Update: End of the 1st trimester

Seems unbelievable, but I’m rounding the corner at the end of the first trimester!  I had a prenatal appointment today at 12w5d.  Going into the appointment, I felt the Schrodinger’s Cat duality of wondering whether my baby was alive or dead.  As I walked into my OB’s office, I reflected that despite my knowledge of the statistics, it felt to me as though my personal odds were about 50/50 of getting news of a living baby.  I would have been equally unsurprised by either outcome.  Fortunately, this time the statistics prevailed, and I heard a strong, steady heartbeat, which the OB had to chase around my abdomen since apparently this baby is particularly active.  I really like this OB, and she seems to have picked up on the fact that I am not really interested in chatting until I’ve heard the heartbeat, so this time she got right to it.  I still didn’t have much to chat with her about, since, I mean, what is there to ask at this point in the pregnancy?  But I appreciated her willingness to keep letting me come back as often as I want to check in on this new little guy (I’ve been successfully limiting myself to every two weeks for these late-first-tri visits, although with all the RE/MFM visits this was the first actual two-week stretch that I went without news).

Since everything was still looking good, I decided to go ahead and tell the other faculty in my department — with the way I’m popping, I’m going to need to switch into maternity pants soon, so I figured I’d tell them before they had to awkwardly pretend not to notice.  Their responses were completely in character for each of them.  My chair, who is the next-most-senior faculty member in my department, the person in my department I am most friendly with, and dad of three young children, was delighted for me, asked questions, reminisced about when his older kids first met their younger siblings, asked about how S was taking the news, and assured me when it came up that we don’t have to talk about my teaching load for the fall right away if I don’t want to and went straight back to baby talk.  A+ response for him.

The next-most-senior faculty member was pretty formal.  He shook my hand, asked if I was “ready,” and did a bit of reminiscing about when his own two kids (now teenagers) were little, and about how he didn’t sleep for seven years straight.  Fine.  I’ll give it a B+.

Then I told our research faculty member, who has a 6-year-old daughter and who is also the most stereotypical nerd I have ever met.  He “wow”ed and “that’s amazing”ed and told me about how his daughter keeps asking for a younger sibling even though he and his wife are clearly too old.  He didn’t have much to say, but was supportive, and I know he’s the sort of nice guy who is just happy for me and doesn’t really know what to do with it.  He gets an A- for effort.

Then, there was the senior member of my department.  He… was also true to form.  Awkwardly gave me a high-five when I told him, then immediately asked if the pregnancy was planned.  I answered politely, but had to work really hard to keep my eyes from rolling.  Then he asked a few more questions, I told him I was due Nov 7 and it was a boy, and he immediately became concerned about teaching.

Him: November… are you taking leave in the fall?

Me: I don’t know yet.  I need to talk to [chair] about it.

Him: But what are you teaching?

Me: The advanced course.

Him: Oh, man, that’s going to be a tough one to schedule around.  Have you thought about it yet?

Me: I’m going to talk to [chair] about it.  I have some ideas.

He finally moved on, but just did not take the hint that I was going to talk to [chair] about it and was not interested in discussing it with him at that moment!  I mean, I know he’s been around our department the longest and has been chair the longest of anyone and is super-attuned to curriculum issues, but… as my husband said when I told him about the conversation after I got home, “That conversation is a great example of the things people say that make women feel discouraged in science/academia.”  Knowing this guy, I know he wasn’t trying to be discouraging or insensitive, and that he is happy for me, so it didn’t actually bother me much at the time.  But he’s also put his foot in his mouth in this way a bunch of times before and I kind of wish I could call him on it once in a while.

Anyway, that’s the story.  We are at the hairy end of the academic year, when things are just completely off-the-wall crazy, and so I think I’ll put off the nuts-and-bolts conversation with my chair about teaching until next week when we’ve both had a chance to finish our last classes and breathe a little.  I would like to get to it soon, because I am worried about what the university will/won’t allow and would just like to know that there’s a plan in place, but I was also grateful to just have the happy conversation with the chair today and save the nitty gritty for a bit later.

So, that’s the scoop!  I’m feeling optimistic heading into the second trimester.  Still nervous, still with my (many) moments of panic and uncertainty like this morning, but overall handling things better than during my pregnancy with S, I think.  As far as spreading the word further than the people who see me every day, I’m not in a rush.  I think I’ll let it spread organically as I run into friends and acquaintances.  But as scary as it can be to tell people about a pregnancy when you’ve had so many bad experiences in the past, it’s also fun, and it’s nice when people you like are happy for you.  (My chair/friend told me that my news “made his day” as I was leaving.)  So, I’m looking forward to spreading the news as it happens, and am also starting to allow myself to get a bit more excited about the prospect of adding a new little one to our family this fall.

13 thoughts on “Update: End of the 1st trimester

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you! Yes, I am feeling pretty good. For all the issues I’ve had with staying pregnant, at least I seem to have a relatively easy time with morning sickness. I get about six weeks of nausea, which is not fun, but it noticeably eased up at 11w and is now almost totally gone at 14w. Never vomited over the course of three full first trimesters — do I get a medal? 🙂

  1. My Perfect Breakdown

    Yay for growing baby!!!! And yay for mostly supportive colleagues. That said, I’m really sorry about the insensitivity of the one individual. Unfortunately he is a great example of those who detere women from professional careers. It’s a real shame…

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thanks for being so excited for me — I appreciate it. 🙂 Meh, I was annoyed at that colleague when it happened, but whatever… that’s just how he is. He berated my poor masters student during his thesis defense this week — I’m actually much more upset about that one. He is just one of those people with no brain/mouth filter whatsoever. But yes, I think it does have a disproportionately large effect on women/minorities — I have heard about several other stupidly careless remarks that he has made to female/disabled/trans students, and I hate having to empathize with them but not being able to change his behavior.

  2. RJ

    Great news! I am thankful things are still going well. I like your comparison to Schrödinger’s cat. It’s also nice that the majority of your colleagues received the news of your pregnancy well. Although unfortunate that the one obviously doesn’t know when to put his foot in his mouth. Wishing you the best for the end of this semester and all that is coming!!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you! I am SO happy that the semester is over — this one has felt particularly tough for a few different reasons (first trimester nausea/fatigue prominent among them!). I hope you’re still doing well… hoping that no news is good news!

      1. RJ

        Yeah no news for now. I have a scan on Thursday so we shall see. Still not too sure about everything!

  3. jwhitworth7

    I said the same thing when reading the title! “Wow! Almost done with the first trimester?!? How did that happen!” I know it probably doesn’t feel like it went by quickly but it seems like it did.

    How are you feeling physically? I’m so glad you keep getting reassuring news at your appts!

    And I’m sorry your co worker asked so many questions. Some people just don’t get it.

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thanks, Jennifer! Yes, everything seems to be going faster this time around, for some reason. I think it’s just like that when you’ve got a toddler at home to keep you busy! I’m feeling fine physically — I don’t tend to get such awful morning sickness. About six weeks of nausea, but no vomiting. Now at 14 weeks I’m basically done with it all, and entering the “OMG, I am STARVING all the time” part of pregnancy. 🙂


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