Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The end of the year has decided to throw us a few irritations, but I can't complain too much since this year has been a pretty good one overall.  At the moment, baby is saying "screw you and your tax deduction" and refusing to come out - a few more days and it won't be up to baby any more, but for now we're still waiting.  Also our sewer says "screw you and those guys who came out to fix this problem last month", so we had a New Year's Eve roto-rootering and will be seeing the plumbers again later this week when they come back with a camera.  Hooray for sewer line insurance and the fact that my mother is visiting, so we don't have to worry if we have to run to the hospital during a plumbing call.

I have nothing to request from 2014, except that we get through January and figure out all the new challenges in store (and fix the sewer line).  I'd say that my goal is to get tenure, but my file is in already so that seems like cheating; I can't do much to help my case at this point.

Happy New Year and less troublesome households to all of you!   

Saturday, December 21, 2013

the funnest things

The funnest things of December: A sarcastic list

- the inability to make any plans for anything because there may or may not be a baby showing up
- in particular, not knowing when exactly to clean the house in anticipation of my parents' arrival, because if we do it too early and don't have a baby it will get dirty again, but if we wait too long and go into labor we will never do it at all
- crossing that line between "being pregnant is ok/sometimes nice" to "get this thing out of me"
- answering student emails about why they received the grades they received
- having students who continued to blow off their coursework even after I kindly granted them extensions into the break, since they earned the same crappy grade they would have gotten in the first place despite the extra time and work on my part

Some good stuff: Sincerity

- having the time to do all of the million and two loads of preparatory baby laundry
- not having to leave the house during snow/ice/other crappy weather
- having Partner home on break
- December: low-stress, cozy, and generally pretty quiet, this is my favorite time of year, even more so when I don't have to worry about traveling 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My ECV (oh yes, a baby post)

This pregnancy has been pretty good so far - minimal nausea, some tiredness to fight but nothing actually dangerous or seriously disabling.  I know a lot of people who have had difficult pregnancies, so I'm not complaining.

The one issue we did have was baby remaining head-up well past the point when that was ok.  We waited a few weeks to see if I could get some flipping action to happen, but right before 38 weeks we went in for an external cephalic version (ECV), where the doctor attempts to manually flip the kid from the outside.  I had read a lot of conflicting reports about what these are like - some people report a lot of pain, other people say it's no big deal.  I had no idea what to expect, but I figured even a painful attempt would be better than a c-section if it worked.  The potential down-sides included putting the baby into distress or triggering labor, so there was a small chance we'd end up having the baby instead of flipping it, but at about 38 weeks that was ok with me.  We did bring our hospital bag in the car, just in case.

We showed up at the hospital at an ungodly 6:15 am, went up to labor and delivery, and sat around for an hour while they monitored the baby's heartbeat and movement.  This happened in the outpatient/c-section recovery room, while sitting in a bed facing the door to their operating suite; I found this a little intimidating and distracting given the chance I would end up being wheeled through that door. 

Eventually I was given a muscle relaxer, which was a very sharp needle prick in the back of the arm that felt like a wasp sting.  Which is no big deal, but I mention it because it was the most pain I felt through the whole procedure.  Next the doctor verified baby's position via sonogram, gooped up my belly with gel and put pressure on the baby's head and butt to try to get her to turn forward.  There was a little resistance from baby at first, and there was a lot of pressure and some cramping, but it couldn't have taken more than a few minutes and suddenly we were done, with very little discomfort overall.  I had spent most of it waiting for the pain to start.

I had a few things going for me - baby is still riding high, and there was still plenty of fluid in there and some space to turn.  My doctor is also reportedly very good at this procedure.  I've heard that first-time moms have less luck with the ECV, but it seemed no problem at all for me.

Another hour of monitoring and we were out of there, though the day was pretty much shot for me between the very early wake-up and the muscle relaxer.  In the aftermath I was shaky and tired and couldn't control my shivering in the cold when we went outside; I sat around and took a nice 3-hour nap in the middle of the afternoon and that was my day  Otherwise, no negative effects other than a little soreness in the abdomen.

So far baby is keeping the head-down position, though there's a chance that could change.  Hopefully not.  But I'd recommend trying the ECV for those facing a potentially breech birth - just don't believe them when they say you can drive yourself home (you probably could, but you probably shouldn't), and don't plan anything for the rest of the day if you can avoid it.  I had read a lot of anecdotes online about women who just skipped it and went for a c-section instead; that seems like a rough decision to make when the ECV might be pretty easy.  I'm sure it depends a lot on personal circumstances, but it's probably worth a try, especially since it shouldn't go on for long if it isn't working.

We were pretty relieved to have at least a few more days to get ready - I'm not a huge fan of this "any time now, but maybe not for weeks!" thing that happens at the end.  Still, we are more prepared now than we were at the beginning of the week, and the laundry pile just keeps getting smaller.  Baby says, hurry up and wait! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

letting go

Somehow I have created a mess out of what was supposed to be pre-baby prep time and maternity leave.  This week I'm trying to get some samples ready and run for a grant proposal, I'm grading, and I'm reading up on tenure file guidelines.  Next week I'm probably going to be finishing the grant and the tenure files, if I'm lucky.

I have two students submitting late work this month for various reasons.  I have two students doing independent work next term under my supervision, despite the fact that I'm on leave.  Friggin' seniors and their graduation timelines and their desires to work on things that no one else can mentor. 

I'm also on a search committee for a departmental position next term, despite the fact that I'm on leave.  Which I really want to be part of, despite its timing, because I would like this new tenure-line colleague to not suck.

I need to stop with my desire to micro-manage the rest of the year and deal with everything before I'm gone.  It's hard to let stuff go and trust that it will all get done in my absence, despite knowing very well that it will all get done at some point even if I'm not there.  That whole thing about other people doing their jobs, or at least the fact that I should not feel responsible if they don't, and whatnot.

Kiddo is still head-up, so we will probably be trying an external version in about a week, which the doctor refers to as "a lot of massaging" but which the internet implies can be painful and not much fun.  Because there is a chance that trying to turn the kid will lead to immediately having the kid, we are trying to finalize stuff like car seat installation and online purchases.  Which lead me to small panic attacks over details like, can the car seat actually be touching the front seat of the car, however slightly, or will that contact of cloth-on-cloth somehow lead to a fiery death that would otherwise have been avoided?  What if I don't get all the laundry done in time?  Can I possibly stockpile everything I would need for 3-4 weeks before the baby gets here (I will try, anyway)?

You know, basic high-anxiety paranoia stuff.  It's usually short-lived, but I have my moments. 

Strangely all of this is being channeled not into dreams about babies, but instead into dreams about taking college courses and not getting my work done on time or having horrible professors who are out to get me. 

The mind is a weird, weird place, and I hope mine will settle down once I cross a few things off my to-do list over the next few days.  You people who work in your actual jobs with 8-hour days all the way up to your due dates, I have no idea how you do that.  You are amazing.