It’s nearly the end of 2012, and it’s definitely been a year of ups and downs. This morning, I have been reflecting on some of the positives of 2012:
I officially became a PhD candidate
I had a blast vacationing/conferencing in the UK over the summer
I turned the big 30
I have experienced all the fun of Little V so far, and have been pregnant for nearly 2/3 of 2012
It’s been an eventful year! And it’s been a year dominated by, of course, science and babies. Pregnancy has resulted in some serious lifestyle changes. Some are predictable, like no booze. And yes, when you are a grad student (or a someone surrounded by other someones who just love the stuff), not drinking is an adjustment. But others were a complete surprise to me. And I have definitely changed in ways I never would have predicted.
So, with these big changes in mind, here are a few things that babies and science could NOT have lived without this year:
1. THE HALF CAFF/HALF DECAF COFFEE
I know, I know. Many pregnant women swear off coffee their entire pregnancy. But here I made a compromise- after reading some of the studies tentatively linking caffeine to miscarriage, I did drastically cut down to about 1.5-2 caffeinated cups a day. One thing that did help tremendously was that I realized that the routine of consumption was just as important as the little boost of caffeine itself. I simply love getting up in the morning and enjoying a couple of cups of coffee or meeting a friend for a latte in the afternoon. So rather than ration out the volume, I made an executive decision to trick my mind (and J’s). I switched to making half caff/half decaf in the morning. And honestly, I can hardly tell the difference. And because I only have about a cup of caffeine in the morning, I had no guilt about enjoying the occasional single shot latte in the afternoon.
2. THE BODY PILLOW
This one is a little more recent but was definitely a game changer. As an avid stomach sleeper, pregnancy made sleep difficult for me. You basically have to sleep on your side, and preferably your left side. For a month or so I used an assortment of pillows for between my knees, below my hips and my head. This definitely helped but I struggled to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time and I could rarely get in more than 6 hours a night. Because I was getting up at strange hours to study for my general exam, these bad nights of sleep were crushing. And my usual solution to tiredness was now severely limited (refer to #1). After a particularly rough night, I was having a nice little Saturday at BB&B and I remembered my sister’s praises of the body pillow for pregnancy. It was the best $20 I’ve ever spent. Other than getting up to pee several times in the night, I am in a dead sleep while bear-hugging that thing. I call it my boyfriend and J knows better than to get between us.
3. THE ELECTRONIC LAB NOTEBOOK
I honestly don’t know- does anyone still use a paper lab notebook? A couple years ago I made the switch from paper to having a new word document for every month. Having all my lab notebooks accessible at any time from home has really freed me up to do some work from home. And this kind of flexibility has been awesome as I get fatter and lazier by the day.
4. THE GOOD BLENDER
Until Taco Time and cupcakes start counting as health food, I have never been very good at eating healthy and this makes you feel really guilty when you are pregnant. When my midwife told me to steer clear of the salad bar at work, my fresh fruit/veggie consumption pretty much tapered off to the occasional apple and a few cherry tomatoes. Then I learned that I could combine all these gross healthy veggies (like kale and spinach) into a blender with delicious fruit (strawberries, raspberries, peaches) along with other healthy stuff (like flax seed, nuts, plain yogurt) into a blender and I would get a drink that tastes pretty much like strawberries. I now make a couple of these a day. The trick is a good blender- I splurged on a NutriBullet but any blender that can actually crush up frozen fruit will do. I feel awesome after drinking one of these things. I also get the satisfaction of being, for the first time in my life, one of those people who actually consumes the proper amount of fresh fruits and vegetables (humble brag!).
That’s all for now. Happy New Year!