Thursday, April 29, 2010

latin america doesn't care for me

I'm not the most active or thrilling blogger in recent weeks, I know this. But it's still fun to keep track of who visits your blog and see how they found you. Maybe you've noticed the little Clus.terMap I have displayed under my list of links and followers. It's nifty that I've had visitors from all over the U.S. and Canada, all across Europe, plus a few points around Asia, Africa and Oceania. But it seems that noone in Latin America gives a hoot about my struggles and triumphs. Por que?

So.. what else is new? I've gone two weeks without an ultrasound and am reasonably sure that I'm still pregnant - 16 weeks. I've come "out" to everyone at work. It's just in time, too, since I'm quickly shifting from the generally-pudgy-around-the-middle phase to the definitely-looks-like-a-baby-bump phase. I prefer the baby bump in every way.

Did you hear the new story last week about the Iranian cleric who claimed that women's immodesty was to blame for recent earthquakes? Then an Indiana student put this theory to the test by challenging women worldwide to wear low-cut tops on Monday in an event dubbed Bo.obquake. Well, you bet I participated, now that my heaving bosoms are up to a whopping B-cup - I'll take any opportunity to show off! Apparently we didn't cause any unusual seismic activity, though, so that old Iranian guy can just suck it. You can read the official findings here.
So that's all that's new around here. Work has been crazy busy, but I'm squeezing in some dissertation work here and there. Hopefully things will die down over the summer and I'll "git 'er done", as we say in academia. Toodles!

Monday, April 19, 2010

signs of life

I'm happy to tell you that Lil' Scrappy and I have gone almost a week without any spotting. Let's hope that last week's incident was just the last gasp of the first trimester. Even better - I can actually feel the Scrapper moving around when I'm quietly sitting on the couch, eating doublestuff Ore.os and watching Goss.ip Girl. (You can tell I'm a classy lady, huh?) It's so cool.

There's all kinds of new life busting out around here. Pictured here are the red tulips in front of our house. Most tulips peter out after a few years, but this variety (Red Ri.ding Hood) is one of those perennial types that actually spreads over the years. My neighbors may have a few little mousy pink or yellow tulips, but we have this big splash of fire engine red! Our cherry tree is also blooming. We put this tree in when we buried our dearly departed pooch, Ignatius. Every summer I harvest some Iggy-berries and bake a pie. Yummy!

I should also thank my blog readers for sending positive energy in the direction of my two dead-looking clematis vines. I've planted several different clematis along our back fence over the years, in hopes that they would shield us from the alley. Two dead clematis would have set me back in my slow quest for privacy. Happily, the vines in question have shown new growth and now I'm taking extra-good care of them.

But wait.. there's more! I'm also starting a few new perennials from seed this year. I like the wintersowing method of starting seeds - this is where you put the soil & seeds in containers that you just plunk outside in the middle of winter and let nature take its course. You can read more about wintersowing here. This method is low-maintenance compared with starting seeds indoors under lights, but you also have more control over the situation than if you just scattered seeds on the ground. I don't have too many sprouts yet, but the blanket flower (photo below), cardinal flower and mullein have started popping out. C'mon seedlings! Life is good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

okay.. maybe a teeny bit of drama

I was hoping for a drama-free pregnancy, but there was a little blip this week. Technically we're in the second trimester (14 weeks tomorrow), so spotting/bleeding isn't really considered normal anymore. I had spotting for two days and called the OB to see what he thinks. Dr. Single-Thin-and-Neat said I should come in today and get checked. So I'm driving to his office this morning thinking, "Am I really concerned about a tiny bit of spotting, or am I just a crazy IF lady angling to get another ultrasound?" Well, it has been a whole 2 weeks since the 1st trimester screening, for Pete's sake!

It was definitely worth the trip. Dr. STN checked the baby's heartbeat first, to make sure Lil' Scrappy was okay. Then he did an internal exam to confirm that the blood was coming from my uterus, not some cervical surface irritation. So what's the cause? Dr. STN basically said "I dunno". Sensing that I was still a little uneasy, he asked whether an ultrasound would help ease my mind. "Uh... yeah!" The crazy IF lady got her bonus ultrasound! He didn't take measurements or anything, but could see that Scrappy is about the right size, moving around and stuff. The placenta isn't low-lying or otherwise weird-looking, so there's no apparent reason for bleeding. So I didn't get any explanation, but am very happy to know that there's nothing obviously wrong. I'll take it!

Keep your fingers crossed that I wake up tomorrow with no more spotting. Help me achieve my dream of a drama-free pregnancy!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Some updates, but mostly brazen shilling for votes

Hi ladies! There will be an update momentarily, but first..

If you have any spare time, would you please visit the MLB Honorary Bat Girl contest and cast a few votes for my dear friend Tasha?! In the spirit of breast cancer awareness, this is a contest to pick one person touched by cancer for each Major League Baseball team. Tasha is an actual breast cancer survivor, a triathlete, a self-made businesswoman, blogger extraordinaire, and godmother to Waffle Girl. Repeat voting is highly encouraged! (You can vote 24 times, then re-start your browser and do it again.. and again.) Anyone on bedrest looking for something constructive to do?! Voting stops at noon Eastern Time on Tuesday April 13th and my friend goes by the handle "Tasha-H".

In other news..

We got the results for 1st trimester screening last week and they are good! Down's risk is 1-in-900 and the others are like 1-in-2000 or something. Suffice it to say, there will be no CVS. I'm now counting the weeks until our 2nd trimester ultrasound and the big reveal of fetal genitalia! Hee hee. I'm feeling really good these days (13 weeks PG) - less fatigue and the nausea is almost gone. Yay!

The garden is really coming along. Our cherry tree and tulips are starting to bloom, so perhaps I'll put up some photos later this week. Gotta go fertilize the shrubs. Toodles!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

my six month plan

If everything goes as it should, we will have Baby #2 in about 6 months. So what is my vision for the next 26-odd weeks, other than gestating a perfect sibling for Waffle Girl? Well, I have a little confession to make..

I'm actually a part-time PhD student.. (Gasp!).. in addition to my many important responsibilities as a fancy government scientist lady. Before you get too impressed, just be aware that I've been able to pursue my degree during work hours. The subject matter is directly related to my job and my dissertation research is actually written into my list of duties. I've been working at it off-and-on since 2003: done with coursework, done with preliminary exams, done with ~75% of my research. So I just need to hunker down and finish it, which could certainly be accomplished in the next few months, before there is a new baby in the mix.

And I'd be a total dope if I didn't put in the effort to finally finish my degree, right? Someday I would have to tell my kids, "Yeah, I could have gotten a PhD, I was almost done, but I got pregnant again and just figured I'd blow it off." Oh, they'd be so embarrassed. I can feel the 12-week old fetus inside of me right now, glaring at me, "Don't be a putz, Mama!"

Last week I had a meeting with my dissertation committee and I let them know of my impending biological deadline. They would have figured it out eventually, but I told them now so they know that I'm really serious about finishing. And so I know that I'm really serious about it.

So what am I doing, writing in my dopey blog instead of working on my dissertation? Ya, good question. Well, I still need my cyber-networking to help deal with infertile lady issues. And I still plan to do the other things that I need to keep me sane and happy - working in the garden (while Waffle Girl keeps busy in the sand box), going to the gym (once in a while), reading, watching some junk on TV while I let my brain rest.

In baby news: we went in last week for combined 1st trimester screening. The NT scan looked great and the baby has a visible nasal bone, but we're still waiting for the u/s results to be combined with blood markers. More on this in a few days, I guess.

The weather has been great, so I squeezed in some gardening over the past week. I cut down all my perennials and am on the lookout for fresh growth - so exciting! There are no confirmed winter casualties. However I am concerned about the two clematis vines that have not sprouted yet. Please keep them in your thoughts.