October 16th, 2009

planet

swe & week 6

Yesterday I met up with mrs_dragon at the SWE conference for dinner and conversation. We had a great visit. We have a million things in common... women engineers, liberals in conservative states, similar family relationships, both livejournal nerds. I've always had good luck meeting people from the internet, for those reasons, you're already just about the same person and if you didn't have something to say and interesting thoughts, you wouldn't be on livejournal. So there's always lots to talk about. We ate at this seafood place by the ocean that was just beautiful, then went and strolled through hospitality suites at the SWE conference and grazed on free exhibitor deserts.

She asked me if I was going to go to the session on maternity leave. I shirked back a bit, not feeling like I'm ready for all that just yet. But when I reconsidered today and looked at the schedule, I figured what the heck. Well it turned out to be AWESOME. The presenter was this perky cute thing who'd had a baby a year ago. She gave lots of advice that I could easily have probably gotten if I was around pregnant women all the time, but I'm not. None of us are, that's why the session was handy! I work with all men. Their knowledge about pregnancy & childbirth stops at "my wife is gaining weight". I can't talk to any of them, and likely won't tell them I'm pregnant until Christmas or even past that because I don't see them doing me any favors.

I'm six weeks pregnant today. I've noticed no real signs of pregnancy, besides the fact that my period never did show up and there were those positive tests at the beginning of the month. I've actually lost 10-15 pounds... when I found out I was pregnant and remarked that I weighed 153, I was really happy because that's a low weight for me. I've maintained about 160 for the past several years. Well since then I weigh myself and I'm down around 145-147. It's got to be a metabolism thing. I'm hungry, sure, but just because you're hungry doesn't mean you can go stuff yourself, and it certainly doesn't mean there's food around or time to eat. There were some days when I was starving and went out to a restaurant and gorged myself and it seemed like a great idea, but did NOT feel good afterwards. I'll get halfway through a big plate and I don't really feel full, but I know if I finish it I'll feel sick.

Last night I was really bummed out. Some ladies at my section had obtained lots of free wine, and we were on the roof of the hotel opening bottles and everyone was having a blast except me. I usually have a lot of fun with them at these conferences.

The maternity session made me feel good again. I was reassured that motherhood was an amazing worthwhile journey. Do I want to be dwelling smuggly on the wonderful experiences I'm having being pregnant? Weell... sometimes I'd rather be at the bar. But I've made this choice and if thinking about babies helps me deal with missing out on good wine, that's just what I'm going to do.

So anyway the rest of this entry will seem stupid if you don't care about pregnancy, but here are some tips I wrote down:
  • Research your company's maternity policies, including ALL options for extending time off and what you can use. You may not need any more than a standard six weeks but you might, too, so know what you can do.
  • Learn how to put in a timecard from home.
  • Look into taking a parenting class. So many couples invest a ton of time learning about having a baby, then once the baby is born they figure you're done.
  • It's still good to dress appropriately at work. Sometimes you can borrow clothes to avoid buying a lot.
  • If your employer gives you crap about taking time out of your day for breast milk, remind him that breastfeeding your baby improves her health which saves the company money on healthcare costs.

She also dropped lots of book titles... the Mayo Clinic Pregnancy Guide, Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy, Hypnobabies, Happiest Baby on the Block, Sleep Easy Solution. I'll probably wait a little while to go into books but it's nice to have them down.

I've been feeling a million times better about the pregnancy thing since I talked to mom last week. She reassured me that my odds of suddenly bleeding to death are very low, and that I need to relax. And my mom freaks out about everything. If she's telling me it's all no big deal, I believe her.

I also told a very good friend of mine about it, one who's never been pregnant and we've always bonded together in our hate for babies. She was really supportive and cool about it. I told her I was scared to death of miscarriage, and she told me something really valuable... "My mom had a miscarriage. Then a few months later, she got pregnant with me. So if it hadn't been for that miscarriage I wouldn't have gotten to exist!" That was actually really awesome. Yes, I'm still in that high-risk time but it's not the end of the world if it happens. I will be okay.

Talking was what helped. Get it out, be honest, talk to real people, relax. Don't be alone or feel like I have to be alone. Mom said I could call her cell any time, which is a huge deal because she's a teacher and can't be busting out of class all the time, but she doesn't want me feeling scared with no one to talk to. That's awesome.