Things have been busy, but I don’t want to forget some things that have happened lately.
1. We took a trip to Leavenworth a few weeks (ok, a month) ago. Our plan was to go snow shoeing around Lake Wenatchee, but we got totally derailed. In the past, Eliza has been quite tolerant of long car rides and cruising around in the ergo, napping on the go, generally allowing us to do whatever we want. (We are perfectly aware that this was incredible luck.) Because of a lot of holiday travel and work and early pregnancy fatigue, we hadn’t been able to go on any winter adventures so far this season. Last year we took her snow shoeing and hiking and camping quite a bit, and I’m sure the several month hiatus got her out of the groove of such things. Not to mention, just her age – she is in that difficult range of high mobility, and relatively low verbal ability. She understands a lot but can’t say that much, and gets frustrated very easily. Totally normal, but I suppose that makes the prospect of being stuck in a car seat or toted around through places she’d rather run and play a little more challenging. So, we had to bail on the snow shoeing, and ended up moseying around town for a few hours instead. This was actually kind of great, because I never ever make time for that kind of excursion. Like, I don’t think I’ve EVER intentionally done the tourist thing. We did that, then stayed a delightful bed and breakfast (Autumn Pond) where E FLIPPED because the room was decorated with stuffed bears and ducks. On Sunday, we let her play in the rapidly melting snow (I will never be able to understand Washington’s microclimates, I swear to god) and moseyed around town a bit more before heading home. It wasn’t the weekend we planned on, but was great nonetheless.
2. I talked about all this on twitter yesterday, but it’s sort of insane so it’s going here too. Someone at work got diagnosed with whooping cough, and chances are reasonably good that I was in contact (i.e. close-ish proximity) with them while they were contagious. So I called my OB yesterday, was given kind of a wishy washy response about maybe getting re-vaccinated at the health department, and then called my GP instead. See, I can’t remember when I got my last TDap. I KNOW. I am, let’s say, 95% sure it was in 2010, but it’s plausible it was before that. Basically, I was sure enough that it was within five years of when I was pregnant with Eliza, but I am no longer sure enough. Hearing this, my GP was like “GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE” and stayed open an extra half hour to give me a shot, and preventative antibiotics. While I was there, the doctor started explaining that one of the concerns with a pregnant lady getting whooping cough is actually that the severe coughing can irritate the uterus into premature labor. And followed that up with the craziest story I have ever heard: the youngest preemie so far at our NICU here was born at 24 weeks and change (now is two-ish and totally fine) when his mother had a coughing fit in the midst of swimming laps. The baby was born in the caul, in the pool. The baby was then transported – still in his amniotic house, still attached to mom – to the hospital, and transferred to an incubator. Now, I haven’t verified this story (what, I’m not an investigative journalist OR a doctor) (well, not that kind), but is that not INSANE? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I have a mental image – a CARTOON – of a [perfectly healthy and happy] tiny baby, floating in his amniotic sac, floating in a pool, next to mom. Who is also floating, just for good measure. I know that cannot possibly be accurate, but there we are. I plan to ask my OB next week if he has a) heard this story, b) if it’s true at all, and c) if it’s even plausible.
3. Speaking of babies and my OB, I had my appointment with the perinatologist last week. Spatula 2.0 appears to be perfectly healthy, developing normally, all organs the correct size, shape, and location, etc. This was what we expected based on the first ultrasound at my OB’s, but was still nice to hear. That means that we are still dealing the single umbilical artery, but it is definitely isolated (i.e. not appearing in conjunction with any other malformations or abnormalities), so the associated risks are less severe. The baby and I will be monitored a little more closely towards the end of gestation, because the SUA causes low but significant rates of fetal growth restrictions and earlier labor, but I don’t think any of that will start happening till 36 weeks or so, even. Some of the outcomes that were freaking me out when I originally wrote about this are still statistically relevant to this situation, but I’m feeling pretty at peace with the whole thing now. It’s all low percentage stuff, and there isn’t anything I can do about any of it, and applying all those statistics to myself specifically is both scientifically absurd and completely unproductive. So, moving along, etc.
4. We still haven’t even started talking names for this kiddo. It seems so far away, but we have three months. Plenty of time, but not if we don’t actually make an effort! My sister in law is pregnant right now too, ~ six weeks behind me (but had her last baby four weeks early!), which adds an interesting monkey wrench to the name game. They just found out they are having a girl. I am not sure if they will tell me their name choice when they make it or not. We have similar naming styles, though, so just knowing they might have the same names floating around on their list is weighing on me. Not that we have a list, hah.
5. Eliza. Oh, Eliza. I am hoping I can muster up the focus to do an 18 month state of the bear address, but my track record lately has been pretty terrible. She is SO FUN, and also SO CHALLENGING. Well, not that challenging really, in the grand scheme of toddlers, just more than she has been. Also, she bites now, and I think that means karmic retribution is a real thing.
6. Work stuff is happening over here. It looks like I will be promoted from post-doc to staff scientist in the next month or two (YAY), but also go from full time to part time because of funding issues (BOO but also YAY). The place I work has much higher overhead costs than academic institutions, so the cost to cover employee salary/benefits/etc. is a good bit higher. Going from post-doc to staff approximately triples those costs (because of the cost to the company of benefits, more than salary, it’s not like my salary triples, HA), so a lot more grant money is needed. This all means that I will have about 50-60% coverage, i.e. that I can work about 50-60% of full time. That said, I have that much coverage lined up for about five years. Before the economy took a nose dive, this would have been phenomenal and I would have been hired full time no problem, but now it’s much harder to gamble on me being able to fill out my dance card. The timing of this is obviously kind of great, though. If this pregnancy is like my last one, in another two months I will be completely exhausted and struggling to make it through an 8 hour work day. Then in three months, I will get actual maternity leave (ok, short term disability, but it’s SOMETHING and it’s PAID), and then be able to work a reduced schedule and spend a bit more time with my kiddos. None of this sucks. Being part time, at least till the end of the year, sounds like a boon, and there is an excellent chance I’ll be able to find new projects to get involved with, and more funding. Or that I will love the flexibility of working a little less. We’ll see how it all turns out.
7. Here’s me today (26w2d), being pregnant.