curb your enthusiasm

Yesterday, we got the bill to keep our embryosickles frozen for another year. Our clinic much prefers we move blastocysts from their freezer to a storage facility, and so ups the price each year as incentive to make the move. We have twice now decided to just pay the bill to gain some time, as we’d otherwise have to decide if we’re keeping the blastocysts in Hilly Quirky, or moving them to Canuckia, which is a significantly different endeavour.

It got us talking about timelines, and whether we thought we’d try a FET within the next calendar year. I was prosaically talking about age gaps and tenure timelines. Pea at one point was exclaiming “but Spud is so cute! Imagine if there were two! How much cuteness there would be!” with a HUGE smile and, I kid you not, an unironic, unplanned kermit-arm-flail. It was possibly the most excited I’ve ever seen Pea.

giphy-downsized

It made me laugh. It made my heart burst with love for him, and his love of being a father. It made me wince, a little, because there are a lot of what-ifs with this. How long do we try on our own, assuming my cycle returns with the magical no-dairy diet? What if none of our embryosickles stick?* What if I decide I am done, for career reasons?**

I am still struggling with having brought Spud into a world where catastrophic change is likely to occur in his lifetime. Can I double down on that risk?

I am still picking up the pieces of my brain after seven months of sleep deprivation.

I am still catching up on work, and getting my research program back on track. I have an intense five years in the offing, both for what I hope to accomplish and for what is expected of me (for tenure and to renew my fancy chair, which is a higher bar than tenure).

I catch myself thinking that, next time, I’ll stay home a bit longer, because Spud is so fun right now. I catch myself thinking of what timelines make sense for daycare versus nanny if a sibling is in the mix. I catch myself refusing to mourn lasts with Spud, assuming I’ll have a do-over. I might not, but these moments make it clear to me that I’m not done yet unless I have to be.

I’m also not ready to start this game again. I want more time with my current baby. I want more time with my fledgling lab and research program. I want more time at this current level of break-neck pace, before making it even busier. I want at least a few months where I can eat whatever I want, without fear of damaging my son’s intestines or my reproductive chances.  I am not ready for daily needles for months and months, which I would face with a natural or assisted pregnancy because of the clotting disorder.

That said, FETs next summer would make a 2.5 year age difference, so it’s not a crazy idea as ideas go. It just makes me feel breathless.

 

* Thus far, we have transferred embryos four times (six embryos total). I have been pregnant three times from those transfers, if only briefly twice. This is either (a) a reassuring mathematical trend or (b) all of my implantation luck up front.

** There is a quiet unwritten rule in academia that it’s totally ok and encouraged and wonderful and lovely for a female prof to get pregnant and have a baby. Once. It’s arguably progress that once is now the “correct” way to do things (another post unto itself), but more than once has entirely different optics. I’m not going to make life choices around optics, and I have great support for leave and delaying tenure, and my lab would be in better shape later on. It is whether or not I want to permanently change the amount of focus I give my research again. Probably, but I do need to think it through and not just get caught up in muppet-style enthusiasm.

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M to the A to the ASSSSS-titis

Fair warning, this one’s a bit gross and TMI

About three months ago, I had a nipple bleb on my right side. It was excruciating, but eventually I figured out what was going on, steamed it in a shower, roughed it up with a hot, wet facecloth, and poked it with a sterile needle. I was able to squeeze out a long stream of toothpaste-consistency milk*, after which the pore cleared normally and the pain disappeared.

Two weeks ago, I realized breastfeeding on both sides was hurting. I checked for thrush, but saw nothing convincing. I took a steamy shower and found two teeny blebs on the left side, which I was able to clear with some pressure. On the right, the exact same spot as before was showing signs of a bleb. I poked at it. I pushed on it. I squeezed it. I roughed it up and poked it some more. End result, I removed more of the skin off my nipple than was at all advisable, and caused some damage. Breastfeeding remained excruciating, but it wasn’t clear if it was a bleb or just that I’d wrecked my nipple. It has become clear that it is indeed both – a monster bleb that is refusing to come to the surface, AND a damaged exterior.

Yesterday the underside of my boob started to hurt. Upon investigation, it is hot and red, in a wedge shape. Helloooo mastitis! I don’t have a fever and I otherwise feel fine, so I’m currently treating it by pumping vigorously and starting Spud on that side to get the highest suction. Which is still excruciating. I’m giving it two more days and if it’s still red or sore, to a doctor I will go. Or if I spike a fever, then I’ll go immediately.

I neeeeeeed this bleb to resolve though, or it’ll still be painful even if the underlying mess clears (and it is less likely to if the pore is still blocked). It has been weeks of pain now, and I’m pretty frustrated.

Advice and miracle serums welcomed. Sunflower lecithin? Antibiotics right away? I am at a loss.

 

* Long. 8 inches of thick solid milk. It was soooooooooo satisfying, in the grossest way. Also it hurt like the dickens, but then the relief was palpable.

Microblog Mondays: in the eye of the beholder

 This weekend, Pea, Spud, and I flew to Windy City to celebrate Pea’s mum’s 70th. We took in architecture, we ate deep-dish pizza, we chatted and walked and visited. On our second full day, the whole clan spent four hours in a very large and impressive art museum to the delight of all, save two. 

I do not like large art museums. I like art exhibits and learning quite a lot about a given artist or era or technique. I don’t particularly like wandering disparate wings of art. I also have somewhat eclectic taste in art and have a hard time aiming for things I am likely to enjoy.

A large art museum is a bit of a challenge if you are eight months old. Spud looked at lots of art. He really liked Cindy Sherman’s photos. He really really hated the Chagall stained glass windows, inexplicably. He liked the cafe, and crawling around in a carpeted hallway. He took a nap in the carrier. Pea took a few hilarious photos where Spud’s expression is quite clearly “but why would I want to look at this? Look at the ledge over there! I could be standing over there, instead of looking at this red blob!”. He did really really well; better than his mother, who delighted in a paperweight exhibit, ogled an exhibit of miniature rooms with tiny perfect furniture, and then took rather more “nurse the baby” breaks than were needed because she had had her fill.

Microblog Mondays: Cramped days

microblog_mondays ‘Tis that time of year, the start of the academic semester. All of my new students are on campus. I have their schedules in hand, and today I sent out the email with our weekly lab meeting time, and our one-on-one times.

I then added it all to my calendar and had a mini heart attack. I’m very schedule and deadline driven, and a busy calendar can be a goad to productivity or anxiety fuel. I’m tired today (always, these days, thank you 8 month sleep regression), and so it is easier to skew panicky.

I have 3 meetings on Tuesdays, 3 meetings on Wednesdays, and 2 on Thursdays. Each are an hour long. Add pumping 3x into those days, and I’ll have enough time on the side to handle the daily flood of email and maybe some basic admin. Which leaves me Monday and Friday for anything substantive.

I left my mornings clear every day, as they are my best productive time. I’m going to learn to write in smaller time chunks this semester if it kills me.

Do you thrive on a busy schedule, or prefer quieter days you can fill as needed?

 

 

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

oh I see..

Pea passed his driver’s test yesterday, which is very exciting and I am very proud of him. I do not really think this will change much in our day to day lives, but it needed to happen and now it has. Ta da.

Pea: Now I never have to drive again!
Me: You will have to pass a test for your full license, or you’ll have to start all over!
Pea: grumbles
Me: … also maybe you will drive some of the time because you can.
Pea: grumbling intensifies

Pea: I’m going to take up a new hobby!
Me: Oh?
Pea: Street racing!
Me: thinks of our four-year-old bulky SUV We maybe did not pick the right car for this.
Pea: It will be fine!
Me: laughing So you are going to speed all around the neighbourhood in our CRV?!
Pea: Well, not speed. I will be going the speed limit!
Me: I am not sure you are going to be good at this hobby.

Microblog Tuesdays

Since adding Microblog Monday’s to my blog, I’ve missed at least 50% of them. Mondays! They sneak up on you!  Especially when they are a holiday, as yesterday was here.

Today is Pea’s first day back at work. He was deeeeeeeeply reluctant to go. He has had a lot of fun on pat leave, and is very sad to miss all his time with Spud.

Today is our nanny’s first full day with Spud. Yesterday we left for a solid chunk of the day to let her test run being alone. Spud refused to drink, but ate a huge lunch of solids. Initially refused to nap, but was bounced to sleep and napped for an hour and forty-five minutes (a banner nap in this house!). So I’m calling it 50% success. It will be a transition week, and hopefully things all settle out quickly.

Spud later refused to drink for our nanny, and for Pea, and then refused most of his dinner. He also woke up at 1, 3:30, 4, and 6:30 before 8 am for the day last night, so there’s something up for sure. He’s standing now, and will wake up and practice in his crib. He’s in a developmental leap. He’s just starting to show some separation anxiety, so nights might be scarier than before. Who knows, maybe tooth #7 is verging. I’ve asked him to use his words and tell me what’s up, but he hasn’t been very forthcoming.

when bounteous becomes bare minimum

Gone are the days of pumping twice at work, five minutes flat each time, and bringing home an effortless 12-14 oz for the next day. Now I pump three times, for fifteen minutes apiece, and scrounge together 10-12 oz*.

I have some ideas as to why this is so. I traveled two weeks ago with Spud when he was teething, and it was an unmitigated disaster for nursing, so my supply might have dropped. I am more often nursing Spud before his first nap, as he is now routinely due for a nosh and a nap at about 9, when I am trying to get out the door. It is annoying, as I miss a bus or two each time, but it is better because I like him being able to nurse. I have to scald my milk to prevent lipase from fouling it overnight, so what he drinks during the day is not quite as antigen-rich or as complex in proteins. Theoretically this extra morning feed should mean less milk is needed in the day, but Spud has also started drinking more at each feed, so where a day’s milk used to be 11-12 oz, and we would run a surfeit, frozen at the end of the week, a day’s milk is now 13-14 oz even with the extra morning nursing.

What to do? I have upped my number of pumps per day, which helps but does not fully solve the issue, as I’m now running a bit tight most days, forcing me to run home to nurse. We are making it work, but it is more tense than I want. I am trying to drink more while at work, as I’m bad for forgetting that**. I’ve added oatmeal in a few days this week, with no discernible results.

It is possible Spud is growing, and this will all even out, and that my earlier freezer stash should be used for just this kind of event. That’s fine, but I’m still stressed.

Add to this that according to our bathroom scale, Spud has not gained an ounce since his six month appointment, where before he was gaining hand over fist, and I’m not best pleased. He is crawling, everywhere, constantly. He pulled himself to standing one-handed on the oven drawer yesterday. He has six (!!) teeth, and each one came with some rough days for food and milk. He is healthy and happy and I’m not worried about his weight, but I don’t like that he’s not gaining at the same time that my milk is waning.

 

* internet searches tell me anything over 4 oz at a single pumping is indicative of an over-supply, but tell that to someone who routinely pumped 8 oz in one go and is now lucky to get 4.

** in text conversations with Turia simultaneous to drafting this, she suggests hydration to be a bigger piece than I credit, and to add in more high-calorie solids to Spud’s day. Both good things I will explore!