Pitfalls and Perquisites

In the past week, I’ve really experienced the best and the worst of pregnancy, I think.

The Pitfall? Puking into the kitchen sink because I couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time.

The Perquisite? Having a restaurant cook me something not on their menu because I was “having a craving.”

But, since this is an “academic” blog, I suppose I should fill you in on the meeting with my advisor before I launch into pregnancy stories, that way those of you who don’t give a shit about my reproductive life (and, I mean, why would you, really?) can just read the first part and skip the pregnancy stuff at the bottom.

I had a very good meeting with my advisor. He was very kind about the “situation,” congratulated me, was understanding. But more importantly, he seemed to have liked the chapter. He did think it a BIT long. (What was 69 pages on my computer in hoefler text font was 107 on his computer in courier. Yep. A BIT long!!!!) So, he wants me to cut it, which I think might be wise. Overall, he thinks the chapter did a good job of addressing what I set it out to do. All of this is good. And, so far, I hadn’t puked on his shoes.

Then, he dropped this huge bomb on a chapter (and project) that is about political rhetoric. “What do they really mean when they say these things?” Well, shit, I don’t know. This project has never been about digging into the deep psyches of people in the 1860s. And, frankly, I am perfectly happy taking their statements at (mostly) face value without having to ask those damned messy questions that seek to get at things like “REAL meaning” that I’m not entirely convinced are accessible to historians anyway, no matter how much digging we do. Does anyone ever reveal what they really mean? Aren’t we, in some ways, limited to what they SAY they mean? Particularly in the historical record? So, needless to say the question was a bit of a stumper – even though I do think it was important.

As I blundered around trying to give some kind of an answer to this question, I got really brave and then just told him point blank that I didn’t think that it was a question I could adequately address in the dissertation in the next 6 months. To my great surprise, he agreed and oh so subtly suggested that it might be a question that would come up at my defense and that I should address for the book. Such a nice man.

All in all, the meeting went well and he sent me off to keep plugging away at the project. Which, I have not even come close to working on because of the constant unremitting nausea.

--- (pregnancy uninterested readers, squeamish folk, or people currently experiencing nausea can skip this part….)----------

Which, until Monday, had been rather passive, if you will. Aside from the gastroenteritis induced pukefest, I hadn’t actually ever thrown up from the morning sickness. I’d come awfully damn close, but no cigar.

Monday, I stupidly waited too long to have my second breakfast. I eat something before I get out of bed, then about an hour or so later I have breakfast. A few hours later, I have some elevenses, and then I have lunch. Around 3 I have a nice little snack, and then dinner at 6. Then I sleep for three hours, wake up, have an apple and cheese and crackers in bed and then sleep until 4 when I wake up for more apple slices to fight the nausea and then the whole thing starts again at 6:30 when I wake up. So, it was probably about 9:30 or so before I had my second breakfast. I’d just made a waffle, some bacon (I’m trying to have protein with my carbs – and fuck those What to Expect Nazis and their “ask yourself if every little bite you put in your mouth is best for the baby” policy. I want bacon.) I felt a little iffy about food, so I ate a ubiquitous apple slice, sat there looking at the waffle, and decided it was time to leave the table. I got halfway to the hallway by the stairs when I realized I wasn’t going to make it to the bathroom upstairs. So, I turned and ran for the kitchen and tossed that apple, and some of its friends right into the sink. It was gross.

All I can say, though, is that as of the night before there were 5 days worth of dishes stacked in the sink. But, Spousal Unit went into a frenzy of cleanliness the night before and stayed up late to wash all the dishes. So, while I did puke, and in the kitchen sink, thankfully, I didn’t puke into last week’s lasagna pan.

But, I’m almost willing to take the bad in order to get the good.

Wednesday, we went to the doctor. First, we waited an hour and 10 minutes to see the guy and so Spousal Unit went a little postal when the doctor came in and didn’t apologize for the delay. Last appointment we went in at 1:30 and left at 3:30, having only spent 3:00-3:30 with the doctor, so there was precedent for his disgruntlement. They had a little “discussion” about scheduling and delays and emergencies and manners while my Midwestern conflict-avoiding soul huddled on the paper covered table hiding behind my novel and trying not to take part.

After they alpha-male-ed that whole thing out, and we all arrived at a happier place with each other, the doctor whipped out this funny little microphone, squirted some cold KY on my belly, and produced a heartbeat. It was insane. There is a critter inside of me with a heartbeat. Which means, in fact, that I’m currently carrying around 2 hearts. It is just so strange. But, good, I guess, ultimately.

After the appointment, I dropped Spousal Unit off at work and went to this local café that used to be an abandoned horse/car garage but has since been remodeled and spiffied up. I have eaten here before, but today I was on a mission. A friend had mentioned a few weeks ago that they had a great burger and I was totally having a fierce craving for a burger. (Yes, once again, Fuck those What to Expect Nazis.) I parked right in front (major parking magic in a crowded area), went in and looked at the lunch menu. No burger. I looked unhappy, and the assistant chef who was standing there asked me what was wrong. I told her that I was looking for their burger but I didn’t see it on the menu. She told me that they don’t have it at lunch and aren’t set up to do it. So, too bad. I said, “Oh. Bummer. I was having a craving.” Those were the magic fucking words.

(And, even as I type this, I’m not so sure I should share this magic with the general public. If everyone starts using this, it could fail to work in dire emergency situations like mine today… So, with all the sternness I can muster I beg you all not to abuse the power I am about to share with you.)

She said, “Well, let me ask the chef and I’ll see what I can do.” She went into the kitchen, came back out and said that the chef would do it. I lit up with joy and she said, “We want to do what we can for people. And you said it was a craving, so I’m thinking you’re pregnant and we like to help pregnant people!” I about passed out! I told her, that, yes, I am pregnant and was having a craving. She said she thought so. I had imagined that my slowly emerging little belly was not quite visible through the bulky wool sweater I’m wearing today, but perhaps not. Maybe I’m giving off the “I’m pregnant” vibe in some other way. Whatever, it worked like a charm.

When the burger was ready, the chef came out and gave it to me personally. She hugged me, congratulated me, and told me about her 5 grandchildren, and the one on the way. Asked if it was my first baby, and then told me to enjoy my burger. I almost cried it was so sweet!

Foodies – take notice: homemade ciabatta bread, perfectly grilled burger, with lovely melty cheddar, sautéed red onions, sundried-tomato relish, and a side of chili-aioli. It was without a doubt the best fucking hamburger I have ever had in my whole life.

Only now, did it occur to me that everyone involved in this transaction, including the waitstaff who were loitering around, were all women. Those What to Expect Nazis did say that as a pregnant person you’d feel all in touch and shit with all women. I was perfectly willing to chuck that platitude out with the “every bite” insanity. But, maybe I should rethink that position if it produces such amazing burgerish results. Let’s hear it for sisterhood!!

--------------------(ok, now it is safe to return to the “academics.” ---------------

As for the Big D… my spring break begins on today, and so I’m really hoping that in the next week or so my nausea will magically disappear -- at least enough to let me do some work on the next chapter.

The next chapter is one that I have about 2/3 written. I decided to chuck the first 1/3 because it didn’t work with the new direction of the chapter, so I’ve got some ideas for this next direction. I’m looking into the origins of the term “founding father” as a prelude to discussing male familial metaphors for political relationships during Reconstruction. It involves some research, but I think I can do most of it at home on on-line old newspapers. I’d really love to be done with that research and starting to write by the time break is over. I don’t know how realistic that goal is, given the grading I’ll have to do over break, but I’m hopeful and optimistic. That is if the nausea will release its iron grip.

One of my friends has started a pool on when my nausea will end. He’s predicting this today at 5:00 pm. If anyone else wants in on the pool, if you’re right you’ll win … absolutely nothing except the satisfaction of being right. Which, for academics, is relatively priceless, right? So, predict the day Stewgad will stop having the badly misnamed “morning” sickness and win the fabulous sense of knowing that you were right! (By the way, I’ll send a truckfull of cash if you can do some voodoo juju actually MAKE it go away for good in the next 24 hours!!)

But, until that eventuality pans out, I guess for now, I’ll have to just keep taking the bad and being thankful for the good. Not a bad place to be, really, so long as Spousal Unit keeps the sink clear of dishes just in case!


At 12:36 PM Dr. Mon said...

Thanks for the great update. I hope someone in the early end of the pool wins, because I'd hate for you to have to suffer through this nausea much more!!! I hope that you are able to tackle the next chapter over break.

And as someone who deals in rhetorical history, I don't have a clue why you'd want to walk down that path in your dissertation if it is not your focus. I'm glad Advisor was understanding, but if you need some defense prep help on that--keep me in mind (not that I'll have a great answer, but I might know someone who does!)

At 4:46 PM suz said...

1:14 a.m. 3/16/07

Hang in there!

At 10:51 AM suz said...

PS I just googled around "founding fathers" for my non-academic curiousity. Guess what -- at great batch of boy names! Check out Gunning and Gouverneur or Elbridge? hmmmm ... maybe Caleb or Samuel or Henry or Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer???

At 8:47 PM Scrivener said...

3:22 pm. 3/15/07.

I wonder if anyone would make me a burger if I told them I had a craving? I'm guessing not. Sigh.

Listening to that heartbeat the first time certainly is magical. Please keep us posted on the progress, both academic and non.

At 1:35 AM Beth said...

Your blog is awesome. I'm so glad I've found someone else going through the same stuff (grad school, not pregnancy). I'm not the only one! Of course, it goes without saying that I am procrastinating by reading it, but...thanks!

-On year seven and counting...


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