You may ask, is there anything worse than a summer cold? Why, yes, in fact, there is -- A raging summer cold when you're 8.5 (9.5) months pregnant, your kitchen is deconstructed completely, you've just come off of 10 days of houseguests in a row, and you're 2 chapters and one article behind where you needed to be before the big day arrives. Oh, and you're being bombarded by students requesting letters of recommendation.

1. The Cold: Par for the course, really. Just miserableness compounded by the pregnant woman's restricted ability to take drugs to decongest and the deep exhaustion that I've been feeling for the past week or so. Yesterday I didn't get off of the couch. It meant a lot of Buffy time, which is good, but not much else. (For those who care, I'm re-watching Season 2.)

2. 8.5 (9.5) months pregnant: I'm about two and a half weeks away from the due date. The Gadlet is head down, butt side right, kicking left. Everything looks good to go. It weighs about 6 lbs now and the doctor said "it can come any day." (Gulp!)

As for me, I can't see my toes, bend over, put on socks, and sit down or get up without emitting an involuntary "Oof." My ankles are starting to swell, the acid reflux is taking over, I have to pee every 20 seconds, and the Gadlet has really developed some lower body strength- when it kicks it feels like it's attempting to forge a new exit through my side. All told, I'm beginning to feel like there is just one too many humans hanging out in this body.

The only saving grace is that for a very pregnant person, I think I look pretty darn good.

3. Kitchen: Last Saturday, Spousal Unit and a friend or two took the sledgehammers to the walls and sink of our kitchen. Here's the result:

I spent the previous week assembling a pseudo kitchen in our dining room to make up for the destruction.

One of our houseguests asked how we were going to cook in the next few weeks and I optimistically and with great cheer said "Crock Pot, Foreman Grill, Rice Cooker, Microwave!" At this Spousal Unit looked at her and said, "Um, yeah, Translation: Carry-Out Thai, Pizza, Chinese, Calzones, Mexican."

So far, Spousal Unit has been right, I must confess. Not having a kitchen has been rather interesting, particularly this weekend when Spousal Unit's parents and sister came to visit and our poor single bathroom had to do double duty as a bathroom for five adults (one of whom has to pee every 20 seconds) AND as a kitchen water source. Over the weekend, we gave up and just washed the dishes in the back yard with the hose. It was kind of like camping, only without any of the vacation time or natural beauty that comes with roughing it. Since then we've been washing things at the bathroom sink, which is a fun juggling act because the sink is a tiny corner unit with no countertop space.

Our carpenter was supposed to get in to start work on things this week, but he was really sick over the weekend and so we're pushed back a week. Does this make me anxious beyond all things? Um, yes. Will the kitchen be done before I give birth? I'm having serious doubts. Please send "late baby" vibes to the Gadlet. I'm hoping that like most first-timers, it will want to stay in there as long as possible. So, despite my increasing discomfort, I'm figuring that it is easier to take care of my distended belly, aching back, and acid-reflux without a kitchen than it will be to take care of a new infant without a kitchen.

4. Houseguests: They all wanted to come and see the belly before it was gone -- which inspired a new trick that the Gadlet and I perform. When it gets the hic-ups (at least twice a day), and we have an audience, we re-enact that scene from Jurassic Park when the T-Rex is stomping in, but the people on the tour couldn’t see it yet, they only knew something was up because they could see the ripples in the water in the glass on the dashboard. The part of the T-Rex in this little drama is played by the Gadlet, while I perform the role of the car dashboard and hold on to the water glass. Gadlet hics and the water shakes. It's a big crowd pleaser.

The nice thing about houseguests when you're extremely pregnant is that everybody pitches in in a huge way to help with all the stuff you're working on. My Mom got the ball rolling on Gadlet clothing. My Dad and Spousal Unit put together all of the Ikea cabinets (not a simple task, incidentally. It was like a giant tinker-toy set with very specific pictorial non-English instructions.) So, now those are ready for installation, as soon as the other kitchen stuff falls in line. Then, an old grad-school friend came and she helped me clean out the fridge and get the new "kitchen" ready. The day after she left, Spousal Unit's folks breezed through for a day. They were only here for 24 hours, but we had a lovely time hanging out at a local natural park. They all took a hike. I sat on my ass in the sun and read (well, dozed, really.) But, needless to say, not much of my own work got done in that 10-day stretch when there was someone here every day.

5. Which leads me to... Chapters, Article. Not really up to dealing with those yet. Later in the week, perhaps. I'd like to be able to at least sit up and maybe even breathe through my nose before I tackle those things. Today, I'll do some mental work on my expectations about those things and try to make a realistic assessment of what I'm really capable of doing right now. All while watching Buffy, of course. Nothing like some teenage ass-kicking to make a sick, pregnant woman feel better about her own work.

6. Students: I need some advice here. I'm exhausted, I feel awful, I'm about to have a baby, and I'm on leave for the semester. Do I have to write letters of recommendation now? I don't really want to -- I want to check out completely from the job. I want to focus on me. Plus, I don't have letterhead or anything like that at home. I'd have to email the letters to the department assistant and have her print and sign them for me. Not all that difficult a task, really, but enough of a pain to make me balk. I know that I do have responsibilities to students that don't go away just because I've got this huge thing going on for me. But, I gotta say, my brain is SO not in that space. I don't know if I could write a good letter right now. But, I do feel like I owe them. So, opinions? Thoughts? Advice?

Well, that's it for now, folks. For me, it's back to nose-blowing, coughing, sneezing, peeing, dozing, and Buffy.


At 12:11 PM Marcelle Proust said...

Do the students really need the letters now? Could they wait a few months? Or could they be asked to provide "talking points" about their achievements (i.e., draft their own letters)? There might be ways to be both lazy and responsible.

At 11:45 PM Anonymous said...

You shouldn't concentrate on students right now in any kind of primary way. If that might mean saying "no" to some students, or "can you wait a few months?" then that's what it means. If they are asking for letters for graduate school apps, etc., then the students likely have at least 3 months or so to get applications complete. This vs. your extremely pressing life. Yah, they're important, but for right now exist for you. Take that stress off!

At 12:17 PM Peter said...

I sincerely request you to take good care yourself, that technically mean take care about your beloved unborn child. This is time you should be very careful, and especially stress-free. Your thoughts and activities would directly affect your child's growth. So take care, My best wishes for healthy, cute baby...
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At 10:33 PM AcadeMama said...

First of all, you look GREAT for a very pregnant woman-you should absolutely be happy about the shape you're in :)

For the students, unless they're needing letters that speak directly to something you taught them, I don't see why they wouldn't understand you asking to pass on them during this time. Instead, maybe you can suggest others who might be more appropriate to write the letters. Either way, your health and the health of the Gadlet is Priority One (and expained nicely, the students will understand that).

Sending delayed baby wishes your way (my first was a week overdue and we *still* had to induce!) She turned out to be a 9-pound baby though :)

At 8:10 AM Anonymous said...

My wife is pregnant to with our second child. She is finding it alot harder than the first - tired all the time. It probably doesnt help that the first is genetically 99.9999% the same as a monkey (I wouldn't change him though)!
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