Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Late Pregnancy

Late pregnancy is super glamorous.  It’s 3:30 in the morning, I was awoken by heartburn so bad it was in my nose. Once I got vertical, I realized I had to go to the bathroom anyway.  Once I waddled down the hall to the bathroom, I noticed I also had a nosebleed. 

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to. 

But mostly the hard part is fighting the boredom.  My maternity leave started weeks ago – which is good because I feel too swollen, acid-laden, and exhausted to really function as a new intern.  But it is also bad, because I have nothing to do.  And as anxious as I am about being a new intern, part of me just wants to get it over with already.

Even without the anxiety of eventually starting this whole new career, I don’t do well with unstructured time.  This is the understatement of the year.  I really, really don’t do well with unstructured time.  I get bored and depressed and lonely and become basically worthless to everyone around me.  I’m sure I will be begging for some unstructured free time once I am an intern with an infant, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway.

So the main problem of being a million years pregnant and having so much free time is that the repertoire of things I can do to entertain myself is pretty limited.  Normally, I would be trying to plan this time chock full of Habitat for Humanity builds, camping trips, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, etc.  I would be off to the beach and the zoo and aquarium and the amusement park.  But I just can’t do those things.  I did two laps around the mall today and then tried to go grocery shopping and nearly collapsed. 

Benjamin has been doing a great job entertaining me and taking care of me despite the fact that I haven’t exactly been a bundle of joy to interact with.  He’s working on starting a video blog about being a stay at home dad.  For his first video, we are doing a montage of natural ways to induce labor.  It’s good to have a project.  Today (after a crucial afternoon nap) we filmed “driving on bumpy roads,” “eating spicy food,” “walking,” “eating licorice,” and “galloping.”  We’ve got some other stuff on deck for tomorrow.  Or rather, later today.

It’s now 5:00 in the morning.  In between writing this I have read everything worthwhile and most things not worthwhile on the whole internet.  I have eaten a fistful of Tums and several pounds of papaya tablets.  Benjamin, who was failing at sleeping downstairs on the couch, has come upstairs and is now snoring adorably into my ear.  Baby Zuses is practicing his acrobatics.  Abby-dog is snoring downstairs.  I’m going to see if I can join this log-sawing chorus.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


So, I didn’t fall off a cliff or anything, it’s just been a little busy around here.  And no, not busy in the way that I’ve had a baby.  I’m still massively pregnant.

Let’s catch up, shall we?

Graduation happened.

I went back and forth a lot about whether I would even go to graduation.  At one point, Benjamin and I were thinking of skipping it to go off to New Zealand to visit his parents instead.  And I am pretty sure New Zealand would have been way cooler than graduation, but now that I know what the third trimester of pregnancy is like, I am really quite happy to not spend 48 hours of it on airplanes. 

In addition to the lure of NZ, I was thinking of skipping graduation for several reasons.

1. Since I took an extra year to get the Master of Public Health degree, most of my friends graduated last year.  I don’t actually know most people in the class of 2012, so I don’t have this need to celebrate with my class.

2. My parents were being butt-faces and so celebrating with them was unappealing or not an option.

3.  UVA graduation is a clusterfuck (that’s the technical, medical term).  All the various schools graduate together on the lawn and then there are separate diploma ceremonies all over campus.  The proud parents, grandparents, half-uncles, and step-cousins of six thousand students descend on Charlottesville and everybody wants to go out to dinner, drive on the one lane main street, park where you want to park, etc.

4. Graduations in general are sort of….stupid.  Commencement speeches are long and generally not entertaining or full of good life advice. 

But I went anyway.  My parents recently had a major change of heart and have been being significantly less butt-faced, which is great.  And they wanted to go, and I was not in New Zealand, so why not?

It was exactly as hot and crowded and logistically difficult and as boring as I predicted – and I am still really glad I went.  My parents were exactly as wacky and exasperating as I expected them to be, and I was really glad that they were there to celebrate with me.  After months of agonizing over my relationship with them and coming around to a place where I don’t crave their approval – it was still great to have them say they were proud of me.  I didn’t need to hear that, but it was good.

We had a picnic on the downtown pedestrian mall and it was good to have a meal with my family – my parents, my sister, and my husband all together.  I felt honored that they were all there for me, and I felt good knowing that they would all be able to come together for the baby, too. 

And the graduation itself was more meaningful to me than I expected.  Sure it was hot and there was a lot of standing and my feet were so swollen that I thought my flip-flops would become permanently embedded in my skin.  But I stood with the other MPH-ers (the only people in the class I really know well) during the lawn ceremony, which was fun.  And during the medical school ceremony I got called last (yay Z last name) to get my diploma – so the general applause sounded like it was all specifically for me, which was pretty awesome.  And in general I had fun waddling my super-pregnant self around in my Dr. Seuss t-shirt and getting lots of thumbs up and smiles.

So overall, even though I was totally exhausted afterward – I am really glad I went.  For me, I would always rather err on the side of having an experience that turns out to be bad, rather than missing out on something.  (This does not always work out as well as it did in this case.)

Whew.  I’m a doctor now.  Graduation didn’t totally make that sink in, but acknowledging this transition in public with my professors and classmates and family is certainly a good way to start integrating this part of my identity.

More catching up soon.  (Seriously, I promise.)