27 and a PhD

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40 weeks

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.

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Around April of last year, I experienced a miscarriage. I was super sad for a few weeks, then I kind of resigned and continued to live life. My husband was very supportive and said we could try again after the doctor’s recommended period of rest.

Eventually we started trying, and for a couple of months nothing seemed to stick (I know, bad joke, but come on! think about it). I was about two cycles away from giving up and going to a specialist to see what was wrong with me. See, I was very scared because I was (am) overweight and if whatever was preventing a baby from sticking to my uterus was weight-related, I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t do some radical diet where I could screw up my chances even more.

I have to say, I’ve been pretty lucky. When the miscarriage happened I got some of the symptoms, but mostly I just slept. I ate, bathed, and slept. I was out for a few days and oddly enough I could feel a kind of emptiness in my belly, that’s a bit difficult to describe. Even though I’d never felt the baby (the miscarriage happened around weeks 7-8), I could tell something was missing from my body.

The this winter, one night around 2am I woke up and decided to pee on a stick. I was pretty sure it would just turn out to be 1 line, but I needed to know right then and there as my period was due at the end of that week. I remember it was a Tuesday. I waited, and looked … and studied the stick. And then I saw a very faint pink line. Could it be? Was I pregnant again some 6-7 months after the miscarriage? I cried a little bit, and I have to admit, it’s been one of only two times I’ve cried in this pregnancy. I decided to wait one more day, do the test at work and see.

And I got a slightly stronger second line. It wasn’t as bright as the test line, but there it was. I called my husband and told him immediately. We congratulated each other and I decided to have a confirmation test the week after. I know levels of hCG are not a predictor (usually) of whether a pregnancy will continue on, but I wanted to know, I needed to see the test results. And I did. And the numbers were high. It was true. This little one was sticking to my reproductive organs!

We decided to wait until week 12 or so to share the news with our families. In the meantime, since I’m over 35, I had to get a couple of tests done, including the NTT and a genetic panel to test for a couple of common trisomies for geriatric ladies like me (I’m sort of getting used to the term). We had a scare when, around week 9, right before my first ultrasound, I started bleeding. I was alone that night and saw some spotting. I ran to the ER, was there until about 2 in the morning, and in the US I could see a big head with a tiny body and 4 little bumps. I sent the pic to the Mr and his reply was priceless. I kept him informed of everything that was going on. It looked like “old blood” or perhaps a polyp had formed … indeed this was confirmed by an internal exam a couple of weeks later. Hubs and I went for the 10 week US and were elated. But the best was seeing his face when the midwife put the probe over my belly and we could hear the drum, drum, drum of the heart. Hubs had tears in his eyes. That was our baby, active and alive.

The pregnancy continued on, and I had all my scheduled tests (including the AFP, a bunch of other blood panels, etc) and on we went to week 20. We had our second ultrasound. And OMG let me tell you, I went full physiology/anatomy 101 on the tech. My poor husband said we were just chatting like old friends and did so much talking, so fast, that he couldn’t keep up. The tech printed probably around 20pics, and we had proof of what the genetic panel had already concluded about the sex of the baby.

After, we made the announcement on social media … I wanted to wait for a bit to ensure that the results of all the tests came back OK. The reaction of friends and family was amazing and still to this day I get the warm fuzzies.

We’ve been to our babymoon which was fantastic and relaxing. And now I’m counting kicks. We’re weeks away from meeting this baby and while excited, we’re also pretty worried that we’ll screw things up. I know this is normal and that pretty much everyone I’ve met has said they too felt that way. I can’t help but feel that I will make some stupid mistake and that the baby won’t stop crying because I forgot to change a diaper, or I forgot to pump, or whatever. I know I’ll be super tired, beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. But I can’t wait to meet this little baby and give all the hugs and have all the feedings … and even poopy diapers ;-).

PS. This still means that I’m not back on Twitter, so I won’t be answering neither DMs nor tweets. But I greatly appreciate your concern, good wishes, gifts and support.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Scientistmother says:

    Congratulations! So happy for you

  2. LG says:

    Congratulations!!! Wishing you a speedy and safe delivery and a lifetime of happiness with your new arrival ❀

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