the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sugar is Good for My Blood Pressure, Yo

so here is what i have done today (because i know you just can't live without knowing). first, i got up and took a shower and did not eat breakfast. boo. that makes me cranky. but i was not allowed because of the glucose tolerance test i had to do today. then i worked on the powerpoint presentation that was my last written comps task. then i drank the surprisingly tolerable supersweet-sunkist-esque glucose drink and worked on the powerpoint some more (even though i was feeling a tiny bit queasy and head-achy from a combination of the supersweet glucose drink and the not eating anything since last night). then chad drove me to my doctor's appointment (because he's good like that) where they drew some blood (to test my glucose tolerance, you know), and then we went to my doctor's waiting area and well, we waited. and then the nurse called me in to check my weight and blood pressure. i've gained two pounds since last time, so no worries about not gaining weight like last time, and my blood pressure didn't entirely suck! woo hoo! it was only 136/72, which is still a lot higher than normal for me, but it's a far cry from the hypertensive madness it has been for a while. so i was pretty psyched. and the nurse who took my bp was like, "i guess all that sugar did you some good."

then we waited some more, but this time we did it in an exam room. then dr. g. came in and measured me and we listened to the baby's heartbeat and had a nice chat. she asked how much i weighed when i was born, and i told her (6 lbs, 8 ounces), and she said that's the best indicator of how big my baby will be when he is born. and then we talked about signing up for the various pre-baby classes offered by the hospital. surprisingly, i think chad really wants to take a couple of those. i think he's a bit freaked out about taking care of a baby with ZERO baby experience (which is his own fault - he's been around dylan before but never really took to the whole playing with the baby thing). so anyway, now i'm looking into the various baby prep classes. i'm leaning toward not taking a traditional childbirth preparation class because i think that it will freak me out instead of easing my mind. i REALLY do NOT want to see videos of actual births. i don't mind a little mystery. plus, i'm pretty sure they'll tell me what to do when the time comes, and i'm fine with that. we might take the newborn care class (mostly for chad - i'm pretty confident in my ability to take care of a baby) and the infant cpr class (again, for chad, since i'm already certified). dr. g. told us today that those classes are not really necessary, especially if you've had some baby experience. but like i said, i think chad really wants to take a couple.

so after the doctor (at which point i was pretty much starving), chad and i went for lunch at fazoli's and then went to target and bought zach's wedding present (our friend zach is getting married on saturday, did i forget to mention?). then we came home and i finally finished the powerpoint. which means that after a three day ordeal i am finally finished with my written comps! once again, woo hoo! i just hope i did ok and they don't kick me out of grad school. i wasn't really sure how to take it on monday when i got the questions from dr. v. and when i told him i was really nervous his reply was, "i don't know whether to be nervous for you." i think he said that because two of my committee members asked a bunch of questions about phenolic metabolism and plant signaling (which is heavily biochemistry-based) and seagrass internal anatomy (which i know pretty much nothing about - good thing that was open book), and we are heavily ecology-focused sorts of people (i.e., the big picture without all that pesky small-scale physiology).

now we have to figure out when i am going to do the oral component of my comps. hopefully, that won't be as traumatic as the written exam. and you know, hopefully i'll pass.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Props to Me

i found out a few days ago that my research has earned a spot in the new marine biology textbook. they don't do in-text citations, so my name isn't in it, but i know it's my work, and i'm sure that i'm listed in the bibliography (though i haven't actually seen the book, since it doesn't officially get released until next month - anne got a preview copy and told me about it).

so yeah, i'm awesome, and now marine biology students the world over will know it.

Hyperventilating a Little

oh geez - comps are right around the corner, guys. like, monday and tuesday. i am SO NOT READY YET, and i am freaking out. i have successfully finished reading the two textbooks that one of my committee members assigned, and i have read maybe 25% of the huge stack of journal articles that various other committee members assigned. so for the next 5 days i will be doing nothing but reading and thinking and hoping like hell that i don't fail my comps. if i do i will look stupid, and they should kick me out of the ph.d. program. which they won't even if i do fail, but still.

i was talking to dr. v. about comps yesterday (i had to get his spare laptop to take the exam), and he's going to give me the questions one at a time so no one can say i went home and looked up stuff between days one and two of the exam. he doesn't have the questions from all my committee members yet, but he said that from those he has seen, they "will require a lot of thought, but they don't seem to be off topic. no one asked anything like, 'how do you do know that jesus christ exists?'" so yeah, i'm scared. and i told dr. v. that. he assured me that i will be fine. but i am still not so sure.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Woo Hoo!

so, my doctor's appointment went fairly well this week. my blood pressure still sucks (152/80), but it's slightly lower than last week. and the ultrasound looked really good - i have the right amount of amniotic fluid, and the baby is the right size. he measured at 25 weeks 4 days, and i am 25 weeks 5 days pregnant, so that's pretty much right on. he now weighs 1 pound 12 ounces. i still think it's crazy how they can tell that. oh, and he's still pretty much kicking like a maniac. the ultrasound tech was moving the little wand thing around, and the baby kicked (because they don't like to be pushed on, yo), and she was like, "i felt that." and i was like, "yeah, so did i." it kinda wigs chad out when i poke the baby to make him move. i'm always like, "he's in a cushy fluid bubble, it doesn't hurt him. the doctor presses on him." but chad still doesn't like it...

anyway, so i don't have to go to the doctor next week! woo hoo! instead, i have to go back in two weeks (on halloween). so that's an improvement over this whole weekly visit thing. i am slightly concerned, however, about my weight. i was a little wigged out about hitting the 150 pound mark, and now i seem to be stuck there. i've only gained a pound over the last three weeks (i weighed in at 150 lbs last week, and i weighed the same today... i weighed 149 two weeks before the last visit where i weighed 150 - i am supposed to be gaining a pound per week now). dr. g. didn't say anything about it, but i'm sure that if i don't gain any more weight when i see her in two weeks, she'll have something to say about it. oh well. for now, things seem ok. or at least the status quo is holding - take it easy at home (i.e., leave the housework to chad - though i am SO going to hockey games) and don't do anything strenuous at work.

now i just have to concentrate on studying for comps. those are less than two weeks away!

Friday, October 12, 2007

UPS Should REALLY Fire Whoever Delivers Packages to My House During the Day

mmkay, we've been through this before... several times. i really, REALLY HATE UPS! yes, my friends, they did it AGAIN. the other day i ordered a sweater and a jacket from target, and according to ups's website, the package was supposed to arrive monday. so i didn't think to leave a note on the door so the dumbass who delivers packages to my house during the day wouldn't drop it over the fence (who does that anway?) onto the side porch where krull the warrior king could rip it to shreds all over the yard. but they delivered the package early (something that should have made me happy)... and the dumbass ups driver dropped it over the fence, and krull ripped my lovely jacket (a cute blazer-type jacket, since you know, i cannot currently button any of my other cute jackets) to shreds and slobbered all over the sweater (though it is technically still wearable after a washing). once again, i am not mad at krull. somebody drops something over the fence, that's his territory. that's why we don't leave stuff we don't want chewed outside (and he doesn't really chew on the stuff that stays out there except for his toys).

i am, however, brimming with anger at the stupid ups driver. i've already called them twice about dropping packages over the fence, and i was assured that they were putting a note on our address that would apply to all future deliveries so that any packages arriving when no one is home would be left on the front porch. but i have started leaving a note on the door whenever i'm expecting a package anyway. only this one came early. and now target has to send replacements. chad handled that whole thing for me. i am actually still at the lab, and when i called to tell him i would be a little late he was like, "wanna hear a funny story?" and then he told me about the stupid ups guy... and also how he called ups to bitch them out for me and then called target to secure the replacement sweater and jacket for me. he said the guy from ups was a putz and was no help at all but that the lady from target was very nice and understanding and that my new sweater and jacket should arrive next week. i love my husband. i guess he figured getting all irate and screaming through the phone at somebody from ups wouldn't really help my blood pressure any. so he did it for me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

24 weeks Photos**

i know you've all been anxiously awaiting my next installment of pregnancy photos, so here they are. i'm getting pretty gigantic.

**update 10:15 a.m. - i just got back from my doctor's appointment, and my blood pressure was even higher than last time (the systolic pressure anyway, my diastolic pressure was down a bit) at 160/78. this appears to me to be strictly a doctor's office phenomenon, as my bp at home has been fine, but dr. g. (my ob/gyn) doesn't seem to think so for some reason (i guess a high bp 3 weeks in a row when i've never had a high bp in her office before might have something to with that). she still didn't put me on bed rest, but she has forbidden me to do anything other than sit there when i'm at the lab and lay on the couch when i'm at home. i can still shower, make lunch for myself, etc., but i am supposed to be actually laying down at home, not sitting around or cleaning or going to the mall or wal-mart or whatever. i am, however, meeting a friend for lunch today (shh, don't tell). otherwise, i will be laying on my couch reading/studying for comps. i have to see the doc again next week and the week after that and so on for a long, long time. boo. and i am having another ultrasound next week just to make sure the baby is doing ok and growing like he should and to check the level of amniotic fluid. so, on the plus side, we get to see the baby again, but the only reason for this extra ultrasound is that my bp is crazy. which sucks (though it still seems that i do not have preeclampsia, which is good). and dr. g. keeps talking about the possibility of the baby being born early, which scares me a little. he really doesn't need to be born until january (maybe even on vanessa's bday, the day he officially reaches full term, though that is three weeks before my actual due date). i really don't like all this early delivery talk. dr. g. keeps saying things like, "you really don't need to deliver at 24 weeks, and i don't think that's necessary." but she evidently thinks that i might be having this baby early. but not for ten more weeks. that's what she said today - the baby needs 10 more weeks. which means that if things keep going the way they are, it might be better for me and max if he's born the week before christmas instead of a month after christmas. that scares the crap out of me.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I <3 Daniel Briere

he is SO my new hockey crush. i pretty much love him. he's worth the ridiculous amount of money the flyers are paying him. obviously i watched the flyers' game against calgary thursday night (the season opener for both teams), and daniel briere was pretty much amazing. which i sort of knew already, but now he's a flyer, so it's better. he scored the game's first goal (thanks to some fancy footwork in front of the net to help him control the puck) and the game's last goal (the game winner - a beauty of a goal off a sweet pass by simon gagne). so yeah, briere is pretty much my new favorite flyer. i am not at all ashamed to say that i like him much better between gagne and knuble than i ever liked forsberg. that's gonna be SUCH an awesome line this season.

overall, the flyers look about a zillion times better than they did last year, which is a good start. they sort of let the game get away from them in the second half, but thanks to my boy danny briere (with some help from the always impressive simon gagne) they pulled off the win. the team still has some work to do to achieve perfection (the penalty kill left much to be desired - who thinks it's a good idea to stand still and not even move their sticks when killing off a penalty?), but i was really pleased with their performance as a whole. i think this season will be much better for the flyers than the last one.

oh, and just a note - i've been keeping an eye on my blood pressure at home, and it's been absolutely fine. i actually thought i did something wrong in the measurement this morning because it was really low. but i took it again, and it was still low (111/67). the highest it's been since i've been home is 135/79, which was right after i got home from the lab. so things are looking good on that front. hopefully, it will still be ok when i go to the doctor on wednesday.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Home Again

and most of you didn't even know i was gone. i spent last night in the hospital (don't worry, everything is fine for now), but they discharged me at 5:30 this evening. i've been having some blood pressure issues lately (it was high at my last appointment), and my doc wanted me to pop by her office sometime this week to get it checked again. well, i stopped by yesterday on my way home from the sea lab, and it was high again. so the doctor came over to talk to me and decided to admit me to the hospital for 24 hours to monitor my blood pressure overnight and throughout the day and to monitor the baby. they checked my bp several times when i was first admitted and throughout the night, and they also recorded the baby's heartbeat (though he was moving around a lot, making it difficult to get a steady reading for any length of time) for a while. my blood pressure dropped significantly once i was in bed and not doing anything, which is good, and the baby sounded good.

i don't have any other symptoms, but high blood pressure can be a sign of preeclampsia (aka toxemia). chad's mom had this when she was pregnant with him, which makes me more likely to develop it as well due to a possible genetic connection with the baby (not that there's anything wrong with his genes - the quad screen for chromosomal problems was normal). preeclampsia can progress to a point at which it becomes unsafe for both me and the baby to keep him in there, so the doc is going to monitor things pretty closely from now on to see if i start showing signs of developing the condition (even though i don't have it right now). she went ahead and ordered steroid shots while i was in the hospital. i got one yesterday and another one right before i came home. they do that to speed up the baby's lung development just in case he has to be delivered early (though most likely not in the next few weeks - he needs to stay inside as long as possible). many women with preeclampsia (which once again, i do not have but could develop later on) go on to carry their babies to term, so even if i do develop it, it doesn't mean the baby will be premature. my doctor just doesn't want to take any chances and wants to be prepared in case that should happen.

i'm not gonna lie, i was pretty freaked out when the doc came over and said she wanted to put me in the hospital yesterday. i went straight over to the labor and delivery floor at the hospital from my doc's office (they're part of the same complex, so i just went through the building to get there), so i had to call chad and get him to bring me toiletries and clothes and things. he spent the night at the hospital with me, and he took off work today to be there with me, although he did leave for a couple of hours to take a shower, feed krull and play with him a little bit, and get some food. i was very grateful for that.

i have also been threatened with bed rest if my blood pressure continues to be problematic, since it appears to respond well to bed rest. i guess that's good, since it means it isn't going to require intense treatment, but i dread the very idea of bed rest. i have WAY too much to do, and i would go out of my mind with boredom. one day in the hospital was bad enough. at least i would get to be at home, though.

for now, i am still allowed to work (as long as i take lots of breaks and don't do anything strenuous), but i'm supposed to be decreasing my overall activity level and basically adhering to the bed rest thing whenever i'm at home... which means that chad is taking over the cooking and cleaning and random running around. he seems pretty ok with the idea, and he's doing a good job so far of keeping me calm and taking care of everything for me. the doc told me to buy a blood pressure cuff and keep an eye on my bp from home, so chad stopped by cvs on the way home from the hospital and picked one up for me.

i have another appointment with my doc next wednesday, and she said that if my blood pressure stays high she's just going to keep limiting my activity level more and more, but she said she doesn't want to have to put me on bed rest because i still (hopefully) have at least three months to go with this whole pregnancy thing. but she'll do it if necessary. so let's hope my blood pressure straightens itself out. geez.