Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Truly Living

It is well-documented (I think) that pregnant women experience a wide range of gastrointestinal discomforts.

Constipation - I have thankfully avoided thus far due to my high intake of multiple kinds of fruit.

Gas, however, is something I have had in ample supply. Usually it's when I'm at home, and I can ignore the cats' judgement and pass wind freely. Usually.

But let me tell you. You have not truly lived until you have stood in front of 13 silent community college students, ready for you to start your lecture - and suddenly and overwhelmingly, felt the urge. That, my friends, was an unpleasant moment.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tiny Hand - Big Love

We recently celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. It's amazing to think it's already been 4 years! Looking back, I've changed a lot in those 4 years...but in other ways, it seems like it was just yesterday, and couldn't have possibly been 4 years already!

But it was especially fitting that on that day, I felt our little baby's hand. Or maybe foot. I'm not sure. We were lying in bed, chatting before falling asleep, and feeling the little one wiggle around, when suddenly...a little tiny hand (I think) pushed up, right into my palm.

I will admit, until all still felt kind of...strange. Detached. I mostly worried about the logistics and found myself seldom thinking of a cute little baby. Something about feeling that hand changed how I look at this baby! NOW, it seems like a sweet little baby. NOW I find myself more often thinking silly baby thoughts of love, instead of worrying about how good of a mother I'll be.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Camera!

We bought a new camera! It's a Digital SLR. Fancy, fancy!

It was soooo hard deciding which one to get. We wanted to get one to take nice pictures of the baby, especially when it starts moving around a the shutter lag on a DSLR is much, much improved from our little point and shoot. And honestly, the shutter lag on that sweet little camera has been a point of insanity for many years now. :)

So what to get? Our price range limited options considerably, and lead me to debate between a Nikon, and a Canon. I nearly went with the more expensive Nikon. I was so close...but I've always been a Canon girl. Every digital camera I've owned (3 so far) has been a Canon, and I've loved them all (despite the shutter lag). It seemed like a safe bet to keep with Canon.

I'm still playing with it and learning it's tricks and gadgetry, but it's sure been fun. And I can't wait until I have a new subject to try it out on some more. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tough Decisions of Another Kind

I promised, or alluded to anyway, a post on anonymous gamete donation. Like eggs or sperm.

It's a tricky subject. It's one I have indirect experience with. My cousin was conceived with donor sperm, and raised by a single choice I suppose. I always assumed she wanted to be married but never found anyone. But maybe she chose that lifestyle, I'm not sure. It wasn't puzzling when I was younger, why Cousin didn't have a was just the way things were. But as we got older it started to seem a little stranger.

The biggest issue, actually, is that Cousin was raised by a woman who has a strong tendency toward man-hating. She now also has this tendency. And, further complicating matters...Cousin and her mom have a weird, totally co-dependent relationship. It really seems to me that Aunt has put Cousin in the place of life-partner. And it's not at all fair to Cousin.

Now, Cousin, who is roughly my age...nearing 30...and feeling that biological clock tick, is interested in procreating. However. She's never dated. At all. And with her unusual relationship with her mother, and the fact she's not willing to compromise any of her habits or's unlikely she'll find a partner any time soon. So she, last I heard, is seriously contemplating/planning sperm donation herself.

It's tricky, though, to decide if this is "right" or "smart" or "good". And maybe that's because it's not up to us to decide. One of my siblings thinks it's blatantly wrong, and said that while glad to have Cousin in our's not a "natural" way to go about child-making. I find myself at least somewhat in agreement. But I've a friend who will just adamantly argue that everyone has the right to have a child. And...well...I guess I have a harder time getting behind that. Everyone? Truly? Even people who will abuse that child? But how do you regulate that?

You can't.

So what about people who would make good parents, or a good parent...but face infertility, or just never find a partner. What then? Sperm and egg donation allow them to have a kid, responsibly. They could, theoretically, just go out and get knocked up to the same effect. (If they're women, that is)

So basically, I don't know the answer. It seems tricky - because you can have genetic half-siblings out there who meet and fall in love unaware of their genetic situation. theoretically. It doesn't seem altogether likely, but it's certainly possible. So that's a complication. And then it lends itself easily to the situation Cousin is in. Is that a fair thing to do to Cousin? I don't think so.

Anyway, I have no idea what the answer is. I just wanted to ponder over it "outloud" because of something I read the other day. Happy to hear others' thoughts on the matter.

Tough Decisions

As you may recall, my pregnancy wasn't very well received in a professional sense by either my advisor or the department director. They were supportive in a friendly capacity, but when it came to actually following policy and providing financial support, or their thoughts about my "usefulness" postpartum, they were both less than supportive, to put it mildly. I muddled through that mess, Mr. Random got a better paying job, and we took the path of least resistance (partly because it's nice for us too, but also it's smarter politically) and I'll be taking fall semester off.


Before that blessed time comes, I had some things to do. There are a number of milestones required of the PhD in my department, and I completed the first one in May - perhaps a bit ahead of schedule, but that was on purpose due to the pregnancy. We (my advisor and I) wanted to get it done before I took the time off. And I was quite prepared and it was a good time to do it. So it was done. I won't hear the results until November 1, however. This is because the committee that grades my efforts does not meet in the summer. And, I requested they not give me the results until November 1, because the results could come in 3 varieties: 1) pass, 2) pass with revision, 3) fail. If I got option 2 - I'd have exactly 4 weeks from receiving the results to complete the revisions. Now, suppose the committee decided to meet early in the semester and give me my results, say...September 3 or something. I could quite possibly be having a baby that day...not exactly in a good position to make revisions. Thus the request that they withhold my results until November 1. The idea being...the child should be born by then...and hopefully we'll have figured out some way to survive so that requiring revisions at that point will be possible, though likely unpleasant. Fine.

Okay, so Milestone #2. Advisor wants me to do that this summer as well. She has a couple reasons - 1) the material I'll need to know to complete it is fresher in my mind now than it will be after 5 months off in Babyland. 2) the more milestones I complete the more likely I'll come back after having the baby (um, ma'm, don't you think that perhaps not FORCING my hand into taking the time off to begin with might also have had that effect? moving on.) And then, it seems she has some messed up idea of when I should graduate. The rate she's pushing to get me out the door would have me graduated with a semester of guaranteed funding left. That seems silly, for one thing, but for another, it's going to lead to major burn out. That's pretty much how I tackled my master's - get in, get out, be done. And I got majorly burnt out, I hated my program, and I now have an advanced degree that I feel like is kind of a joke. It wasn't my best work because I was in such a hurry to finish, and now I kind of regret that. As you can see...I'm leaning toward NOT doing this milestone now. I have several reasons.

First, to do the next milestone, one is supposed to wait for the results of the first milestone. It makes sense. I mean, if you don't pass the first one, you can't reasonably move onto the second. Advisor thinks we can "bend" that rule because of my pregnancy. You know what? I'm loathe to let her use my pregnancy to her advantage when she wants, when she seems to have no regard for it or me professionally.

Second. This is my last summer with just "us" with Mr. Random. And I'm teaching 2 classes as it is. So, if I do attempt this milestone - I'll spend my time teaching and my spare time studying. I would MUCH rather spend this last summer's spare time, with my husband. Thanks.

Third. I seriously feel like attempting it will lead me to burn out, and will make me less likely to want to return after having this baby. (I don't have the option to not return really...I mean, I WANT to be a professor, this is the way to be that...but, it negates one of her logics).

Fourth. I'm tired. I've been so tired the past 3 weeks it's about all I can do to keep up with my teaching responsibilities...and, oh, they're paying me for those. Advisor is paying me for nothing this Paycheck is priority and I'm doing that work first.

And I guess those are my main arguments. Now, just to let Advisor know.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So much to write, so little time

Teaching two classes is taking up most of my time. It's a lot of work! But I'm finally getting past the anxiety and starting to enjoy it. Now my biggest concern is that they're not learning enough...which could be my fault...or could be theirs.

I probably should have written tons last night - I had the time, as I was not sleeping. I woke up about 1:30 am to pee...and couldn't fall back asleep. All my fidgeting was keeping Mr. Random awake, so I got up...but felt too tired to do anything productive! It was not fun. I was up til at least 4am...that was when I last looked at the clock. I felt really tired...but couldn't sleep.

Random Jr. was active during this time...and may have been doing full flips in one point either the head or butt was STICKING out - it looked crazy. Just this round mass pushing out to the side of my belly button.

I'm still so tired...I went to sleep on the guest bed (which is hard as a rock) and was there for maybe 2 hours...before I got up because it was TOO HOT and I realized Mr. Random was up for I got back in our bed and slept for another hour and a half or so...and then I got up. I was hungry.

Now, I expected a schedule somewhat like that when the baby was actually born and screaming at me to feed/change/love it...but not before! What is this? Torture? A prep course for baby care 101? I don't like it.

Meanwhile, I feel totally unfunctional. I need to make review sheets and exams for both classes and planned to get at least one review sheet out of the way this morning...that...has not happened. I just can't trust myself to be coherent enough to do it properly.

Now, I think of post topics...often while driving...and then forget when I have chance to write them out. In an effort to remember some of the topics kicking around my mind currently, I'm making a list here - which I plan to work from over the next week or two:

*anonymous gamete donation
*And then there were 3 - my thoughts/fears/hopes/dreams of becoming a 3

And the rest I've clean forgot already...well, maybe some sleep will help a bit.

Oh yeah, by the way - the slow cooker roast, turned out AWESOME. Mr. Random declared he liked it better that way than the other way we'd been cooking it all these years....and he liked the other way alright, so it was pretty good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hee Hee Hoo Hoo

We had our first childbirth class this past week. I'm learning all kinds of things lately! The art of slow cooking, how to push a *hopefully* full term baby out. Well, I guess we didn't get much to the pushing part yet.

We had the first class, and it was roughly 4 hours long. We started with basic anatomy - I already knew most of that. I did learn that there are actually TWO sacs the baby lives in...I hadn't known that. And I learned that our instructor keeps a placenta frozen in her freezer. Which she promised to thaw and bring in for us to see. Maybe I'm just not enough of a natural granola type, but that just sounds gross to me. I've heard there are cultures where one eats the placenta. Ew. I've heard of people planting the placentas underneath a tree for their little one. This I can understand...I even think might be cool. But as we currently live in an apartment, it's not really feasible. I'm fine with letting my placenta be dealt with as bio-hazardous waste. Because, well, that's what it seems like to me.

Anyway, after learning about anatomy we learned about positions of the baby and how the baby actually navigates through the birth canal and vagina. Did you know they have to turn? Fascinating actually.

We talked a bit about nutrition - I'm definitely not eating enough protein, but I'm doing pretty well everywhere else I think. Well, that's not true. I need more veggies too. I'm not sure why I don't eat more...

We talked a bit about the stages of labor - how dad's can be helpful, and how they can be rather unhelpful (so things to avoid). We heard about our instructors 31 hour natural home birth, that was a vbac after 3 c-sections.

During some of this she talked about mindset - and compared labor to sex. And premature ejaculation. The interesting thing, was that she was talking about how when a guy tries to prevent premature ejaculation, he thinks about anything but what he's doing. And she was trying to say that labor is the opposite - we need to be all focused on it, though later she'd say we just needed to let our bodies do what they know how to do. Which one lady?

The class ended with some videos of birth. I'm pretty sure I was supposed to feel awe and admire the beauty of motherhood and such. I didn't. I mean...I was impressed by some of the things I saw. Grossed out by others. And I felt LOADS more attractive after seeing some of these women in their naked glory (which is awful probably, I know). So I clearly wasn't focusing on what I think I was supposed to get out of the videos. But gracious! There's such nasty fluids involved! A whole mess of them! And the squirming little newborn is all covered in it...and they're wrinkly and generally angry at finding themselves outside their previous warm and cozy home. I dunno...I guess we'll have to see what I think being on the other side of it.

On the way home Mr. Random and I chatted about the class. He thought it was fine...but he hadn't learned anything new yet (he's read a book by Dr. Bradley that covered a lot of it). His biggest issue was what he felt was blatant hypocrisy. Our instructor was telling us about her all natural home birth, but then went on to tell us about a decision she had to make (b/c decision making in active labor is near impossible) regarding taking some herbs to crank up her labor, or to not take them and let it dial down a bit. In Mr. Random's mind, and mine too, this is not "natural". We don't mean it's bad by any means! Just that herbs that cause a change in your labor are no different than meds! Just one's synthetic, and one's "naturally grown". Possibly. His issue was not with her taking the herbs, but insisting it was still a "natural" unassisted, uninterventioned birth.

He was also quite unimpressed by her 5 minute rant on the value and importance of doulas. There's one other couple in the class with us, and when she asked if either of us had hired doulas, and we both said no, she clucked at us in dismay. She, you see, is a doula. For a mere $550 she will attend your birth, and provide that sisterly bond that is is apparently so necessary. She does also bring a tub and do the work of filling and emptying it, which started to make the cost more reasonable in my mind, but Mr. Random was rather irritated by the whole lecture. His take is that the only reason women would need another woman, a "sister", to "mother" her during labor, is because men are kept ignorant. He feels that if he's educated in the same way she is, that he can provide as much, if not more support than a stranger, though she happens to be a "woman". And you know what, I think he could. And I would be more comfortable with him than a stranger. But I'm also a woman who's never been super close to her genetic sisters. And I have a truly sensitive, intelligent, and caring husband. I don't know that all men would be up to the challenge. And some women might truly prefer a woman's care over her husband - especially if he's less sensitive, or less nurturing.

For us, however, I think we'll just go the adventure together...and see how it goes. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Learning the Art of Using a Slow Cooker

It might sound strange, but we've barely used the slow cooker we got at our wedding roughly 4 years ago. I think we've used fact. We're trying to change that and learn to use it more, as it seems like a good way to save time, and have a yummy dinner basically ready when we get home.

This won't be such an issue in the fall when I'll be home all day, but starting next January when we're both working and have a little one, it might be essential. So we're trying to learn all about it now. Or, I guess I am, as I'm the one who's used it, counting today, twice now.

I like to say I'm "experimentin'"

The first experiment was a chicken dish. I used apricot nectar and some cornstarch, some water, lemon juice, chicken broth, some dried fruit bits and the chicken breasts. It was a variation on a recipe we've made on the stove top. It turned out decent, though the "fruit sauce" was far too runny. More cornstarch next time I guess?

This experiment is a roast. I've made roasts before. Never with a slow cooker. Which, I guess is weird for some families. My family, as long as I took notice anyway, always made roasts with an electric skillet. It takes about 3 hours that way. And we usually put tomato sauce over them.

My roast is currently cooking, but sans tomato sauce. Instead, I used some french onion soup packet we had in the pantry...added a few more spices and some carrots...and we'll see how this turns out. I'm actually a bit nervous.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Finally, Settled

Remember my issue with scheduling childbirth classes? No? It's a few posts back. I'm too lazy to link just now...lazy, or busy. Probably lazy. :) But I want to keep posting more regularly on here. I haven't been journaling, so this is the closest I'll get to tracking my thoughts and ideas during this time of my life.

Anyway, the childbirth class issue has been solved! We're taking a private class that focuses more on natural childbirth methods than the one through the hospital would have. It's more expensive, but I think it'll be worth it. They moved the class from Saturdays to Thursday evenings so we could take it, which was super awesome. And Mr. Random is super on board the "all natural" train, so he's glad I think. He wanted it to be my decision ultimately, but this seemed like the best way to go. I had never been happy that the only hospital class we could go to was not even going to be at my hospital, but a totally different one! Classes start this week, so I'm sure I'll have lots to share about it. Or maybe not, time will tell.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So many ideas

So little time.

We had an awesome weekend exploring this lovely country so bravely defended by our veterans. It seemed appropriate.

But we got back late on Monday, and Tuesday was full of meetings and my first day teaching an intro class - lecture and lab - at one of the local community colleges. Luckily, I have notes from a friend who taught the same class last summer, but I still feel totally under-prepared.

The class went fine, all half hour of it (it was the first day...) but today is the second day and today we have full lecture and lab. I find myself overly anxious. I was anxious all last night too. Ugh.

And meanwhile, I feel like there's a list a mile long of other things I should/want to be doing. From working on dissertation stuff to just cleaning this apartment up a little! We haven't really unpacked from the weekend yet. That's fairly typical...but still, it'd be nice if I could find 15 minutes to do it.

And then there's all the ideas of what I could write about on here. But they're all jumbled up, definitely in part because of this low-level constant anxiety I'm feeling about teaching. Ugh.

About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.