Thursday, May 01, 2008

Can I tell you a secret?

Well, I guess it won't be much of a secret once I blog about it, but I really haven't had much of a chance to do a personal blog in a while. And I think I need to do one to sort things out. A little background first.

I made the comment recently that I feel like my head is finally above water with the whole baby thing. I am not an expert, I don't have a foolproof system, and there are still many times when things can't go the way I'd like them to because I have a baby now. But for the most part, if we need to go somewhere or do something, we can. Sure, Sophie might act up, or poop in the middle of the mall, or something along those lines. But we know how to deal with it now. The thought of her screaming in Target, while not ideal, doesn't prevent us from going if we need diapers. That doesn't mean we head out to window-shop and walk around like we used to pre-baby. But we're not prisoners in the house either (unless it's after 8 PM, and then one of us has to be home while Sophie's sleeping).

There are parts of the baby experience I don't enjoy. Take breastfeeding. Actually, it's pumping more specifically. Breastfeeding, while often inconvenient, does let me bond with Sophie in a way no one else can. And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than formula. Having said that, I'm tired of being the one that feeds her all the time (except when my mom's watching her). I'd like to have Tim feed her if I'm doing something. And I'm tired of not being able to wear regular bras or sleep on my stomach. And I LOATHE pumping. I can't tell you why--it's just so cold and mechanical. And totally inconvenient. And I can't pump enough to keep up with her. She usually takes between 16-24 ounces of milk while I'm gone during the day. And I can pump 10, maybe 12. So now I'm pulling one to two bags of milk from the freezer every day just to keep up. It sucks. I hate feeling like it's my job to be the sole food source, and I can't produce. We're trying to up her solids to 2-3 times a day, but according to the pediatrician, that supplements milk, not replaces it. Eventually she'll get most of her calories from solids, but we still have a way to go yet.

Having said that, there are things about the baby stuff that I love. I love how she lights up when I come into the room (actually, she lights up for almost anyone, but still). I love how she cuddles. I love that she becomes more and more of a person every day. I love how much I love her. And as selfish as it is, I love that I feel needed and useful.

Pathetic that I need to be needed, right? But being a mom is the one area that has been consistently positive for me. I'm having a rough week in lab, and with another committee meeting coming up in a month, both my PI and I are frustrated at how slowly things are moving. He pushes his frustration on me; I bottle it up. So of course, it's affecting my sleeping, my eating, and my general level of stress.

Life in general is frustrating too. This house thing is still messy--we're supposed to close a week from today and we still haven't heard if they need an FHA inspection, whether their loan will be ready on time, and how big of a check we need to bring to closing. That means that this is our last weekend to move furniture, and there is a chance we'll get hosed like last time. We absolutely don't want to move everything and then move it back again, so we're hesitant. But we're running out of time. And we just want to be done.

House stuff is making money tight, of course. I keep telling myself that once this is done, things will be balanced again (hopefully). But we want to get a fence for privacy. And gas prices are insane. And both of our cars are due for work. It's stressful just buying groceries.

I feel so torn. I'm supposed to give 110% to work to finish up my PhD. But I need to give 100% to Sophie. And there's all this other life garbage in the way. There are lots of other little things too bugging me, but no need to whine any more here. I just feel like by not giving my all to everything, I'm accomplishing nothing.

Like I said before, I feel like being a mom is the only continuous source of positivity I have. Lots of things are positive periodically--I like when we get the chance to see family and friends, I am relieved when I find new ways to save us money, and once in a blue moon an experiment works. But no matter what kind of day I've had, when I come home to Sophie and she smiles at me, I feel better. Not to say that she had perfect days every day--far from it--but it always feels worthwhile.

So, that feeling of usefulness plus hormones means--that's right, my biological clock is ticking again. Let me state, loud and clear, that I have absolutely no plans to act on it for at least a few more years. But the urge is back. I remember when we had dinner over my cousin's place about a month ago, and his friend's wife was talking about how she was already trying to have another one. With Sophie being 5 months old, I couldn't imagine that urge ever coming back. I asked her when hers started up again, and she said about 6 months. I thought she was crazy.

Now I get it. Sophie's growing so much every day. And she's such a joy. I feel like I want to increase that positivity, and it's easier to have another baby than it is to fix all of the things (mostly lab) that bring negativity into my life. And the hormones. Oh my goodness, the HORMONES! It's definitely biological, that's for sure. Only hormones could make me forget about all the misery I went through while being pregnant. Thank goodness for the blog. I can look back and remember how sick I was the first trimester, how swollen and uncomfortable I was at the end, and the unholy pain and trauma that was delivery. I know all of that. But when I see all the 8 and 9 month pregnant women walking around at work (my building is right next to the OB section of the hospital), I get a little jealous. I miss being pregnant. I miss those first few weeks of having a tiny little baby. Ok, Sophie was never tiny, but she's closing in on 20 pounds now, so she was small by comparison.

And most of all, I feel like being a mom is important. I don't feel like lab is important. Heck, I don't even think my research is interesting. Why would I expect anyone else to find it enthralling? And goodness knows that I as a person am not important in the lab. I'm a set of hands (that work too slowly, apparently). My boss knows nothing of my day to day issues outside the lab. Heck, he tried to call me a few weekends ago and came in Monday complaining that I gave him the wrong number. I had to remind him that I moved. Ten months ago.

Again, let me state that these urges do not mean I am contemplating getting pregnant again any time soon. I don't know how I could do it during my third year clerkships (assuming I ever get out of the lab), and with the new curriculum, there's no guarantee I'd have enough of a break in the fourth year to do it either. And then I'd start residency. So what I am saying is that by the time there is a good time to have another baby, I'll be 40. I don't want to wait that long, but I don't want to do it again tomorrow either.

Of course, there's the fallout from getting pregnant in the lab. Goodness knows I don't want to deal with that. One baby in the PhD is bad enough--two means I'm totally uncommitted and worthless. I have no desire to have to explain myself to my boss, my committee, my department, and my program. It's stressful enough trying to finish up before the lab dissolves. Adding a pregnancy to that (along with its associated physical joys) will not speed up my departure, that's for sure.

Plus, if we're struggling with money now, paying for another baby in day care is not the way to fix things.

So there's the secret. I struggle every day with these biological urges. Part of me wants nothing more than to say screw the PhD, I'm going for it. But I've worked too hard to come this far and throw it all away. I do regret that I didn't bail on lab sooner, but now with less than a year to go, I need to suck it up and finish.

I'm rational and responsible, as well as driven by a huge guilt complex, so there is no way we're having another baby soon. But I'd love to rebel. I know, some people are into tattoos or drugs or skydiving or what have you for thrills. My idea of rebelling is skipping a departmental seminar to finish an experiment. I'm just a wild and crazy girl.

And for as much as I am dreading my next committee meeting in June--why do I always feel like I have to make so many excuses for my project with them?--I just want to be done. November is my entry point for med school if I want to graduate in 2010, or else it is graduation in 2011 if I can't go back until next March or July.

Honestly, what I need is a week off to relax and get my personal life organized. I have a to-do list at home a mile long. And really, I think it would make me more productive at work if I didn't have to split my loyalties (and time) as much as I do. But I think taking a week off at this point would give Dr. B a heart attack. I'll probably take one day off around memorial day when we go to the camp, but that might be it for vacations this year.

Anyway, a bit of a random blog, but I needed to get that out. There's something about getting a personal issue out that lets me just let it go. I already feel the baby urge fading. And besides, I'd like to have my body back for a while before I get pregnant again. The last thing I want is to move right from breastfeeding to pregnancy.

Ok, that's the randomness of the day. Not a big juicy secret, I know, but something a little more personal than I've had time for recently. Back to non-working experiments and more departmental seminars.


  1. that is quite possibly the cutest blog that you have written over the course of all the blogs,minus the ones with pictures.
    i love that you have finally found your calling and that you love being a mom, and you are so good at it!
    and if you wait to be done in 2011 we can have a joint graduation party!
    just kidding. but thats when im graduating.
    i am so glad that you are happy!
    love jenny

  2. I'm so glad that you don't think your research is interesting either - all of my classmates seem to really love and be passionate about their research, and I think my project is/was sooo boring. And now that I am revising my thesis, my advisor keeps being like, "Explain why you did this." I keep wanting to say, "Because you told me to!"

    Also, so glad that you're so happy being a mom! The mom of the two boys that I babysit for just told me that she is pregnant again, and it totally got me thinking about having kids (even though I am not even close to being married!).

  3. One word: domeperidone. With my second I pumped round the clock so he would have enough for ... just his day at daycare. This time the same supply drop hit later but I was down to 9oz from three pumpings at work. On 30mg/day I'm pumping 14-16 oz during the same time frame. It's a crime that pumping Moms are educated about this. Ok, well, in 2004 the FDA got all pissed about this off lable use, but the double blind placebo controlled studies HAVE been done. Just in other countries.

    Sorry for the rant, and I know you hate pumping, but as long as you do it don't you want to get more than enough milk if that's possible?

    Feel free to email me if you want. I've been lurking for a while and this is a hot button issue for me.


  4. I got your photos and card. ADORABLE!!! I will see you in but a few weeks. Then you'll only have one house too. Wo hoo!