Monday, August 30, 2010

It's a GIRL!

and we almost didn't make it!!!

We had a 6 and a half pound little girl within 10 minutes of arriving at the hospital. More details soon. She's healthy and looks a lot like her Dad. Thank God it happened Sunday and not Monday after Dad had left for work.

We are just ecstatic.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nothing new to report- induction thoughts

Saturday, still pregnant, two days post-dates. Last baby was born 9 days post date and the limit is typically 14 days. No signs of anything happening. Glad I go to midwives, who will not induce me until we reach the limit.

I've been reading about/listening to/discussing both the local and the internet debates about inductions and c-sections vs. natural births. A support group I go to is decidedly anti-medical, and if you read the web, well, the vitriol between natural birth advocates and obstetricians flies freely. I have always taken a fairly centrist view of these things, such as: Yes, our intervention rates are too high, but that's an unfortunate consequence of a litigious society/ defensive medicine. I have also taken the view that, though there are jerk docs and nurses out there, they in general care about a mother's wishes and don't induce/ section for their own convenience.

Then I had this chat with my aunt:
Aunt: Well they were gonna set her up for the week after
but a friend was the charge nurse and asked if she could come right away
so she could be her nurse...Rachel was 39 + weeks and the doc was going
out of town for the weekend and wanted to do the delivery, and not leave
it for another doc Rachel didnt know, so there ya go...
[11:42:14 PM] Me: seriously? they induced her labor for their
own convenience?!?!!? Well, I'm glad it was a good delivery.

and that just made me pretty angry. But Aunt seemed pleased with how it went down, calling her daughter a "good patient". I dropped the subject and continued with warm congratulations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Homogeneity = Happiness? Outline

I have a lot to say about this subject, but will probably need to take a multiple short posts to hammer it out.

Here's a brief outline

Culture at SRU (Small Religious U, a pseudonym for where I teach) very similar to culture of religion/sect/subgroup
Relatively countercultural
Very anti-hierarchical; ramifications multi-fold. Decision making inclusive to the point of being cumbersome. Custodians very happy at SRU.
Also "insider" difficult for others to feel fully welcomed.
My personal feelings
Unintentional discrimination.
Intentional discrimination.
Diversity among faculty- desired but difficult
Diversity among students- ditto.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

F/S conference and pregnancy

These last two days have been faculty staff conference. I have a lot to report, especially on the theme of homogeneity. But I am utterly exhausted. Along those lines, my baby dropped Sunday night while I slept (STOP HERE IF EASILY GROSSED OUT). Which means all the "upper symptoms" difficulty breathing, stomach full easily, heartburn are lessened. While the "lower sypmtoms" frequent peeing, loose bowel movements, have gotten worse. And then today at my midday bathroom trip, I passed my mucus plug.

It could still be potentially weeks away, or it could be tonight.

In the next few days would be preferable simply because Hub will be home. If not, then how about NEXT weekend? Just don't want to go into labor while Hub is away... please please!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grants and courses; unsupported

Two big things at work right now: My role as the grant "writer" for our institution in a multi-center grant, and prepping my classes for my "adjuncts".

I benefit from a multi-institution grant that pays for research students in my lab in the summer. Currently this is my only source of funding. The grant ran out, and a renewal was written last year (of which I had very little involvement), but "we" didn't get it.

This year, I have been designated as the representative from my institution to help with the grantwriting. I had to get paperwork updated and signed, things such as cost-sharing forms, etc. Most institutions have a grants office that does that for them, but I had to do it all myself by hand. Moreover, I didn't really know exactly what I was doing, since all the grants I've written in my training were supported by a grants office. Luckily I had last year's papers (filled in by a colleague) to model after. And though I did not write the body of the grant, I at least proofed it. Writing grants- getting it done, let alone successfully- is a major weakness of mine. It's kind of a death spiral-- are you bad at grants? You won't end up at an R01. Don't need to write grants to survive? You'll get worse at writing grants...

I also met with two people who will be teaching my "bread and butter" Lower Level Cool Subject I course. They will just follow my previous course, so I need to get everything to them; exams, quizzes, etc. Moreover, the poor adjunct teaching the lab (what we pay is sooo pathetic) will need lab set-up directions including where to find each piece of equipment, etc. Of course if we had a full time lab-set-up person, both mine and the adjunct's life would be much easier. We will have to see what quantity and quality of work-study students we get this year. Hopefully we can assign the adjunct a good helper. Otherwise, she's going to spend hours searching for everything.

Out of appreciation for their service (because one can't really call what they are making a living wage), I want to do as much for these substitutes as possible. So the plan is to work until I go into labor making the semester a show-and-go for these folks. Wish me and them luck!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Daycare Finale

Met with the daycare director today. As you might now, daycare is an indispensable tool, becuase without reliable daycare the entire "working single Mommy" thing is literally impossible. As it is, even with "reliable" daycare, all it takes is sick kid (oh, so frequent in daycare settings; but understandable, see here and here) or a miscommunication with the daycare (not rare enough and not tolerable, see here) for everything to go to hell in a diaperbag.

I complained here about the new daycare's inflexible policies. Especially the policy of requiring children to be at daycare at 7:30am if we chose to pay for the 11 hour day (the most flexible option).

So which is worse: to write a ridiculous policy that you stick with, or to write a policy that you didn't really mean?

This morning when asked, the director said "I didn't mean that, they need to be in here by 9am. You have any time before that to bring them in and any time after that to pick them up."

OK, fine. That works better for us. But it has the side effect of making us trust your written policies a lot less. What you read is NOT what you get. In any case, that's a win for us.

Moreover, choosing the 8 hour day, she will allow 1. Different schedules for each semester, 2. Different 8 hour shifts for each day of the week, and if necessary 3. Different schedules for each child. This is absolutely necessary because I am going to do my damndest to breastfeed this child exclusively for 6 months, which failed last time (in part due to my work schedule).

With two kids in the daycare in the spring, the 8.5 hour policy will cost us $100 less per week than the 11-hour flexible policy. That's pretty significant for our budget. (Want to be jealous? It's the difference between $240/ week and $340/week for BOTH kids, more here in the comments).

Hub and I were trying to figure out why I get so worked up over these things. I said, "For one, I believe the director when she makes rules, and don't take for granted that she'll make an exception for us. And maybe there's a bit of Mommy guilt involved." Hub replies, "There's such a thing as Daddy guilt too, you know."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To-do list and Update on Day Care

Still pregnant, thanks for asking. A little more fatigue, but still feeling good in general. Prenatal yoga rocks. :)

I am 38 weeks- so it could be any day or a month from now. Hoping to get more time to finish stuff up. Stuff that needs to be done (eeek!)

Advanced Cool Subject (the one course I'm teaching in Fall)
Four people will be instructing this course. I will lecture when I return, while I am away, Seasoned Colleague will begrudgingly do my lectures for me. Dept. Chair will supervise the Lab portion, but Recent Grad will be actually instructing.

Done: Syllabus written, lecture schedule written, place publisher's powerpoints and lab schedule on an accessible drive.
Min: confirm syllabus points and schedules with instructional team. Complete first two exams and post to lecture colleague's drive.
Ideal: complete ALL exams and study guides for the course.

Lower Level Cool Subject (farmed completely out)
Done: Syllbus written, schedule written, publisher's power points on accessible drive
Min: Meet with lab instructors (adjunct from another college). Ask which labs she would like to teach, make a list of materials that need to be ordered, order materials.
Ideal: write exams and study guides for course. Not likely this will be completed, but it is a control issue (rigor!).

Spring Research Course (Brand New Prep)
Haven't started to prep this course

Spring Non-Majors Course (Brand New Prep)
Have only aquired text and some supplemental materials.

Spring Bread and Butter Course (Lower Level Cool Subject II)
Haven't started, but will borrow heavily from previous year's materials

On another front, none of the spring courses can be taught without the help of the day care. After calming down a bit from the hysteria-inducing daycare meeting, Hub and I called parents (two completely difft prespectives; Hub's folks upper class, mine lower-middle), and we began researching options. I have placed Boy's name on a waiting list (LONG) for a similarly-priced day care further away with unlimited flexibility. The disad to the new day care is that it doesn't take infants (which I need in the spring).

I have also talked to my colleague who uses our current day care. She has already had a meeting with the day care director. She tells me that the director treated her with flexibility, especially if my colleague will provide her with a schedule in advance. Moreover, as predicted, director has been fielding calls and meetings from "concerned" parents all week. Mmmmn, hmmmmm. Readers, you saw that one coming.

Hub and I have our appt with the director on Friday. She should be all softened up by then. We probably have a fighting chance to negotiate what we need.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I totally lost it tonight.

Tonight was a meeting at the day care. We were presented with a new schedule structure. Apparently, the current schedule is not working for the day care in their staffing needs.

For those of you unfamiliar, almost every state has mandated ratios for child-to- care provider. At Boy's age (pre-2) There must be one provider for every 4 children. The states are very strict about these ratios. The fees we pay aren't enough to keep an extra provider on in the case that our child isn't there: so its not good enough to pay for a SLOT for your child, and then bring them in whenever you want and take them out whenever you want. If not enough kids show to justify a provider, the minimum-wage-earning provider should be sent home to save the day care the labor costs.

Or so I've been explained. Over and over again.

Now we have the following options.

1. We can pay for an 11 hour day. If we choose this option, the child MUST be at the day care at 7:30am. Period.

2. We can choose an 8.5 hour day. We can choose from 7-3:30, 8-4:30, or 9-5:30.

It's my impression that I must choose a schedule for the entire school year, same schedule everyday. I could be wrong about that.

1. Getting Boy into daycare everyday at 7:30a completely sleep-deprived due to a breastfeeding newborn in the house is simply not feasible. Can't do it.

2. In the spring, when I go back to full time teaching, I have 9:00 classes MW, hence must have Boy to day care in time to turn the computer on and load the materials (8:40 latest). So those days I need the 8:00-4:30 or 7-3:30 slot. BUT I also teach a lab on Thursday that ends at 5:15p. On that day, I'd need the 9-5:30 slot. My teaching schedule does not fit into any of the 8.5 hour slots through the week. And that's just the time I actually have to stand in front of a class. Never mind prep, office hours, and meetings.

[I really don't think the director thought this through- its a small town, but even if you work a strict 8 hour day (you know, like they do at slaughterhouses), you would have to be able to get between the day care and work in just 15 minutes.]

Add to that the requirement that our TWO YEAR OLD must wear a uniform starting in two weeks.

Add to that realizing that breastfeeding is going to be extremely challenging in the spring due to 9-3 straight lab day on Tuesdays, and 10-5:15 straight lab day on Thursday.

Once at home, I started to sniffle, then cry, then wail: "I thought I could do it, I THOUGHT I could be a Mom. I thought I could manage a career and a family, even with lower expectation of both". *Wail, wail, moan, cry, sniffle, WAIL, WAIL*.

Great. SO hub's reaction- twofold- He intones that its all his fault for not being home, that I wouldn't have to do this if it weren't for him being gone. That and he blames the wailing on pregnancy hormones. I assure you that even though yes, my hormones are totally whacked, I sincerely feel trapped by this damned day care restriction.

We could hire out the "pickup" on Thursday afternoons to a babysitter. But we'd better find one that is EXTREMELY reliable.

And yes, we can go about changing day cares, and that's exactly what we'll do if a reasonable discussion with the director yields no leeway. This is the closest day care, and Boy has been there for half of his life. He is attached to the providers and his little classmates. Changing will uproot Boy's stability, and getting to another day care to breastfeed in the middle of a workday will become even more challenging.

So, I talked to another Mommy prof via chat, and brainstormed with my husband. Now to drown my sorrows in ice cream...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Me" day

Got up at 6:15a when Boy woke, as usual. Got him to day care at 8:30, as usual. But since the floors were being waxed in the science center, I was not allowed to go "to" work, so I came home. Thinking I would take just a little nap, I fell asleep at 9a, and woke up at 1pm!!!! I am getting more fatigued these days, but geez!

SO I putzed around and then started reading birth info on the web. I could go on and on about getting birth info on the web, but its pretty horrible due to the amount of vitriol out there about c/s rates, etc.

And now I pick up Boy from the day care. I feel a bit selfish about putting Boy in day care so I can sleep and surf all day. I feel like such a slacker, too. Hope it was very restorative and worth it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Commuter Marriage Issue # 7 - Not making it to the hospital (fear of)

I have a very deep-seated, semi-irrational fear that my new baby, due August 26, will come very precipitously while Hub is away. Given that my first labor was 45 hours (yes, I AM serious), this seems unlikely. That doesn't prevent the thoughts/ fears/ nightmares of the following scenario: my labor starts, I can't reach Hub, I decide to drive myself to the Hospital (which is across town), and its move-in day for the Huge U in the middle of town. I envision myself trapped in my car in move-in traffic having a baby in the drivers seat. That's my worst fear, the second being having my baby alone at home.

I had NO fears like this for the first baby, I felt supported and ready. The fact that Hub is now two hours away (if there's no traffic snarls), and its much harder to get to the hospital these days, makes the whole "going into labor" thing so much more scary. I am NOT an anxious fearful person. And I've been through it before (45 hours, NO epidural- I have confidence in my ability to do it). Nonetheless, I can't shake these fears in my head!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lil' Me Stayin' Put.

Here I am. Still. Lil' me, just hanging over here as always on Blogger. My links to other blogs have just gone totally wacked because of some up-heaval, schmeaval that I care NO.THING about.

So here I am. Still. Lil' me, not trying to analyze literature, get you a successful R01, or discuss religion vs science (a false dichotomy). I'm just tellin' you about what it's like to be in my spot. Hopin' to ed-u-mi-cate SOMEbody, help someone, somehow. That is all.

Trust but Verify

When I was troubleshooting in the lab early in graduate school, I learned an invaluable lesson from my advisor. Don't take anything for granted. My advisor would ask me the STUPIDEST questions when helping me troubleshoot (or so I thought). Stuff along the lines of: Did you make the gel with TAE or with water? Duh. Of course I made it with TAE. Please, give me some credit! But he persisted with these very basic questions.

I don't recall if I finally confronted him, or slowly realized that this type of inquiry was not trying to insult my intelligence or competence, but served to help troubleshoot in several ways:

1. Everyone makes mistakes. Even simple mistakes. It could be that one very simple thing that you let slip your mind.

2. Most common problems in the lab are the result of simple mistakes. You could make things a lot worse for yourself by trying to fix a strange complicated mistake when in actuality, it was something very simple.

3. It trained me to be conscious of the details of all steps, and not to put things on "autopilot". After being grilled on the basics a few times, I knew I HAD BETTER be able to say with certainty that I had indeed made the gel with TAE, not water. That means I have to remember making it, that means I have to be "present" while making it, not off in la-la land (or even hypothesis-land). Fear of my advisor's condescension drove me to be sharper.

So today we were troubleshooting in my lab, and I grilled my student on all the fine details. The difference was that I explain to my student- unlike my advisor who hurt my feelings a few times until I got it- that this is just the process of science and that I wasn't trying to "get" him or her. Trust but Verify, ay?

Sure enough, Stu had left out of their "consciousness" (and lab book, grrrr) a few vital concentrations and steps. I think today's grilling was vital to Stu's learning the same lesson as I did, at an earlier stage in Stu's training. I don't care if they learn, like I did, through fear of reprisal to note and attend to their work. And to use the "simple first" method of troubleshooting.