Friday, March 29, 2013

Haiku Spring Friday

Spring is in the air
The first time I'm not happy
about it's flowers.


They smell too strong
And, of course, my smeller is
off the charts. So bad.


The whole city smells
Normally, I would love the 
occasional smells.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another Tummy Update

I had my first OB appointment yesterday and it was pretty interesting. The office and staff seem really nice and I had, basically, an introduction to the clinic, and the opportunity to ask a bunch of questions and try to figure out what is going on in my body. Here are some things that I learned:
  • I've been wondering why my heart rate gets so high so quickly, and why I get out of breath so easily. I used to be a runner (seriously, I was running until I found out I was pregnant) and then I couldn't run. My heart rate would get sky high, I would get so out of breath, and I would have to stop and rest. It makes me feel like an old lady, to be honest. So, I've just been walking mostly. The nurse told me that pregnancy opens up all my blood vessels really wide, since I'm trying to get as much nutrients to the developing baby. This makes it harder for my heart to pump blood, thus making it work harder when I am moving more. It also can cause problems because your blood doesn't move as much as it should. So, basically, I should keep moving, but I should also be aware of my heart rate. If it gets too high, it's likely taking blood and nutrients away from the baby. Good to know!
  • I joined a clinical trial. I don't want to say exactly what it is because I want to try to remain anonymous, but it's for a March of Dimes study. It should be interesting to see the eventual published paper and to know that I might have contributed something meaningful. I perform science, and science on people is notoriously difficult. I felt compelled to help in any way possible, especially if it can shed some light on premature birth. I'm hoping I'm a control, and not one with a preemie, but we shall see!
  • TMI ahead: The whole constipation issue is still a thing. The nurse told me to take fiber AND a stool softener. She says she wants everything to be like pudding. Things are currently NOT like pudding, and can actually be quite a struggle. Honestly, having your gut function normally is such an important part of my life, that I am willing to do almost anything. Keep your fingers crossed.
  • I chose to see a Resident instead of a Faculty Attending Physician. Stanford Hospital is a teaching hospital, meaning there are tons of medical students, residents (those are people with MDs doing their specialization and training) and physicians. The hours for OB are so long that the attendings make the residents work more hours so they can have a more normal schedule. Makes sense to me. So, if I go with a resident, I will basically see the same person for the duration of my pregnancy, which makes me feel lots more comfortable. If I chose an attending, I may or may not have them there at my delivery. With a resident, an attending will always be present, signing off on things, but I can at least develop a relationship with a person that will carry through my pregnancy, which is what I want. Besides, I'm always up for teaching and learning!
  • I have another appointment next week for my first visit with my Resident. I get to have an ultrasound, which I am pretty excited about. Alex is planning on going with me, as we're both interested in what on earth is going on in my body. Should be a good time.
  • I got an "official" due date of Oct 20, 2013. Mark your calendars for a Halloween baby, folks. Is it too early to start thinking about what costume the kiddo will wear? Even if she/he is late, I am putting that kid in a costume! There is nothing cuter than kids in costumes. Or in snowsuits.
  • I'm on the border of a "too high BMI", meaning I have to go get the glucose tolerance test (GTT) in my first trimester instead of later. I think I'd be glad to get it out of the way, but, honestly, I just can't go without food right now. I get so nauseous when I'm hungry. When I wake, I have to eat immediately, or else I get sick. So, we're gonna wait a week or two and hopefully this situation will calm down, and I can get the GTT over with. I've done these damn things to mice - it sucks they have to do it to me! 
  • The nurse encouraged me to breastfeed, but told me that my insurance provides a crappy breastpump (apparently they are now free with Obamacare). Figures. I think, however, that a breastpump is something I can hopefully afford. 
Well, those seem to be the majority of things I learned yesterday. This whole thing keeps getting more and more real!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tummy Wednesday

I'm just about the middle of my 10th week, and I've got my first OB/GYN appointment tomorrow. I'm starting to feel much, MUCH better, and I'm hopeful that things will continue this way. I feel a bit more lethargic and tired, but I think that's mostly because I've spent the last week grant writing, which involves a lot of sitting in front of the computer, and a lot of not moving, which can't be good for me. My nausea is almost entirely gone, but I still have quite a bit of food aversion. I've gone completely vegetarian, I can't even THINK about eating a piece of meat. My go-to foods recently have been oatmeal, tomato soup and stir fry or pasta with sauce. Pretty bland, I know, but it's all I can handle. I've noticed more and more the effects food have on me. If I eat something too salty, I'm bloated and swollen. With the nausea going away, I'm also able to hang out in the kitchen a bit more, as the smells don't bother me as much. I was able to actually clean the kitchen this past weekend, I baked some pumpkin bread the other day, which was a welcome change. My belly is definitely getting bigger. I am thicker in the middle, but I haven't "popped" yet. My boss is coming back in the middle of April, so I will tell her about my pregnancy then. Hopefully, I can keep it under wraps until then!
I'm a bit more tired than normal and getting up in the morning has become a chore. I'm hoping this will go away sooner than later, as I've got a lot of stuff to accomplish! I wake up in the middle of the night at least once to pee, and I am often parched when I wake up (which has never really happened to me before). I think I need to focus on drinking more water throughout the day.
My mom is understandable really excited. She asked me the other day, What's your theme? My husband then promptly said, You have to have a theme for your pregnancy? I was dying laughing. I have no idea what on earth my theme would be. As with my wedding, I think the birth of this kid will be pretty low key, at least in terms of shit like "themes". Lordy.
We've decided to try to move when our lease it up, which will be right around the time I'm 9 months pregnant. I am glad I live closer to family because I can ask my folks to come help. My mom is stellar at setting up kitchens and closets. I am hoping we can find a condo or a townhome, and not an apartment. I'd much rather have something that has maybe two levels, or at least more separate bedrooms (right now, ours are basically right in the living room. It would be great to have a garage, too, or at least some space where Alex can work on and store the bikes. Instead of in the living room. So, we'll see. Hopefully, we can find something we both like.
I just bought three workout videos for pregnancy. I'm curious how they differ from regular work out videos, and I'd like to know some of the things I'm not allowed to do. I read somewhere not to lie on your back, somewhere else, not to lie on your stomach (that's how I sleep!), so I'm pretty sure I will kill this kid before it comes out. Good lord, is there anything I CAN do?
Other than those minor complaints, things are going well. I am nearly positive I will have to buy some new clothes within the next week or two. my jeans are cutting off my tummy, and I think I'd rather make that transition to the elastic waistband sooner than later. I'm down to two pairs of jeans and lots of sweats. I look good, trust me! Plus, my boobs have gotten bigger (god, please kill me now - I really hope they stop growing!) so my shirts ride up a bit more, exposing my giant thick belly. Not cute.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed this visit into the crazy mind of Christine. xoxo

Friday, March 22, 2013

Writing and Writing Haiku Friday

Where do words come from?
Spilling out of my brain and 
onto the paper.


Grant is due April
eighth but must be done by the 
second very soon.


Government apps are
never fun. Bureaucracy
forms, plans, expertise.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tummy Update

I can't be expected to stick to a day to write this stuff up, right?
  • The nausea has slowed down a bit, although I still don't feel 100%. My repertoire of food I can eat has expanded, but in some cases, it's diminished. I just can't bring myself to eat any kind of meat. It just makes me gag. I guess I've gone veg for a bit. This actually applies to lots of proteins. I can't eat a lot of tofu, and nuts (except for almonds on my oatmeal) sounds pretty bad to me too.
  • I've also now started some weird cravings. Salt is a major one. Like, nasty Chinese food salt. And sour gummy anything. I tend to crave carbs mostly. I am just hoping I am not 400lbs at the end of this.
  • I can't really think too much about what's actually happening in my body. It tends to make me pretty queasy, so for now, I'm trying not to think about it too much!
  • My sense of smell has gone ridiculously up. Sometimes, I can barely stand to be in the kitchen. Other times, I wonder why on earth people bathe in cologne or perfume. Other times, my husband smells like ham. I just don't know what's going on here!
  • I am not too tired, and I'm not too emotional yet. So, I guess that's a good thing.
  • My mom told her girlfriends. I think I could hear them screaming from 350 miles away.
  • I have to admit that my biggest concerns right now are more of what people will think of me. How their attitude towards me will change. I'm concerned about what my co-workers and my boss will think (I think they'll be supportive, but you never know). Will I be treated differently? I certainly hope not, and I don't expect to be, but I know that women are looked at differently once they're pregnant. I realize this is a silly thing to think about, but it is what it is. I guess I feel a little vulnerable because I have to undergo all these physical changes in front of the whole world and it seems a little daunting. And embarrassing.
  • Some other concerns are purely financial. I mean, $2000 a month for daycare for a kid? I mean, Stanford has good daycare and all, so that's great, but holy moly! That's nearly my entire paycheck. No wonder a ton of moms end up quitting their job. Not that I would, ever, it's just - jeezus - could they pay us a wage that allows us to pay for daycare and afford rent? I think this kid will be in secondhand EVERYTHING. And we will have to steal gas.
  • I'm sure I'll become concerned more about the baby's health, but, at this point, this whole situation seems a little unreal. I haven't had a doctors appointment, and I will have one next week - at 10.5 weeks! It's not even a "real" appointment, either - it's a "tour" of their practice - what does that even mean? Ugh - I hate doctors - so g-damn smug and full of themselves. And here I am voluntarily heading into a situation where I have to interact with them on a regular basis. Ha! Maybe I'll go crunchy granola and just get a midwife. Yeah, right. I'm too much of a scientist to do that. I'd rather be in a hospital in case things go wrong. Ah, the joys of interacting with the medical professional.
  • My hair has never grown faster and my nails have never been stronger. As if I need more hair. I think I might invest in a razor company because I am burning through those stupid things.
  • I think I am right at the verge of needing maternity clothes. All my clothes are just a smidge too tight, and my pants tend to roll down so my belly can hang out (sexy, right?). I guess at some point I have to go buy some unattractive, large girth pants with spandex associated with them. I'm looking forward to warmer weather - I think the dress is the way to go - as long as I can keep my leg hair under control :)
Sorry for the cynicism and sarcasm. It's the best way for me to deal with this situation at present. I think we are all coming around to the idea, which is good. I do think I will feel a bit better once I see the doctor and can tell my coworkers. I've decided to wait until after I submit my grant proposal on April 8, which will be right around 12 weeks.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Long Weekend Pics

 This past weekend was spent at a conference in Cambria, CA. It was lovely and stunning and beautiful and I had a great time. Forthwith are some pics I took.

This is the view from the top of the mountains, heading into Cambria.


Purple flowers

This is where the conference was. Almost too cute for science.

We stopped at the elephant seal beach on the way home.

Elephant seal babies.
Lots of babies.

We took Hwy 1 home. It was stunning.

Along Hwy 1.

My handsome husband.

The CA coast.

More coastline.

CA coastline - aren't we spoiled?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tummy Thursday

  • I'm currently about halfway through my seventh week. Most of the important stuff should have been specified by now, and we are working on making a more defined head region. The neural tube will close soon, and the head folds are defining the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The eye, ear and nose are flat regions of epithelium called placodes, and the fore-limbs are starting to form. The kid has a tail, and hind-limbs might be "bumps" along the body axis right now. The placenta is definitely developing more, establishing a more firm connection with my blood stream, and sucking all the nutrients out of my body. Progesterone has taken over as my major hormone, slowing my gut considerably, but allowing the pregnancy to progress. Thankfully, my uterus is still tucked under my pubic bone, but it won't be for much longer.
  • I've started to experience the wonderment and joy of morning sickness. Or, as it should be called, all the time sickness. Ugh.
  • Most food doesn't sound good to me unless it's very plain, and very bland. Strong odors, or strong tastes really get my stomach churning. Except for chili and olives. Go figure that one out. 
  • I have no desire for sweets, and most of the things I will eat involve fruits or veggies. My husband has taken to cutting up some carrots for me to take to work every day. I can't automatically know what I want to eat for lunch, so I've been getting lunch most days. It usually ends up being soup and a milk. 
  • Strangely, dairy doesn't bother me, and a bowl of cereal has become my "go-to" settle my stomach situation.
  • Yesterday was the first day I just couldn't do a thing. I was so nauseous, I could barely get up off the couch, and I definitely didn't make it to work. Today is a little bit better, but I'm filling up on peppermint tea, and I've got a stash of ginger ale and saltines in my desk. Ugh.
  • My mind is definitely elsewhere, and not on my work. I am somewhat concerned that I have to attend a meeting in Cambria next weekend, where I'm rooming with one of my lab-mates. I am hoping she doesn't find my needing saltines, ginger ale, and a constant supply of weird food to be an obvious tip-off that I'm pregnant. I'm still feeling unsure about letting people know when things are still pretty early on. 
  • My due date, according to the interwebs, is Oct 20. I like Oct. I think it's a good month. 
  • I finally got an appointment with an OB/Gyn for the end of this month. I will be 10 weeks and 5 days (read, almost 11 weeks) at my first OB/Gyn appointment. And that appointment is not even with a doctor, it's with a nurse. I think it's ridiculous that I have to wait that long to see an actual doctor - I will be well into my second trimester, I am sure. I love that people think there isn't a health care crisis, but there really is. Not having prenatal care is a huge concern in the US, putting us somewhere around number 30 in the developed world for infant mortality and prenatal care. Disturbing, if you ask me.
  • Sometimes, I just can't stomach my prenatal vitamins. Last night, before going to bed, I was so nauseous I just couldn't do it. And this morning, my stomach is still so sensitive. I guess it's a good thing this kid is a parasite. Hopefully, I can replace what it takes. 
  • I think the news is starting to sink in a little bit to both my husband and I. We are both thoroughly freaked out, and fairly worried about the whole scenario, but we are working our way through our emotions. All I know is that somehow, we will do this, and we'll do it together, so that's comforting.
  • My Mother-in-law called me the other day to tell me that they would do anything to help out in any way that they can. That's such a lovely comfort, I have to say. She has saved all of Alex's niece's clothes since she was born, so if we have a girl (or even if we have a boy - the first year stuff doesn't matter anyways) we are set for a bit. That's nice to know.
  • Personally, I think we are having a boy. But that just might be because my friend's mom did this pendulum thing on me that is supposed to tell you how many kids you'll have. She said I was gonna have 4 boys. And then I fainted. Literally.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Pics

This past weekend was quite lovely. Alex and I took a long walk on Saturday and hit up a local bookstore so I could fulfill my need to get some books on this whole "reproducing" thing. It was a really nice walk, and it helped motivate me to do some of the work things I've been procrastinating on. On Sunday, we headed into Santa Cruz to visit our friends. We met up and had a really yummy brunch, and then walked to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures there, but we did head into the fancy-schmancy mini-golf place where I took a few pics as well. We then headed out to Walker Ranch for a lovely hike along the cliffs above the beach where we can across a otter, two sea lions and a bobcat! Wow! What a cool day! Ended it at a local brewery and headed back home to Mountain View, where we hit up the most enormous Trader Joe's I've ever been in. Leave it to Silicon Valley! Altogether a great weekend!

This pirate man greets you at the mini-golf place.

The most amazing mural ever.

That guy looks ready for a dive!

 A view of the beach from Walker Ranch trail

Seriously, gorgeous!

I love this place!

Unreal, right?

That's my handsome husband. I'm one LUCKY girl!

 So amazing!

There's an otter out there, I swear. You just can't see him.

 Stunning. Don't I seem like a professional photographer?
I just got lucky the landscape cooperated!

My friend the bobcat. Literally, about 50 feet from us. Ran across the path, gave us a sideways glance, and then just proceeded to chill out right there for a bit. Seriously, such an amazing experience!

Hope your weekend was just as spectacular!