Posts Tagged ‘
North Dakota ’
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Okay, I’m sorry!! I’ve been gone for a ridiculously long time… which means this is going to be a rather ridiculously long post. Sorry for the long hiatus– one of my New Years’ resolutions is to not be such a blogger-slacker.
So, Caroline and I left North Dakota two weeks early. There were several reasons for this. I realized several nights into the trip that I couldn’t book patients from off-campus. Which stressed me out to no end. Also, a month is a really long time to stay in your in-laws’ house. Like, a really long time. Finally, Tyler just didn’t have any time for us because he was working on his thesis around the clock (all his specimens are out there). So we came back home to Connecticut.
I went in to school to meet with my clinic leader and she told me I needed to meet with the dean. The dean told me to email all the course directors and ask what they wanted me to do in order to get caught up before my return. They all asked for stuff like, you know, drill some fake teeth, whatever whatever. Except for one, who wanted me to take…
A four-hour exam.
That’s what I said. A four-hour exam.
Also? This was for the hardest course I took as a third-year. I seriously almost pooped myself when I read that email. I immediately panicked (if you read this blog regularly, you know I am a panicker) and started studying my butt off, with a side of “I don’t want to go back to school.”
Okay… it was more than a “side”. I seriously started this downward spiral into an existential crisis. After a whole year at home with my little girl, I kind of felt like my heart just wasn’t in the dentistry thing anymore. The thought of studying and going to clinic and classes was just exhausting.
I’ll be completely honest here. I wasn’t thrilled with motherhood for awhile. The first few months are so, so very hard. I wanted my old life back. I wanted to go back to school. I missed my friends and my career and my freedom. I felt chained to my tiny apartment and my crying baby. I was deep in postpartum depression, I hated my body, I felt stuck and lonely and sad. That’s horrible to say, and I feel horrible saying it. (Well… a tiny part of me feels relieved to admit it, and I am positive that I’m not the only one who’s ever felt that way.) But motherhood, and especially stay-at-home-motherhood, isn’t always the picture-perfect dream it can seem like from the outside.
But things started to get better around 4 months. And then they got a lot better around 6 months. By 8 months or so, I was loving staying at home. I miss Caroline so much when I’m not around her. I can’t imagine handing her over to her daycare every day. I started to feel like it might not be my “calling” to go in to dentistry after all. Dental school is so difficult that it’s not something you can do if your heart isn’t in it… and I was feeling like the only thing my “heart” was in, was being a mom.
I knew this was going to happen. See my New Year’s post from last year. I was afraid of this. I suspected that once I got to know my baby and got used to being out of the loop from school, I wasn’t going to want to go back to the chaos and the stress. It doesn’t help, ironically, that Tyler is 100% supportive of whatever I want to do. He’s offered to pay off my student loans (which, thankfully, are minimal) so that I can stay home with Caroline, if that’s what truly makes me happy. He reminds me of this every time I mention going back to school… not really helping my motivation!
Anyway, after a lot of obsessing, I decided to do what I feel is the “right” thing– I’m going to finish this degree. Even if it’s awful, even if every single day is awful, I can do this for a year and a half. I want to have that degree and license that no one can take from me, even if I never use it. I want to prove everybody wrong who thinks I can’t do it, because I’m sure there are a lot of them at my school. I want to set a good example for my daughter, not get pregnant and drop out of grad school. And I just want to do it for me. I wanted this really badly, once. And I think that once I get back into the swing of things, I will want it again.
I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
Oh, and that four-hour exam? I took it this morning. I got an 87. While I was still in the class, over a year ago? I got an 85.
I can do this.
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Monday, November 30th, 2009
So, feeding Caroline is a whole new experience out here in North Dakota. When we were here this summer, she hadn’t really started solids yet, but now that she’s almost 10 months old, “real food” is a much bigger part of her diet.
And it’s kind of difficult to do out here.
I’m pretty neurotic about what she eats, because I’m a little bit of a health nut and always try to think about what kind of eating habits I’m helping her create for later in life. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here before, but I make all of her food. This is mainly driven by grad-student poverty and extra stay-at-home-mom time, with a little bit of “gray meat and fluorescent veggies squick me out” thrown in there.
So I went to the nearest grocery store, which I just have to point out is almost 30 miles away and is actually in Montana. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the teeny little fresh produce section next to the rows and rows of frozen aisles, but I guess that’s the way it goes when you live in a very remote area where things would spoil before they ever get sold. Here’s a list of just a few of the things Caroline eats all the time that you CANNOT find at said grocery store:
- Whole milk dairy products like yogurt, ricotta, cottage cheese, etc.
- Anything organic. I try not to get too spastic about eating all-organic because it’s so expensive, but I do have a lot of vague and rather arbitrary food categories that I prefer to be organic, such as “things you don’t peel before eating” and “things that seem kinda dirty”.
- Any kind of antibiotic- or hormone-free meats or eggs.
You can, however, find things like:
- Pickled pigs’ feet in a jar (organic status unknown, but questionable).
- Any cut of beef or type of wild game you can imagine.
- The biggest variety of frozen pizzas, TV dinners, and fish sticks that I’ve ever seen.
You can see that it’s kind of a challenge. I finally left with a lot of frozen fruit and veggies, some cheese, and some sweet potatoes and squash. Luckily I had suspected ahead of time that feeding would be problematic, so I had sent non-spoilable things like organic black beans, oatmeal, and dried fruit with Tyler in his car.
Mainly I’ve just had to get over the fact that she won’t be eating much fresh food for the next month. Really it’s no big deal for such a short period of time, but like I said, I’m neurotic. The upside: you can’t get fresher beef than the stuff my in-laws get straight from their rancher relatives, so I think it might be time Caroline had her first baby hamburger!
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Thursday, November 26th, 2009
Well, we’ve made it to North Dakota, where we’ll be until December 20. We’re having a great time with the family, and Caroline’s cousins are very excited that she’s here to play again. (Caroline is having a lot of trouble adjusting to the time change, or is getting her top teeth, or both… Tyler and I got up 12, count ‘em, 12 times last night– but that is not in keeping with my post title so I will refrain from further complaints.)
I was thinking a lot during my plane trip out here about last year’s trip. I was 20-something weeks pregnant and puking my guts out on the plane, and this year I had a sleeping 9-month old on my lap. My youngest niece was a three-month-old blob, and now she’s 15 months and walking and talking. I just can’t believe a whole year has gone by and how much has changed. And, I knew I was in for an adventure with a baby coming during dental school, but I didn’t know exactly how (or if) that was going to work out.
Since it’s Thanksgiving and I’m feeling a little grouchy due to my (complete) lack of sleep last night, I thought it might be a good idea to pretend I’m at home, around my parents’ Thanksgiving table, and list all the things I am thankful for. Because really, this year, the list is very long… and I shouldn’t forget that, regardless of how many (or few) hours of sleep I’ve gotten in the past week.
- My loving husband and my beautiful, smart little baby girl. My mother-in-law was watching me play with her yesterday and she said “it’s impossible to imagine how you’re going to feel about your own children until you actually have them, isn’t it?” And she was so right.
- The fact that I’ve gotten to spend almost Caroline’s entire first year at home with her. Sure, it’s going to be difficult to transition to daycare and to get back into things at school, but there really wouldn’t have been any other time in my life when I could as easily have taken this much time off to be a mom. Related to this, I guess, is the fact that Tyler and I have always been so careful with our money that we didn’t take a huge hit financially, even without my student loan income. I am so lucky that it was possible to do that without putting a strain on our family.
- My career that I love is waiting for me to pick up where I left off, even after taking a yearlong “vacation”.
- Both of my wonderful families– mine, and Tyler’s. I love coming here for holidays, even though I miss my parents when I do. He has that big, happy, crazy family full of kids running around that I have always wanted. My family loves each other, of course, but there are only six of us, including my grandparents…. so it’s always nice to come here and experience a little joyful chaos.
- My sweet Caroline. I have to list her again, because whenever I think about it, I can’t believe that there was a time (even if only a few weeks, way back in the beginning) when I didn’t want her. She is the light of my life.
There you have it– sappy post #2738789 since becoming a mom. I can’t help it. It’s good to acknowledge how lucky you are so that you don’t ever take it for granted, you know?
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Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
Since we were gone for about two months, I’d bore you to death if I went into everything in detail. So, here’s a rundown on what we were up to in the great state of North Dakota:
- I lived only two blocks away from my in-laws… and survived! I really do love them and I know I’m lucky to have them, because they don’t even compare to some of the in-law horror stories I’ve heard. However. My mother-in-law can be a tad bit overbearing when it comes to her grandkids, especially one who normally lives 2,000 miles away. And by overbearing, I don’t mean the “oh give me the baby again” type… I mean the “if you don’t come over by noon I will drive by your house repeatedly and peer in the windows to see what is taking you so long” type. Yeeeeah.
- I fell head over heels in love with the rural-ness of it all. For reals. By the end of the summer we were looking at land to buy and someday build a house on. It probably won’t happen because Tyler would like to be a professor or museum curator, but the beautiful badlands in the summertime had me dreaming of packing up our apartment and never looking back.
- My sister-in-law and I became great friends. She is my first and only “mommy friend” so far… none of my friends here in Connecticut are even close to thinking about having kids. I never knew how important it is to have a mommy friend until I actually had one– it makes such a big difference. We hung out almost every day, talked about everything, and played with our babies. It was heaven. We even had a half-birthday party for Caroline and her cousin, since they share a birthday but we are never together in February. I really enjoyed finally getting to know my nieces, too, since we live so far apart. My 2 1/2-year old niece sobbed when we left (“I– don’t– want– Joo-ah– to– GO!!!!”)… and so did I.
- Caroline started solid food (avocado!) and learned to tripod and then sit on her own. I felt like I took a teeny baby out there who was content to be carried around all day, and returned with a much bigger baby who is now squirming to get out of my arms so she can wriggle around on the floor. Sniff.
- Speaking of baby food, making it for Caroline is so much fun and saves tons of cash. I made sweet potatoes for one of her first foods, but they gave her a rash. Since I didn’t want to waste them, I gave the rest of them to Tyler at dinner one night. He loved them. After he ate it, I remembered that I made it using my breastmilk. I didn’t tell him. (If you’re reading this… love you, honey! Sorry!)
- In case you can’t tell by everything I’ve already said, my post-partum depression really seemed to lift out there. I was technically in the middle of nowhere, but I was much less isolated than I am here in the middle of civilization, because Tyler’s family was all around. The constant sunlight streaming into our big, gorgeous rental house helped me a lot too. Even though I was sad to leave North Dakota, I still feel about a million times happier than I did when we left Connecticut. Here’s our bright and sunny living room:
- I quit pumping entirely a few weeks after we got there, and just nursed twice a day until my milk supply ran out. I was so, so upset to stop nursing… but at the same time, it was such a relief to have the whole drama finally be over with. Caroline is formula-fed now, and even though I never wanted that for her, I can’t deny that it has made me a better mother on the whole– now that I am not torturing myself with a plastic pump eight times a day.
- I cheated on my husband with a cowboy. WHAT THE WHAT?! Just kidding. Wanted to see if you were still paying attention. Bet that caught Tyler’s eye, if he’s reading. (Between this and #5, he might be initiating a come-to-Jesus chat with me tonight. Wish me luck.)
- Caroline’s reflux has definitely improved, although she does still have occasional choking episodes where solids come out her nose and we both freak the freak out. Sometimes I still feel frustrated with all her spitting up, but I try to put it in perspective– it can be measured in terms of tablespoons now, rather than square feet of couch. And, at her six-month appointment she weighed 15 pounds 10 ounces, which is almost in the 50th percentile! I have never, ever in my life been so happy to achieve average-ness.
- On the plane trip back, Caroline and I sat next to an elderly man who was not interested in babies and didn’t give Caroline the attention she thought she deserved. When I woke up after dozing off for a minute, she was leaning over and stroking his arm. He was not amused. I was.
So, that’s about it! As you can see, we had a fantastic time overall. It’s too bad Caroline won’t remember this summer, because I will always look back on it with fond memories as one of the best summers of my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better two months.
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Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
I know, I know… the audacity is appalling. Who does she think she is?? She doesn’t blog all summer and then she comes back all “hey, tell me about yourself”?!
I’ll discuss everything that went down in the middle of nowhere shortly, I promise. Here, does this entice you? You can’t resist this face. Go ahead… just try!
So, here’s the thing: I always see all the visits on the sitemeter-thingy at the bottom of my page (getting close to 50,000!) but I don’t know anything about you. So tell me (if you feel like it)–
1) Who are you?
2) How did you find my blog?
3) What stage of “baby life” are you at? (Thinking about having a baby, trying to conceive, pregnant, parent, just interested in people who over-share about their lives on the interwebz…)
4) Anything else you care to share about yourself!
5) If you have any questions for me or things you’d like to see me write about, feel free to tell me that too.
I look forward to “meeting” you, and so does Caroline!
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