Friday, February 29, 2008

More bad news

So if things weren’t just going down hill enough I found out yesterday that my undergraduate advisor died Tuesday. Granted I wasn’t fond of the man personally, but I have a lot of respect for him as a professor and researcher. RIP Dr. Hawk. The PRC won’t be the same without you.

I also got an email yesterday saying that my grandmother has between 24 hours and 4 days to live. So the next few days are going to be rough.

Yeah, I’m doing all I can to stay together and strong for everyone but I’m on the verge of breaking down.

Pumping at work

I guess this is a topic that I see almost everywhere on message boards and baby sites. I read on one such post that says one of the main reasons women give up breastfeeding all together are difficulties with pumping at work and not adequate places to do so. Granted I’m the kind of person that figures if I can somehow pull something off that isn’t that hard, so now having almost nursed for a year I got to thinking why was I able to do it when so many other women have problems.

For me pumping at work can be very interesting. The office I work in now and previously worked in didn’t have a closed off area other than the bathroom. So from the time I went back to work at 6 weeks I just started pumping in the handicap stall in the bathroom. So right now the way I do things is keep my 2 Medela Swing pumps and supplies in a small black bag under the sink in the bathroom. When I go in to pump I just grab the bag and sit on the floor and play on the DS while I pump. I’ve warned a few people in the office about it, but for the most part no one says anything to me while I’m pumping. I have had a few comments but nothing that didn’t make me laugh because of how absurd it sounded.

When I was at the cooperate office I was amazed at how nice it was. They actually had a “lactation room” that had a couch, magazines, wall outlets, a sink and small refrigerator. I wish we could get something like that at our office, but I’m not going to complain. Really I don’t mind the situation. Of course I wish I had somewhere more comfortable to sit and a couple of wall outlets to plug things up but other than that I don’t have any complaints.

So I guess the question that keeps coming to mind is why this has worked for me when so many other women have problems with it. I mean I had such an oversupply that we have a large stock pile in the deep freezer. I mean it was hard at first when I couldn’t get him to take me and all he would take was the bottle. It was hard at first making the time to go pump but after about a week things started to get easier with pumping at work and I just kind of fell into a routine that has worked to this day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February Hates us

So this month has shaped up to be bad. I had originally planned to make a long post about pumping at work but for now that will have to wait.

The first thing that most recently happened is HH5 spent her last weekend with us for who knows how long. Her money hungry mother has decided to move them to California to be with her new hubby. No one seems to think it will last too long but for the moment it is just bad. It’s taken a definite tole on W much more so than me. To say the least this past weekend was difficult for everyone involved.

Another thing came up Monday. I got an email from my mom telling me that my grandmother has about 2 weeks to live. She has refused all fluids and is clenching her mouth shut. They said that she could start wanting fluids again but it’s doubtful. Hospice says that its just part of the body shutting down. I haven’t seen her since before I was pregnant and even then she didn’t know who I was. She kept calling me Kay (her dead daughter). I’ve been told that right now she doesn’t know who anyone is. It might sound morbid but since hearing the news I am getting things squared away with work and school so incase I have to drop everything and get down to Montgomery it wont be a problem. So far everyone has been great about it. The main boss at work completely understood and my stats professor said that she would work with me to make sure I was caught up if I had to miss a class.

I also know that here soon its going to be just like my granddad’s funeral. Everyone visibly upset and yet I stand with a very solemn face not showing very much emotion. Its not that I don’t care or that I’m not hurt, I just have a hard time showing emotion in public situations. I always try and be the strong one, but when it’s just me and W, I completely break down. Also around the office and the situation I’m in its better not to show the guys that they bother you because then they just start pushing that button no matter what it is.

To add to all the pressure I am once again contemplating giving up on grad school. Never before starting my master’s was I so hard on myself about school. I made a 70 on my flight testing exam and granted its only 10% of my final grade I was mad that I studied so hard and then screwed up like that. Then on my stats exam I ended up making a 79.1. The only things I screwed up were the really simple problems with real numbers in them. Leave it to me to be able to do the complex integral stuff but yet screw up basic math.

So the phrase “when it rains it pours” has new meaning to me right now and hopefully things will start to turn around soon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


You know those weeks where Murphy seems to be in charge and no one else. Yeah its one of those weeks at work, school and home. I have some thoughts coming regarding other matters but first I have to get through this insane week.

"You don’t want that for a snack”

I’ve never hidden that once a day I go and pump but most of the guys I work with just never realized it. I always figured they would be disgusted by it and just never bring it up, but I have mentioned that HH2 is not and will not be on formula. When I do pump and put it in the refrigerator it’s in a small gray draw string bag so that no one has to look at it and no one has ever asked what is in there until yesterday.

So yesterday I was about to leave to get ready for my stats test when on my way out I remembered that I didn’t grab the milk I pumped out of the small refrigerator in our area. As I was getting it one of the guys (DA2) said something to the effect of oh we were going to eat that while you were gone. To which another one of the guys (DA1) replied “Dude you don’t want that, trust me”. Suddenly he realized what was in there and the red color that DA2’s face turned was priceless. I rarely can disgust any of them and that certainly did it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Introduction to the chaos

Just an introduction to me and the idea behind this blog.

I’m a 27 year old female engineer living in a town with more PhD’s per capita than anywhere else in the US. I work doing airframe modifications on military helicopters, but I’m also interested in getting into the loads analysis portion as well. I’m in a master’s program working on a Master’s of Science in Engineering in the field of rotorcraft systems engineering. At times I think the program is out to kill me, but that’s about normal. I take 2 classes a semester and will graduate in December of 2009 providing things stay on track. I am a huge college hockey fan and go to all of the UAH Charger’s home games am a tomboy at heart. I love to watch football, NASCAR and hockey. I also love college and pro football and will watch almost anyone that is on TV. In college I’m a loyal Bama fan and like any team that knocks off Tennessee for a game. Pro’s I follow the Titans, Seahawks and anyone that knocks off Payton Manning or the Patriots. I studied genbukan martial arts for 5 years and would love to get back into it, but at the right time where I’m not in school as well. I miss it a lot but want to be able to devote more time to it which is what it takes to be good.

Around February of last year when I was pregnant with our first child together I asked W at breakfast what he thought about becoming a stay at home dad. To be honest I never really thought it was odd, but more that I wasn’t fond of someone else raising our son. Also I was looking at the cost of daycare and at a minimum that was going to cost $125 a week. So after a couple of weeks of looking at finances and weighing all the options W and I decided when HH2 was born he would quit his part time job at Babies R Us to start a new job as a stay at home dad (SAHD). I honestly expected a lot of backlash from some parts of the family but surprisingly they were very supportive. The critics have come from people who don’t understand and are too narrow-minded to consider a family where many of the rolls are reversed.

A typical day for me generally starts really early. Around 3 or 3:30am early if that tells you anything. I get up and pump HH2 first bottle of the day and look at the news on the net. Lately I've been working very long days so I'm normally at work between 4 and 5. Depending on the day I work until between 2 and 4. Some days I leave and go to school at 2 and I’m there for between 2 and 6 hours and then on days I’m not in school I’m normally home by 4. I pump once during the day at work in the bathroom since there isn’t anywhere else to do it. When I get home though its all mommy time. HH2 or butters as W calls him wants nothing to do with daddy when I come home. He generally wants to nurse the minute I walk in the door and then its play time, dinner, bath/ play time, get ready for bed then nurse to sleep/ drowsy. Then starts time for studying and maybe catching a couple of tv shows, but more often than not its hitting the books. I normally try and get to bed between 9 and 9:30 just because I need the rest. To be honest W and I don’t get much time together since I’ve been so busy. I do what I can to make time but it’s just hard.

I do a lot of baby wearing when we are out since I come to dislike strollers in most social situations. I also have been nursing my son for almost 11 months now and have no intentions on stopping soon. I have adopted the philosophy of child led weaning but at the same time I intend of having limits.

The reason I wanted to start this blog was I found very few blogs from women who were working and nursing and trying to do it all while staying sane. Basically that is who I am. I am a working mom and graduate student trying to somehow balance work, school and family all at once and not lose my mind.

I’m not going to say that this thing will be updated more than once a week. I stay pretty busy so my goal is once a week or every two weeks. So anyway welcome to the life of a female engineer/ graduate student/ wife and mother.