe once a week or once every two weeks we'll splurge and get a blizzard at Dairy Queen or something. We have been eating out more with the move, but I try to be reasonable about that too.

I've realized I have to gain weight for the baby. I might be gaining a little more than I want--my guess is it'll be a little over 20 next week at my appointment, but our scale at home is broken I think, so I'm not sure. But even if I gain 30 pounds the entire pregnancy, it doesn't make me a failure. Sure, I was shooting for 20 or 25. But with my pre-pregnancy weight and past eating tendencies, I know I could've gained 50 or 60 easily if I had completely let myself do whatever I wanted. So, 30, even 40 pounds is a success of sorts. My doctor hasn't brought it up, so if she's ok, then I need to be ok.

It's weird that I'm more accepting of the number on the scale than of my physical body. Don't get me wrong, the scale number is ugly--higher than it's ever been--but I think I prepared myself pretty well for that. The body stuff--not so much. No amount of lotion has prevented the stretch marks. My growing belly has a mind of its own. And I think the scariest part is that I still have almost 2.5 months to go! That scares the hell out of me. I sort of expected to be as big as I am now at the end of my pregnancy. I still have 10 weeks to go! How can I possibly get any bigger?

I've had nightmares about being so huge I can't fit through doors or sit in a chair. I know it won't really get to that point, but all of the changes in my clothes have reinforced my fear. What if I get too big even for maternity clothes? Will I have to walk around in a muu muu all day? Lord knows I'm not walking around naked.

Anyway, I'm going to try and not bring this up any more. It's something I've got to deal with. I need to focus on the baby, make sure she's healthy and getting what she needs, and my body will just have to deal. I'm not giving up on diet and exercise (as much as I can, at this point). But I have to just accept that my body is changing and that's the way it is.

I really do think that keeping busy has kept me away from really getting in touch with my feelings about all of this. I like to think I'm in control. Anyone I know will tell you what a organizing, anal-retentive control hound I really am. It's a coping mechanism. It's how I make my exterior strong while I'm feeling vulnerable inside. And let me tell you, this pregnancy has been the most vulnerable time of my life. From early on, when we were worried about miscarrying, to the concern about gestational diabetes, to every little daily worry about "am I doing all I can for the baby?", it's tough. And ultimately, there are some things over which I have no control.

I think labor will really be the pinnacle of vulnerability for me. No matter how much I prepare, no matter what plan I have in my head, labor will go the way it will go. I'm expecting a non-complicated birth with an epidural. What if I need a c-section? What if there are problems with the epidural, or I can't get one? Really, the chances are better that at least one thing will not go as planned. That's the way it works. And I need to accept that and be ready for the unknown.

I don't want to give my child the same issues I have. I don't like to talk about my family's issues on the internet, but I see how we all share some of the same issues. For some of us, it's manifest in the way we treat our bodies. Others of us deal with it in our money issues or our relationships. Some of us keep it all bottled up until we explode. But I think we all struggle with our self-worth. I don't want my child learning that from me. Tim's family isn't like that, and it's been good for me to see. I mean, everyone has issues, and his family is no exception. But they don't struggle with self-worth. They know they are good people and don't deserve to be stepped all over. They don't find fault with themselves constantly, and they don't feel the need to punish themselves over every little mistake or imperfection. I hope our daughter takes that aspect from them. Now, I'd like her to get her compassion and tolerance of others from me, but that's something we can work on :)

I know children mimic what they see at home. I've read books and articles about how young girls, as young as 4 or 5, talk about going on diets because that's what mommy does. That's not going to be my daughter. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure she grows up loving herself and loving her body. I don't want her showing it off like the little 12 year old hoochie mamas at the mall do--you need to respect yourself too--but I don't want her to be ashamed. I can remember being ashamed of my body as far back as changing for gym glass in elementary school. I always felt not as pretty as the other girls. I felt that way all through elementary, middle, and high school. I felt that way through college. And you know what? I didn't even have a weight problem until medical school. It's amazing to me that the body image stuff came so many years before the weight issues did.

Ok, enough rambling. Really. I think I had to write this post more to sort things our for myself than anything else. And like I said, I'm going to try and avoid talking about it any more. It's not that I am going to sugarcoat things--I'm honest to a fault. But I don't need to dwell on it either. I'm going to do my best to get past the body image stuff and just be excited that my daughter will be here in another 10 weeks or so. That's the payoff for all of this. And really, I'd take all of the stretch marks and cellulite in the world if it means I get a healthy baby girl. That's what's really important, and that's what I need to remember.