Now that I've attended to some personal upkeep items that have been badly neglected in the name of not falling flat on my face during my defense (braidable leg hair anyone?), I find myself with some free time. I KNOW! CRAZY! So here I am.
The defense was so ridiculously beyond what my comfort zone has become (regrettably) that even as I was beginning my presentation I was thinking "Is there ANY way I can get out of this? I am so exhausted already." That was on Slide #2 (ish), shortly after we began around 3:00 pm. I was in that room until 5:40 before my committee sent me out into the hall so they could debate my future in private. My parents and Ryan were there waiting for me where I thanked them for their support by freaking out because Wesley didn't have enough bottles with him at his sitter's and then stalking anxiously back and forth in the hall while I waited with Ryan for Dr. Advisor to come out and get me (my parents left to go buy formula and take it to Wesley).
Speaking of Wes, and Charlie for that matter--they could not possibly have picked a worse night to stage a mutual sleep strike. The night before the defense Ryan and I huddled together in the tiny bathroom of our hotel hoping that if Charlie didn't have someone to talk to that he would STOP TALKING AND GO TO SLEEP ALREADY. It didn't work and after thirty minutes of cajoling him back into his bed I had to make good on my threat to make him sleep in the playpen and give his bed to Wesley. After that I left the hotel for the coffee shop to work (my sweet, wonderful coffee shop in The Old Town; I almost cried this morning when we visited one last time) and when I came back a few hours later Ryan was moving Charlie to the bed and Wesley to the crib. I took the other bed and Ryan, who was worried about keeping me awake with his anxious tossing and turning, slept on the floor. Later Wesley would join me in bed. It was not a restful evening.
Anyway, Dr. Advisor came out and got me and we went back into The Room. I started to sit in my chair and the whole committee stood up, so I stood back up awkwardly. Dr. Advisor delivered their decision (pass, but make some changes), they shook my hand, and left. Dr. Advisor went over the changes they wanted me to make and then, FINALLY, I got to leave.
I was a disaster. Angry and tense and tired and hungry and stressed out and frustrated and upset. Ryan kept telling me what a good job I did. I did not believe him. All I wanted to do was go to sleep for the rest of the weekend and not talk to anyone ever again.
I didn't relax until I got to the party that our retired department chair, Dr. P, and his wife had for me and saw Charlie and Wes and my parents (and had a glass of wine, a beer, three brownies, and six cups of broccoli-cheese dip, which I started eating with a fork when I'd run out of crackers). Dr. Advisor was there and in good spirits and I was able to calm down a little when I saw he'd dropped the Look of Sternness from earlier. I ended up having a really wonderful time. Charlie and Dr. Advisor's son and two of my friend's kids hit it off and spent the evening running around the back yard together laughing and shrieking and inventing games while the rest of us lazed around drinking beer. It was wonderful to spend some time with Dr. Advisor and his family and my friends who still live in town and Dr. and Mrs. P, our hosts, who are wonderfuly fun, warm people who always throw very memorable parties.
The sleep situation was improved Friday night except for the fact that I had missed three feedings and with no way to pump was quite uncomfortable and drippy (and hott). My only option was to wrap up in towels and try to avoid eye contact with the housekeeping staff the next day. I have never been so happy to wake up and feed a baby in the middle of the night.
Charlie referred to our hotel room as "My New Home" and every time we returned to the room said "I love my new home!" with great enthusiasm. He also loved our rental car, "My Black Car," so much that when we got off the shuttle bus back in South and he saw our car he burst into hysterics. Also traumatic was the trip up the jetway after our flight there when Charlie wailed "I wanna get back on da plane!" so loudly and pitifully that other passengers had to stifle giggles as they passed.
He was happy to get home, though, and so was I. Ryan and I spent an hour pulling weeds in the back yard while Charlie and Wes played and then we shared a pizza. It was wonderfully normal and the awfulness of last weekend seemed like it happened a year ago.