Friday, September 29, 2006


Last night I was feeling cranky (translation, started crying when Ryan suggested I go lie down and relax) and overwhelmed by a number of things, for example the house looks and smells like a Superfund site because Ryan and I have been working like crazy trying to get things buttoned up at school before November 2 when Charlie will probably arrive. So after dinner (waffles with powdered sugar) when I was paralyzed by hella-seasonal allergies and a Benedryl hangover and general intimidation by all things baby and school Ryan talked me into going for a nice relaxing swim before ER came on at 9. Never mind that it was about 60 degrees outside and they haven't put the roof on the pool for the winter yet and did I mention it was almost dark? "Go change, I'll drive" he said as he handed me my swimsuit. Anyway, despite all the whining and extra dramatic fake shivering, I'm really glad I went. It felt good to be in the water and doing something useful and I swam extra fast to keep warm, so it was a really good workout and I know it helped me sleep better last night. I included some pictures Ryan took of me swimming the other day (last week sometime).

Speaking of ER... I am SO GLAD they finally gave us some closure on the baby-Joe story. I almost lost it when they showed the empty crib at the end of the episode but when they showed Abby holding the baby in the rocking chair nearby I almost leapt off the couch with joy (haha like I could leap).After yesterday morning, I decided to stop using my alarm clock for the rest of the pregnancy because really, my body knows how much sleep it needs and there is no changing its mind. It's pointless to get up before I'm ready because it only results in zero concentration ability and an urgent need to get back in bed as soon as possible that makes it impossible to get anything done (not to mention making me incredibly cranky and no fun to be around). This morning I got up around 8 and am feeling great. J, my advisor, asked me to do some things for him and that made me feel really good too (like the old days when I still had an ounce of self confidence and knew J didn't think I was a total poser, i.e. before WEMITE and dissertation topic trainwrecks). So now off to make some small changes in my proposal and then to tackle the house.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Babyzilla Part 2

Had a doctor's appointment this morning and the baby is still huge and breech. Dr. O asked Ryan and me what our birthweights were. I told her I was 7 lb 11 oz and Ryan said he was 9 lb 10 oz. Ha! For once I'M not the freak! Seems Charlie is already taking after his papa. Dr. O seemed alarmed by Ryan's birthweight. I have to say I'm getting a little tired of being made to feel like the Jerry Springer guests of obstetrics. I read something last night about how calcium is important to the baby's growth during pregnancy. So now I'm wondering if I caused this with my 3 gallon a week milk habit during the first half of the pregnancy. Certainly doesn't seem like a bad thing to have a craving for milk (apparently, that is, unless you want to skip right over baby clothes and start off your newborn in 2T). Other than his size and position everything is going well.I had to wake up early this morning for the appointment after having a lot of trouble sleeping from about 4:00 am on. This meant that I was extremely confused and frustrated by almost everything I encountered this morning. My hair wouldn't stay out of my face (much better to get mad than to pull it back), my nose wouldn't stop running, milk was hard to reach in the back of the fridge, school bus in front of me was too slow, and my personal favorite: the change in my cupholder was "making an annoying noise every time I stop the car, FIX IT FOR ME RYAN PLEEEEEAAAAAAASEEEEEE!!!!!!!!" Ryan finds me hilarious in the morning. I find nothing hilarious. I find things infuriating.Thank goodness for early lunch plans today. Only 13 mins to go!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Thank you sir may I have another?

Well it WAS as bad as I thought it would be. Many of my answers were along the lines of "Yes, I AM a total shit-for-brains, thank you for pointing that out. What else can I do for you?" But it's O-V-E-R and that's what matters. And I PASSED and that's what matters even more.Here's how it all went down (I may have exaggerated a teense for literary reasons).

ACT II gave my talk and then the committee members were invited to ask questions.

Question #1: "It seems to me that you're practically retarded, how exactly did you graduate high school?"

Me: "Thank you sir may I have another?"

Question #2: "I don't understand your second hypothesis"

Me: "What specifically would you like me to explain in more detail?"

Committee Member: "Just start at the beginning."

Me: [explitive deleted]

Next Committee Member: "I am truly amazed by your below average intelligence"

Me: "That's an interesting perspective, I'll consider adding that to my dissertation"

Same Committee Member: "I mean really, you are really really dumb. It's shocking"

Me: "Thank you for your thoughts. Who else has a question?"

Next Committee Member: "Could you derive all of Newton's Laws in vector form on the board for me, right now, without any references?"

Me: [explitive deleted]

Advisor: "Let's take a 10 minute break before we get into the exam questions."

Me: Try to kiss advisor for suggesting break then retreat to ladies' room to wipe the sweat off my face and palms of my hands


Advisor: "Who would like to start?"

Committee Member: "I was really disappointed by your answers to my questions."

Me: "I'm sorry, is there anything I can try to explain better?"

Committee Member: "Have you always been so dumb?"

Advisor: "I'm very dissapointed you didn't go into more detail in your answers. I'd like a new answer for #1 please. Right now. And no, you can't look at the question"

Me: [explitive deleted]

Next Committee Member: "Your answers were well thought out and correct."

Me: "Thank you"

Same Committee Member: "Why was your answer to #2 such complete shit?"

Me: "Because I am clearly of below average intelligence, sir."

Advisor: "Well that's enough, please go down the hall, Becca, while we talk about this"

ACT III (10-minutes later)

Advisor: "Congratulations, you pass, great job on your presentation by the way!" [hearty handshake and warm smile]

Me: "Wha?"

Advisor: "You're done, go home and relax."

Me: "Wha?"

Advisor: "OK, let me know when you're ready to have our next meeting! Have a good week!"

Me: "Wha?"

I mean seriously, how is this any different than making me get drunk and leaving me in the middle of town blindfolded and wearing only my underwear? Shouldn't the department be put on probation for hazing? How could it have seemed to go so terribly and then I STILL PASS? It's like they had their minds made up before I even got there. I don't care. It's over and I never have to do it again. Ugh I need a nap.Thank you S and C for bringing me an Apple Slush from Sonic. It really hit the spot and was SO thoughtful!!
Today I have my oral qualifying exam. You saw what I looked like yesterday (see last post). Well this is what this test is doing to me (except I have on pearls). Well the test is and the fact that I haven't had any caffeine yet today (my precious). I'm wondering how many times I can clutch my stomach and yell "SON OF A BITCH!" when they ask me hard questions before they figure out I'm faking. Wish me luck.If I pass and you live in my town I might be calling you to come out tonight so I can watch you drink MY celebratory beer (creepy). And if you're married to me I might make you kiss me every time you have a sip of said celebratory beer (creepier). If I don't pass you will be able to find me at Starbucks filling out an application. Bring ice cream.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Look my old jeans fit!

Look, my old jeans fit! Originally uploaded by ryanandbecca. In a moment of frustration with the several pairs of maternity jeans one of my friends loaned me I put on a pair of my old jeans to see if my butt really looked as terrible as it did in the maternity jeans. I'm happy to report that they still go on and still look, well, not great but about the same from the back. Of course they don't button, but I'll take what I can get right now. I was worried they wouldn't go past my knees so you can imagine my excitement when I was able to pull them past my "good birthing hips". I was home alone at the time, so I had to do it again when Ryan came home because it was just that cool and he insisted on taking a picture.The other cool thing that happened this weekend is that I got to go to a Tech football game. Thanks go to my friend S who gave me one of her extra tickets that she got from a professor in our department so I could sit on the reserved seat side in a nice seat with a back instead of sitting in the student section where you have to stand up all the time and rowdy fans rip the benches up and pass them around. Some of you may have seen last week's disaster of a game against TCU (12-3, TCU). Coach Leach has been publicly ridiculing his team all week calling them a bunch of "posers" and "primadonnas". He even said he had just watched "The worst offensive performance in the nation" which, he said, made him "the worst offensive coach in the nation." I knew it would be a good game because I'm sure the team doesn't like having the crap kicked out of them in practice all week (and on local media)and the team we played, Southeast Louisiana, was not supposed to be very good. Still, I got so excited by the first touchdown (which was within five minutes of the opening kickoff) that I had a Braxton Hicks contraction (don't worry, that is a perfectly normal fake contraction). Poor SLU was caught up in something they didn't start and had nothing to do with. Coach Leach had a point to make and boy did he make it. Tech was up 42 to 0 by the end of the first half. Two other friends we were with, A and S, were calling for one more touchdown with a two-point conversion to send them into the locker room with an even 50. Even with the second string QB in for the second half the score was 62-0 Tech when it was all over. It's funny how fast I can jump to my feet when Tech scores a touchdown considering it takes me five minutes to stand up out of one of the couches in the waiting room at my OB's office. Also funny how I can sit in one place in the football stadium for three hours but not in my office chair for nearly that long. By the time I got home I was completely exhausted and barely able to keep my eyes open.Second part of qualifying exam is on Tuesday and then hopefully I can put this whole mess behind me and focus on the baby and on getting some good writing done for my dissertation before he is born.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What are you trying to do to me?

Who watched ER last night? What happened to the days of TV where every conflict was resolved neatly by the end of the episode and in the last five minutes all the characters gathered around in the living room/local hangout/by the lockers and had a good laugh about what might have happened had it not been for so-and-so's quick thinking/hilarious coincidence? I remember an episode of Perfect Strangers in the late eighties where the big drama was that Larry and Balki were locked in a basement and it was filling with water because of something Balki did and the big drama was that when the water reached the breaker box they would be electrocuted. The good thing about shows like that is that there is no way you could possibly relate to being locked in a basement that was filling with water. Such was not the case on last night's season premiere of ER, which is probably my favorite show. On the season finale Abby, my favorite character and who I consider a close friend (yes I have lost touch with reality, shut up!), who was not quite 7 months pregnant, passed out after a shootout in the emergency room. On last night's episode they took her up to ob to be monitored and she had a placental abruption and had to be delivered immediately by emergency c-section even though the baby was too little. So the baby is really sick and Abby had to have a hysterectomy because she was bleeding too much so Luca (Abby's boyfriend)is really sad because they can't have any more kids and this one might not make it because did I mention the baby is REALLY sick and might not make it and might have lifelong disabilities? They named the baby Joe by the way after Joe Frazier, because he's a fighter. As a final nail in the coffin of my composure they showed a video of tiny Joe with all the wires and tubes hooked up to him squirming and kicking inside his incubator. The only thing that kept me from totally losing it was that Joe is younger than Charlie (30 weeks compared to 33 weeks) and I likely won't be involved in any shootouts between now and November 2nd. Still, it was about the saddest thing I've ever seen. Fortunately Ryan was there and I don't cry at TV shows in front of him (in fact the only emotion he's seen out of me recently is scary preggo-rage, usually directed at other drivers or my clothes, which fit differently every day and are all summery and it's the freakin' end of September but what's the point of buying fall clothes I can only wear for another 6 weeks?!).In lighter news... I've sort of been cleared to go on to the second portion of my exam, the "oral exam" which is like a defense of my proposal which means I didn't totally suck on the written portion of the exam. I say "sort of" because one of my committee members hasn't responded yet, but my advisor J doesn't know if he will or not and said not to worry about it.In even lighter news... A yummy local sandwich shop that opened recently is selling sandwiches for $0.99 for their grand opening. Mmm, turkey and bacon.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mush Hour

How is it that I leave my house every morning in a happy, friendly mood and by the time I get to work I am swearing at other drivers and making idle threats about quitting school and getting the heck out of this city because it seems to have a higher-than-average population of stupid people who want to hurt me with their cars? Did I mention that my commute is only 8 minutes long? Did I mention I'm only allowed a certain amount of caffeine and I have to leave it for the afternoon because if I don't have that to look forward to all hell breaks loose at work? Here is an inventory of this morning's idiocy:1. a BLOCK FROM MY HOUSE: An electrician in a pick-up truck tailgated me for several blocks despite the fact that we were STILL IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD and I was trying to humor him by going 31 instead of 30.2. Two incidents where people crossed six lanes of traffic just so they could drive 10 mph under the speed limit directly in front of me3. Then I got stuck behind "THE GUY WHO CAN'T READ THE NO LEFT TURN SIGN AND INSISTS ON SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION WITH HIS SIGNAL ON FOR FORTY-FIVE MINUTES UNTIL THERE IS A BREAK". He seemed confused by the crazy pregnant person who was honking at him the whole time. Probably thinking "Geez what a bitch, I'm just trying to make a left." I got stuck behind him yesterday too. I either have to be behind this guy or I have to go another way that I like to call "the Road Construction Free-for-All of Death" where the road workers have painted really ambiguous looking lines that disappear when the sun is at a certain angle and no one knows where to go so everyone tries to merge into eachother and it's a huge honking swearing dangerous mess. That's the way I have to go to get to church, interestingly. I've always wondered if I'd end up sitting next to "the guy who nearly killed me on the way here" in church.Anyway, I'm here now in one piece. Today we have an appointment to meet with a potential pediatrician. I'm supposed to have come up with a bunch of interview questions like his thoughts on vaccines and breast feeding to "make sure our child-rearing philosophies are in line", but really I'm just going to make sure he speaks English, has an MD, and has some interesting grown-up magazines in the waiting room. There's a Sonic across the street from his office, so he's already in the "good" column on our list (of two pediatricians recommended by our friends). I think I'll open with something light like "Can I hold the nurse's hand when you give Charlie his shots?" or "When should we start him on coffee?" I wonder why people find me scary this trimester.I got so hungry today I ate my squash casserole at 10:00. So if you work in my department and are wondering where the onion smell came from at 10:00 AM, that was me. I'm pregnant and I don't like my unpredictable appetite any more than you do. You can always send me on maternity leave early.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Maybe something died in there."

Last night when I was getting ready for bed, I noticed a vague rotting smell coming from the closet where our air conditioner is installed. Ryan noticed it too, so he started taking apart the air conditioner to see if he could find a leak or evidence of water damage or something that would explain the smell. As he got each piece of the air-handler off, first the door, then the filter, the smell got worse and worse and eventually it was determined that the smell was coming from the area under the closet. Now it didn't smell like a vague musty smell anymore and I began to think that some large animal had crawled in there and died and was now rotting. Ryan put a rag in the closet to check for leaks and we ran the air conditioner to see if any water came out, but the only result of that exercise was that the smell was now being pumped all over the house. I was in the dead animal camp and Ryan was still in the water damage camp when he removed the grate leading to the duct under the closet where the smell seemed to be originating. I cautiously peered into the hole with a flashlight, expecting to see a pair of lifeless, beady little eyes looking back at me, but only saw a bunch of dust and the underside of our bathtub. The space went all the way back to our bathroom and the back wall of the house though so we couldn't see the whole area. The smell was completely unbearable by this point too. We tried to convince Rossby to go investigate the area by acting really excited by the hole and yelling "Squirrel! Squirrel!" He got really excited, but understandibly would not go in the scary, stinky hole. I think I heard him say "Get yo mama to go in that hole!" Anyway, we decided to wait until the morning and then call the guys with the "duct-cam" to come over and remove the dead mouse/squirrel/turkey/bear from under our air conditioner. But this morning the smell was gone. Not a trace. Ryan thinks it might have been related to running the dishwasher and the garbage disposal recently after doing a lot of cooking with onions. So I guess we'll lay off the onions for a little while and see what happens.I made a casserole last night out of one of the squash I picked in my garden. The squash was giant, I cut it into small cubes and it made just over four cups, which was what I needed for the recipe. Something about that $1 a bag Lowe's top soil!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Home Improvement

This weekend Ryan and I realized the dangers of going to Lowe's on a Saturday when you are bored. Now that "the big crappy" (the event formerly known as my qualifying exam) is over, I found myself with some free time on the weekend, so Ryan and I went to Lowe's to buy some fall plants to put in our front garden. While we were there, Ryan said "let's go look at new lights for the kitchen while we're here." One-hundred dollars later we left the proud owners of one new kitchen light fixture, one new ceiling fan for the family room (well it had to match the kitchen light! Plus anyone who has been to our house when the old fan was turned on knows that it's no fun to watch TV while being blasted by the prop wash of the C-130 hanging from our ceiling. And I think if Ryan hit his head on the too-low fan one more time he was going to rip it right out of the ceiling), and no plants. We installed the kitchen light first. It replaces a small ceiling fan (the fan part didn't work) that had a frosted glass single-bulb light with a flower and harvest theme painted on it in brown. The new light has two bulbs and is all white and hangs in such a way that it shines light all over the kitchen. You could land airplanes in our kitchen now. It's scary how much dirt there was in our kitchen that I just couldn't see. Next we unpacked the ceiling fan from its box. By this time it was 2:00 and we hadn't had lunch yet (and you know how I get when I'm hungry) so we took a short break to go to Sonic (the only option when you've postponed lunch that long and have nothing in the house). On full stomachs we had a really good time installing the fan. At one point, I was holding the fan up close to the ceiling so Ryan could connect all the wires when he said we had to switch places because there was something he couldn't reach. That led to both of us holding up the fan over our heads with both hands, belly to belly, me holding several small screws in my mouth for Ryan, Ryan holding a screwdriver in his mouth, trying to negotiate the transfer of the really heavy fan with a series of head gestures and "hmm mmm mmph" comments, and trying not to laugh hysterically. Try it sometime. Like the kitchen light, the new fan is a HUGE improvement. For one thing, it hangs down NINE fewer inches than the old fan (Ryan took great delight in walking back and forth under the new fan without being decapitated) and unlike the old fan it is not capable of blowing dishes off of the table on its lowest speed. If anyone has need for either of the old fans, you can have them, just leave a comment.Time to start preparing for Big Crappy Part II, which will be next week (the 26th).

Friday, September 15, 2006

"There are no answers to these questions"

It's funny how everything seems so much nicer after putting a 15 hour test behind you. The sky was pretty this morning as I drove to turn in my exam (at 7:00 am). My scone and iced tea are an even nicer treat. I don't look at all other people as enemies. The house music at the coffee shop isn't annoying. I actually wanted to get out of bed this morning.I finished the written part of the qualifying exam last night around 11:30. I started at 7:30 am and after subtracting about an hour for lunch and dinner breaks, it probably took me around fifteen hours to finish (and by finish I mean get to a point where additional time spent would not improved the outcome). It was only supposed to be an 8 hr test but I had some problems with a computer program I had to write that took a ridiculous amount of time to try to fix. One of my committee members told me to only spend 2.5 hours on his section, so that one wasn't that long at least. I don't remember much of the experience clearly right now. The first question was something like "Using as many words as possible, limited only by the memory on your computer, write an extensive history of science starting with Galileo. Pay particular attention to every field of science that has ever existed." I know that it was dark when I arrived and when I left. I know that I consumed enough refined sugar to put a family of four into a diabetic coma. I temporarilly suspended my caffeiene regulation and had TWO glasses of iced tea. Ooh, decadent! The second one, at dinner time, was the ONLY reason I was able to finish. Before that I was almost totally incoherent. I sort of remember staring at my computer screen totally unable to make my thoughts organize themselves into something understandable. Fortunately at 8:00 Ryan called and said I HAD to eat dinner and asked what I wanted. He brought me a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and a big glass of iced tea. After he hung up and went to go get my dinner I thought "That's nice of him, but I'm FINE" then went to the bathroom and had a shaking, swearing, crying fit because I couldn't get my computer program working after fiddling with it for more than three hours. I never did get it totally fixed. I wrote a half-hearted appology and turned in what I had. The instructions for one section read "There are no answers to these questions." What the heck does that mean? I really didn't think I was capable of working as hard or steadily as I did yesterday. I certainly couldn't have done it without Ryan, who brought me lunch and dinner and provided a regular supply of back rubs and encouragement and even brought me a choice of heating pads.I IMed my advisor this morning to tell him "thanks for the butt-kicking" and he replied "just wait for the oral". Very nice. Oh well, today is my day off and I don't want to think about it. My friend S is making me cookies tonight and we are going to watch Gilmore Girls or Sex in the City and not think about school and it's going to be great.NOTE: After rereading this entry I noticed a number of typos and other errors. Know that I've come a long way from being extremely confused by the orange construction barrels on the road on the way home last night.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hilarious. Now measure my uterus so I can go have lunch.

I forgot that when I wear this one shirt and skirt together it adds about four weeks of pregnancy to my appearance. I think it makes me look skinny because they are both black and fitted and you can see that I still have a figure, just with an additional big Buda belly. So I was feeling a little preggo-sexy as I walked (waddled) into my doctor's office this morning for my check-up when Dr. O looked up from what she was doing and exclaimed "Holy Cow! How many weeks are you?!" I must look pretty spectacularly huge to impress a woman who sees a new pregnant person every half hour or so every single day. She then said "I'm just jealous, I never had the huge cute belly." (Just how is something supposed to be huge and cute at the same time anyway? Does cute not imply "little"?) I got on the table and Dr. O measured my belly with a tape measure and couldn't resist another little dig "Well I'll write down 33 cm even though it should probably be 34 cm" (Keep in mind that the number of centimeters roughly corresponds to the number of weeks of pregnancy, so I should be between 31 and 32 cm). I told her how Charlie weighed 4.5 pounds and had flipped over from breech to vertex during the ultrasound exam on Monday, which seemed to make me even more of an anomaly. Don't listen to them, Charlie, just keep being your big hyper self. I'm proud of you. But will you please get your precious little head the heck out of my rib cage?At the end of the appointment we talked about scheduling a date for inducing labor. I didn't know we were actually going to pick Charlie's birthday right then. Dr. O said "Since he's so large, I would recommend a scheduled induction so we can avoid a c-section. Nine days early is as early as I would want to go." Thinking out loud, I said casually "That would be November 2nd". "OK," said Dr. O, "I'll pencil you in" and then wrote it on the master calendar for the whole office, "Edwards induction". Just. Like. That. I have to watch what I say around that place! It's exactly what I was hoping for but the entire transaction seemed so casual. Dr. O must schedule hundreds of babies birthdays each year, but it's still a little bit of a far out concept for me. She asked if I had any problems with a scheduled induction but really what I was worried about was the potential of my water breaking in the produce section of United while I'm sizing up the nectarines and deciding whether I should make meatloaf or turkey burgers for dinner. My engineering brain is immediately attracted to a scheduled anything compared to that kind of uncertainty. Not to mention the fact that that would give me nine more days of maternity leave and a baby who is more than one week older at Thanksgiving (and a mama and papa with one more week of experience in baby-wrangling) when we will be joining most of our friends for dinner and football as a family.I may not post tomorrow, but be thinking about me because I'll be taking the written portion of my qualifying exam. Hopefully the baby-fog I've been in for the last month will lift long enough for me to pass with flying colors.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Charlie the Defensive Something-or-other

Since my last post about Charlie's estimated weight people keep telling me what a great football player he's going to be. I think that would be great, except that last I checked being a football player required athletic ability and I don't think Ryan will mind me saying that Charlie's not going to get athletic ability from either of his parents. And I just can't picture myself as a football mom. I'm more likely to say "Have a nice game, sweetie!" than scream "HIT HIM! HIT HIM! TAKE HIM DOWWWWWWWN!!! AUGHHHHH!" from the stands as I dump my tray of nachos on the person in front of me. I could totally see my friend A doing this. She's the one pushing the football thing the hardest. She talks about getting him ready for something all the NFL players go to before the season to get ready. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I won't enjoy watching him play. I'll be out there for every game, wearing a t-shirt with his number on it, through all kinds of weather, making cookies for the team bake sale, and Febreezing all his equipment when he comes home. And if he plays for Tech I'll paint my entire body red and black and go to the game in a swimsuit (maybe I should rethink that once I see just what he's done to my body!) I love watching football, but I've never known any of the players. And I've never had a biologically induced compulsion to protect another human being before (My friend S once said in a frightening deadpan tone, shortly after the birth of her daughter "I know I could kill a dog with my bare hands if he threatened my baby")....Contextual Note: "OK creepy professor looking guy, stop staring at me... haven't you ever seen a pregnant person half-laying on a couch in a coffee shop with a laptop before?"...Anyway... I have no concluding thoughts on this issue. Hopefully he'll enjoy soccer, or track, or want to play the piano. I'll be behind him no matter what.

Monday, September 11, 2006


This morning's ultrasound revealed that, like many strangers have been so kind to tell me, we have a very big baby on our hands. Charlie's estimated weight is 4.5 pounds at 31 weeks which is a little alarming considering he could gain a half pound a week from now until when he is born. The average 31 week old baby weighs 3.3 pounds, a 36% difference! That would put him at 9 pounds at birth if he goes to the due date. He was breach during the first part of the exam (head up) but had flipped over by the second part of the exam. When he was breach his head was up against the right side of my rib cage, which explains all the pressure I've been feeling in that area (finally). I sat up on the table between the two parts of the exam and felt a lot of pressure and then a sort of kick in the stomach, so I'm wondering if that's when he was flipping over. They checked his heart and brain, too, and everything looks good. Because he is Shaq-baby we get an extra ultrasound in six weeks to make sure he's not too huge for delivery!My friend J threw me a wonderful baby shower yesterday. She thought of everything--she made a tiered cake out of diapers, she made white chocolate candy in little shapes like feet and baby carriages, she decorated the back yard, and she planned fun games for everyone. The food was delicious and her neighbor made a beautiful (and very tasty) cake. My wonderful friends were very generous and Charlie is already quite well outfitted with toys and clothes and baby lotion and baby wash and cozy blankets. My friend S crocheted a beautiful blanket in blues and dark purple that is cozy and soft and goes perfectly with the colors we've put in the nursery. I was totally overwhelmed by everyone's kindness. When I got everything home, Ryan and I laid everything out in the nursery and oohed and ahhed and thought about Charlie and how excited we are to meet him. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful family of friends here.This morning starting around 6:00 we had strong thunderstorms in our area. Rossby welcomed the thunder in his usual way and the power went off and on a couple of times. It is really really good that we are getting so much rain this month. It rained hard for several hours and where we live that means flooding and nutty drivers. In front of the doctor's office there was a river flowing across the street, across a park area, and into a large pond. Where the river met the pond it looked like someone had their thumb over the end of a hose and there were about fifteen or twenty egrets playing in the spray. The would take turns flying in and out of the spraying water. The rest stood at the sides of the river and watched. When we left the house, we left Rossby outside because we thought the rain would be ending soon. During our appointment, though, another thunderstorm came through. I cringed at every loud clap of thunder thinking of poor Rossby, who is terrified of thunder and usually rides out storms under the covers in our bed, soaking wet and scared and alone. After the appointment we went home to bring him inside. He was totally soaked and covered in mud. The back door was covered in muddy streaks from his paws. Ryan wrapped him in a towel and carried him inside and gave him a bath. He's inside now, no doubt sleeping off his big ordeal.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

My wonderful support system.

Ryan and I are at the coffee shop this afternoon. I'm rereading all the technical papers I can find, looking for things I've missed (on the first four passes). I'm listening to a mix of James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, and Bruce Springsteen (and ocasionally some Oasis and Flogging Molly) and the baby is having his usual early-evening yoga practice. As far as I can tell he's working on his Standing Sun-Salutes. Ryan is making great progress on his dissertation proposal; he started this morning and is on page 8 now. I don't have anything snarky to say today like i normally do because it's been a pretty good day and I've gotten a good amount of studying done. Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post. The encouragement really means a lot to me. I'm not sure why I feel so sure that this exam is going to go poorly, but all of you and my committee have me thinking that maybe it will be ok. My advisor Dr. J and committee member Dr. D both remind me regularly that the committee is there to help me, not to push me out of the program. They both say nice things about me and my abilities that I do not agree with, but it's pretty reassuring to hear. Dr. D said that self doubt is normal at every level and it never goes away (well SUPER!). He asked me repeatedly during our meeting if everything was alright because I looked really terrified when he talked about the test. I am terrified, but I'm not sure why now. I think it might be because I don't trust my body or brain to respond like I want it to anymore and that being the case for such a huge exam is really scary. I forget dumb things all the time during the day because I am so tired and distracted. Most afternoons I feel like someone has turned the air into water and covered my glasses with jelly. Plus the new perspective I've gained about what is important in life since getting married and now expecting the baby has made it really hard to study nonstop at the cost of everything else like I used to be able to do (for short bursts at least). It will be partway over on Thursday evening and I have wonderful friends who are making me cookies (because I can't have the traditional celebratory beer) afterwards. Thank you, everyone who is a part of my wonderful support system!!

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The stuffed boob and other baby-class antics

Last night was our final baby-care class and the topic was breastfeeding. The instructor got out a stuffed boob with a comically large nipple to demonstrate some techniques. After the demonstration, the instructor continued lecturing, all the while gesturing absentmindedly with the boob. It was almost more than I could handle. After the boob...I mean lecture... we had to try out different relaxation techniques at different stations that were set up around the room. When I came out of the bathroom before we got started, Ryan had gotten us set up at the "massage tool" station. He had me stand there while he tried out everything available in the basket in rapid succession, sometimes two at a time. I liked the tennis balls and the thing that looked like a bunny the best. These relaxation activities always make Ryan and I feel all warm and fuzzy about eachother, like we're really working together for the baby. At the next station, though, we couldn't figure out what the poster was telling us to do. The description sounded a little bit dirty and that gave both of us the giggles. My instructions were to "face my partner with my arms around his neck and use his knees to support my body." Halfway through the fake contraction we were still hissing instructions at eachother and snickering but couldn't figure out what we were supposed to be doing. Finally we settled into a sort of modified slow dance position with me hanging off of Ryan's neck, knees bent, for the remainder of the time, but we were laughing too hard to do the breathing part.This time next week I will be taking my exam. Maybe it's the horomones, but I've attained a certain inner poise about the whole thing. I think it's like what happens when you realize you are going to die and there's nothing you can do about it. Only I'm not going to die. The worst that could happen is that I will fail and let down my advisor and mentor of five years (not to mention a whole bunch of other people at Tech who have helped me along academicaly over the years. Oh and my family, and Ryan, and Charlie, and the entire National Science Foundation, who pays me). So what am I worried about? Bring it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I'm about to be evicted from Magic Happyland...

...because I'm getting tired again and I'm starting to notice how bad my back hurts again and my appetite is coming back and I drove out to my far-away office today with great purpose but then forgot why I came here once I walked in the door. And I'm starting to notice that people are annoying again. For example the loud talker sitting next to me at the coffee shop this morning at whom I was tempted to yell "DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU NEED ANOTHER CUP OF COFFEE?!" And I'm about one kick in the ribs away from stress-eating an entire box of pink frosted sugar cookies.And there is one week left until my exam and all I have to say is I'm glad I was too doped up over the weekend (see previous post "Sweetwater") to realize that or I really would have lost it by now. Here's a question; last night I told Ryan I'm going to strive to eat one medium coffee shop sized cookie per day as a treat and not have any other sweets. Is a week before the qualifying exam really the best time to try limit the refined carbs? Especially when I'm already so grouchy all the time?I'd write more but everything is driving me crazy and I think I should go home right now before I lose a lot of friends.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

In Magic Happyland...

Ever since I was pumped so full of sugar water that my hair got sweaty in my sleep and I got 20 almost consecutive hours of sleep I've been living in a place I'll call "Magic Happyland". In Magic Happyland I can't remember why I was so angry all the time before and it takes me nearly an hour to drink a cup of iced tea or eat a medium sized coffee shop cookie. When I'm driving in Magic Happyland the roads are oddly clear of stupid people who want to kill me and Charlie with their cars and the lights are all green. In Magic Happyland it doesn't matter that I have no impulse control because I'm about as mellow as a pot-addicted yoga instructor. I love Magic Happyland. I wish I could stay.I went to the pool today and swam 500 yds (in Magic Happyland it didn't matter that this took almost twice as long as normal). Then I got out and changed and went inside to weigh myself. Remember from a previous post that Dr. O told me to "watch the weight gain". Apparently during the almost two days I couldn't eat the baby was using my legs for food (sort of like those chalky things you put in the fish tank when you're going to be out of town for the weekend). I weigh just SEVEN POUNDS more than my pre-preg weight. That's a loss of 20 pounds in THREE DAYS. Dr. O is not going to be happy. I, on the other hand, am going to make a million dollars. This is gonna be bigger than South Beach! In theory I could use this as an opportunity to regain some of the weight with healthy food choices like lean protein and vegetables and not foods that make me happy like half a pan of brownies with a side of popcorn chicken. Sigh, I guess I should work on setting a good example anyway. I'm going to try to make turkey meat loaf tonight!

Monday, September 4, 2006

Our trip to Sweetwater

So we were supposed to go to Austin this weekend, but we only made it to Sweetwater. Starting in Snyder I had some "tummy troubles" (which manifested itself by me throwing up in the parking lot two feet from the door of the Burger King we stopped at). By the time we got to Sweetwater (three more episodes of "tummy troubles") it became clear that we better do something about it. The on call nurse said she would call in a perscription for us, but when we looked for a pharmacy we were told they all had closed at 7 (it was about 7:08 when we learned this). Our other option was to have the perscription called in to a pharmacy near my parents in Austin but we ultimately decided that I was too sick to go another four hours in the car without any relief. We went to the hospital in Sweetwater hoping they'd give me a nice shot of Phenergen send us on our way. But they took one look at me and whisked us back to labor and delivery so I could be monitored. The nurse had me change into a gown and got me into a bed and asked if I was having any contractions. I said no and she said she was going to hook me up to the seismograph thing anyway. A few minutes later she came in and said "You're having a lot of contractions!" Apparently extreme dehydration can cause contractions. Who knew? Anyway they hooked me up to an IV for fluids and gave me a shot to stop the contractions and another shot to control my "upset stomach." I responded by getting even sicker (I will spare you the details). Since I wasn't improving, they said they had to keep me there overnight and moved me to a new room with a cot for Ryan and put me on the seismograph thing and the fetal monitor and the IV. I finally fell asleep around 11 and felt tons better once I was able to sleep. I woke up numerous times and basically felt miserable all night, but everything had slowed down to a point where I could absorb some of the fluids they were giving me. Apparently sometime overnight they declared me a biohazard because they didn't know what was wrong with me and put a special bucket in my room where the nurses threw away the gowns they had to wear into the room whenever they visited me. They said it was because they also had to be around the babies.Poor Rossby-the-dog had to spend the whole night in the car by himself. Ryan went out every once in a while and played with him and took him for walks and made sure he had food and water. He took him to McDonalds in the morning and split his hashbrowns with him.In the morning a nurse came in and turned on the fetal monitor so we could listen to Charlie's heartbeat. He is doing really well and probably has no idea that anything was amiss. In fact he was swimming around like crazy because of all the sugar water they gave me in my IV. By then I was feeling well enough to have some crackers and apple juice and they released me around 11 am. We got my prescription for phenergen filled at the Walmart next door to the hospital and picked up some upset tummy snacks and headed back to Lubbock where I slept for eight straight hours. Ryan has earned his way into the husband hall of fame once again. For example by responding quickly and proficiently the many times I yelled "UNPLUG ME!!" (which meant unplug the cord for the fetal monitor, contraction monitor, and IV--all on different sides of the bed) so I could run to the bathroom. And by letting me hold (squeeze the heck out of) his hand when they stuck me with needles and poked and prodded me. And by making sure I always had available a bucket of some kind just in case. And by running in to the bedroom with a stainless steel mixing bowl when I started coughing in my sleep. And by being so worried about me during my marathon sleep session back in Lubbock that he got two weeks worth of yard work and errand running done and even made a tummy friendly dinner so it would be ready when I finally woke up.I'm really sorry we had to miss all the fun in Austin (and it sounded like a GREAT time), but I think we did the right thing. If it was just me I would have toughed it out, but I have to think about the little one now.In other news, it's been raining non-stop in Lubbock since we got back! I checked the mesonet ( this morning and it looks like we got more than three inches!!!

Friday, September 1, 2006


So apparently there are some inhomogeneities in the level of customer service provided by the Traffic and Parking office. After the administrator of my department made a phone call to see what I would need to bring to get my permit, I got a note from my doctor's office with my due date and went back up there. The guy who helped me this time smiled at me and said "Oh good! Let me go get the guy who handles these" and then went away for a few minutes. When he came back he said "This is going to take us a few minutes, why don't you have a seat and when it's ready we'll bring it out to you." What an enormous contrast to the lady who "helped" me yesterday morning by saying in a bored voice "Note from your doctor and we only do the last four weeks" as she scrutinized the backs of her hands. Obviously she doesn't realize she lives in a state known for it's friendliness.My permit is great. I can park in any timed parking space for as long as I need and in any visitor space. That means that this morning when it was raining, I could park right in front of the building. And yesterday when there were no close spaces at the rec (and by close I mean within several hundred yards) I could park in one of the timed parking spaces by the pool.This afternoon we go to Austin for a visit with my family and some friends of ours and their kids. I'm really excited!