Friday, 22 October 2010

Another scan

Yesterday we went for our 20 week scan (even though I think i'm actually 22 weeks but never mind) which is called the foetal anomoly scan. Its the one when you can find out the sex, but is also really important as it allows the sonographer to take a really good look at the baby and all its organs and measure lots of things to see if theres any problems or complications. It was a bit scary going in as I was worried there could be a problem, but my fears were unnecessary as our baby is perfectly healthy with everything in the right place.

The baby was lying with its feet near my belly button and its head facing downwards, as if it were in the right position for birth, which made it a bit tricky for the lady to get some of the measurements, especially the head circumference. I though she was going to have to put her little wand somewhere other than on my belly to see it, but luckily all was fine. We saw its brain (very weird) as she measured bits of that, and its spine, its bones in its legs and arms, its kidneys. liver and stomach and its little heart beating away. Its tummy had amniotic fluid in it, which is how you can see where it is coz the fluid shows up as a little black blob. Most of what was saw was a bit blurry and we would't have known what it was without her labelling it on the screen as she tool the different pictures. Watching its little heart was lovely though, made it all a bit more real.

The picture we got wasn't great, and like last time, what we could see on the screen was much better than reflected in the picture. It's taken me quite a while to figure out what everything is this time, but I'm just about there...

You can see its head quite easily, with its little nose, and lips and its ear on the side. Just in front of its mouth are its hands, I think the baby might be sucking its thumb, but I can't really tell. Its body looks a bit odd in the picture, I think it might have been to do with the angle of the baby in relation to the ultrasound wand, but the black blob in the middle is definitely its tummy, with the fluid inside it. This is what my belly looks like now... it literally popped out overnight!!

Yesterday I sent my literature review and essay to my supervisor so I'm enjoying having a bit of a break today. We're meeting on monday to discuss them so at least I still get a couple of days to tweak my essay before I hand it in. We go to Barbados in 5 days, and although I was hoping not to take any work with me, I'm meeting my supervisor 4 days after we get back, so I will need to at least do some reading on the train and plane. I am NOT doing any once we get there though. I plan on swimming, sunbathing, walking down the beach and eating lots of freshly caught local fish.

I think it will do us good to get away from everything for a few days, no computers, no work, no stress, and it might give us the opportunity to talk about lots of things to do with the baby and how we're going to make it all work, because its become quite apparent to me that we both have very different ideas when it comes to me returning to uni, the baby going to nursery, how we will share the responsibility etc, so we really need to get it all sorted and try to prevent arguments further down the line. It's just what we need to really get us talking properly, as we've never found it very easy to communicate. I'm really looking forward to going - not so much the coming back and having to get back into all my stressful uni work, but I shouldn't complain. It'll all be worth it once I've got our baby in my arms :)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Drowning in Work

Well. last week was hectic to say the least. It began with 4 days of lectures, 10-5 each day, with reading to do every night in preparation for the next day. despite feeling like being back at school, with breaks and lunch time etc, I did quite like getting everything all over and done with in the space of a week, rather than having only a couple of hours once a week for 11 weeks. It does mean that there is technically less time to do the essay, as usually we get the titles and have 14-15 weeks to do it, even though no-one does anything until the week before anyway. The essay is due on Nov 5th, but as I'm on holiday, I have to hand it in before I go, i.e. before Oct 27th, which outs the pressure on me a little bit to get it done. Luckily, the title is a generic 'discuss your method' type question, open to interpretation and pretty easy for me to write after 12 months of research methods training. I do also have a literature review to produce for my supervisor by next friday, but that will inform part of the essay so I don't mind doing them simultaneously. It's just getting motivated to do them thats the trouble. I'm too distracted by baby stuff and crafty things that the last thing I want to do is sit and write an essay!

I met with my supervisor on friday, and he decided that in order for me to get all the work I need to do completed before the baby is born, we will have supervision every 2-3 weeks, and he will expect me to produce 5-8,000 words prior to each meeting. Yes it'll be tough, particularly as we get closer to D-day, but it needs to be done, and he's so much easier to talk to and more approachable than my supervisor last year that I don't mind really. I need someone to be a bit tough with me and keep me working, but at the same time to be a bit of a mate and understand what else is going on in my life. I'm so glad we get to work together on this project. He was such an inspiration to me at undergrad and I really want to prove to him that he was right to have faith in me then. Plus, he did his PhD in 2004, so he's not that ancient in academic terms, and it means he can still relate to what the process is like and understand just how daunting it is, even without anything else going on your life. I think we're gonna make a really good team and it's going to be a good few years working together - maybe it'll lead to new projects once I'm a post-doc, who knows.

Speaking of crafty things, I exhibited, with my future business partner, at our first ever craft show this weekend which was a hue success. We sold lots of our decoupaged frames, handmade cards and customised furniture, and got tons of positive feedback from other stall holders who commented on how professional we we're for first timers. The customer response was great too and we might have got ourselves a stall at a bigger christmas fayre next month :) We were so pleased coz its all just been a bit of a hobby for us the last few months and we said the night before that if we sold anything we'd be happy and if we didnt we'd carry on just doing it for friends and family etc, but we made way more than we expected and are now planning a website, and an expansion into wedding stationary too :-)

Bump is growing steadily. Still not quite obvious to the outside world that theres a baby in there and not just a lot of cakes and chocolate! I have put on weight elsewhere though, its not just my belly and boobs that are rapidly expanding. Unfortunately I've gained weight on my bum and thighs, but I always expected to as they are my problem areas and I've never been able to keep weight off from there, even when I eat healthily. He took quite a cool picture of my belly the other day with our bedside lamp shining on it. I think its quite arty...

... it's just a shame about my horrendously unattractive maternity bra! I've decided that later on in my pregnancy, I want to get either a portrait done, in really soft colours, of just my body, no legs or head - or to get a series of black and white photos taken of my bump, for me to keep as a memory of my pregnancy, and even to put on the wall of the nursery with the first pictures of the baby. I might suggest it to Him to organise as a christmas or birthday present for me perhaps.

We have our foetal anomaly scan next week, where they take lots of measurements and look at the baby really carefully to make sure theres no signs of developmental problems or illnesses - obviously some things we wouldn't know about until it was born anyway, but if there are any problems, they will tell us then. I'm sure there won't be but it's still an important step to cross. We won't be finding out the sex of the baby. He is determined to wait until the baby is born. I wanted to know to begin with but the further the pregnancy gets, the more I like the idea of waiting. As long as the baby is ok, and I'm ok then I couldn't be happier :-)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Being a PhD student

After last weeks induction day (which was fairly dull and could have easily been communicate through an email) I've officially started lecture as a PhD student this week.

I've had lectures 10-5 everyday this week, with an hour for lunch and the final day is tomorrow. The module was 'Research Design and Philosophy' which I have done as part of my MA course, but my supervisors thought it would be a good idea for me to take this particular module, so I can meet the cohort and get used to the Business school language and way of teaching. If i'm honest, I've found the module actually lacks content, despite the 6 hours of teaching a day we've been having. If you were to ask me to explain what I'd actually been taught, I'd really struggle because, with the exception of a half hour discussion of ontology and epistemology on monday morning, theres been very little content that I could safely say was either philosophy, or research design. Theres been a lot of 'this is what I did from the speakers we've had, but very little discussion (or explanation) of the method, let alone the methodology, or any issues that may have come about as part of the research. All a bit annoying really. I'm certainly glad I already have solid training and understanding in this otherwise right now I'd be feeling totally lost and overwhelmed and scared!!

The actual cohort I'm with seem ok. I've got to know a few of them already, and there seems to be a little group of 4 of us that have lunch together and naturally gravitated towards one another. Two are in CLAHRC with me, and the other lady shares my office, so I'll be spending quite a lot of time with her I imagine. I'm pretty sure I'm the youngest, although some of the international students may be my age, though I'm not sure. I don't suppose I'll interact with many of the cohort though, as there are only 3 of us in my particular office, and we're in a building just off campus. That coupled with the limited amount of teaching time I'm having this year, means I'd better get used to my own company!

One of the ladies I've got to know quite well is a midwife (very convenient!) and after lengthy discussions with her, it transpires that I'm actually half way though my pregnancy, not 18 weeks as the ultrasound people thought. Its to do with a pregnancy being 40 weeks from the first day of your last period, which includes a period of about 2 weeks where you are not actually pregnant, but is when conception is likely to take place, thus the baby will be 38 weeks old if you give birth on your due date, not 40. This means that when you have a 12 week scan the baby is only 10 weeks old, as was the case when I had mine. However, when I went for mine, they readjusted my dates by 2 weeks, as if I hadn't had the latent period at the beginning. So instead of my original due date of february 22nd, they have March 5th in my records. This never sat right with me though, and both mum and I have continued to think that mid february is probably about the right time. So, to get to the point, the midwife on my course has basically said to go along with the hospital for their benefit, to operate on the basis that my due date is more likely to be mid Feb. That way, if the baby isn't here by then, they won't be rushing to induce me, as according to them, I'll have another few weeks anyway!

Long story short, I'm half way. Four and a half months done, four and a half left to go. And still no really obvious bump, though I'm fairly certain, by the time we go on holiday, it'll be more obvious. Speaking of the holiday, we go 3 weeks today, and He can't find his passport, which I've been asking him to find for bloody ages. He keeps saying he knew where it was and that I've moved lots of his stuff so now he can't find it. Of course its my fault. It's got nothing to do with his lack of organisation, or even a basic ability to put stuff away instead of leaving them lying on the floor. I think he's had it in his bag and it's fallen out when he's taken something else out, or he's dropped it when he's been out. I've certainly not seen it since we moved house, and if I had, I certainly wouldn't have moved or hidden it. I would have put it somewhere safe, probably with the travel documents, so we didn't lose it and have to fork out £12o for an emergency replacement!!