Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Two nights, and the rest of my life

Let me give you a little insight into the last two nights we've had here:

Sunday night:
8:00 start bedtime ritual
8:45 put Sophie to bed
9:30 Sophie's up, I feed her & rock her back to sleep
10:30 Sophie's up, Tim rocks her back to sleep
11:00 Tim & I go to bed (earlier than usual)
11:30 Sophie's up, I feed & rock her
2:00 Sophie's up, I feed & rock her
5:00 Sophie's up, I feed & rock her
7:00 Sophie's up, I give up trying to sleep

Last night:
10:00 Start bedtime ritual (we thought starting later might get her to sleep through the night again)
10:30 Put Sophie to bed
11:00 We go to bed
3:00 Sophie's up, feed & rock her
5:00 Sophie's up, feed & rock her
6:00 I wake up to a huge wet spot in the bed--the dog has peed in the bed, and I'm laying in it.
6:30 After stripping the sheets, Tim curls up with a comforter, and I go sleep in Sophie's room
7:00 Forget it, we're all awake.

Now, with each time Sophie gets up, it's usually a diaper change, a feeding, and some rocking. It usually takes about half an hour. And then I've got to try and fall back asleep, which usually take another half hour (if I fall back asleep at all).

And today, I am home with her. This is good and bad. It is good because I always like seeing Sophie. It is bad because: 1) we're supposed to get 8 inches of snow, which is why I told my mom to stay home, 2) I have a required symposium and student lunch I have to miss, and 3) I feel like I haven't been giving lab my full attention, and this isn't helping matters.

I really think I underestimated how tough this was going to be. I'm not totally naive--I knew we were in for a lot of sacrifices and adjustments. And I wouldn't trade Sophie for anything. But I am shocked at how much having a baby has changed my life. I saw so many other people do it. I've done so many things in my life people said I couldn't do--I didn't think this would be different. But oh, it is.

Really, even since I was pregnant, lab has gotten less and less of my attention. At least while I was pregnant I still got some things done. Now, I haven't gotten anything done since I've been back. Part of that is what I have tried hasn't worked, and that always brings me down and makes me frustrated (and less motivated). But a big chunk of that is because I've had to give so much of my time up to taking care of things at home.

Having my mom do day care is a huge help--there have been plenty of nights where Tim or I have run late, and she's always willing to keep Sophie a little longer. But on days like today, I've got to stay home. Now, it's not that I love driving through eight inches of snow--I hate snow driving more than anything. It's that I feel like I've given up my aspirations. There's a good chance I'm not going to be able to finish my PhD this year because of all the time I've had off. That puts med school back a year later than I wanted. I just want to be done in the lab so much. I've pretty much decided that I don't want to do bench research again--or at least not for a long time--and I want so badly to get back to the clinical stuff. The fact that having a baby may set me back really makes me sad.

I'm just so close to being done. This has been a total crap topic of a PhD project, and the fact that I may finally be able to finish it really makes me want to just be done. But all of the stopping and starting messes with my experiments. And that makes everything drag on.

I've just had a really rough morning. Like I said, I wouldn't trade Sophie for anything. But maybe the perfect mix of a career and a family really isn't possible, much like that highly touted myth of research plus clinical life seems to be a fairy tale. I just am so torn up about it. I got very defensive when Tim's grandmother suggested that I should be a stay at home mom now. Why would I go through all this school and training just to stay home? Is that the best I can do for myself? And yet, there was this part of me that said: why have kids if you are just going to put them in day care? I always assumed there was a happy medium. And maybe there is. But I have yet to find it.

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