Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Today marks 34 weeks. Only 6 weeks to go (or less, if you believe yesterday's ultrasound measurements). I'm really starting to think that I'm going to go into labor a bit before my due date, like a week or so. Or maybe this is just wishful thinking, since I'm reaching the "uncomfortable" phase of late pregnancy. This is also my 100th post, in ~10 months. From initial infertility workup to 34 weeks of pregnancy in 100 easy installments.

Thanks for the pack n play suggestions. I'm torn about it, because I wasn't planning to own a pack n play. Their main purpose, from what I could tell, was for baby to sleep in while at Grandma's house. Since my parents and S's parents live in different states, they each bought their own pack n play to keep there, so we wouldn't have to lug one with us whenever we fly to visit. So, I didn't think that we needed to buy one for ourselves. Several friends heard this and told me I was nuts, insisting that I would use it around the house and to bring other places. I'm still not convinced, but the pack n plays with built-in bassinets are cheaper than standalone bassinets, and more compact for storage, so I guess that's probably what we'll do. I'm still viscerally upset that the most obvious big thing for any nursery, the crib, is the one thing that won't be there when Barack is born, but I know that I'm just having an emotional reaction to it, and it actually won't matter; the pack n play will be fine. Right?

Part of why I'm upset is that I spent a fair amount of time researching safe sleeping quarters for newborns. Firm mattress, high-quality snug-fitting sheets, that sort of thing. So, now we have a great safe mattress and several recommended sheets (the one place where I feel like I splurged a bit, to get all cotton, all-around elastic, higher-than-normal thread count, etc.) but I'm not going to be using them for several months. Instead, for the first 2 months (or more!) I'm supposed to be okay with having the baby sleep on a flimsy piece of foam that comes with the pack n play. And the sheets I've seen that fit the pack n play "mattress" are loose-fitting cotton-polyester blends that are rough and practically see-through. Is that really the safest sleeping quarters for a newborn? Even the pack n play manufacturers warn that they're not meant to be permanent sleeping quarters for babies. And if it really IS safe... it means that I wasted a whole lot of energy making the crib safe, because apparently it doesn't matter. Either way, I get upset. Blech.

On to happier topics. My cousin J (the only relative who lives within a 500+ mile radius of me) threw me a baby shower on Saturday. I had waffled for months about whether to even have a shower (in traditional Judaism, you don't have baby showers) and finally decided to go ahead with it only a few weeks ago. In the week leading up to the shower, I was starting to have doubts again. Part of it was a tempting-fate hesitancy, and part was because it seemed a little sad to be having a shower without any family there other than J. But, most of my local friends came, J did a gorgeous job decorating, had a ton of great food (including several desserts made by a friend with pastry chef training), and the weather was fantastic, so we got to hold the entire thing outside in J's park-like back yard.

The best part was the surprise that J had for me at the beginning of the shower. Several friends had arrived, and we were sitting and talking, when I saw one of my friends look at something behind me and scream. I turned around to find my mom walking towards me. She and J had secretly arranged for her to fly here for the weekend (more than 2,000 miles).

Something to know about my family: we love pulling big surprises on each other. My brother and I, on numerous occasions, have planned surprise parties for my parents. Since we all live in different states, these involve secretly making long-distance travel plans and then showing up at my parents' house when they haven't seen us for months. I also helped my sister-in-law surprise my brother several years ago with a birthday trip to Las Vegas -- he found out about the trip 2 hours before their flight, and only found out that S and I were in on it when I jumped on his back in the lobby of the MGM Grand while they were checking in. Fun stuff.

But no one in the family had ever pulled a surprise on me, until now. And I really didn't see it coming. A few weeks ago, my mom had casually asked whether I wanted her to come to town for my shower, and I told her that was silly. It was just a small party, I'd see her a few weeks later once the baby was born, and she should save her money for that trip. But, she decided that she really didn't want to miss it, and thought it would be fun to have some mother-daughter bonding time before Barack makes his arrival and she'd have to "share" me with my dad, my in-laws, etc.

So, I had a wonderful weekend with my mom. We hung out at home after the shower, so I could show her everything we've done for the baby so far. On Sunday we went shopping, buying tons of baby clothes as well as a bathrobe for me to wear at the hospital. Her flight home Monday morning was soon after our doctor's appointment, so she came with us and was just going to wait in the waiting room until we were done. But when we found out that we were going to have an ultrasound, S went and got her and brought her to the room so that she could see it, too. She's never seen a fetal ultrasound before (didn't have them when she was pregnant with me and my brother, and lives too far away from my brother and sister-in-law to ever be included in any of theirs) and she was just blown away. It was fantastic.

Of course, once my dad found out that she got to see the ultrasound, he started regretting not having come on the trip with my mom, and we're all a little worried that my mother-in-law will be jealous when she finds out, since we don't think that she even knew I was having a shower. But we'll leave the potential family drama alone. For now, all is happy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Good News, Frustrating News, Repeat

We had our 34 week appointment this morning. I now have updates on several things that I was panicking about after my last appointment 2 weeks ago. Watch as I emotionally swing from good news to bad news and back again!

1. Good news: Barack is no longer breech. Woo hoo! After watching a video on c-sections at our last birthing class, I was even more anxious for him to get into position. Dr. M did an ultrasound and voila! Barack is head down, as requested. The ultrasound was also exciting because we haven't had a peak at Barack since week 19, more than 3 months ago, which seems like forever, and at that ultrasound, I wasn't allowed to see anything (because we had the worst ultrasound tech ever). This time, it was Dr. M running the machine. After he verified the position and finished his measurements, he let us "look around" a bit. He also showed me the proof that we're having a boy. As for the measurements: at the last ultrasound, Barack was measuring 6 days ahead of schedule. Today, he's measuring 10 days ahead, with a current estimated weight of 6 pounds. Those day estimates have error bars of +/- 3 weeks, and the weight estimates are +/- 1 pound, but still... he might be an awfully big baby, and I'm getting the sense that he might arrive a tad early.

2. Frustrating news: Two weeks ago, I was feeling physically great. Now... not so much. I'm absolutely exhausted. I wake up several times each night broiling hot and drenched in sweat, with the joints in my legs and hands painfully cramped. I have to get up and walk around the house a bit to cool off and stretch my legs and drink some water before going back to bed. Each morning, it takes 1-2 hours for me to be able to unclench my fingers enough to be able to type. Each evening, I'm completely sidelined by heartburn, to the point that my throat burns. My ankles and feet swell progressively throughout the day until I have gross sausage toes by evening. My hips hurt when I walk. And each afternoon, I've been getting headaches. Again. (Was that enough complaining for you?) With all of these (rather sudden) symptoms, I was worried that today's appointment was going to show elevated blood pressure, but I was only partially right. After months of being ridiculously low, my blood pressure was, indeed, up from two weeks ago, but only enough to bring it back into the "normal" range. Dr. M says it's still nothing to worry about. All the symptoms are just normal end-of-pregnancy stuff, and possibly a sign that I'm over-doing my sodium intake. I'm under orders to try to avoid salt, and to gulp water whenever possible.

3. If our baby were to be born as early as S was born, I'd be in labor today. The good news: I'm not my mother-in-law! I'll take good news wherever I can find it.

4. Back to frustrating news: We still don't have a crib. As I mentioned, the store we ordered from is going out of business. I talked to them 1.5 weeks ago, and they told me that the crib was due in to arrive in mid-August, which would be fine, because they were staying open until the end of August. On Saturday, they called us with an update. The manufacturer was now expecting it to arrive here in mid-September, which is after the store will be gone (and, more important for us, after my due date). The store refunded us our deposit, and helped us to transfer the order to a different store in the area, so that at least we wouldn't have to start the order process entirely from the beginning. Today, however, the new store called to tell me that they checked with the manufacturer themselves, and the new arrival estimate is end of October. Yep, that's more than five months after we placed the order, and nearly two months after my due date. This is causing me not a little stress. Despite my wanting to avoid it, I'm off to investigate inexpensive in-stock bassinets. Any suggestions?

So, the good news is all really truly good news. I'm in good health, Barack is in good health, and he's finally facing the exit like he's supposed to. Also, I had a truly wonderful baby shower on Saturday (a topic for a later post, because this one is already too long). But I'm exhausted and hormonal, way overly emotional, and this crib saga is pushing me irrationally over the edge a bit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


When S and I were undergoing fertility treatment, we didn't tell anyone. No family or friends knew that we were trying to conceive, much less that we were having problems. We kept it to ourselves, mainly because we didn't want to deal with unhelpful comments and constant questions. Once we were pregnant and past the first trimester, we were not shy about letting people know a bit about what it took for us to get here. So, many of our friends know now how hard it was for us to get pregnant. But, not all of them know, because we weren't ramming it down people's throats; we just mentioned it when it seemed appropriate in a conversation, which doesn't always happen.

Among our local group of friends, we were one of the last married couples to get pregnant or have kids. (To be fair, however, we're also one of the youngest couples.) Two remaining couples are pregnant right now as well. That leaves just one couple in our immediate circle, T and H, who are not pregnant and don't have kids. They've been married for a few years. When they were first engaged, H mentioned to me that she wanted to have kids fairly early in their marriage, because she was worried about her age (mid-late 30s). She hasn't said anything since then about having kids.

Early in my pregnancy, S and I went out with T and H fairly often. Lately, however, we haven't seen them much at all. They're never free when we ask them to go out with us, and H hasn't been at most of the large group functions that we've attended lately. The one event she showed up to, last weekend, she was never within shouting distance of most of the women there, including me. This week, S heard through the grapevine (T told a friend who told a coworker who told S) that T and H were trying to conceive and were having trouble. I suspect that they've been avoiding us because it's difficult for them to be around me while pregnant, and that H has been avoiding events where she'll be "exposed" to a lot of pregnancy and children. Totally understandable.

I'm fairly certain that T and H don't know that S and I also had trouble conceiving. I don't remember it ever coming up around them. I remember feeling pretty lonely and isolated when I was undergoing treatment, because I didn't know anyone else who had any trouble at all conceiving. (Every single other couple in our circle got pregnant within 7 months of trying.) I feel like maybe I should say something to H, to let her know that I know what she's going through, and she can talk to me if she wants to, without fear of the ignorant comments she might get from someone who doesn't understand.

There are problems, though. First, she hasn't "announced" that they're trying, so it might be awkward to let her know that I know. Second, I'm not sure that I DO know -- we heard about it so indirectly that the information might just be wrong, and they're not trying at all. Third, the fact that I'm pregnant might make me a less than ideal person to offer her comfort right now. And fourth, given that I don't actually know what their situation really is, I can't be sure of how much help I'll actually be. Offering myself as an understanding sounding board based on past experience, only to discover that she's been through surgeries or multiple rounds of IVF while I "only" had to endure a few months of Clomid and IUIs, might make things worse.

So, what do I do? Mind my own business, or try to offer assistance? My favorite option is to try to casually bring up our fertility treatments when H is around, then leave it up to her whether she wants to open up to me. But given that she seems to be avoiding me these days, I'm not likely to have the chance. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Today is 33 weeks. The pineapple stage. Ever since I found these produce comparisons back in week 5 or so, I've been both looking forward to and dreading the pineapple week. Dreading because ... ouch. But looking forward to it because, when your baby is being compared, size-wise, to a lentil or a kidney bean, growing to the size of pineapple seems impossibly far away. And yet, here I am. 33 weeks. Wow.

Things are going really well, but are also getting increasingly uncomfortable. My hips are getting worse, feeling like the bones are going to pop out of their sockets any minute now. Actually, that applies not just to my hips, but to my knees and ankles, too. It helps when I keep a pillow between my legs while sleeping, but I inevitably kick it aside during the night, so I always wake up hurting. My leg joints are just always hurting these days. But some of that might be from falling off a ladder Saturday night. (Note to self: when you're clumsy and off-balance, don't climb ladders. But hey, the nursery wallpaper border is done.) Heartburn has returned, though honestly, I know so many people who suffered from heartburn for all 9 months that I really shouldn't complain after having so many carefree months behind me. And I'm not sleeping at all. The combination of sore joints, heartburn, and nonstop kicking just doesn't lead to sound sleep. Today, I asked my manager for permission to work from home several days a week instead of just one, so that I can elevate my feet and take an occasional nap. Thankfully, she agreed, so that should make my life easier and hopefully enable me to work for 5 more weeks like I want.

We had our second birthing class this weekend, and unlike last week, I left this one feeling like maybe I could do this labor thing after all. I think that my main problem is with the videos of women going through labor. The information and advice and relaxation techniques that we're being taught are great, but the videos are killing me. Our instructor believes that, the more deliveries you see, the more comfortable you become with it, so she likes to show us as many deliveries as possible. (She does a lot of other things during the class, too, but breaks them up with labor videos.) All of the early ones she screened just showed women who were clearly in tremendous amounts of pain. That is to be expected, I know. The problem: there was no upside. They weren't coping, they weren't getting help, they were just in raw never-ending agony. Each one looked like she wanted to just kill herself and get it over with. This view of delivery might be honest, but it is NOT comforting.

On the other hand, one video showed a woman who I swear must have been acting. She was so preternaturally calm that there is no way I believed that she was actually giving birth. Her husband was the same way -- robotic, as if in a trance, always there saying and doing the exact right thing, the entire time using this soft, soothing voice usually reserved for calming mental patients. S said that he was really intimidated by how perfect the husband was, but I'm convinced the entire thing was staged. Or they were both completely stoned out of their minds.

It was the last video of the class that finally calmed my nerves. A nice middle ground. The woman in this video was in pain, did realistic things to manage the pain, got frustrated, worked through it, and survived to hold her baby. Her husband and nurses did realistic things to help (massage, hot showers, joint breathing exercises) and those things provide a realistic amount of relief. She clearly wasn't enjoying labor (duh) but she also wasn't jumping out high-rise windows. A labor like that would clearly be no picnic, but I believe that I could get through it. So, that's the image I'm holding onto. Also, the couple had awesome 1970s hair and thick Boston accents. I love me a good Boston accent. Wicked cool.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Slight Panic

Four things for me to (irrationally) panic about this week:

1. I had my 32 week appointment today. (Small aside: the appointment was supposed to be Tuesday afternoon, but I missed it because I was stuck in traffic. I got on the freeway only to come to an immediate dead stop. Turns out there were two separate accidents on the freeways between my office and my doctor's office: one involving eight cars, the other "only" four, but the result was that both major freeways that I needed to take were down to one lane, instead of their usual four. It took me 30 minutes to crawl the one mile to an exit, I took side streets the rest of the way, yet despite leaving myself a nice generous cushion of time to get to the appointment, I still arrived an hour late and had to reschedule. And the entire time I was sitting in traffic, I had to pee. But I digress.) Dr. M is still out of town (back next week, thank goodness -- the "sub," Dr. I., just isn't my type). I'm still doing great -- blood pressure continues to be low, urine continues to be normal, weight gain was a respectable 1.5 pounds over 2 weeks, baby's heart rate is good. Then Dr. I. asked me where I've been feeling the baby kicking. I've been feeling him in basically the same spots for the past month or more, and when I showed the doctor, he frowned and felt around my abdomen a bit. Turns out little Barack is transverse breech (sideways). Odds are good that he'll shift over the next few weeks, so it's probably too early to be concerned about it, but still. Damn.

2. We had our first birthing class last weekend. I thought it would put my mind more at ease. Turns out: not so much. I've spent several days looking at S and asking if he's sure we have to get the baby out. I know it's perfectly normal to panic a bit about labor at some point during the third trimester, but still. Know what's not helping? They showed a video of a doctor administering an epidural, and it made S dizzy. The doctor in the video asks the pregnant woman in the video to let him know if she feels any tingling in her extremities as he inserts the needle, and S leans over to me and says, "*I* feel some tingling...." He's going to be such a help to me during labor when he passes out cold.

3. The store where we ordered our crib two months ago is going out of business. We carefully picked this particular store because they've been in business for more than 30 years, so we thought that we could avoid this sort of thing. The crib still hasn't arrived, and the store can't tell us when it will. They're trying to stay open to follow through on all existing back orders, but if they can't do it, we're facing the possibility of having to place a new order at a different store and starting the 3 month wait all over again. We don't have that kind of time.

4. Speaking of not having time: S pointed out to me on Monday that he was born 6 weeks early. That would be like me going into labor in less than 2 weeks. Yikes. That is really soon. And did I mention that Barack is transverse, and we don't have a crib?

So, um, yeah. I'm panicking a bit this week. I'm hoping things turn around soon. And in the case of baby Barack, I mean literally turn around.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Today is 32 weeks. Big milestone, baby-survival-wise. I'm thrilled about that. But I'm also frustrated by a completely unrelated topic, which just has to be talked about today. (I also have a doctor's appointment later today, but reporting on that, and how S has brought on an amazing new level of panic, and how we started our birthing classes this weekend, will all have to wait for a later post.)

Some of you may recall that back in March (19 weeks ago exactly), I wrote about how Brett Favre ruined my birthday. I wrote about how I grew up in Wisconsin, and Brett has been the only quarterback I've ever really "known." I wrote about how, when he announced his retirement earlier that day, I shed the first tears of my pregnancy when I contemplated that my unborn child would never get to see Brett Favre play football. On that day in March, I was thrilled to be entering my second trimester, moving past the big pregnancy danger threshold, but I couldn't shake the sadness over something as silly as football. Blame the hormones.

Well, here I am in my third trimester, beginning of month 8, less than 2 months of pregnancy to go, hormones raging once again, and Brett Favre is messing with me. He might not want to retire after all, and the Packers might not want him back. Basically, he's saying that he wants to keep playing, but he hasn't actually committed to it. And the Packers say they'll accept him back on the team, but they won't actually commit to letting him play. Favre and the Packers are basically facing off in a giant game of chicken, waiting for the other one to cave and say "I love you" first. They're both so scared of being snubbed (stupid egos!) that neither wants to admit how much the other means to them. As a fan, it's frustrating as hell. At this point, I don't even know what I want to have happen. Possible options:

1. Favre stays retired.
2. Favre is welcomed back to play for the Packers.
3. Favre is traded to another team, possibly the odious rival Minnesota Vikings.

I've made my peace with Favre being retired, but I'd also love to see him playing in the green and gold for another season. But when I cried over baby Barack never getting to see Favre play football, I clearly should have been more precise: I certainly don't want Barack to have to see the horror of Favre taking the field as a Viking. I shudder at the thought.

But I do know this: as much as I love Brett Favre, I'm a Packers fan first and foremost. I'll be cheering them on this season no matter who their starting quarterback is, starting by buying this authentic infant-sized cheesehead for baby Barack. In the meantime, I have a plea for both Favre and the Packers organization: please, stop messing with the overly emotional pregnant lady. Make a decision already. Because seriously, I can't stop crying as it is, and the fact that I'm crying this much over football is starting to get downright embarrassing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

An Anecdote

I'm going to preface this story by saying that, as a general rule, I don't talk or complain about my pregnancy at work. It's hard enough being one of the only women in my field; I don't need to emphasize that fact to my labmates. I get a lot of my whining out of my system on this blog, S listens to the rest, and then I move on with my life. So the request that I made in the story below is one of the few times in many months that I've even mentioned the pregnancy. And I didn't think that it was that big of a request, but hey, what do I know.

The story:

A large group of my labmates almost always has lunch together in the research center's cafeteria. The food kinda sucks, but there's a large bright indoor eating area as well as a really nice outdoor patio area, which is where we usually spend our lunch hour. But this week, the temps have been in the upper 90s. Not pleasant. So at lunch yesterday, I requested that we eat inside for a change, to avoid the heat. Sadly, though, most of my coworkers are socially awkward nerds. They don't read social situations very well, have serious problem empathizing with fellow human beings (much less female ones!), and are very very tied to their particular daily habits. Below is the conversation between me and Clueless Coworker ("CC"). If any of you watch "The Big Bang Theory," it would be completely within range to picture Sheldon playing the part of CC.

Me: Can we sit inside today? It's really hot out.
CC: But we always sit outside!
Me: I know, but it's in the 90s, and I'm not handling the heat very well these days.
CC: You can sit in the shade.
Me: It would still be in the 90s. Please, do the pregnant girl a favor. Let's sit inside just this once.
CC: But... we always sit outside!

I kinda stared at him for a few seconds, then realized that I really didn't need to be having this conversation. I switched tactics:

Me: It's too hot outside for me today, so I will be eating my lunch inside. I'll be at that table over there.

At which point, all my other coworkers (looking slightly confused, but reasonably pliant nonetheless) followed me. And CC went outside to eat by himself in the 95+ degree sun. It felt very middle school cool table. I'm such the alpha dog.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Four Navel Oranges

Stupidest produce comparison ever. There really isn't a single fruit or vegetable the right size for 31 weeks? You have to resort to comparing Barack to a portion of a bushel?

Moving on.... We met with our rabbi this morning so that we could move forward with pre-planning the bris. Quick background for people who aren't Jewish and have never seen an episode of Seinfeld. A "bris" is the Jewish ceremony for circumcising a newborn boy. It involves a bunch of prayers, the circumcision, bestowing the name on the infant, and then a lot of food. Because after seeing an infant's foreskin cut off, you want to follow it up with a bagel and lox sandwich. A "mohel" is the guy who actually does the cutting. Of the foreskin, not the bagels.

I thought that the meeting would put me more at ease about it, and I guess regarding some things (eg, planning the ceremony) it did. But now I'm even more stressed about finding a mohel. Our current top pick mohel made the rabbi cringe a little, and we got the strong feeling that they don't get along. The rabbi said that she would try to work with whomever we picked, but that the ceremony wouldn't be quite as smooth if we went with this particular mohel. That would be bad, because a bris is tense enough without adding additional tension between the rabbi and the mohel. Two mohels that the rabbi did recommend are ones that we've already ruled out (one because we've seen him in action, and they were the worst bris ceremonies we've ever been to, because the guy is slooooow, and for pete's sake, circumcision isn't the sort of thing that you want dragged out; the other we ruled out because the mohel just seems... stupid. I don't know how to put it more delicately than that). Another recommended mohel doesn't meet what we want. That leaves just one more mohel on our rabbi's "recommended" list, so I guess we'll have to call him and see what we think. But I hate this feeling like we're out of good options. I also didn't realize until recently how much variation there is among mohels. Weird.

And in yet other news: holy crap I'm tired. As in, I've started nodding off in meetings. I've been leaving work at like 4:00 so that I can go home and hit the couch. Everything I have to do to get through my day, no matter how small, seems to require more energy than I have. And it's certainly not because of physical exertion -- my sciatic nerve, which hurt a little for a very brief one-week stretch several months ago, flared up in new and exceedingly painful ways in the middle of last week, and got progressively worse until I was hardly able to walk at all by Saturday. I barely left the house on Sunday, issuing a pathetic refrain of "Ow ow ow ow ow" with each step when I had to do mobile things like walk to the bathroom. The self-imposed activity restrictions seemed to help a bit, because the pain is down to a dull roar rather than the unbelievable shooting pain of last week, but I'm scared of walking too far or doing anything too active for fear of provoking it. I'm doing the recommended exercises, but the other treatment that's been recommended to me (sitting with a heating pad) is out of the question, because our temperatures have once again climbed to the 90s. No way I'm using a heating pad in this heat.

One final bit of news: we are now legally ready for the baby to arrive. You can be the most unprepared parents in the world (have zero diapers at home; forget to buy a crib or bassinet; own no infant clothing at all; have sharp objects scattered willy-nilly around your dwelling) and still be cleared to take your newborn home from the hospital as long as you meet one legal requirement: you have to have a car seat. As of this weekend, we are now legal. We own a car seat. Which is good, because we do, indeed, have zero diapers at home, no crib or bassinet, and a fondness for sharp objects.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I seem to have misplaced the month of June. Anybody know where it went? I remember May really well, but now suddenly, bam!, it's July, and I'm 30 weeks pregnant. Not quite sure how that happened.

I had my 30-week appointment this morning. Dr. M is out of town for another 3 weeks, so I saw a different doctor instead. All systems normal, full steam ahead. Heart rate was good, weight gain was good, measurements were good, urine tests were normal. Feet and ankle swelling is normal. Breathlessness is normal. Blood pressure has dropped even further (explains the recent headaches and dizziness). All good.

I had what I think was my first Braxton-Hicks contraction on Saturday. S and I were eating lunch, and suddenly I felt what I initially thought was a strong stomach cramp, until I realized, "wait, that's not where my stomach is ...." It lasted a good 45 seconds or so, and I was uncomfortable for a good half hour afterwards. I described it to the doctor, he asked a few questions, and then concluded that yep, that was probably my first contraction. And he warned me to start expecting more of them in the weeks to come. Fun fun.

I went back to work this week. Wait, that's not right. I did my bi-annual job swap. My work life is a little ... unorthodox. Basically, I have 3 jobs. (S says that gestating is job #4. Our friends joke that taking care of S is job #5, but that's not completely fair to S. So, let's stick with just the 3 that I get paid for.)

During the academic year, I'm a full-time PhD student (job #1), in addition to working part-time at a private not-for-profit research lab (job #2) and part-time as a consultant of sorts at a technology start-up (job #3). During the summer, I switch my focus so that I'm full-time at the private research lab, still part-time at the start-up, and stopping by the university only once a week or so. Year-round, that adds up to 60+ hours/week. During the academic year, those hours are pretty flexible day-by-day -- I can work from home a lot, and some of those hours can be done at odd times, like 10pm-midnight, when I tend to be really productive. (Feel free to toss that statement back in my face after the baby's here, by the way.) But during the summer, when I'm full-time at the research lab, my time is a bit less flexible and my hours are more regular, since I need to actually be in the office and attending meetings during normal work hours. That's the schedule that I started this week.

My plan is to continue this schedule until either (a) 2 weeks before my due date (where the number "2 weeks" was chosen completely arbitrarily and could change at any time); (b) I go into labor; or (c) the pregnancy starts exhausting me so much that I can't manage the long days any more. Whichever comes first. At which point, I'm taking a break from all 3 jobs, cold turkey. I'll ease back into school starting in January. I'll hopefully add a few hours for the private lab starting in February or March. Whether or not I have the energy to also return to the start-up post-baby remains to be seen.

Last week, of course, I slacked on all 3 jobs. (I desperately needed a bit of a break.) During the week, I managed to all but finish my baby registry; order curtains for the nursery; order the crib mattress, crib sheets, and car seat (note: the mattress and sheets are now on their way, despite the fact that we're still waiting on the back-ordered crib...); interview and choose a pediatrician; and start shopping for a new car. Nice vacation. Now, back to work!