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My usual scattershot update

Is it normal to feel sedated toward the end of pregnancy? In my life "before," I thought I would be a basket case by this time. But I'm quite calm - sleepy, even. Could be relief along with resignation: now that I'm past the 37-week mark, the birth could happen at any time and not be considered premature. He's firmly positioned head-down (that thing constantly flexing and stretching against my ribs would be a baby leg), so C-section is likely ruled out too. I even tested negative for Strep B, which means I won't automatically have to get an IV with antibiotics during labor. Always a good start.

Other reasons I've ended up calm:
My shoes still fit - some women told me my feet would go up a size during pregnancy. They haven't.
Iron pills have not made me feel sick at all.
I can usually sleep through the night, even now, without getting up for the bathroom.
I have not yet sent Steve to the store to fetch me some bizarre food I was craving. I haven't craved anything bizarre, for that matter.
Steve is awesome. He is happy and delighted and loves to feel the young'un kick, and helps me find my sense of humor when I misplace it. He will be a great dad.

Speaking of the sense of humor: he came up with the idea the other night that someone should start a band called Belle & Sebastian Bach. (If you don't get it, never mind.) We both agree this would be hilarious, but are not so clear on what such a band would sound like.

I finished reading The Mill on the Floss yesterday, in my continued George Eliot kick. Not so thrilled with the ending of this one, so Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda hold their tie at #1 for my favorite Eliot book. But I still enjoyed reading it, and am now thinking I need to read an Eliot biography since this one was supposedly "the most autobiographical" of her novels. Which makes me wonder about a few things. I know she lived for decades with a man who was not her husband, because he was already married and his distant cheatin' wife refused to grant a divorce, but that sounds more like the main cruel twist of Middlemarch. I assume the Mill on the Floss similarities come in with the judgemental reaction from "society" and the shutting out by one's closest family members. I'm not big on infidelity, but see, the vast difference between her and, say, Thomas Hardy, who also lived a life of extramarital temptations and wrote novels about the cruelty suffered because of them, is that Eliot can actually make such characters likable. They're good, if confused; they're flawed, but not thoroughly irritating. In fact, Eliot's characters usually redeem themselves completely, or at least most of the way. Jes' my opinion, o' course.

Another thread of thought, spinning off the latest: I'd be interested to read a book sometime about Victorian theories of, and terminology for, medicine. I've already worked out that "consumption" was tuberculosis, and "ague" was some kind of fever; and "dropsy," I recently learned, was edema, often due to heart failure. And I think "apoplexy" seems to have often referred to a stroke. But the treatments were so baffling! There was mention in The Mill on the Floss of the possibility of an invalid needing jelly. Did they mean medicine was to be put into jelly? Or was jelly considered really good for invalids? And are Eliot and I talking about the same thing - gelatinous sweetened fruit preserves - when we say "jelly"? Furthermore, I've always liked how a shot of brandy cured most cases of chills, vapors, or what have you; and how dabbing your temples with eau de cologne tended to alleviate all kinds of weaknesses; but I have to wonder whether anyone can prove scientific results for such treatments, or if this was just a widespread placebo effect. We already know how useful it was to "bleed" people... *shudder* Anyway, I expect at least rachel2205, my resident LJ British History grad student, to have a word or two of answer on that one. ;)

That'll do for now. One more week of work (where I get no LJ access) - five more days of getting up early to put on nice clothes and commute downtown - and then I cease, and enter a new phase of existence. (Firstly, lazing around the house. Secondly, labor. Thirdly, motherhood. But we can call it all motherhood, to simplify things.) I am more than willing to make the exchange. And despite the supposed ultra-feminist, my-career-uber-alles attitude of "the world" these days, I have been getting practically nothing but support when I tell people I plan to take a few years off and be with the kid, even from people who aren't doing it that way themselves. So, thank you, world - either you're more tactful, or more practical, than I had thought; and either option is good news to me.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
So glad you're feeling good! I'm tingling for the day we hear the news! Which begs the question, how will you let us know, eh? Phone post? Call someone who will hack into your LJ and post for us? Or are we gonna be forced to wonder every time you're quiet for a few days? Hehe. If there's anything you want me to do, let me know, all righty?

On a tangent... the young lad in your icon. Who is he, and where can I find more pics? He gives off a bit of a Sirius-vibe. Hee.
Jan. 9th, 2006 05:39 am (UTC)
Hehe - well, LJ still doesn't have any local numbers for phone posts, for those of us in Washington state, but I figure I'll try to post at least one "OK, seem to be in labor, talk to you in a couple days" message for the friends, and then of course Cute Newborn Pics when I get home. Time permitting. :) (Early stage of labor usually does last quite a few boring hours, in which you just potter around at home, so I ought to have the chance to say something beforehand, at least.) But if it proves easier, I might take you up on your offer to post an announcement for me-- will see!

And this is Takeshi Kaneshiro, who is probably a bit too Asian for Sirius. :) But I linked photos of him here, back when I was admiring his looks after seeing him in House of Flying Daggers. He actually reminded me of an Asian Orlando Bloom...so might still be up your alley in some respect. ;)
Jan. 9th, 2006 06:34 am (UTC)
someone should start a band called Belle & Sebastian Bach

I am now imagining "The boy with the arab strap" played on a harpsichord. :-)

(BTW, when British Victorians spoke of "jelly", they were referring to aspic. It's easily-digestible protein, and difficult to make in the days before Knox gelatine powder, so it was special food reserved for invalids.)
Jan. 10th, 2006 01:39 am (UTC)
Hehe - well, there's the original (Johann) Sebastian Bach, whose style would mesh fairly well w/ Belle & Sebastian (that harpischord idea isn't so far-fetched)...but I have to admit we were picturing the dorkier option: Sebastian Bach, the lead singer of the long-haired '80s metal band Skid Row. :)

Jelly comment seems to jibe with what Rachel says below...guess that does make more sense!
Jan. 9th, 2006 08:23 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're having an easy time with this pregnancy. When my stepmother was pregnant with my baby brother, he was positioned in a weird way, so she had diabetes while pregnant. He used to kick her so much, her shirt would move around. I tell him that he was a pain in the butt from the beginning. I once poked back when he was kicking her - I think thats why he fights with me a lot. And yes, this was only 7 years ago.

Sorry, I love babies so I start getting all dorky when someone brings them up. Plus, I just found out that I'm going to be an Aunt, so I get extra excited when they're mentioned. Good luck and I hope the baby isnt late. While you're home before the baby is born relax and enjoy the free time. There wont be much of it left after the baby is born :)


PS Book recommendation - The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. I just read it and am recommending it to everyone. It's a beautiful story.
Jan. 10th, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)
Re: Baby!!
Yep, the kicks have definitely become visible - the whole belly shifts around sometimes. Most entertaining. :) Congrats on your impending aunthood! Hope all goes well.

I shall try to relax for a while if time permits - hopefully will do a lot of reading. Zafron's book looks cool. Will have to investigate. Thanks!
Jan. 9th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
Historian to the rescue!
Somebody has already said, but no, jelly for invalids wasn't the same as fruit jelly (although jellies made of fruit were a popular and sophisticated dinner party dessert. For instance, the Victorian delicacy Russian Jelly.)

The jellies were likely to have been meat-based jellies, e.g. calf's foot jelly. Milk and egg jellies were also considered to be good foods for invalids.
Jan. 10th, 2006 01:52 am (UTC)
Re: Historian to the rescue!
Thank you, historian! :)

Well, that sounds a little bit disgusting, but I suppose it does actually make some health sense. Easily digested protein, and all.

Hmm, maybe a history of food would be more interesting... (just as recently as the 1960s, it seemed no American wife could do without a Jello mold...hee.)
Jan. 9th, 2006 04:41 pm (UTC)
Consumption was also often the diagnosis given for some forms of metastatic cancer (lung cancer in particular).
Jan. 10th, 2006 01:53 am (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense...probably a number of other lung ailments, too.
Jan. 9th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
I always find it so strange when people think it's not the "norm" for mums to spend the first years at home with their children. Here in Finland almost every mother takes the three-year paid maternity leave the offered by the state. The employers obviously are not that happy about it but, hey, the babies are more important.

Anyway, great to hear to hear that you and the baby are doing fine. Good luck!
Jan. 10th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)
Well, we aren't paid for it here, but it still feels like the best thing for all parties involved, if you can manage it. At least it's good for temp employees. :) Thanks for the well wishes!
Jan. 9th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
Mill on the Floss is strongly autobiographical also in the portrayal of an intense bond between brother and sister, such as Marian Evans shared with her brother, Isaac. (And thus his rejection of her relationship with Lewes was especially painful; it's heartbreaking stuff.)

Her "Brother and Sister" sonnets are also about the intensity of that bond.
Jan. 10th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)
Ah...poor Mary Anne. I suspected such might be the case. Very sad indeed. I hope they reconciled at some point, but sort of doubt it from the tone of the narrative...
Jan. 10th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
I do envy that you will be able to take the time off with the baby. As it is, it looks like I will be back to work next year after some time off (Kevon and I are quite accustom to a certain financial level that the dual-income provides. We could survive decently enough on one salary, I suppose, without dipping remotely close to any level of poverty, so this is somewhat selfish),

Childcare costs are outrageous though. 3 months alone is approx. 1500 dollars in a quite nice, licensed facility. One place I found is about 1/2 a mile from the school but highly sought after so I'm already beginning to get associated with them despite not needing them until Oct. (I keep trying to persuade Andrew to become a nanny, but I don’t think that would work out J)

Still, I am torn. There is a real possibility that I could look into the face of my baby and refuse to head back to my job. The horrible thing is, I'm *needed* at my job as well and it pains me to think of leaving my students. I just don't want to turn into Richard Dreyfus in Mr. Holland's Opus who spends so much energy working with other people's kids that I'm spent when it comes to dealing with my own. Alas, my career is very mother-friendly so that easies my mind somewhat... still, it is something weighing on me most days.
Jan. 10th, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
Ah, yes, much as I hate to say something everybody has been saying for ages, it does seem true that women are pressed to do everything - including a job, household duties, and raising a family - simultaneously these days. Thus, this is one of the few times when I've decided I was actually lucky to have a fairly lackluster job (i.e., something I wouldn't actually call a "career"), since I don't mind dropping it nearly so much as people who actually have some emotional stake in their work. In fact, I almost suspect I've been deliberately avoiding more responsibility and ambition in a career, just so that I could easily abandon it when it came time to have kids.

However, that hasn't been a great thing altogether: even if you decide to stay home and abandon teaching for a few years, you'll still benefit from the years of work under your belt; whereas all I'll have, when it comes to re-enter the work force, is a collection of admin jobs. :) (Unless I go back to school for Master of Library Sciences certification, which is a possibility for another day.)

And even knowing the job doesn't matter much to me, I still have moments of guilt about leaving it, thinking they'll need my expertise at this or that, and how will they possibly manage without me? But I've gotten good at the philosophy "Not my problem anymore." That, along with "...but not today," has saved me from stressing out overmuch. (For example: "Eeeek, I have to go through labor!" "...but not today.")

Anyway, as you say, whether you go back to work or not, it's true your career will have prepared you for important considerations in parenthood, about which I am nearly clueless. So you've probably spent the years more productively no matter what.

I'm almost not daring to do the cold hard math about future years - of course there are some unknowns about expenses, so it's hard to get more than an estimate anyway - but I reassure myself that we were grad students for a few years and did pretty well on that budget; and also that other people, stupider and not as well paid as us, have somehow managed to raise kids on one salary. I'm sure you guys can fall back on that assurance as well. :)

You've got time yet to think it over. Best of luck in the decisions...and at least it's the kind of thing lots of people have been through before, so there's a never-ending source of opinions to be had if you want them. (I guess the hard part is avoiding them.)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )