Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Playing Hooky

Since confession is good for the soul, I feel like I have to confess that I've been playing hooky from school. Yesterday, admittedly, I was sick, sorta. I had been up since 1:30am, totally stressed out, crying, massive headache, and completely unprepared for today's class. The Magpie is sick; the J was sick; Mom is sick. I've been sick, and I got nothing done this weekend because everyone else was sick, too. So I called in sick with the intent of finishing up work. Well, I worked. But I was still under the weather; Magpie was just, I don't know. No nap yesterday. Fussy. She hasn't been sleeping well. So I feel yesterday was legit.

Finally, Magpie slept and I got some sleep last night, but I'm still so very far behind. I don't think my dad approves, but I called in sick again today. I've still got a ton of reading and grading to do, and I need to cook for that matter, and dammit, I am going to work out today, finally. But yesterday was a real sick day, and today is a "mental health, I need to catch up day."

I feel less bad about this because Thanksgiving break was spent traveling and busy visiting family, which is nice, but exhausting. I think we can all agree on that no matter how much we love our family and how well we get along with them. Plus, I didn't get any sleep and started to come down with a cold.

What stresses me out even more is that Christmas break won't be a break for me either. I have an abstract, for which I've done no research, due on the 31st. I have a book review due on Jan. 15th. Not to mention that I've not done shit for the article that needs to be written and sent out this year. Oh, and now I have TWO BRAND NEW PREPS for Spring, including a new grad class. And a chronically sick baby on top of all of this. So I am feeling lots of stress.

On top of this is my desire to enjoy my baby's first Christmas. This is my favorite time of the year, and I'm really upset that I'm not feeling the holiday spirit. I wish I were. But alas, I can't bring myself to feel all Christmassy and cheery, and that saddens me even more.

But oh well. I have to make good use of my time and get to work here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I feel like my poor little blog has just become one big ball of me complaining and boo-hooing about how bad I perceive my life is.

In the grand scheme of things, I've got it pretty good. I really shouldn't complain at all.

However, on the micro level, I'm overwhelmed, exhausted, demoralized, and just totally depressed, which really bothers me because this is my favorite time of year.

I hate the quarter system. There. I said it. Initially I liked it, but I've changed my mind.

Yesterday I had a meeting from hell which last five freaking hours (it involved almost a dozen students in a serious honor code violation, and they've got some criminal charges they have to deal with, too), and I was gone from the Magpie for nine full hours, the longest I've ever been away from her, and around six, when I had been in the meeting for four hours already, I started to tear up and cry a little bit because it was the first night that I'd not been there for bedtime, and I was devastated. Apparently she had a really terrible day yesterday, and my parents think it was because she missed me, which is awfully sweet and wonderful, but totally heartbreaking. I've another meeting today and two Christmas parties to go to tonight, and I'm just done. Totally worn out. And not even totally over my cold yet either. Plus, Magpie has a double ear infection, and has yet to sleep through the night since returning from traveling. So we're going on our fourth week here of my not getting any sleep. It's distressing and demoralizing.

Not to mention that I've just been ho-hum since my birthday, thinking about my life, where I thought I'd be, what I thought that life would look like, and it's close, I suppose, but there are other things that I want to accomplish, and I just don't know how to do that, and maybe the issue is that all of this is just a temporary set back because I have a very high maintenance baby and I'm totally sleep deprived and that I just don't feel like I have any time for myself. I haven't worked out in almost a month, and my body hates me for it.

I should be working right now, but I need to carve a moment out for myself to clear my head. The last couple of mornings, when I should have been reading I've been journaling because I just need something for myself. Lately, every spare moment has been either attending to the baby or working. So it's wake, attend to baby, read/work, teach, work during office hours, home, attend to baby, work, attend to baby, dinner, work, sleep. I am just stressed to the hilt. And since I spent the first office hour Christmas shopping, and this hour blogging, I am looking at a rather long weekend, but I was looking at a long weekend anyway. I wish we were at the end of the semester rather than the beginning of the quarter. Sigh. I mean, not even coffee is cutting it this morning. My hands hurt. My back hurts. My neck hurts. And as much as I want to relax over Christmas Break, I just won't be able to. I have work that needs to be done, so I'm going to have to work every morning, and then hopefully spend the afternoons with the fam. It sucks. It makes me cry thinking about it.

And well, I guess that's it.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Birthday Blues

Generally my birthday is my favorite day of the year. And I have a big party, and it's lots of fun, but this year, I'm not feeling it. Maybe because I just feel like this year has been stressful and sort of crappy. And maybe I'm just down on myself because I can't figure out how to get my baby to sleep through the night and I can't figure out how to balance everything in my life and I can't figure out how to keep everyone healthy. If it's not ear infections, then it's a spider bite, then it's a cold going around the house, and nyquil haze and generally crappiness and a husband out of town or at drill and a sick dog. This month was supposed to be better than last month. The crappy quarter of Fall was supposed to yield a good quarter of Winter. But this does not seem to be the case.

And I am sad. There seems to be a lot of death right now, too. A friend's grandfather.  A kid I used to babysit for. My favorite movie star (I know, I know, totally shallow, but still). Nelson Mandela. A friend's colleague. My cousin, a combat vet, tried to commit suicide a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. Fortunately his wife knocked the gun out of his hand as he held it to his chin and he only damaged soft tissue. And fortunately it was *just* an attempted suicide and not the murder-suicide that often occurs in combat vet families. And it's a dreary day. There are just clouds everywhere.

I hope the baby's recent regression is due to being off schedule because of traveling and a growth spurt and frustration over trying to turn onto her stomach. I mean, she was sleeping from 6:30-4:30, regularly. We've not had that since we started traveling. Sigh. I figured it might be a week before she returns to "normal," but still. I haven't slept very well in over two weeks now.

I do really need to let go of the fact that the year did not turn out as planned. It has been much much harder to get over the c-section and breastfeeding issues than I had planned. And it is almost impossible to plan a research schedule around a baby like Magpie, even with help. And part of it is that when I'm home, I want to be with her. I don't want to work when she's awake. I hate being back at work full time already.

My classes are late this quarter--first one on MWF not until 11, and on TR I don't have to be in until 10. So I thought in theory that I could work at night after the Magpie went to bed. If our nights keep going like they have been, then that won't work.

I am just feeling extremely overwhelmed. I have a new prep this quarter. I have a grad class in the spring I need to start prepping. I have an article that I need to research and write and an abstract and a book review. I'm still so far from so many of my goals. Look, I know I sound very "woe is me," but I'm just down, and down on my bday. Sigh. I need to just accept the way things are, deal with it, work with what I have, and just keep plugging along. Maybe things won't seem so rotten when I get some sleep and get over this cold.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cautiously Optimistic

Finally, we're at the end of the quarter. While I'm not looking forward to all the traveling we'll be doing with an infant ( not jazzed about the actual en route stuff), I'll be glad to get the fuck out of town and see family and just be away from work and stuff for a while. I'm supposed to be grading right now, but I haven't blogged since my last little pity party on here. I'm glad to say that things are perhaps looking up a little bit. Although I'm a bit mad that I thought I'd be dried up by now since I haven't been nursing or pumping her, but I'm not, so it's just like lingering torture here for me. However...

  • Spider bite is healing. No more pain--it's sore, but the hole is closing, and the J said it's healed enough and the waterproof bandage is good enough that I can actually start working out again today. So I will. Despite the massive sinus headache I have, I do plan on doing some CF later today if my headache goes away. I may actually perhaps put it off until tomorrow.
  • Magpie had three nights in a row with a seven, yes SEVEN hour stretch of sleep, then another 2-3 after eating. And the last two night we've had an ALMOST NINE HOUR stretch of sleep! Yes! The pattern has been about 6 or 6:30 we start putting her down for bed. If she eats a full 8 oz in one stretch she'll stay asleep. But generally she'll eat 4-5 oz, sleep for about 45min to 90 minutes, then get up, finish off another 3-4 oz and then sleep. That means I've gotten to watch tv and hang out with the fam in the evenings for the last five days. So now she's getting about 12-13 some odd hours of sleep a night, which is great! I've consistently gotten about four nights or so of at least 7 hours stretches, and I'm feeling much better. Which means...
  • I'm caught up on grading! Yes, I should be grading right now, but I'll start here in a few minutes, but I've been able to grade all the things the days that they've come in, and it was totally worth putting in an hour or two on both Saturday and Sunday in order to not be so overloaded with grading during finals week. Things have been manageable! Saturday was the first Saturday all quarter that I haven't felt stressed out and frantic and just burdened with what needed to be done for the week. I got to enjoy the baby. I got to hang out with the fam. It was nice to just not be so stressed, which is actually why I think I have this massive headache now. After being super stressed since like March, my body has finally been able to relax a little bit and just be. I never thought this day would come, or not at least for another 3 years or so. 
For the first time since I've been here, we get like an obnoxious three week break for Thanksgiving. I should have all grades done and recorded by tomorrow night. I plan on spending Thursday working on the syllabi for next quarter to get those bad boys done with. And then I want to spend Thanksgiving break reading for both enjoyment and to try to get some stuff knocked out for my article, which at this point, because of the stress of the last two quarters, working on the article and reading stuff I want to read and work on things I want to, that will seem so relaxing! 

I'm also very excited about being able to help with the cooking for a bit now, too. I miss cooking. I really really do. It relaxes me. So I'm looking forward to getting back to that. To some kind of new normal that incorporates a bit more of my pre-baby life. I pretty much actually view November as a wash already because of the spider bite and what not, but I have some high hopes for December. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On the lack of fairness in life.

Well, I cannot wait until this quarter is over.

I am actually quite depressed right now as this entire year has really been about stops and starts and unfilled goals/dreams, and this last one has just really taken its toll.

A recap: I thought I had maternity leave for the fall. That didn't happen. I thought I had a great schedule for the spring and had writing that was doable and that I was working toward getting done. Saddled with an overload, so that didn't happen. The conference paper I was excited about and working on didn't happen as my flight got canceled and I got to the conference after my panel. My pregnancy ended in a c-section, which I'm still struggling with getting over. My attempts at breastfeeding have all been fraught with struggle, with stops and starts, extended periods of pumping. Allergy tests, restrictive diets, all of which has resulted in breastfeeding ending. I spent two months doing the Whole Life Challenge and the week before it ended, I got bit by a brown recluse and because of the gaping hole in my leg, I wasn't able to do the final work out and complete the challenge. So, like everything else this year, just about everything that I've been working toward and tried to accomplish has resulted in a total lack of closure. Not to mention the painful gaping hole in my leg which means I will not likely be able to workout again until the hole is closed up. Because of the pain medicine and antibiotics I'm on, I was looking at not only another ten days of pumping and dumping, but at least a week after that for the medicine to clear my system (this antibiotic causes diarrhea and other problems in babies, so I can't nurse while taking it, and if I want this damn thing to heal, I needed to take something stronger than what I was on that wouldn't have hurt her system--we were both on the same antibiotic at the same time for a brief period), so another almost 3 weeks of pumping was in my future, and I just couldn't do that again.

Not to mention how I feel about spending ten months trying to make a healthy baby and producing a child who has just had a consistently rough go at life with tests and stomach trouble and eczema and food sensitivities and medicine twice a day. Poor kid. I feel like I've failed her at every possible corner. She is improving, so finally we're headed in the right direction.

But this spider bite and not being able to finish the challenge really just sort of underscores the rest of the year and has me very down. Just about every night now I cry myself to sleep saying over and over, "It's not fair." It's not. I'm ready for break and the fresh start of a new quarter and Christmas and the new year.

Also, the muffins I brought to campus for breakfast were moldy. I didn't even get breakfast.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Brief Rant

I'm up earlier this morning than usual--well, I'm up and about earlier this morning than usual, even though this is usually the  time I start getting ready for class (at the last possible minute), but, and this may be TMI, I went to be partially engorged and have woken up engorged so whether I had time to, I needed to pump. I am still, 20 minutes in, in a lot of pain. It freaking sucks.

Also, I have some sort of abscess in my nose. I know, that's gross. Like any of you want to wake up to my body's problems today.

At least the Magpie is responding rather quickly to the antibiotics for her ear infection, and I did manage to get some sort of sleep last night. I have to confess though, this month has left me more exhausted, hungry, and resentful than ever. Part of me wishes that I had just gone ahead and made the decision to formula feed the Magpie a month ago rather than going through what I've gone through for the last month for the off chance I might get to start nursing her again. I think I might actually be a lot happier, but then I'd regret not having tried.

However, what I regret now is all the time I've missed with her because I've had to go sit in the bedroom and pump. Like this morning. If I hadn't had to go pump, I could have spent a little bit more time with her and gotten to watch her laugh. I could hear her giggling back here and my mom and dad cooing over her and laughing with her. But no, I missed it. I keep missing things like that. And since she's been sick, I relish those really happy moments she has. But no. I'm stuck back her like a cow hooked to a dairy machine. I'm tired. I'm miserable. And I'm starving.

But tomorrow we go to the pediatrician, so we'll see what happens then.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Still moving along.

I believe when I wrote a week ago or so I was not doing so hot.

Meh. We had a couple of good days here, but now poor Magpie has another ear infection which made this weekend horrible and difficult. By the end of the week, we will have had three doctor's appointments. Not to mention my own feelings of resentment when everyone is getting sleep and able to eat yummy things, and I get to partake in neither of those things. Yes, I understand the biological and evolutionary function of my not being able to sleep through Magpie's crying, but for the love of God, when someone else is holding her, how I wish I were able to sleep through them!

All the allergy tests came back negative and negligible. So what does that mean? It means we don't know, still, why she has the problems she does. If I am able to breastfeed her but if it means continuing on a super restrictive diet, then I will throw in the towel and finally give up on trying. I have headaches and stomachaches. I'm highly irritable. And it does affect my sleep. I spend a lot of time annoyed at people and angry. I'm on the verge of hating everyone and everything. And I can have a short temper, too.

One way or another, this has to end with the doctor's appointment on Thursday. And she seems to really be thriving on the formula.

Today I will be in grading jail. I need to be in reading jail, but because of the ear infection, this weekend was a total bust on every single level, that I got nothing done. And I've been sitting on these freshman papers for too long now. They said they don't want them back, so at least they're not complaining about them, so I got that going for me, but I don't want to have them anymore. I want them gone especially since I get peer review drafts from them on Friday and a set of lit analyses tomorrow. Sigh.

I'll get caught up; I'm sure.

I also plan on doing AcWriMo because I feel like I've got to. I've got to get some writing produced before December. And I want to.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Moving along

Well, we're still moving right along over here. A quick update on the Magpie: we seem to be making steady improvement here on the prescription formula, which on the one hand is fantastic. Rarely does she scream in blood curdling gas pain for hours (even for minutes actually). On the other hand, it looks more and more like I will not be breastfeeding her again, and I'm trying to prepare myself for that. She had her first round of blood tests for food allergies on Friday, and we should know something at our dr.'s appointment on Monday. Then I guess by next Thursday we will be able to make a decision, depending on what the blood tests indicate, whether I will get to start breastfeeding her again next weekend in addition to formula, or if it's over. It's very depressing to think that it might be over. It makes me very sad.

Since I've been sad, in part I'm sure to lack of sleep, and to having a sick baby* who has been average 1.5 doctor's appointments a week, and this stoopid elimination diet, I've been trying to figure out ways not to be sad or stressed. One is that I really need to make more of an effort to get to CF, regardless of my energy level or sadness. Because I seem to be getting sadder rather than happier lately. And that is exhausting as well.

In addition to trying to make myself workout (which I do so love, and the fact that I have to make myself do something I normally enjoy concerns me), I made a couple of decisions last week designed to make me happier. One was that since I have another two weeks on that elimination diet which was only designed for people to be on for two weeks, not four (and which I just should not have been on last week in all honesty), I suspended it this weekend and ate copious amounts of forbidden foods like beef (brisket, hamburgers, chili), eggs, oranges, salad, tomatoes, avocados, hot dogs, nuts, and carrots. And I felt good. It felt so good to get some fat and calories back in my diet. I had had a stomach ache for three days because of the diet, so I just decided that I needed to eat.

The other thing I decided was to stop spending all of my spare time grading and focusing on teaching prep. I have been seriously missing research and reading novels in my field, so last week, rather than grade every spare moment I had, I read. And I took notes. And I wrote down ideas. And I felt better. The result was that I had to spend a couple of hours on Sunday grading (though I'm trying not to grade or work at home), but I got more done in those two hours than I would have spending the two hours I spent on Thursday reading. Why? Because they had to get done, so I was moving with a purpose. Generally I don't sit on things that need to be graded. Generally I grade them when they come in. But I've been so tired and have had so much grading with the comp class that just felt like every day I was grading or worrying about grading, so I've decided that since the grading will get done because it needs to get done that Tuesdays and Thursdays I will spend at least 2 hours working on my research in some way. And it felt good on Thursday to do so. And mostly I've been trying to read while I've been pumping (which can get a little awkward when trying to take notes and underline things).

It bothers me that I'm not happy. I should be happy. I love being a mom, but even the time I carve out for myself is fraught with guilt to the point that I don't like to leave the house still. But I have found that getting back to some sort of research activity does make me happier. And I really need to foster that.

And I am looking forward to sitting and reading for a couple of uninterrupted hours today.

*look, I know there are people out there with actually sick and ill babies to whom my "plight" doesn't even compare, and I know I have much more support than the majority of parents out there. However, minor and fixable as her issues may be, they nonetheless require constant attention, which in and of itself is draining on every level.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'm still plugging along here. Finally got the peer review drafts from last Wednesday graded. I made great progress yesterday on them. A bit of a slower start this morning though.

Last night I didn't get any sleep at all, and it wasn't the baby's fault! I had coffee way too late in the day, and our A/C went out. We couldn't open the windows because it got down to the 40s last night, and that would have been way too cold for little miss, so the room was too hot for me, plus the caffeine, and ugh, I'm tired today. I hope she sleeps well tonight so I can get some sleep too.

The problem with the lack of sleep is that it makes me so much more depressed than well just normal. It really just sucks.

I wish I could figure out some sort of balance, but that is going to be the struggle really from here on out isn't it?

One day I may write something meaningful on this blog again. And one day I may write something meaningful and scholarly again.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I've started like two or three posts here already, and well, I just feel like I keep saying the same thing: sick baby, want to work, totally depressed. I hope this blog becomes more than this one day.

A quick update on the Magpie: She continues to do well on the new formula. It's hard to tell exactly how well because the new antibiotics for her ear seem to affecting her digestion. We go to the allergist on Wednesday to begin testing. I think we are improving though.

I've been on this elimination diet, right, I think I mentioned it. I have to be on it at least two weeks in order to make sure all the allergens are out of my system in the hopes that I will be able to begin breastfeeding her again once we identify her allergies and then identify foods that aggravate her little system, though there's no guarantee at the end of this that I'll get to continue breastfeeding. But the pediatrician is going out of town and she wants me to wait until she gets back before I start breastfeeding and stay on the diet. That means that I'm on this for another two and a half weeks.

Folks, I'm exhausted. There is not enough of the foods on this diet to fill me up. Because I'm starving and not getting a lot of sleep, I am so off on my teaching. I'm depressed. And while I know it's worth it, I question whether it's worth it at this moment because I'm tired. I was doing just fine on the Whole Life Challenge, satisfied and not missing anything, but this diet, because it's nothing but deprivation really makes me just want to gorge and binge.

Midterms are this week. I will have to spend the week grading. I hope the Magpie has a good week so I do not feel guilty about leaving her with the parents because I will need to leave the house everyday this week to work. Because honestly, come hell or high water, I've got to start carving out time for my research starting on the 15th. Hopefully we won't have any dr.'s appointments next week (two this coming week).

Because I feel so overwhelmed right now, I'm starting to get antsy. Like I have this fantasy that if I went on the job market and got a different job or moved to a different city then everything would magically be different and Magpie wouldn't be sick and my life would feel less cluttered. I know. It's crazy. Something as dramatic as that would not make my life easier but really quite difficult. What I need to do is clean and get a haircut and go through my closets and start getting rid of stuff. I need to get rid of some books and do some shredding and pare some things down. And I need to pay off debts so we can buy a house and have more room than what we have now. I know a lot of this is coming from the stress that is my life right now, but I feel like I need a fresh start. I mean, I've already lost 43.2 pounds of maternity weight. I've got 12.2 pounds to go to hit pre-pregnancy weight. Even though I'm loathe to continue to spend money on clothes, I think, honestly, this is what I need. I had to buy a new wardrobe before school started, and I think what I'd like to do is have a new look. Lots of my clothes are clothes that I have been wearing for years. I know it's very superficial, but sometimes that's all it takes, right? I would just like to start over.

Perhaps I'll start with a haircut this week.

And I think right now I'm going to go lay down or something. Meh. It's almost time for dinner. Or to start working on dinner.

I don't think this post makes any sense at all.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Plugging away.

I am still avoiding grading, but it has to get done by tomorrow afternoon, so I will get some done this morning, and if I have to work in the afternoon today, then I will. I assume the Magpie will be asleep because she slept for hours after the last time she got blood drawn, so I hope she sleeps again after that this afternoon.

Here's an update on her. Horrible horrible days Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday. The pediatrician met us at her office on Saturday to give us all the specialty/prescription formula she had so we could get her started on it right away. And she's responding well. Still some problems. I think we were hoping for a miracle because all the things I read about babies being on the specialty formulas or the hypoallergenic formulas involve changes overnight. I think it's going to be two weeks before we really see the what what here. But overall, she seems to be improving. Today, we start allergy testing. The pediatrician suspects corn, soy, and milk. If it turns out to be a those three, then we have a long road ahead of us simply because I produce milk and formulas are filled with corn syrup. There's one that's non-GMO corn and soy oil free, it's just a matter of getting it. But we'll wait and see. Anyway, this means that the little girl has to get blood drawn again (today I believe--I think we'll get the order today and then just go right to the hospital), and they take the blood from her head, so it's painful to watch, and then that's why she sleeps like she does. She usually passes out from the pain. Or she did last time. I think I'm getting more sleep, but she wouldn't sleep on her back last night--her reflux was too bad, so she had to sleep upright on the J. I hated getting frustrated with her because I could hear the reflux, so I know she was uncomfortable, but le sigh. I guess that's enough for now. I'm going to start grading.

I hope we can get this resolved soon. We all, including the Magpie, need some consistency here. She is so tired and miserable. But we've had some much better waking moments since starting the prescription formula. We even got our first sustained giggle on Sunday! My dad just makes her laugh. It's too precious.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Can't shake the blues

It's Friday. I have a ton of grading from Monday that I haven't even looked at yet. I have a stack coming in Tuesday and another coming in Wednesday. I just can't focus this week on all of that. It's been a really long week. I'm exhausted. It's been a struggle just to get the reading done, let alone think about grading. At some point though it's going to have to happen. Maybe I can take a nap after lunch and then get a few graded this afternoon, although honestly, more likely what's going to happen is I'm going to start working on the Monday while the freshmen are working on their drafts. I just can't get organized or focus enough to start grading when I know I only have one office hour. I'm sure I could accomplish quite a bit, but I just don't want to and don't care right now. I know that sounds horrible, but truth be told, I'm terribly depressed this week, and it's hard to get anything going right now. I just can't focus. And I don't want to do anything resembling work this weekend. I want to hang out with the J and Magpie. I'm just so tired and so emotionally drained right now.

I feel like I'm starting to get really depressed. I think it will get better with some sleep, like if I got a couple of good nights my mood would dramatically improve, but I don't know when that will be. I'm really hoping that we have the formula by next Wednesday. The J and I are both very optimistic that the formula is going to fix a lot of her issues. It just can't get here soon enough for us to give it a shot. But even that takes two full weeks before it really starts working on the gas problem, but I guess it takes that long probably for her body to fully adjust to it and really get all of the milk proteins out.

Also, completely unrelated, but I don't really like my hair. I need to change it, but I don't know what to do with it. And since I haven't been to CF in a week, I'm just feeling blah and such.

So there we are. I'm going to go home, eat, and nap hopefully. Also, I think I am really very much more upset about this probably being the end of breastfeeding than I was letting on. When I think about it, I tear up. So enough of that.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sigh. I hope that there are better things on the horizon.

The Magpie's test results came back negative, so yay, no surgery required for blockage or anything like that.

Something odd happened yesterday--with the forced fast and being starving, little girl had one of the best days she's ever had. In the absence of breastmilk and hypoallergenic (still milk protein based, although the proteins are broken down) formula, her skin cleared up--no eczema flares yesterday and no gas. This indicates to me that all of her problems are milk protein related and that it's time for the prescription formula. The doctor and the nurse said that it was very odd for babies to have good days with that kind of test. But it's so sad that the poor girl was happier with that stuff out of her system and starving than she is with a full belly. So we have begun the process of getting the prescription formula. It takes about a week, and there's a lot of paperwork apparently involved on the doctor's part in order to get the insurance company to pay for it. Both the J and I feel so strongly that it is the milk protein and that the hypoallergenic formula is not cutting it that we are willing to pay for two weeks worth of the formula (about $300) out of pocket to prove our point. I don't think the pediatrician is unwilling to go this route, for whatever reason, but I think she has a lot of hoops to jump through in order to get the insurance to cover it, which getting the insurance to cover it, even in part, makes it cheaper than the hypoallergenic non-prescription formula. And our insurance will ship it right to us.

If the prescription stuff doesn't bring her relief like it should, then we start allergy testing, which involves drawing more blood and doing it several times (she's too young for the skin test). But that is the last resort. According to the prescription formula website, Magpie more than meets the qualifications for being put on the formula and for having the insurance company reimburse us. She has GERD. She is gaining weight at half the rate she should, and it's decreasing in amount each week--we've gone from 30 grams to 28 to holding steady for a while at 23 to 21 to a plummet to 15grams a day. She went from gaining at least 10 oz a week to 5 oz a week to only 4 oz this past week. Not to mention the intense, painful gas pain. And I'm worried she's getting closer and closer to the "failure to thrive" category, just based on her weight issues. But even when the paperwork goes through, it will be at least a week before we get the formula.

The J and I have decided that if for whatever reason the doc insists she stays on her current formula, then I'm going to continue to nurse her as well. If she's going to be subjected to milk protein, then I'm not going to deny her the benefits and it doesn't make a difference, that the J and I can tell, in her gas issues and skin. And if we do get the prescription formula, I will continue to pump for the two weeks until we know where we are, and if the prescription formula "cures" her, then I will finally call it quits on the breastfeeding.

Even though I told the doc I was okay with quitting today, I'm totally not. I can't explain how much of a failure I feel. I couldn't get my baby out the right way and I can't feed her the right way. I feel like I've been robbed of something, and it's not fair at all. And that's all I say because I don't want to start crying in *$ right now.

So there's that.

I didn't meet my grading or reading goals yesterday. I'm depressed, sleep deprived, and because of the lack of sleep, I'm not letting myself go to CF because I'd rather not get injured lifting while tired and unrested. I've been taking walks, but it's not cutting it. So it's been a shitty week. And that means that I've got to spend a large part of tomorrow afternoon grading, which, in the words of Bartlby, "I'd prefer not to."

I've got to come up with some paper topics for the freshpeoples that I need to go over tomorrow. I've got to finish their readings for tomorrow. At least I'm giving them time in class on Monday, the whole class period, to work on those essays. So I can get some grading done then. I've got to try to get a handle on my schedule here.

I guess without further ado, I will get their paper topics done, and read for tomorrow. And maybe I'll try to get some grading done later. Sigh. I hope that soon I can redeem myself. Nothing has gone to plan since this time last year (except getting pregnant), but nothing is how it's supposed to be. And I've got to deal with that and work within the life I have right now. For now though, I'm glad that Magpie does not need surgery.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I am so worried about the possibility that Magpie is going to need surgery--I mean, there's no need to worry until there's a need to worry--so I need to keep my mind off of this.

I hate being away from her. This is in part why I just have trouble working during the week.

But, she will soon be old enough for us to be able to start taking her to do things on the weekends, like going to the park or I'm looking forward to finding a pumpkin patch around here, so I need to rethink the way that I work so that I am free on the weekends to spend time with Magpie and the J. Before I was reading everything on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning for the week. That doesn't work for me anymore. I don't want to spend my weekend time away from her or the J any more. But I don't want to work all week either. And I regret the schedule I gave myself for the fall. Under different circumstances it would be ideal, but given life as it is, it doesn't. So we're trying something different next quarter, but for now, I think it might be worth working a couple of hours every day at this point rather than spending entire weekends working and not getting any time with the pumpkin.

Ideally I'd like to be able to hit the 7:30 CF class then hit the coffee shop for a few hours on TR rather than the 4 pm class, but it depends on sleep. And I'm trying to make the most of Monday afternoons in my office.

Here's the plan for the week: This week's readings for both classes and next week's readings so that starting next Monday I can spend Monday's office hours prepping for the following week so I'm always a week ahead. Then use the remaining office hours for grading and maybe an hour or two on TR for grading. Then perhaps an hour or two on TR working on research. I think if I can schedule at least 2 hours a week for research I'll feel better about myself. And if I'm only gone for 3 hours on TR in the mornings and have the afternoons with Magpie, then I won't feel like a deadbeat mom.

Today's plan:
  • Finish reading for Friday's classes & start next week's readings.
  • Grade for one hour. 
  • CF 4pm class.
I think I might be able to handle this modest list. I hope. I'm also trying to gear up for a long night tonight. Magpie's GI exam is tomorrow morning, and we cannot feed her after midnight tonight, so it's going to be a loooooooong night, especially since the last two nights she's been getting up every 1.5-2 hours to eat during the night. We'll see.

Okay, after I answer an email, I'm off to try to accomplish something. 

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Really struggling with balance right now.

    Though I have very little time to be spending blogging, I feel like I really right now need this space. I am stressed, suffering from a mild to moderate case of PPD (I think; the hubs agrees, and it's just more pronounced when I'm not getting any sleep), worried about the Magpie, and worried about myself. Like today it's hard sitting in my office and not just breaking down into tears. It's taking all the energy I have right now not to. But I need this space to work through stuff and to clear my head.

    First, update on Miss Magpie: Blood tests came back negative except for some elevated lymph stuff which the doc expected because of the eczema. However, poor girl is still, even with some more dietary limitations on my part, and experimenting with hypoallergenic formula for a week, suffering from gas pain and some sort of distress. So now on Wednesday we go back to the hospital to have an Upper GI test done to see if there's blockage causing the problem, if there's a curvature in the esophagus causing it, if there's an artery in the way or what. I'm worried about the potential need for surgery. And while I should be grading right now, I need to clear my head so that I can focus and get through the grading in a timely manner. And there are too many things running through my brain right now for me to really focus.

    On top of all of this is RESEARCH looming in the background. As in, I've not done anything. This summer (including up to this coming Monday), I have had three opportunities for possible publication opportunities that I've not been able to put anything together for. I thought I'd be able to cram for this last one because it seemed like the Magpie was getting better and sleeping more, but that lasted all of a week. And when it comes to the choice between doing something that takes care of my health or spending that hour researching, I actually choose exercise more often than not. It's really the only thing keeping me sane, and I need the stress release, and I feel like if I'm more stressed and not taking care of myself, then that is going to be much worse. And any time I do get to work, it's in trying to keep up with my classes, and I'm really trying to be focused on the Magpie when I'm at home because I want to enjoy every moment I can with her. It's obnoxious how much I adore that kid.

    So right now I'm really struggling with guilt--guilt over worrying about my research, which is non-existent at this point when I'm with her and then worrying about Magpie when I'm trying to think about research. My worry is whether I'm going to be able to get anything done this quarter, and it may be that I need to just not think about that until we get some answers for the Magpie. But I have my course release this quarter, so I'm just really struggling with trying to hold everything together. I imagine it would be different if I had an infant who didn't have problems, who responded to routine, but I don't, and this wasn't how it was supposed to be. But I have to work on accepting what it is rather than what it should have been. I have a book on 8 minute meditation. I need to finish that. Perhaps that might help.

    I think I need to not think about research for a month, focus on the kid and myself and staying ahead of my classes and then re-evaluate where I am and where the Magpie is on November 1, unless we figure out sooner what's up with her. I'm hoping that even if things are figured out until the first of the year that I can still pull an article together by summer.

    I'm trying so hard to remain optimistic.

    Would you like to see a picture or two of her? I just realized I've never introduced her to you bloggy world.  I mean, look at that face! Is she not just so painfully freaking adorable?? God I just love this baby!

    And now, I'm going to grade some freshman comp essays. I think I'll set a goal of grading for an hour, and then I'm going to read for Friday's classes for an hour.

    Sunday, September 15, 2013

    Waving, Not Drowning, at least not yet...

    I'm so far behind in all of your lives since google reader went away. Anybody have any suggestions for a good blog reader?

    I cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since my last post. It's been a rough summer, yo. I mean, I love my Wee Bit to death and wouldn't train her for the world, but she's had a rough go of it her first three months on this earth. Baby girl had been suffering with these horrible gas pains and digestive issues--she has GERD--gastro-esophogal reflux disorder and is on baby Zantac that she has to take 2x a day. She is also allergic to breast milk--She is actually allergic to the milk proteins. I don't consume any dairy at all, so it's the lactose in the breast milk. We've eliminated a lot of foods* from my diet to try to pin point the continuing gas issues for the poor girl, but not much makes a difference. We go to the pediatrician every week or two for weight checks because as much as she eats, she still isn't gaining weight as fast as the pediatrician wants her to. She consistently gains weight; she is just wee.

    Baby girl also has eczema. And, she has several swollen lymph nodes, so Friday we had to have blood drawn. Unbeknownst to me, blood is taken from the veins in the head on infants. As awful as this sounds, and as absolutely horrible as it was for me to witness this, the J assured me that a) this is standard (we had the blood drawn in the NICU) and b) the BEST way to get lots of blood in the least traumatic way. Our nurse was amazing, and it was all over in less than 2 minutes. Poor girl passed out from the pain as soon as the needle came out and slept for a little over 3 hours in her carseat, but she's been such a trooper. So the last two months have been particularly rough for the baby.

    My parents are here now for at least until February, which has been WONDERFUL. We are so lucky that they can do this for us and that they're not assholes. It's crowded in here, but this poor little girl really does need to have two people to watch her working in tandem until we get all her little issues figured out. So right now, as we continue to try to figure out what's going on with her and how severe the milk allergy is, we are to feed her only hypoallergenic formula (we're on our second type here), and I can't nurse her at all (this is heart breaking). I spend my days now pumping and storing the milk. The pediatrician is hoping that we don't have to permanently eliminate the boob, but depending on the level of the allergy, we're hoping that worst case scenario is boob time is limited so she can still benefit from the breast milk in a way that totally doesn't aggravate her little stomach. We've got a freezer full of breast milk right now. Pumping is totally exhausting, btw.

    Because she's had so many issues, sleep has been a struggle, as well as her comfort--the reflux makes it hard for her to sleep flat (we have wedges for the crib and the co-sleeper for nighttime), but during the day, she would only sleep upright on me and we just took turns at night sleeping upright with her. So even with a bookstand for hands free reading, I've not been able to accomplish anything. I've missed 2 potential publication opportunities this summer because I just could not get the reading done for them, even just for the abstract. And it looks like I'll miss the opportunity for one at the end of this month because there is no time to do the extensive reading. It's not like I can stay up or go sequester myself somewhere. I regret not getting this done last year, but oh well. I knew it would be difficult to get stuff done with an infant, but I think it would have been easier without a sick child and just an infant who took naps, you know? I mean, I wasn't even able to eat let alone think about research.

    I do have my course release this fall, so I do have to figure out how to negotiate research and a baby here. At least I have child care and can basically leave at any time (I can only pump every four hours--I don't make enough for every two hours, which has been part of her weight gain issue we think, but we've got plenty of formula and breast milk for my absence). I'm hoping that in the next week, I can figure something out and put some sort of plan together both in terms of keeping up with my schoolwork and research.

    In other news, three weeks ago, when the parents got here, I was able to start working out again. The official first week of school was a bit rough with the workouts--I got two days in I think--but this last week has been good. All of us, the J, the parents, and myself, we are all participating in the Whole Life Challenge (as is our CF box). We are entering week 2 here, at it's really helped a lot in terms of making sure that we are taking care of ourselves. If I weren't so competitive, and we didn't have this, I would have been eating pizza all week and not working out and probably feeling a whole helluva a lot more miserable. But the parents have really embraced CrossFit; I'm especially proud of my dad. It's great seeing him trying to get healthy and really pushing himself (safely) in CrossFit and enjoying it. I have made some major gains in my strength just this week, which has been great given that I was stressed with school (already), stressed about the baby, and behind in my work, and worried about this new deadline, but seriously, realistically, I cannot read for nor pull a 20 page paper for a fancy journal out of my ass in the next 15 days. Maybe if I could work around the clock, but realistically I can't, so I may just have to let it go and figure something else out. If my parents weren't here though, I certainly wouldn't be able to cook healthy food or work out, so I think things would be a bit more dicey, maternity leave or not.

    And that's the other thing. I was talking with my mom, and we decided that for our family (the immediate family on my side) that I didn't get the maternity leave for the fall has turned out to be positive because my dad would not be making these changes in his health right now (it might have happened in February, but he may have gained 30 more pounds by then!), and this is all very positive indeed. So if not having maternity leave means that we get to take care of my dad's health sooner, then I'm okay with that trade off. However, for the next kid though, I'm not attempting to go back to work until that kid is at least 6 months old, so we're planning for the next one to come at the beginning of Spring Quarter so there will be no question about my being able to take mat leave and then having the summer off, too.

    I have missed this space. I need this space. I hope I'm able to be here more regularly.

    *No soy, dairy, corn, gluten, grains, peanuts, beans. And now, no eggs, no nuts of any kind, no cabbage, no oranges. Ironically, the first month of her life when my diet was awful--Wendy's and donuts, fast food, pizza--she did much better from the gas standpoint for Magpie. I had eliminated caffeine, but now that school has started back up, the doctor said my half caff coffee is ok because I have, usually only one cup, sometimes two.

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    Hello! I missed you all! It's not that I have nothing to say, or maybe I don't. It's just trying to find the solitary moment to say it.

    Also, since "reader" is gone, and I haven't reset up my bloglines fully yet, I'm woefully behind on everyone else's lives, so my deepest apologies for that.

    I can't believe that a) it's been a month already since the Magpie got here; b) summer is, once again, almost over, and I find myself having accomplished nothing. Well, nothing academically.

    But, tomorrow my bookstand, the same one that Heu Mihi raved so much about, will be here tomorrow. I had been debating on spending the money on this stand really since January. And even though I wasn't doing any serious reading (just baby and breastfeeding books*), and it became clear that once I tried to get any sort of academic reading done, it was going to be impossible. Miss Magpie will not allow me to hold a book for any length of time while I nurse her. And as I spend nearly half my day right now nursing and holding her, you can see how much reading I *could* get done if I could hold a book while she nurses/sleeps in my lap. The other half of my day is spent trying to rest, eat, stay on top of the dishes and laundry (especially hers) and figure out a schedule for the dogs for walking them, with her, and avoiding the heat. I don't care about the heat. She can't be out in this heat. The dog walking situation is really the hardest thing to negotiate right now with an infant.

    I feel ridiculously guilty when I get up upset with her for her nighttime routine. Sometimes she will nurse for two hours straight at night. It gets a little tiring.

    And as it has taken me way longer to write this than I thought, I must leave this incomplete for now.

    Magpie really is a good baby though. And adorable. And perfect. And wonderful. And while I'm glad she loves her crib (which will make working in the office much easier if she likes being in the crib), I am determined for her to love the co-sleeper as much because I am not ready for her not to sleep in the same room as me. I can't stand to be away from her. We're getting a softer sheet for the co-sleeper to see if that helps. Next stop, a different mattress. But we're going to try the cheap thing first.

    *uh, yeah, I have come to HATE those books. Anyone pregnant out there? Use them as references and for troubleshooting. The J told me to put them down. I was feeling guilty for being an inadequate loser parent even though I was trying to be all "prepared." No. They have become resource material only now.

    Friday, July 12, 2013

    Managing the new "Normal."

    My parents have been in for the last three weeks, which means yesterday was the first day I was on my own with the Magpie. Even though my parents drive me nuts, I was crying and missing them before they even got out the door. Also, I don't like that it's already been three weeks. I didn't like it when a week had passed. I want her to stay this small forever. I can't help it. I just want to hold her and keep her tiny forever.

    The last couple of nights have been bad--lots of fussiness which is really unusual for her. But I know why. I'm so dumb. She was pretty fussy about two weeks ago after nights of really good sleeping. And then I had food with jalapenos. Poor girl. Didn't even think about that and her little digestive system. And then two nights ago my mom made this incredible cole slaw with pineapple and, you guessed it, jalapenos. Which I had leftovers of last night. Fussy fussy fussy! Poor baby girl! Already I feel like a failure of a parent (which, add that to the emotional rollercoaster of having to have an unplanned c-section, and well, some days I feel like I have just failed from the beginning).

    Oh but when she stares into my eyes and smiles and makes her little baby barely giggle, my heart just freaking melts. And even though my shoulders are aching from holding her and nursing her, I just don't want to put her down!

    I feel awful about the jalapenos though. I am on day 7 of a Whole 30, which I did to clean up my diet and help with the fussiness, and what do I do? I eat something that to me isn't spicy, but to this sweet little girl is just messing up her poor little system. Add to that guilt the tremendous guilt of getting frustrated with her when most of what's going awry is likely my fault. Sigh. I think the Red Rocket has sensed a disturbance in the force because when things are going well, he sleeps all curled up next to the J. I think the little dude senses that I'm a tad depressed and feeling guilty, so the last two nights he has been curled up next to me all night. The dogs have been really really good with her. And with us. And with all the people coming and going. The Divine Miss T is very protective and watches any person besides me or the J who holds the baby. It's very sweet. She escorts visitors around the house keeping a watchful eye.

    There are two things so far about myself that have really surprised me. Well three. One is how much I love this. I obviously thought I would like being a parent, but I didn't realize how much I would *love* having a baby. The J says he's not shocked. I am totally floored by this discovery. And if he made more money, I'd quit my job and be a SAHM. Seriously.

    Two: I miss being pregnant. As uncomfortable as I was, especially toward the end, I miss my big belly and all the movement and heartburn and everything else. This is the thing that makes me the saddest most days. That and the fact that three weeks have flown by. But I really really miss it. I think this has a lot to do with the physiological and psychological response to the "vaginal bypass" rather than the vaginal birth. Sure, I like being able to tie my shoes again and put on socks by myself, but I miss my round belly, and I wish I had tried harder to enjoy it more through the discomfort those last few weeks (although the asthma and upper respiratory infection and bruised ribs didn't help). Because I miss my belly so much, wearing maternity clothes, comfortable as they are, depresses me. For two weeks every time I opened my dresser I cried because I didn't need those shirts and stuff, and it was hard to put them away. I really had to force myself to do so. It surprised me how painful that was for me. So even though we don't have the extra money for it, I did buy "regular" clothes this week because I thought it might help with the healing process here. And it has. For Magpie's sake, I can't sit and wallow in this.

    Three: I am surprisingly comfortable with how big I am. I mean, I gained 60 pounds during the pregnancy. Three times the "recommended" weight gain, though to no one's concern, so it wasn't unhealthy. 25 of that went the first 10 days. Part of the Whole 30 is to help with that, but I'm not bemoaning my current size. Because I found some cute clothes that fit and look good and that makes me feel better. And I think knowing that I'm the size I am is for reasons other than inactivity, poor lifestyle choices, and bad eating makes a HUGE difference as well. I am surprised at how good I feel about myself. I feel better on the days I can get out and walk, but for now, it's one day at a time. And I did miss having pants that button and have belt loops. And I do like that I'm starting to feel more "human" again, too. It sucks that I'm going to have to go back to school shopping in August for stuff to get me through Fall Quarter, especially since I spent all that money last fall on back to school clothes, but maybe by winter they'll fit. But oh well.

    Okay, now I need to figure out how to take the baby with me and take the dogs out. Walking them with the stroller was not easy yesterday, so I'm giving one of the carriers a try today. We'll see. But I've got to figure that out.

    Friday, June 28, 2013

    Magpie is Here!!!!

    Actually, the Magpie came 9 days early, and we've been home almost a week already. And for those of you betting people, if you wagered on a girl, you were most certainly correct! Not that I had an inkling one way or another, but since just about everyone thought that Magpie was a boy, we were both shocked that Mags was a girl. Actually, when the J said, "Oh my god, it's a girl!" I replied with "No shit??!!" And she was nowhere near the beast child we thought she was going to be--only 7 lbs. 6 oz. And a little shorter than we all thought, too--19.25 inches.

    Of course, nothing went according to plan. I woke up last Thursday morning in labor, but I thought it was gas. Seriously. When the J left for work, I was up and like, "ugh. These are the WORST gas cramps I've ever had!"I got up, had some coffee, put some stuff in the crockpot (a meal that was going to be frozen for later), and then my mom and I went for a walk. We were still planning on getting pedicures--I was nearly insisting during the walk that we'd be able to. By 8:30, my contractions were already 2 minutes apart. My mom said, "uh, that's not gas. You're in labor." Of course, I was like, "oh, well, ok. Just let me eat and shower, and I'm sure I'll be fine. We can still get our toes done; I can drop some paperwork off at school. It's cool." I texted the J to let him know that he might want to try to make it to my doctor's appointment because I was in labor. Actually, my hope had been that I'd go to a doctor's appointment and he'd send me right to the hospital so I wouldn't have to negotiate all that you know in the middle of the night or something. I called the dr.; they told me to come right in. The J met us there, and by 11:00 I was being checked into the hospital, in full on labor, already at about 5 cm. Although I have insisted this entire time that I would NOT have an epidural, I ended up having one. And not for the pain, either. I think I would have been able to handle the pain had it not been for the nausea. That was the one thing I wasn't expecting. I was so so sick. And then I started to get really hot and faint, and I knew I could not go on puking, faint, and feverish. I only barfed once during labor, but I kept asking for the puke bucket. I threw up my entire breakfast right before the epidural.

    Since labor was moving so quickly, the doctors and nurses were sure the kid would be out by 3 pm. By 1:00 I was at 7 cm. I stalled a little bit because of the epidural, but by about 3:00 I was at 9cm, and by about 4:00 I was ready to push. And by about 4:30 or so the doc came in, and we started working on getting the Magpie out. And that's when everything sort of went south. I got her all the way down the birth canal and then she got stuck. She was face up. We got her turned halfway, and then her shoulders got stuck, and she would not budge. I could see his face--he knew how much I did not want a c-section--and I could see that he was trying not to look worried or frustrated. The epidural had worn off, and by this time I was sick again, feverish, and feeling faint. He said I could continue pushing, but that we could work on this for two hours, but that it wasn't going to do anything but wear me out. So they prepped the ER, and about 30 minutes later, I was being wheeled off to the c-section.

    That did not go as smoothly as it should have either. I learned from one of the nurses later that my delivery had really stressed the doc out. I could hear him on the other side of the curtain sighing in frustration and I could see him shaking his head. I puked again during the surgery. Magpie was wedged in there. I could feel the pressure, and it was a good 10 minutes at least that they worked on her. The J told me later (because I'm only just now able to see the incision) that the doctor was in up to his elbows; they had to lengthen the incision because she was so wedged in. And they had to push her back up the birth canal so they could get her head out. It was actually quite painful. Then the poor girl drew a huge breath as soon as she came out, so she aspirated some blood and they had to run her off to deep suction her lungs--which J did not tell me right away either. Baby girl had this giant bruise on her head from using the vacuum thing to turn her. She had to have blood drawn because her heart rate was elevated during the labor and delivery. She had jaundice so had to be under the UV lamp, which she HATED. And I was in the hospital 4 full days. I checked in at 11:00 or so on Thursday and didn't check out until about 3:00 pm on Sunday. I could have gone home on Saturday, but I opted to stay because of the pain and because I just couldn't even get out of the bed on my own yet. I couldn't even shower without help until Monday.

    And then!! Our second night home we had to take the poor girl to the ER because she had an allergic reaction to something and didn't eat for nearly 7 hours and was covered in hives from her neck to her feet! She's fine now. She still has some bumps, but we think it might be either the pain medicine I'm taking, the antibiotics I'm taking, or both. I think I may have an allergy to one or both of them, too, because I have bumps in various places on my body as well. I was on Benadryl in the hospital because of the c-section anesthesia which made my entire body itch, so it very well may be that that masked any sort of reaction. I tried to get the medicine changed, but the doc and I missed each other on the phone, and there's only two to three days left, and I took some Benadryl this morning because I was all itchy and bumpy this morning, so we'll see. Her poor little overloaded system.

    However, all of that being said, she is so perfect and beautiful and wonderful. And one of my favorite things about her is how much the J is in love with her. Oh my god. I can't handle it when he looks at her and gets all teary eyed. I can't stand to be in a different room from her. And I can't believe it's already been a week. Regardless of how traumatic everything has been, she is healthy, strong, expressive. She eats like a champ. I LOVE breastfeeding. She has the best little mouth and lips. Her puppy siblings love her and are protective of her. She's just so sweet. And you know, I loved the J with all my heart before this little one came, but like the Grinch, it's grown three sizes bigger since last Thursday. I didn't think I could love him more than I did, but my god. I can't get over either how much more in love with him I am either.

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    9.5 Months is a long time to be knocked up.

    I know I sound like a broken record, but it's been a long, shitty week here. Not only is it hot as fuck (which I usually like the heat--I like to go out an run when it's 100 degrees, so in general, heat is fine), but I've been sick. And on top of being sick, whatever it was that invaded my sinuses and chest cavity and lungs triggered a series of asthma attacks! I've not had an asthma attack in TEN YEARS! TEN YEARS!! The OB had to call in an inhaler for me. My first inhaler in a decade. Wow. On top of that, I still have a cold, so even though the inhaler helped open the airways, the postnasal drip kept tickling my throat every time I laid down to try to sleep last night, which made me cough, which then triggered another asthma attack. Poor J is getting less sleep than I am because of this, and I feel bad that he has to work all day. In general I hate taking medicine as it is, but right now, I'm trying to be really careful about taking medicine, but my well-being is tied to the Magpie's well-being, so it does no one good for me to not sleep, for me to be hacking all night, and for me to have hurt my ribs from the violent coughing! Argh! I am a total hot mess here! I mean my ribs are so freaking sore that they hurt just to be touched. Since I've spent all week in bed, my blood pressure has skyrocketed. Granted, it's what would be "normal" for the average person, but it's really high for me, so since I've got the inhaler and I'm feeling better, and I'm freaking ready for the kid to get here, I will start walking daily. I've accomplished absolutely nothing this week because I've been sick, and I'm sure that's affected my blood pressure as well because I want to get things done, but I'm exhausted and can't breathe.

    Seriously, my ribs have never ever hurt like this before. And I had forgotten how much asthma truly truly sucks.

    Not that these things are predictable by any stretch of the word, but the doctor indicated yesterday that the possibility of the kid getting here next week is very real. However, if it's not here by my next doctor's appointment and everything looks good, then the doc threw out the possibility of inducing me late next Sunday night and having the kid on Monday the 24th. I did not hesitate with my "YES! Let's do that!" Now, before anyone freaks out about my choosing inducing over spontaneous labor, yes, I know there are lots of reasons not to induce and many many benefits of waiting for spontaneous labor, and I do truly hope that labor happens on its own before the 24th. But my doctor knows my fears, concerns, and anxieties, and while I've had problems with his office and that surly bitch nurse, if he gives the go ahead for it, then I do trust him. Labor doesn't bother me. Pain doesn't bother me. Discomfort, yes, I'll complain about that all day, but pain, I can handle. (and honestly, I know I've been complaining about my ribs, but I feel like anyone else would be sidelined. I mean, I know I've done some damage here). I've done lots of reading and considering, so I am confident that I'm making an informed decision here.

    What I like least is uncertainty (says the woman who wouldn't find out the sex of the child). If I know that something will happen in 10 days, then I can plan, prepare, and relax, and that, ultimately is better for me, which I argue is better then for the kid. So, there it is. I feel good about this. Do I hope that this happens spontaneously before the 24th? Yes. But do I take comfort in knowing that something will happen by the 24th? Most certainly. And this is the most relaxed I've felt in 3 weeks.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    The Good, the Bad, and the Very Uncomfortable

    I am grumpies. I am large and uncomfortable. I thought I was uncomfortable last week, but I am more uncomfortable this week. I have many of the things that I want to read, but it's uncomfortable to sit and read. I like laying down right now. And I can't read while laying in bed. Last night I just could not get comfortable at all. I'm trying not to focus on my discomfort, but it's hard not to do.

    I haven't gone grocery shopping in a long time. So my eating is pathetic right now, which feeds into my discomfort, and maybe the kid is mad at me. Part of the problem is that I'm starving and full all at the same time and nothing, I mean, NOTHING tastes good to me at all. And I still have 24 more days (at least) to go. And the cybercamp is going well, except that it's getting harder and harder to be comfortable sitting for two hours in auditorium chairs.

    It's also hot. I like the heat, except I do not right now at all. There are things I want to get done, and while I was optimistic about a week ago regarding my energy levels, this week I am not.

    Also, I find that I am becoming misanthropic here lately. If one more person tells me to "just hang in there" I will start hitting people. To put it in perspective, it's akin to telling someone on the job market that "surely something will turn up. just hang in there." No. That's not what I want to hear at this moment and it doesn't help.

    And I splurged on a shellac manicure because it's supposed to last for two weeks without chipping, peeling, fading, whatever. That was Friday. By Monday two had chipped. Another chipped last night, and I was able to peel a fourth. It's not even been a week. I'm pissed.

    Some Positives to balance out this Negativity:

    The thing on the Divine Miss T's neck has gone away. There's like a dime sized little knot there now. Last Wednesday when I got home it was about three inches long and about an inch wide. Yay! I continue to be glad that our "no vet stress unless she's in distress" rule prevailed here and that I didn't totally overreact.

    My haircut went well last week. Thankfully.

    All baby clothes, bedding, blankets, nursing pads, etc. are washed.

    Last night I had a dream that George Takei sent ninjas to my house to destroy to ensure that I went camping with him. It was crazy.

    The Red Rocket has been extra cuddly lately because I think he knows he's about to become a middle child and won't be the baby anymore.

    Today I will make myself get on the waiting list for daycare, buy the football season tickets (the J and my dad are so wanting season tickets, so I guess we're all going--it'll be fun), go to the grocery, and go through the cookbooks to find good freezable meals so that this weekend I can start stockpiling the freezer like I said I was going to start doing 2 weeks ago. I will do these things.

    But first, I will walk the dogs.

    Friday, May 31, 2013


    FedEx found my package. The guy delivered it to the wrong address, which I suspected, but I didn't want to wander around my neighborhood knocking on doors asking if my package had accidentally been delivered to them. But FedEx found it. Quite quickly, too, I might add. I was impressed. I'll stop bad mouthing them behind closed doors.

    I feel confident, too, that I've found a hairdresser here. She can do highlights/lowlights AND cut hair! She can cut my hair!! And I like her because she's not afraid of me. She has confidence in her abilities and knows that she knows what she's doing and that she's the expert. And I like that. And she can interpret what I want. So I think she'll do. Which is great. I mean, up until now, it's been fine just waiting until we go to Home City to my girl there, but now that the kid is on the way, I imagine our travels to and fro are not going to be as frequent, so I do need to find someone here who knows what she's doing because I'm vain.

    Miss T's neck seems to be going down in the swelling category. Old girl does not seem to be in distress, so we're still monitoring her, but all seems fine with the old girl. Except the heat. I need to start walking her around the yard during the afternoons, but stubborn girl wants to walk, but I can tell the heat affects her. We're going to have to work on that.

    Every single item of baby clothing/stuff with the exception of one large blanket is washed. Some tidying needs to be done, the co-sleeper assembled, and the car seat installed, but other than that, I feel like we're pretty well set here to receive the child--being parents? That's a different story. But I'm totally enamored with how cute those tiny little diapers are! Of course I know they're cute until they're full. Ha!

    I think that end of pregnancy nesting thing has kicked in. I was wide awake until about midnight last night. I've only gotten about 5 hours of sleep, but I'm wide awake and not tired today either.

    So today, here's what I need to do:

    • Mani/pedi--for sure. 
    • Pick up some t-shirts I ordered from CrossFit that have been in for over a week.
    • Grocery shop.
    • Prep food.
    • Vacuum.
    • Change sheets.
    • Get crib bedding set up.
    • Stop by cell phone store to find out why my blue tooth doesn't work on my new phone.
    I also need to get some good freezable paleo recipes that I can make and start stock piling food in the next week or so. Ideally, I'd like to have 3 months worth of paleo dinners in the freezer. That may be a lofty goal, but I'm going to do what I can. At least all the movies for the camp I'm doing next week are the same as the ones this week, so there's not much I need to do other than show up.

    We're about 29 days from hatch date here. I guess this is the home stretch. 

    And I think on that note, I'll have some breakfast, walk the mutts, get ready, and then get that mani/pedi first. Priorities, yo. 

    Thursday, May 30, 2013


    Well, I'll start with all the things that are bothering me/have gone wrong in the last week, which most of it is probably me overreacting, but hormones are raging, I'm on this crazy sugar binge, and highly uncomfortable. But I've got to get it off my chest:

    • My hair appointment last week was a mess and disappointing and I won't go back to her, although she's sweet and tried really hard, but I won't even go back to have her fix my hair for free. First of all, I arrived five minutes before my appointment. I sat there for 10 minutes before my presence was acknowledged. Then I was told she was running behind on a pedicure, and she was 30 minutes late. Generally not a big deal, but a HUGE deal to a very pregnant lady. Then she did my hair. Low-lights to blend the blonde. No. After sitting in the chair for an hour, there was no change in my hair color. So she did it again after she cut and styled it. Then she asked me about my haircut. I brought a picture. Not even close. "Do you like the cut blunt or something with an edge to it?" Me: "Edge. Do not cut it blunt. My hair doesn't work with a blunt cut." What did I get? A blunt bob with blunt layers. I was going to suck it up, but after a week, the color looks like dishwater, and for chin-length hair, it takes too long to do. I'm trying someone new today because the person who can cut hair (but isn't good at highlights) left the other salon. Sigh. We'll see.
    • FedEx has claimed that they delivered my package; however, I have no package. Furthermore, the J was home at the time they claimed it was delivered, and he says he saw no truck, the dogs did not bark, and again, I have no package. FedEx is launching an "investigation." Nice.
    • The Divine Miss T came home from the vet with a swollen neck. I thought perhaps just a reaction to getting vaccinated. It's never happened before, but she's old. But the swelling was huge by last night. Of course, I'm crying about a tumor, how I don't want her to die, how I want her to meet the baby, how she can't be sick. In other words, I was a total fucking mess last night. What it appears to be is just some sort of benign giant fluid filled cyst. She has a couple of these, not of this size, but I spent some time last night massaging her neck, and this reduced the swelling by 2/3. She has a slight swell this morning and a bit of a knot, but we decided that if massaging it makes it go down and it continues to decrease, then we'll hold off on the vet. Whatever it is is not affecting her. Her eating, drinking, and energy level is all the same as normal. She's not in distress. And massaging it apparently feels good. Even though she's old, I hesitate rushing her off to the vet because I feel like vet prodding is more traumatic if unnecessary than if we are rational about what's going on. I'm trying not to overreact. Our basic rule with the elderly one is that if she's not in distress then we don't want to stress her out with vet visits and tests and stuff. 
    • I feel like shit. I just feel gross. My body just feels disgusting, and I feel like it hates me. I also feel like this somehow means that the kid is working on making its entrance. It could also be that since I've been traveling and eating not that well (well, not terrible except the last three days, but it's because I don't feel good so I'm eating comfort stuff), so what the hell do I know about this? I've never been through this. So we'll see if cleaning up the diet has any effect or if I still feel crappy. If I still feel crappy, I'll take it as a sign that I need to get things finalized here for the kid. However, my gut feeling is that Magpie will be here by week 38. It also feels like its getting ornery in there.
    Okay, I guess I feel a bit better now after getting that off my chest. Now for the good things:

    So much love for the Magpie this weekend! Though the vast majority of my family may in general be bat-shit crazy tea baggers (that's a whole other post), they are very very generous. We got a lot of good stuff this weekend. As a matter of fact, we've gotten so much stuff from our showers that we've only had to spend about $1200 out of pocket for kid related stuff (including diapers and stuff, but not including maternity clothes or my obnoxious chair). Which, I think for a first kid and for people who don't know what they're doing and who love to spend money without thinking, I feel like we've come off pretty good with only spending $1200 of our own money. And my parents said that they're going to reimburse us for the breast pump, so if they do (I'm not going to hound them for that), then that number goes down. I'd like to have some more bottles, but other than that, we don't need anything else. And while I told her she didn't need to, a friend is getting us the Moby wrap, which is too kind, but that's the last thing that we want that's not necessary but will be very very nice to have. 

    The cybercamp started this week. It's not time consuming, and it's not like it pays a whole lot, but enough to be worth the effort to do it, and I actually enjoy it. I don't do much. But I just like being a part of it. It's a good gig.  It's starting to get uncomfortable sitting for two hours watching a movie every night, but it's cool. I can deal with it. It'll be even more uncomfortable next week, but it's fine. I'll live. 

    Hahaha, I think the kid has hiccups. And it's moving around a lot this morning. I can see it through my robe and tank top. I imagine it's getting crowded in there.

    So I suppose I'll eat and get on with my day here. Hair appointment, doctor's appointment, I need to finish the movie for tonight. Busy day. At least it's summer!

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    On Things and Other Things

    Sometimes I get in a place where I compare myself to people who seem to be relatively successful but people whom I actually despise, and this makes me feel bad about myself. I don't know why I do this. It's usually during a time when I feel like I should be accomplishing something and perhaps need a kick in the butt to get going.

    But still, it's stupid. And if being an ugly person is a means to success, then why do I want to see that kind of toxicity in my life? Meh. Anyway.

    This is what I did yesterday: I blogged. I showered. I walked the dogs. I did some laundry. I did some dishes. I made lunch and reheated leftovers for dinner. I relaxed. I FBed. I responded to a student email and to a couple of summer work related emails*.  Also, I cleaned out my work email inbox. I sat in my obnoxiously comfortable chair (and ridiculously expensive chair) and watched the Magpie move around and stretch in my belly. And I read. And read. And read. And I watched Magpie kick the book off my stomach when it crowded the little ones feet. I am proud of myself actually for not having turned on the television until 6:45 pm last night. That's a big deal for me because I love t.v. I know, it's pathetic how much I love t.v. But I love t.v. Anyway, it's sad that I need to pat myself on the back for spending hours yesterday reading, but it felt good.

    Also, I napped.

    I had a dream last night that I gave birth to a large baby girl. 8.6 lbs, 22.5 inches. And she was early. And when everyone found out it was a girl they were shocked since the general consensus seems to be boy. I have no inkling one way or the other. Oh, and the baby could talk, but it could only say either "I'm done burping" or "I need to be burped." And I couldn't figure out why I didn't bring any nursing shirts or bras to the hospital. All I had was "regular" clothes, and it was a real pain in the ass.

    Yesterday the reason I was feeling all glad about myself for reading was because it was a book that I'm thinking about teaching in the winter. But it's totally a way to procrastinate and avoid the thing I actually need to be working on before the baby comes, but I'm congratulating myself at this point on doing something and thinking ahead.

    Today I have some errands to run and some more clothes to wash and some packing for this weekend to do, and I need to consider eating some breakfast here, too. And the parents are coming in tonight. I haven't worked out in a couple of weeks now at this point, and I'm starting to get a little stiff and ornery here because of it, but I'm just tired right now. I know it's good for me, and I know I should do it, but honestly, right now, being on my obnoxiously comfortable chair all day is just so much more appealing and relaxing. But, next Tuesday, I will recommit myself for at least 2 more weeks and then probably not do too much heading into the last three weeks before hatch date here.

    Right now, I am very hungry. So I will eat and perhaps run my errands early while I'm not totally wiped the *f* out. I'm just happy that it finally feels like summer around here, that I've finally chilled the *f* out (although I wish I could have more sleep in until after 8:30 am days around here and not 6:30 am days). My brain is finally in "I'm not teaching mode" thankfully. And it feels good to finally be in that space.

    *I'm doing this camp this again this summer which really just involves me spending a couple of hours about 3-4 nights a week introducing a movie to HS kids and watching the movie with them and making a nice chunk of change for what amounts to be about 30 hours of work total over two weeks. That little works pays about as much as a month's worth of summer comp teaching. I'll complain still I'm sure, but it's relatively easy, not very time consuming, and the extra money coming in at the end of June when I don't get a paycheck will be worth this. And I'll be done by June 6th.

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Today it feels like summer break.

    Now that I've finally gotten some rest and slept in past 6:30 am and went out last night on a "school night" with no consequences to me (poor J still had to get up at 5:30 to go to work), and  I am actually thinking a bit more clearly for the first time in months, I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief, and I feel like there might actually be opportunity for me to relax and get things done that I might want to do. Of course this is all easier said than done, but for right now, it's nice to feel positive.

    The last three weeks have been a bit trying. I've actually been quite depressed; however, before anyone begins to worry, I know this is a result of stress and poor diet. Not that my diet has been terrible, but gluten really does affect my mental state. Plus, add that to the stress of the end of the quarter, hormones raging out of control, a fetus who seems to be in constant movement, and to be quite honest, I'm surprised I've been as sane as I have. Fortunately, I've finally gotten some rest; summer finally feels like it's here, so perhaps I can get my stuff together and relax.

    There are some things that I've been thinking about though the last couple of days. One, I have too much stuff. I wish I were better at not having stuff, at not accumulating stuff, or at least getting rid of things as I get new things. This has nothing to do with baby things. It's my stuff. But, part of the problem, at least with regarding my closet and wardrobe, which seriously needs to be scaled down, is that that is not anything I can do until after the baby comes because as I have all manner of sizes of clothes in my closet, I'm sure I will need a variety of sizes until my body finds some sort of stasis postpartum. Also, I should go through my books for donation. And our DVDs. We have lots of duplicates. And part of that clutter is paying off old debts finally so that maybe next year we can have a house of our own (provided we get the one in Home City sold).

    The one thing I'm not worried about is whether I'll be a good mom. I know I'm going to be a worried neurotic mom, because of how I am with the Divine Miss T, and because when I was folding baby clothes on Monday I started crying about how the kid was going to grow up and go off to college and leave me, and the kid's not even done baking yet. I've made my peace with this, and I know that the J will balance out my craziness.

    But here's the thing, oddly enough, that has been bothering me the last few days--I worry that I'm not intellectual enough (Oh, I'm smart enough, and I even maintain to my students that I'm brilliant and that I refuse to believe there are smarter people than I). So what will happen then when my brain turns to oatmeal with a newborn, infant, and then toddler? I mean, I set unrealistic goals for myself when I'm not with child and fully functioning, so WTF am I thinking now?? There are things that I need to be working on and want to be working on before the Magpie hatches, and I just wonder what I'll be able to accomplish. And I think maybe the thing that worries me more is that I won't want to do anything. Does that make sense? On the other hand, I worry that I might be selfish in wanting to insist that I maintain and carve out a space (like before) for my intellectual and my CrossFit pursuits.

    I guess all of this stuff is natural to be thinking about though.

    I think the other thing I might be worried about is where this blog is going to go.  Because I'm a total narcissist, I'm sure in part it will become "oh look at my baby!" blog, but I'm hoping that rather than a showcase for the Magpie and a place for whining, I hope that it will become a place to help me balance life, and as I do have things that need to get written this year (otherwise I *will* be behind schedule for tenure if I don't get the rest of my stuff finished this year), I'm hoping that it will become more about those ideas as well.

    However, for now, I think I will just try to be present and not worry too much about the future, otherwise the summer will be over before I know it.

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013


    Done! I finished the quarter unscathed I suppose. And I met my goal of being done by 3. Actually, I finished early and got all my grades done and posted by 2 pm Friday afternoon. They are officially due today by 3:30. Nope. Not me. It has been so great not having to worry about grading all weekend and frantically working at the last minute to finish. I know many of my friends are still grading, and I feel for them, but I'm happy that my quarter ended Friday. And fortunately, I've only had one email so far regarding grade complaints, the "I can't have a C because I'll lose my funding for the summer, can you please reconsider my grade, thank you" complaint. Well, if you "can't" have a D, then you probably wanted to consider paying attention to the syllabus and absence policy. I'm sure there are lots of students who would have liked for me to ignore their absences as well. But, knock wood, that's the only one.

    I am utterly exhausted though. I don't know if it's the usual let down from the end of the quarter--you know, that point where your body just sort of goes kaput after being in fight or flight mode for several days. Plus, we did a bunch of stuff around the house on Saturday and went to the G'parents on Sunday, then I had a potluck to go to, and then yesterday we did a bunch of stuff, too, so maybe it's just that I actually haven't rested yet. I was totally going to go work out before my hair appointment this morning, but I may try to get everything done and prepped this afternoon so I can work out before our friends come over for dinner tonight. And I know just last week I was talking about how working out has been so good for me lately, but the last week or so, I've just been too tired. And I haven't been sleeping that well the last few days either. But such is the nature of the beast I suppose. At least the increase bathroom breaks during the night and the even less sleep has hit when the quarter ended rather than during the quarter.

    But yesterday I got all of the baby stuff washed, or all of the stuff that we have so far. The bedding is on the bed. The crib liner is up. I have to finish folding today. But I feel like, aside from a couple of big things we both need (car seat) and would like to have, we're in pretty good shape right now. And it's cute how the J is starting to "nest," too. He's done like all this organizing and assembling that I've been asking him to do (some stuff I've been nagging him about for 2 years!), and I think part of it is to avoid other things that I've been nagging him about, but it's cute.

    I hate to say that I really just want to lay in bed all day. It's starting to really be the only comfortable position, and that sucks because I still have 6 weeks to go! Yikes! And I have stuff that I want to do and need to do in the next six weeks, but ah. Oh well. I'll do what I can. And I think I want to go lay back down before I have to go to my hair appointment.

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    On the end of the quarter and working out.

    Do you know how good it feels right now to be able to sit here and blog? All I have to do today is write a quick letter of recommendation, which I don't think will take me longer than an hour because I have a template for the teacher's college L.O.R.s, so all I have to do is plug some stuff in and tailor it to the student, but I won't have to start from scratch. Shady? I don't know. It's worked so far for the students, so I must be doing something right, or at least not hurting them. It's the best I can do this quarter.

    But that's it. I have the day off for the first time in months.

    And as I have been busting my ass for the last two weeks in order to stay on top of the grading, it finally paid off yesterday. I am totally, 100% completely caught up. It involved grading while the students were watching the movie in the survey class this week, and I'm thankful for that extra time. It also means that yesterday afternoon, since the upper division classes are over for the quarter, I calculated and uploaded those grades. There were two students who hadn't turned in their papers, and while the last day of classes is tomorrow, their essays were due last Friday, and we finished class yesterday, then well, if the class is over, then well, I don't know what to tell them. One student I possibly could have worked with had ze contacted me last week, but waited until four days after hir presentation and final paper were due to contact me, well, sorry. It's a sad tale, but still. I don't care right now if I'm heartless. And as a result of busting my ass for 2 weeks, I just conked out yesterday afternoon.

    Anyhoo, what all of this means is that all I have to do tomorrow is grade objective in class exams tomorrow. And I'll be able to grade them as the students turn them in, and the 8 am class will be done before the 12:30 class takes its exam, and I may very well be done by 3 pm tomorrow afternoon. I should be able to achieve my goal! And that's it and that's all folks!

    So I mentioned Tuesday that I would talk about working out still. I think I may have 3-4 weeks left in me with the CrossFit before this kid comes. Perhaps it will be a bit easier once I don't have school and once there's a 9 am class again for the summer.

    I quit working out first thing in the morning. I was waaaaaay too tired and not sleeping well enough to get up at 4:30 am for the 5 am class. It was fine before the overload because I had TR off, but working 5 days a week I just couldn't keep it up. So I switched to the afternoon class. I found that even if I was tired, I could have a good workout, and the benefit was that I could come home, eat, and then rest, so for a while, I was able to keep up with 3x a week. Well, until last week when I had to decide whether I wanted to spend the afternoons plowing through grading or go work out. If I weren't pregnant, I wouldn't have had to make that choice. But I live in a state of constant negotiations with my body and energy level. And while physically the exercise would have been better for me (I started to really feel it after 10 days of no work out), but mentally, oh man, nothing felt better than getting the grading done.

    There was a conflict between my motivations. I'm highly motivated to be done by tomorrow--there was no way in hell I was dragging the grading out to next Tuesday. I'm also highly motivated to reduce my chances for a c-section. While I know determining weight in the womb can be very inaccurate, this kid has been measuring big from the beginning. So I want to do everything in my power to prepare my body in any way I can to reduce those chances. I will NOT let the doc schedule one, and I'd rather not be induced. But it's still early for that yet.

    As a result, I've been much more vigilant about my work outs and about my diet. I had been trying to go back to my super strict Paleo for the week and then letting myself have Saturdays for cheat days, and I did great for almost two weeks, but as the stress level increased and when my parents left, meaning I didn't have mom to help me prep and cook, my exhaustion took precedence and I back slid. I'm not beating myself up over this at all. The only problem is that my body has reached a sort of stasis, I guess it desires to return to "normal" somewhat, and things that I wouldn't have eaten 8.5 months ago (yes, on Saturday we're at 34 weeks already!) are making me sick. Like I'm talking heartburn that feels like a heart attack! Also, no one needs that much pizza, subway, and fast food stuff. Which, I think my shit diet thus far is one of the reasons the kid is as huge at this point as it is.

    Returning to a place I was at 8.5 months ago with my health and fitness (as closely as possible and safe) is helping quite a bit. When I'm able to do it, I feel better. So much better. And I like being the large pregnant lady at the box. Part of it's totally ego driven. I like it when people come up to me after class and say, "You know, I thought there was no way I could do [x] weight, but then I saw you working out and I thought, 'well, if the pregnant woman can do it, I'm not going to let her beat me!' So I sucked it up and went with it." There are lots of things I haven't been able to do for a while. I can't do pull-ups anymore. I do them on the rings. I've had to cut my back squat and deadlift weights by 60%. Skills I had I can't work on anymore like double unders. Box jumps are out of the question, but even box steps on the 20" box are almost impossible because my stomach is so huge (44.5 inches around!). I've lost about 35% on my cleans and 25% on my push presses. I mean, it's fine. I've gained 50 pounds of baby at this point, so it is like I'm working out with a weight vest on as well. I can't run, and rowing is starting to get a little bit uncomfortable just because of the stomach, and I just can row fast. I can still do sit-ups on the abmat. Push-ups on my knees are starting to get a little difficult. And I take a ton of breaks. My workout clothes are getting a little bit too small (even the large ones I bought back in January), but I refuse to buy more at this point. They're comfy still, just scandalous looking. Also, it's just been nice seeing my CF friends again. Sometimes it's frustrating dealing with the limitations of my body, but by August I'll be able to start training seriously again.

    That's it for now I guess. I just can't wait for the quarter to be over here. And to be able to just focus on what I want to focus on for the next 4-6 weeks. And nap at will.

    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    Hello from the depths! Anyone still out there??

    Oh my fair bloggy friends I have missed you dearly!! This quarter has just been so hellacious that I've not really been able to keep up with all of you, nor have I been able to keep up with my poor little blog here. Part of it is that I just spend so much time on the computer grading that being on the computer for recreation is not an option. Actually, it's quite unpleasant. And while my little MacBook Air is great for travel and carting to and fro campus, sitting at the kitchen table typing on it after staring at it all day to grade is just not my idea of destressing and relaxing anymore. But I'm finally back on the home desktop here! What would become the nursery has been a storage room, and I hate that the Magpie has to share his/her room with me so I can have an office space, but that's how it will be. There's no room in what is now the official guest room, and even if there were, my parents are basically moving in in September to help with the kid, so I wouldn't be able to work at will in there anyway. Plus, it's just a short distance from the desk to the crib, so perhaps it will work out just fine for when I need to work, and the kid needs me or something. Who knows?

    This is the final week of classes. I have been a madwoman up until about last Thursday. And these four classes have had me so stressed that I was starting to worry about its affect on the fetus so much that I asked the specialist about it. He said there's nothing to indicate that my stress level has affected the baby, thank god. We went to California for a conference about mid-quarter, so that helped. It was wonderfully relaxing. I was able to get all of my reading for the overload class done for the remainder of the quarter on the plane, so that helped tremendously. It also meant that I could spend my time grading. And that is basically all that I've done since April--grade. With the overload class, there's just no break, as those of you who teach four classes know. There's a tremendous difference between 3 and 4 classes. And honestly, if I weren't pregnant, I wouldn't complain as much. I'd be pissed, still, for sure, but my exhaustion level wouldn't be so enormous. But oh well. This is the last week of classes. We're watching movies in three of the four (I should be done with the TR class today!) and presentations in the fourth. I was really irate with the grading last week because I very much got the impression that (and this was confirmed some by student postings on FB) since other people's classes are "harder" and those profs are "notorious" and people want "As" in their classes, students put more effort into their papers for the other profs than for my class, and the assumption is that because I'm very pregnant and very tired, I'd give them a pass. Which is funny because two students at least in the upper division class this quarter told me they were worried because they had heard that I'm a "notoriously hard grader." So I took the crap that was turned in personally.

    What do I mean by crap? Grad students, who I know know better, using an on-line dictionary as a main secondary source. Grad students who, even after I shut down this argument on the paper proposal, still insisted on turning in a paper about "Poe's unique and excellent style." WTF? Really? I wouldn't take that from a fucking survey course paper. English majors in a senior level class who decided that they didn't need to do any citations throughout the entire essay. Book reviews and biographies of poets rather than actual research papers. And I know the problem is not the assignment because about half of these offenders have seen this before, and it's a pretty clear cut RESEARCH PAPER assignment that as upper division students they should be able to handle. And should, at this point, be able to write 8 pages at a minimum in their sleep. On more than one I wrote, "this is lazy." And on the grad student papers I had to write, "This is not what I expect out of a grad student at this point. This is undergrad work." They can pass it off as bitchy pregnant lady, but don't fucking waste my time at this point. Look, I do understand that it's essay triage here at the end of the quarter, but at least acknowledge it's lazy crap. That I'll at least respect. It'll be graded accordingly--crap is crap--but own it at least.

    Anyway, enough of that rant. Here are some of the good things--My parents were in for about two weeks. The only reason I'm sane right now is because of them. My mom helped with the cooking--she did all of it last week. She cleaned my whole house. She even spent about 6 hours just cleaning and dusting and organizing my bedroom! And she cleaned my bathroom. The woman is a machine. And she did all of our laundry. My dad helped clean, break down boxes, go to the dump with Jeremy to get rid of stuff, started working on stripping a toy box so we can refinish it for the nursery, painted the nursery--while Mom worked on my bedroom, I cleaned, organized, and trashed a bunch of stuff that was in "storage" and got it ready to be painted so it could be a nursery. We organized the kitchen. And since Mom took care of the chores, I was able to spend last week grading everything as it came in daily. Which means that by Saturday morning, I had everything graded and calculated up to that point and could start yesterday with a clean slate. Yesterday I graded all of the take home exams I had taken up and the lit analyses for the poetry class. I got two of the three sets of senior grades calculated and submitted already. I will finish grading the seniors' stuff for the lit class this morning and get those done before noon. I busted my ass last week (and was only able to because Mom did all the others things for me like cooked) so I could grade. My goal is to be done with this damn quarter by 3 pm on Friday. If I get all the stuff for today done, that means I get to take this afternoon off. That means tomorrow I can focus on the stuff that's coming in and get that stuff done. That leaves Thursday free and clear, and it means that on Friday, all I have to do is worry about the in class exams for the survey classes, and those will be relatively easy to grade. I am just so damn ready to be done with this quarter, to put it behind me and never ever think about it again. I don't care if the evals are bad. I expect them to be. I'm only human. Overloaded with two courses not in my field and only related to what I do because they're American lit. And if it weren't for my parents, I'd be nowhere near close to being finished right now or on top of the grading.

    And let me just say, last weekend when we got the nursery cleaned out and ready to be painted, my stress level just plummeted. Knowing that all of that is done, the nursery and the guest bedroom, is a total load off my mind because it's not waiting for me to do when the quarter is over. I can really actually make some progress on an article before the kid gets here. I can start stockpiling some food in the freezer for dinner for after the kid gets here. I can get the kid's clothes and blankets and stuff washed and done. I can cook. I can keep working out and get sleep as well. Since the organizing and cleaning and painting are done, and that is a load off my mind, I might actually be able to relax a bit before the kid gets here.

    I also switched my work out schedule. But that's another post. Perhaps Thursday. :)

    So there it is. The end of the quarter angst and bitchiness, but damn, I'm almost done. I'm still hopeful about being able to get some work done before the kid gets here, especially since everything else is just about in order, so we'll see how that goes. For those of you still finishing your quarter, here's to a good one for you. For those of you done with your semesters, I'm jealous!