Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wish I had something exciting--sorry!

Sorry, again. Ask anyone with a blog--the more time goes by between posts, the harder it is to come back. I feel like after a few weeks off I should have some interesting news to share. Nope, not really. It's been the same thing every day, which bores me, so I didn't figure you wanted to hear about it :)

Lab is still moving forward. There are so many loose ends that need to be tied up--I am capable of multitasking, but what I prefer is to complete one task in its entirety so I can cross it off my list. And boy, do I have a list at the moment! Instead, I can only do things here and there, so while things get done, nothing ever leaves the list.  But, at least it's progress, even if it isn't the type I prefer.

My committee hasn't changed their minds, so I am working to finish experiments for the paper so I can send it in before I go on maternity leave. A few weeks ago, I thought I'd be done by now. As of right now, I think it'll probably go right up till the end. There are just too many things that come up suddenly, both lab-wise and departmentally, on a regular basis. Those are real time-suckers, and there isn't a lot I can do about them. Mandatory is mandatory.

I am down to my last two patient clinics. I'm finished at the end of March, and it's sad. I've really enjoyed the years I've spent seeing patients one afternoon a week at the VA hospital. I had an excellent mentor, the patients have (mostly) been very understanding and willing to have me learn, and it's such a gratifying experience. Compared to science, where results coming to fruition can take years, seeing a few patients in an afternoon and helping them get their health under better control is definite immediate gratification.

I'm also about six weeks away from my due date. I think Josh turned head down last week, judging by where he is now kicking (and how much more heartburn I have). I'm hoping that means we'll avoid the breech issue this time. I did have a vent session last night with Tim about things though.

Don't get me wrong, despite the third trimester complaints (heartburn, insomnia, hip/back pain, water retention), I feel much better than I did in the first trimester. I'm a lot slower and I can't bend, but at least I can leave the house. Having said that, the end of pregnancy was frustrating for me with Sophie, and it's shaping up to be similar with Josh.

Let me offer a piece of advice if you ever run into a pregnant woman: don't tell her how big she looks, or how she looks like she won't make it to her due date. We feel like whales. We know we're big; we deal with it constantly. You pointing it out doesn't make it better.

I know people are just trying to make conversation. But like I told Tim last night: I don't expect people to tell me I look tiny, but please give me a little credit for not turning into a balloon. I'm almost 34 weeks, and I've gained less than 20 pounds. And a lot of that is water weight: I wake up with 1+ edema, and I'm at 2+ pitting edema by the end of the day. Nothing I can do about the water retention, so that weight I have to deal with. But I'm watching my simple carbs, my blood glucoses have been very good, I'm not eating out much (about once a month), and I'm trying to be healthy.  To do all this and then be constantly told how huge I am makes me want to give up and grab a huge shamrock shake from McDonald's.

People mean well, I know they do. But a little recognition of how hard I am trying would be nice. At my last doctor's appointment on Friday, it was a total bummer. I hadn't seen her in 4 weeks, and I had gained 7 pounds by their scale (4 by mine). My blood pressure was good (actually a little low), and my sugar was good. I was really swollen that morning and said so. When my doctor came in, she said that she wanted an ultrasound because I was measuring big for dates and gaining weight rapidly. Her explanation was, "measuring big could just be because I am measuring you plus the baby." She's a nice woman, and I know she didn't mean what I took from that, but I hear, "your fat belly is screwing up the measurements." And she did say that she thought most of the recent weight gain was water, but I've never had a visit where she's commented on the fact that my weight gain has been pretty well controlled. One visit like that would be nice.

I have been petrified of having another big baby. I've done everything I can on my end to try and prevent that, but at this point, I'd almost rather have him big. One, that means I'd get to schedule an induction and not go overdue. Two, it means that the weight I have gained is mostly baby. But I'd also be disappointed, because it means that nothing I have done has worked.

I'm frustrated to the point where I think I should've just eaten whatever I wanted, consequences be damned, and gained 60 pounds. At least then I think the size comments would be justified. I knew I'd never be one of those people who gain seven pounds and look all tiny through the entire pregnancy. But if you're going to paint me as someone who isn't trying hard enough, at least let me enjoy the benefits of not trying!

Anyway, I'm just tired of the comments. Again, I know people don't mean nasty things. But every morning at day care, at least one person comments about how big I am, how I'll never make it to my date, etc. This morning it was, "Wow, you look really tired!" Thanks. Thanks a lot. I am tired, and I needed you to remind me of that.

Tim's been really supportive about this, and he knows how sensitive I am to all the weight comments. That's why I can vent to him. But knowing I have six more weeks, and remembering how I blew up with water retention at the end with Sophie, I am sure things will get worse on that front before they get better. On the other hand, I have yet to take an official pregnancy picture because I've felt so un-picturesque, but that isn't going to improve either.  I've been very careful not to talk about any of this in front of Sophie--the last thing I want is for her to learn my body image issues--but it hasn't been easy.

I hate to whine, and I'll try not to bring this stuff up again. It's just that pregnancy is so tough on its own--I don't need other people making me feel like crap on top of it. Yes, I am uncomfortable. Yes, I am tired because I can't sleep. Yes, my ankles are swollen to the point that I can't get my shoes on. Yes, I walk at a glacial pace because my hips and back hurt. You don't need to point it out, thanks.

Anyway, I'm really not oversensitive about it most days. I've done a pretty good job of just smiling and letting whatever comment roll off my back. Yesterday was just one of those days. Both Tim and I are stressed out--he's been working nonstop, including nights and weekends, on this never-ending, undead, frustrating job. He had a rough day yesterday, so I think we both needed a vent session. I'm glad we get along so well, because it's easy to understand what the other person is feeling.

We're both taking Friday off--not as a day of rest, unfortunately, but to try and get stuff done in the house before I am completely immobile. We're finally going to paint the nursery, move furniture, set up the spare bed, and try to get ready for Josh. I did buy size1-2 diapers at Costco last weekend, so if he comes early, we'll have those. I need to sterilize all the bottles and the pump pieces, buy new bottle nipples/pacifiers, and go through all the clothes to pull out the gender neutral things he can wear. Of course, even with those, Sophie was a late fall baby, so we have a lot of heavy sleepers and things he won't need. We do have some white onesies, so if all else fails, that'll be his uniform for a while. My cousin is going to kindly lend us some boy's clothes, and I am hoping Tim's cousin (who has twin boys) will offer us some too. If not, craigslist it is!

Overall though, I have been thankful for how well the pregnancy has gone, and how healthy we all are. We've been surrounded by health issues--Tim's cousin's twins were actually both diagnosed with a very rare genetic disease that may cause them to go blind/lose an eye. They've both already had surgery, and thank god it's not something like retinoblastoma, but that was a wakeup call (they are six weeks younger than Sophie).

And then one of Tim's coworkers had his two year old daughter diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. I don't know the type, but she's already had surgery, was in ICU for several weeks, and just this week traveled to Philadelphia for a very uncommon form of radiation treatment. I guess the recurrence rate, best case scenario, is about 50%, and she may have permanent brain damage if she does make it. And she's 5 months younger than Sophie. I was a real mess when I heard about what was going on with them--I can't imagine what they are dealing with. I was distraught when Sophie went back to surgery for 15 minutes to get tubes in her ears. I just can't imagine--it breaks my heart.

Three kids, all around Sophie's age, with very rare diseases. I feel like we are due for something. I'm thankful every day that we have a healthy, strong-willed toddler, even if she is a handful on a regular basis. But I don't know how we are lucky enough to have a healthy child when there are so many other people dealing with life threatening issues. Really, after taking embryology in medical school, it's astounding to me there are so many healthy, "normal" people in existence. So much has to go just right, at the right time, for a person to be born healthy (and stay that way).

And so, in the big scheme of things, I'd rather deal with two healthy kids who gave me issues in pregnancy/delivery. I'll birth another nine pounder if I have to, if that's what it takes for him to be healthy. We've been blessed to be able to have kids relatively easily, which I know many people struggle with, and we're blessed to have lots of people around to help us take care of them.  Feeling like a whale for a few months isn't the end of the world. And I know I've done what I can, even if everyone else assumes I've been living it up in the drive-thru lane. That'll have to be enough.


  1. Bridge,

    The next time someone makes a comment about your size, weight, due date, etc. just look at them and ask "Were you born rude or did you have to take a class to learn how to be insensitive?" They will stammer and fumble (and maybe apologize) but I will almost guarantee you they will never make a comment like that to another pregnant woman again.

    If they come back with "Well, I didn't think it was a rude comment," just politely say "That's the problem, you didn't think!"

    I don't think people want to be rude, but until they feel the pain they are inflicting, they don't understand why their victims get upset. I don't see any problem with fighting rudeness with rudeness. It'll save a lot of heartache for a lot of people down the line.

    Think of it as a verbal vaccination -- you're preventing the spread of infectious rudeness.

    And if that doesn't work, give me their names... I'll come over and smack 'em in the nose!

    Love you!

  2. Nikki5:32 PM

    My friend from lab was pregnant and her OB, trying to relate to her as a scientist I guess, told her, "why don't you graph your weight" in response to her rapid weight gain! Nicky (who is like 5 ft 3 and maybe 120 lbs) almost launched herself at the OB!

    Good luck with your last few weeks!!! And congrats on getting the green light to finish!!!!