Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Allergic to Pregnancy?

Since getting pregnant I've found that I sneeze at least 10 times a day. I've never had any allergies- back in high school when I was constantly sick, I got tested for every single thing that anyone has every been allergic to, my back and arms were covered in those little scratches. Now I sneeze everywhere- the law school, my apartment, restaurants. I'm pretty sure its the baby's fault- maybe s/he thinks its fun to make me sneeze. Maybe my body spasm makes a fun little tidal wave in the womb. I have no idea, but I do know that people I hang around regularly are tired of saying "bless you".

A Woman Among Men

After my securities class today, I lingered at the front of the room to further argue a comment I made in class about causation in section 10(b) fraud suits. I completely disagreed with what the Supreme Court decided (I hadn't actually read the case yet, so its interesting to note that even though I didn't know it was a Scalia opinion yet, I still vehemently disagreed with it. Apparently I don't form my opinions to purposefully contradict his.) Anyway, standing at the front of the class I realized I was the only woman among 6 men waiting to talk to the professor.

I've read articles about how men are more encouraged (or more willing) to volunteer in class and I never really put any stock in them. As a woman I've never felt like I was treated any differently, but I realized today that I almost never volunteer and I have never stayed after to talk to a professor before today. I wonder why that is. I've noticed in my classes that the vast majority of those who volunteer are men. Even when I'm certain I know the answer, I usually don't raise my hand; whereas the guy next to me, who is completely wrong, has no problem volunteering. Normally I'd say its just because I'm apathetic in class and don't need the fact that I know the answer to be broadcast to everyone, but I wonder if that's related to why women often have problems promoting themselves at work.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

16 week (and 5 day) Update

Today was our third prenatal appointment- I went alone this time b/c JP already heard the heartbeat and the ultrasound isn't until the next appointment (yay!). Even though we're past the risky first trimester and everything has been going smoothly, I still get incredibly nervous before an appointment. I think its because if I am every going to get bad news, it would be the day of an appointment when the midwife couldn't find the heartbeat. On the way to the Playboy Headquarters this morning (where my OB practice is located), I was even planning out the blog post that would share my bad news. Totally useless- I'm certain that planning it out wouldn't make it one iota easier to write or endure, but its what I do. I think of the worst thing that could happen and then I think about the steps I would take afterward. So after that morbid introduction, I'll get to point of this post- everything looks GREAT with the baby.

S/he has a strong 151 bpm heartbeat- lots of whooshing which my midwife let me listen to for a while. Its so amazing- there's really a little person in there. Despite the fact that my body is changing- my boobs are (way) bigger, my jeans don't fit, I'm always tired, and my hormones are completely out of control- I sometimes forget I'm really growing a baby. I still haven't felt him or her kick, so I only get proof every 4 weeks. I also got a lot of blood drawn for the 2nd trimester genetic screening test- we should get those results back in a week. Once again, even though I have no reason to worry (we're both young and have no family history), I get nervous. I scheduled the ultrasound appointment for March 21st- we can't wait! Not only will it be great to see the baby again (last time we couldn't see much because I had a tipped uterus), but we can stop saying "it" and "the baby" and I can stop typing "s/he" and "him or her". Why don't we have a gender-neutral personal pronoun? I also scheduled an appointment with an internist for this Thursday- I've been having absolutely horrific headaches that last between 1-3 days. I have a history of headaches, but haven't felt anything like this since high school. My midwife said there are several prescriptions that are perfectly safe during pregnancy, so I'm looking forward to getting something- I can barely speak when my head is pounding like that, much less study.

I took the rest of the day off- I'd already missed all my classes, so why not? "Maybe because finals are 11 days away?" said the studious angel on my shoulder. I quickly swatted him away with my Victoria's Secret shopping bag. I had a lunch with a friend who goes to Northwestern Law- she's a 1L and seems SO much happier than I was last year. SO much. Why didn't I apply there? Anyway, we went to Water Tower Place and had a delicious lunch and then shopped a little. She had to go to class and then I walked to Old Navy and bought two really cute skirts and tops- both "non-maternity" but stretchy and almost identical to the maternity clothes on the third floor. My birthday money is quickly disappearing. I ordered 3 things from Isabella Oliver over the weekend with bday money from my in-laws. I got this top in teal, this one in white, and this skirt in black. Gorgeous- I can't wait to get them in the mail, especially the teal one! I read a bunch of reviews online about the company and clothes and everything was very positive. Its way outside my normal price range, but if its high quality, comfortable, and makes me feel good, I think its worth it. And the total was almost exactly what my in-laws sent, so I consider it a special birthday extravagance.

My firm this summer is "business dress", i.e. dress slacks, collared shirt, and sport coat for men and something equivalent for women. I'm going to have to find some nice maternity clothes that will fit in the 3rd trimester and be comfortable in Austin, Texas heat. Any ideas where to find such magical garments?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I'm 24

Today is my 24th birthday- that sounds both young and old at the same time. Right up to my 21st birthday, I anxiously counted down the days until I was a year older. There was counting down to get my driving permit at 15, license at 16, being an adult at 18, and legally drinking alcohol at 21. Now my birthday kind of sneaks up on me. I'm not old enough to dread it, but I'm not young enough to count down, and I'm starting to wish I hadn't spent so much time counting down in the past. On her 24th, my friend MP said, "I'm halfway between 18 and 30." Interesting way to think about it- for me, 30 feels a lot closer than 18. So much has happened in the last 6 years- graduating high school, quitting swimming, graduating college, getting married, moving to Chicago, starting law school, getting pregnant- that high school part seems very far away. I wonder what the next 6 will bring (besides baby #1)!

And because it's a birthday, and I just found these on a picture CD (I'm organizing old stuff- anything to avoid studying), some baby LL pics.

Here I master the art of rainbow order, an essential life skill:

And I still do not like to be awoken from a nap:

"Wake me and I'll squirt you"

Best Meal Ever?

Last night JP celebrated my birthday at Arun's Thai Restaurant. I think it may have been the best meal I've ever eaten- it was certainly the greatest overall dining experience.

Arun's is tucked away among random buildings on Kedzie Ave- very unassuming for a place that costs $85/person before drinks, tax, tip, etc. Everyone gets the 12-course chef's tasting menu with 6 appetizers, 4 entrees, and 2 desserts. The service was impeccable and they are very flexible with the menu for allergies, dislikes, and spiciness preferences. JP and I were on opposite ends of the spice spectrum for every dish and still thought each one was perfection. I really wanted to take pictures of each one (I held back out of respect for the fine dining atmosphere and JP's glaring)- they were so beautifully presented! I did take one picture- of the tempura bass entree that had an intricately carved goldfish from a carrot. There were also delicate little butterflies carved from a carrot on top of our spring rolls.

I wish I could describe each course, but I can't remember a majority of the ingredients- everything had an incredible mix of flavors that I would never have ordered off a menu (I'm a picky eater)-- and every single thing was delicious. Flavors I know I don't like (coconut and curry) were in several dishes and I still thought they were the best things I'd ever eaten. It was a wonderful evening- amazing food, relaxed, quiet atmosphere, and of course- great company. It was fun to get dressed up- even though it took a while to find something that would fit! I settled on a beaded shear top that stretched over a camisole with some (stretchy) black pants and sexy shoes (at least they still fit). JP looked quite handsome in a suit- swimmers wear those so well.

JP's boss had given us a $170 gift certificate for Christmas (there is no way we could go there otherwise) and we still spent $90 on his glass of wine, my tea, tax, tip, and valet. It is not a cheap dining experience, but if you're going to spend that much, I can definitely say you wouldn't walk away feeling like you'd wasted the money. We're planning a return trip for my law school graduation present- we'll be saving up- by then dinner will include babysitting fees!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pregnant Summer Associate

I received the following comment on my earlier post:
"I'm a pregnant 2L and will be a summer associate this summer too... are you worried about how the attorneys you meet this summer will think of you as a pregnant woman? that they will perceive you as not as serious as everyone else"

I was going to respond in the comment section, but I know a lot of people stumble upon this blog by googling "pregnant law student" so I figured I should give my response its own post. I'm actually not very worried about it. If anything, I think they will take me more seriously because I'm starting my family in law school and still working for a firm and finishing my degree. I'm not planning to get pregnant as a 2nd year associate and quit my job- I very much want my roles as mother and lawyer to coexist. Also, my pregnant state will probably make me a better summer because I'm not going to be that way-too-drunk associate at a social event or the one nursing a hangover at work the next morning. Last year I (anonymously) asked a question how being pregnant would affect you as a summer associate during a lunch talk with a BigLaw firm hiring manager and attorneys- they all looked around blankly and finally someone offered- "I guess you'd drink less?" They didn't seem remotely put off by the concept and actually seemed to find it odd a law student would be concerned. Before getting pregnant, I talked with several other students at the law school who were pregnant over their 2L summer. One worked at a DA's office, and 3 were at firms- all had great experiences and didn't think being pregnant made any difference at all (besides not being able to partake in the free booze). Really, if being pregnant does anything, it will give you a great way to bond with all the other attorneys who have families. I've already gotten several emails from attorneys (male and female) at the firm expressing their congratulations and sharing anecdotes about their own recent additions.

A few qualifiers and comments on interviewing: My lack of concern can be attributed in part to the firm I chose- two of the women interviewing me happened to be pregnant and the firm is really trying to sell their women's initiatives and new maternity leave policies. I made my goal of being able to balance work and a family very clear in the interviews and no one seemed put off by that at all (obviously, as I got a callback and offer). Also, coming from a "top" law school could have given me a little more power to push the family plans during an interview- most firms at OCI are there to impress us just as much as we're supposed to try and impress them. I don't want to come off at all elitist, but just let it be known that I'm not advocating being that open with your family plans in every situation. One of my OCI interviewers was pregnant, so I knew she wouldn't be put off by my honesty. I was also not interviewing for V10 NYC firms- maybe they would care more. However, my interviews were still V50 and very prestigious in the market (Texas).

Firms are pretty desperate to attract (and retain) women, and they know that they way they treat you this summer will be seen by every other female summer associate. If they have any PR brains, they'll go out of their way to make sure you're treated just as seriously and given plenty of positive feedback and support. So Anon, I wish you the best, and please feel free to email me with questions and to just let me know how things go for you!

P.S. Transmogriflaw was also a pregnant law student and very pregnant summer associate, so if you haven't already, read through her archives- I found them to be very informative, entertaining, and reassuring.

My Summer Schedule

Our spring quarter is only 8 weeks long and I have NO idea how the professors are going to cram a full class into something so short, but I do know they will try, and we will suffer. Anyway, our last day of class is May 18th and after an entire weekend free to study, finals start on the 21st. I'll have one on the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. And then the summer madness begins:
  • May 24: take last final from 2-5pm, hop in car with JP and all my suitcases previously packed for 5 weeks in Texas, and begin the 17 hour drive down south
  • May 25: continue the drive, must get to Houston before baby brother's high school graduation begins at 8:30pm
  • May 27: move into wherever I'm living in Austin, JP flies back to Chicago
  • May 29: start work at The Firm
  • June 2: mom and I host bridal shower for family friend in Houston
  • June 8-10: The Firm hosts "All Clerk Weekend" in Austin, JP gets flown down for the occasion
  • June 16-17: different friend's wedding in Austin, I'm a 7.5 months pregnant bridesmaid, JP will fly down again
  • June 23: my baby shower in Houston (hosted by the previously mentioned family friend's mom) and JP will be supervising our across town Chicago move
  • June 30: JP flies down and we drive back up to Chicago where I am certain to be greeted with a huge disaster of boxes and furniture in our new apartment
  • July 2: I start work at Chicago firm
  • July 7: my family are all visiting (odds that we will be totally moved in and ready for visitors a week after we've moved and 5 days after I've returned to Chicago = very slim)
  • July 14: first free weekend! time to prepare the apartment for the baby
  • 3-4 weeks later: baby makes its big debut

Does this seem a little insane? At least the third trimester will go by really quickly...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Misery Thy Name is Admin

I am currently enduring the worst 1 hour and 40 minutes of my day. Thursday is otherwise a happy day because it starts a new week of pregnancy (number 17!) and I watch Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy at a friend's apartment (will they kill of Meredith? No. Will they take the whole episode to get around to her coming "back to life"? Yes. Will Izzy stop being a bitch about George? Uncertain.)

Back to admin... I have almost no idea what is going on- I have never sunk to the level of blog posting during class, though I'm normally an avid email/blog/news reader. I don't think the cases themselves are confusing, but my professor has a knack for asking questions that make no sense with answers that make even less. I think he's either doing cocaine or very close to having a nervous breakdown. He actually jumped up and down three times before class began today. He rocks back and forth and talks really fast. I'm sure trying to make tenure at UC is very high-pressure and I'm worried he may be cracking.

Admin is probably going to be my secured transactions of last quarter. If anyone has an outline for the Breyer casebook and you wish to share it, I may re-think the name I have chosen for our first born. This may be the first time I turn to a commercial outline- or, more likely, I'll just admit defeat and let the curve carry me where it will.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Exam Prep Musing

3 weeks from today I will be done with my winter exams. At UC we're on the quarter system and thus taken more classes and more exams than anyone else. I'll get a whole new set of classes when we get back from Spring Break. I hate the quarter system with a fiery passion and I have NO idea how I was tricked into believing that taking more classes/exams than other schools was some sort of privilege- a semester's worth of info is crammed into 10 weeks and at the end of this year I will have taken as many rounds of exams as a graduating 3L.

Two weeks is the earliest I've ever started preparing for exams, and that was for fall quarter 1L year. Those were two of my least impressive grades (until secured transactions), so I decided starting early was not for me (I also learned that my understanding of the class and my grade rarely correlate.) Now I start 2-3 days before each particular class's exam or about 7-10 days before the exam period begins. Another painful effect of the quarter system is that our exams are very squished together- this quarter I have one every day, for three days, and then I'm done. So when you're a last minute person like me this makes things a little tough. Because securities regulation is very rule/time intensive and admin is a complete disaster (and really commercial transactions isn't going to be easy either), I think I'm going to have to change my usual study plan. In the past I've read all my notes and made an outline in about 2 days and then I look over old exams/answers (you should absolutely work through those old exams, I just never have the time or self-discipline). I never use outside outlines or hornbooks- I'm sure they're helpful, but I've done quite well basing things off my own class notes and case briefs and once again, there's the time issue- if I can barely finish reading my own notes, I certainly can't read things other people have written.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do this quarter. I spent this afternoon cleaning out my pre-pregnancy clothes from my closet and the wet suitcases (now dried) and putting them in a new waterproof container. My birthday is Sunday and my next doctor's appointment is Tuesday, so those days will be completely unproductive. Securities is going to take so much work it makes me tired (btw, I thought the pregnancy exhaustion was supposed to get better in the 2nd trimester- I have NOT found that to be the case). Admin might as well be taught in a foreign language; it make sense when I read it and then my professor messes it all up. Commercial transactions is not too bad, but I definitely have a lot of work to do in learning the appropriate UCC provisions and caselaw. (I also have a seminar, but that paper isnt due until spring). The best thing would be for this quarter to spontaneously end and the next quarter (where I have selected ALL interesting, non-practical classes) to begin. Yes, I think that would be the perfect solution...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sports Build Character Right?

An article from the LA Times, "Where Is Sport Steering Youth?" brought up some interesting points about high school and college athletics. While most people consider them as a means to build character, hard work, commitment, team-work, etc., the recent "less-than-perfect role models like Barry Bonds, violence in professional sports, showcasing of kids as individuals in a team game, and parents becoming much more aggressive" may counter those assumptions. A two-year study of high school athletes by the Josephson Institute found a higher rate of cheating in school among student-athletes than among their classmates (although, not much higher). The study also found a "growing acceptance of cheating to gain advantages in competition." A few other findings:
  • 25% of teen athletes considered rule-bending and aggressive behavior in competition acceptable. A substantial majority did not find it acceptable, though the percentage who considered that behavior acceptable had risen since a previous survey.
  • 48% of baseball players believe it proper for a coach to order his pitcher to throw at an opposing batter in retaliation.
  • 72% of football players acknowledged cheating

[The researcher] said the survey did not pinpoint "whether this enhanced propensity to cheat is due to values that put winning over honesty or a reflection of pressures to stay [academically] eligible or simply manage their time given the high demands of sports." One coach stated, in response to the study that the "warped values are not the fault of sports. . . . The failure rests on parents, teachers, coaches and role models."

So the numbers aren't staggeringly high and I do believe sports instill some wonderful qualities in the athletes, but the increasing numbers of those who find cheating (on/off the field) to be acceptable is worrisome. There are coaches who encourage it, either implicitly or explicitly, and you can find it in any professional sport. There are also those crazy parents who will push their kids to actions beyond anything I would consider sportsmanlike or sometimes even ethical. One thing I always loved about swimming was that it's nearly impossible to cheat. It's also a team sport made up of individual swims, so there can't be any hogging of the ball or "showboating." If you're good, the clock will say so, and then you have to get out of the pool immediately for the next heat of swimmers- not much time to bask in your own glory. I will say that the "academic counseling" from the athletic department at UT was definitely borderline ethical and it bothered me when I was there.

I do hope that my kids participate in sports because I believe they can do a lot of good. I also hope that JP and I stay on the sidelines where we belong- that we praise actions that are sportsmanlike and not just ones that win, and always remember that the glory/success go away, but the good memories and lessons learned stay with you forever.

Sigh... I suppose now I should get back to catching up in the worst class EVER (admin).

*The article may be password-protected, I think I did the free registration for the LA Times a while ago and the computer automatically keeps me logged in*

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Video Cameras

JP and I are in the market for a video camera. Because all technological purchases fall under my jurisdiction, I am doing the research and deciding what to buy. So far I've figured out there are miniDV, DVD, and digital camcorders- what I can't figure out is which one is best for us. Simplicity is key- I enjoy editing things when I have the time, but in general I just want to be able to film something and then have it to keep and play back whenever (and mail to the new grandparents after the baby is born). Do you have to transfer the stuff recorded on a miniDV camcorder to a real DVD? This makes me think I just want to record straight onto a mini DVD and be done with it.

Do any of you own/use a camcorder? What do you like/not like about your typeand brand? Any recommendations?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Feeling Fat v. Feeling Pregnant

Yesterday I woke up and nothing fit- at least nothing with buttons and a zipper. It was quite disconcerting. I know its for a good reason and maybe its just the girl in me who always wanted to lose 5 more pounds, but I felt quite down about the fact my jeans wouldn't zip. I've only gained 3 lbs. so far, but my body has changed a lot. I swear I'm the same width front-to-back as I am side-to-side and I'm pretty sure each boob has gained 2 lbs. (JP is a big fan of pregnancy and now wants at least 5 kids). I don't have much of a belly yet, so I think that's why it feels more like I'm getting fatter and less like I'm pregnant. The pregnancy books call it getting "thicker" and that doesn't sound any more attractive. So after getting depressed by not being able to button my jeans, I decided to leave school early and go maternity clothes shopping for the first time.

Our 4-story Old Navy on State Street has a maternity section (which was all 25% off yesterday!) and I got some really cute jeans that look normal but have an elastic band at the top. They were "long" which meant someone bought them online and returned them- and they fit perfectly! Once I had them on, and I actually felt comfortable and looked cute, I was so much more comfortable with my new body. I also got several sweaters and a cute pair of grey pants. I'm really excited about the new clothes (I love shopping) and I actually felt great wearing my new outfit today. I think it was the squishing of my body into my old jeans that got me depressed. Now that I have clothes that fit, I feel so much better.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Crazy Weather

Chicago has recently endured a massive "winter storm"- I called it a blizzard, but I've been informed that is not technically correct. I do know that as a girl from Houston, I never want to be a part of anything more blizzard-like than that. When I'm indoors looking out the window, I find it all idyllic and pretty- when I'm trying to drive to school and parallel park my car into a snow drift without 4-wheel-drive, I'm not such a big fan. I did take the opportunity to snap some pictures. I realized I've never taken pictures of the snow and I want to remember it when I'm bitching about the Texas heat later in life.

So there's a picture of me showing off the snowy midway on my way to the business school for lunch (the business school has by far the best cafeteria on campus, the law school's is by far the worst). And here's a picture of some geese wondering why the hell they didn't fly further south for winter. I think they were fooled by Chicago's initially warm winter and got lazy.

We got a lot more snow last night- yesterday afternoon it took me over an hour to drive home from the law school. They closed Lakeshore Drive after I was on it- it was insane. Cars were going off the highway, a truck got turned sideways and couldn't face back the right way, and my car got turned nearly perpendicular to the road and I had to turn the wheel and wait for the wind to push me back. I had a splitting headache by the time I got home, so I took a nice bath, drank some tea, and watched Friends re-runs. Inflicting admin reading on myself just seemed cruel.

Tonight they finally plowed the streets behind the law school where my car was parallel parked. It was a slippery slushy place this morning, so I'm glad they made the streets safer- BUT all that plowed snow ended up against my car. There was about 18" stacked all along the side and I wasn't sure how I was going to get out. I knew it would involve long stints with my little blue snow shovel but then a very nice man out shoveling his walkway offered to help me. I assumed he meant by shoveling, so I hopped out of the car in order to help. He then jumped in my car to my great surprise/concern (this is in Hyde Park... not a safe part of Chicago) and gunned it back and forth a few hundred times and got me over the (mini) snow drift! I was so thankful and pleasantly reminded that there are many more good people in the world than bad.

Now I'm at home, warm and cozy, waiting for JP to come home with our Chicago-style stuffed pizza. I hope everyone else is safe, warm, and enjoying their Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Swimming in the Basement

Our apartment building has storage units in the basement near the underground parking. Because JP and I have a small apartment and a lot of stuff, our two units are pretty full. Yesterday morning I noticed a sign on the elevator notifying residents that a water pipe had burst over the weekend, flooding the storage area and underground parking. Thankfully, we can't afford underground parking, so our cars were fine (usually I covet those spaces while I'm brushing snow off my car in the morning). Our stuff was not so fine.

Last weekend I packed up all the clothes that aren't going to fit for another 9 or so months and put them in our biggest suitcase. JP took them down to the storage unit because it was taking up 80% of the walking space in our bedroom. Last night, after trudging down to the basement to survey the damage, we found a large pool of water surrounding our two units. Water was just running out of all the suitcases- all my clothes were soaked. We had to throw away a desktop computer, a stereo, and two boxes of books and lug 5 sopping wet suitcases up to our apartment. We took everything out and blow dried the insides. [Random aside: our cat loves sleeping in suitcases and kept trying to jump in the ones all over the floor- she'd immediately jump out, totally horrified by the wetness, and then try another. It took about 20 min. before she gave up- and I think she may be cured from trying to jump in suitcases ever again! No more white fur on my clothes when I travel!] I washed/dryed all the clothes I had so carefully packed away and there were hangers dangling from every possible place in our apartment. After an hour and a half, the suitcases were dry and the clothes were drying. It could have been much worse- a lot of our stuff was in giant plastic storage bins and stayed safe. Since it took so long to get that situation under control, I never did my admin reading. I was trying to decide what I'd say if the professor called on me today- "Sorry, water damage."?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Confrontation with Mom

So I write about how my parents were not exactly excited when I told them the baby news. Two months have gone by and I still couldn't shake the feeling that my mom was just not happy about it. We talk almost every day (we've always been really close- which is what made this whole thing so strange and upsetting) and yet we rarely talked about my pregnancy or the baby. It got to the point where I didn't even feel comfortable bringing it up. I couldn't figure out why I felt I'd let her down in some way- like I was 16, pregnant, and still in high school. I initially blamed her reluctance to be excited on the shock and then on fear of miscarriage (she miscarried her first at 14 weeks- and she had the exact same due date I have), but those excuses had expired. I felt like one of the biggest points of contention was my desire to work after having the baby- she stayed home for 10 years with the 3 of us, and I worried she was unhappy with my failure to do the same. All of these issues and hurt feelings had been building up and I finally decided to deal with it.

So... I emailed her. The easy way out I know, but my sister was visiting and I didn't want to call while my mom with with her and I knew I'd cry the minute she answered the phone. I wrote about the impression I'd been getting from her and how confused I was about it- I described, again, JP and my reasons for starting our family now and wrote about how even if it was a complete accident, its a happy one and I really wanted to be able to share it with her. I hit "send" and was immediately plagued by worries that this was all in my head and really wished I could take it back.

She responded about an hour later with a subject of "I'm sorry..." and of course, I burst into tears. A portion of the email:

"I will try to explain my jumble of feelings as honestly as I can. I have prayed and prayed about this - I know the minute I see that baby, every concern and worry I have will disappear - but as the mother of the mother, I think I am in a unique position because the only person I can think about right now is you. I totally respect your right to decide when it's best for you and [JP] to start your family - and I totally support your decision to be a working mom . . . I just so wanted you to have that choice to make after the baby is born - I guess because I was so thankful I had the choice."

It goes on and it made me cry (I starting crying in the green lounge while re-reading it), smile, and feel enormously relieved. I called her and we had such a great talk about her experiences with pregnancy and labor and I got to ask all the questions I haven't been able to ask. It felt so good to know that she really wanted to be involved and part of why she thought we'd wait was her desire for me to be living closer when it all happened (and here I had the impression she wanted no part of it). She told me she couldn't wait to be here when the baby is born in August.

This was my first ever "confrontation" with my mom- we sailed right through the teenage years, college, etc. I'm so glad I told her how she was making me feel and that she was honest and upfront about her concerns. Its all a huge relief and I took off the rest of the night from law work in celebration.

I also wanted to add, in response to Magic Cookie's post about how baby book's describe the first few few months after the baby is born as some sort of hell that must be endured, that my mom agreed with Citation's comment on how those were some of her favorite memories:

"Don't worry about those first three months. Despite what the books say - I found them to be a magical time. You spend most of your time just looking at your baby in wonderment at the gift you've been blessed with. :)"

I'm so glad I feel like I have her back!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Swimming & Reminiscing

I woke up Saturday morning from a vivid dream- I had just finished a race at a swim meet back in Texas. I could hear the cheering, hit the wall at the finish, and feel the type of victorious exhaustion that always sets in after a great race. I don't dream about swimming much anymore- back when it dominated my life I dreamed about it all the time. If you're in a pool 5 hours a day, its only natural that you're going to spend a lot of time there while you're asleep. My dream gave me an urgent need to be back in the water- never mind the fact I had been forced to quit by a hip injury nearly 6 years ago and that I hadn't swam more than a handful of times since then-- I needed to be in a pool.

JP and I met because we were both members of the Univ. of Texas varsity swim team (actually we met because we both got kicked out of a bar for underage drinking at the same time, but we were both in the same bar because the guys and girls teams were meeting there). He still swims every morning and I always stay in bed- yesterday, much to his shock, I found a suit, dug an old cap and goggles (the cap had my high school's logo and maiden name on it), and came along.

UC has a surprisingly nice pool- especially since the team is not exactly Olympic material (they're UAA and can't give scholarships, so the student-athletes really are students first). My high school times would have a good number of their team and pool records. It felt strange to be back on deck- I wasn't even sure what I'd do once I was in the water. I'm used to having a coach yelling at me, teammates to joke around with, and sets written up on the board. I jumped in and memories of grueling 5:30am practices in freezing cold pools came rushing back. Memories of being exhausted all the time. Memories of bus rides to swim meets, hotel rooms, swimming in pools all over the country, amazing races, and awards stands. Memories that grew stronger as I jumped in the pool and faded quickly as I realized that staying out of a pool for 5 years means you're going to suck when you finally get back in. I used to feel graceful and powerful in the water- now I felt awkward and weak. My arms were shaking after a 200!! It was hard to make myself stay in the water to swim a full mile- we used to do 6-7 miles a day of very hard sets- here I was just swimming back and forth at my own (slow) pace. It was much more depressing than I thought it would be.

I treasure my memories of swimming- treasure doesn't really even describe it. It was an amazing time in my life- filled with joy, pain (physical and emotional), laughter, and friendship. Losing swimming was utterly devestating. I'm sure any ex-athlete has the same feelings. Being a swimmer was a huge part of me and sometimes I marvel at the fact that it has nothing to do with my life now- that my new friends don't even think of me as one. Most of the time I'm 100% fulfilled and happy in my life now, but every now and then, I feel like I left a piece of me back on the pool deck. I'm sad that its all over- I still want to end up where I am now, but I'd give anything to go back and do it all again.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Change of Plans?

"The Plan" for the last 6 months or so has been that I will graduate from UC in June 2008 and then our little family will move down to Austin so that JP can start business school at the Univ. of Texas. As much as I fought it initially (I LOVE Chicago and am not such a big fan of Texas), I've become totally sold on The Plan. I love the firm I'm going to be working for, all of my family is in Texas (all the grandparents, siblings, and most of the aunts, uncles, and cousins) and trying to plan out every holiday next year to see my family in Texas and JP's family in DC is already giving me a headache, and we can buy a house- no more renting little apartments!! So while I give JP a hard time for dragging me back to the land of Republicans and home of Bush, I'm secretly quite happy with The Plan.

Then JP took a practice GMAT on Saturday and did Really Well- like pretty far above the average for any business school in the country. This came as no surprise to me, as I knew that if he ever stopped frantically studying and just took a test, he would do great (and the mountain of GMAT books on our counter could finally disappear), but it raise all sorts of interesting questions about The Plan. There are great b-schools in Chicago, so that would be fine for two more years. )JP is still desperate to get back to the "great state of Texas", so we'll move there as soon as b-school is over regardless of where he goes.) I've never been to Boston, but that sounds like fun. The west coast looks good too- we're going to San Francisco for Spring Break, so maybe we'll fall in love with that area. There's suddenly lots of options.

The only thing holding us back from totally throwing The Plan out the window is that I have a great firm job in Austin, we're going to have a baby and it would be nice to have a house and to be near family, and UT is very inexpensive and we already have all my loans to deal with. The funny thing about a supportive relationship is that you both want what's best for the other- I'm the one pushing him to apply to all the top schools and he's the one saying he'll just go to Texas. I'll admit I'm not thrilled about interviewing as a 3L (and not until he finds out where he gets in, which can be rather late in the year) or taking two bar exams, but I don't think you turn down Harvard Business School. It would be a phenomenal opportunity and I know he'd be on the first plane to Boston if it was me. Besides, once we move back to Texas, we'll probably never leave, so it would be nice to live in one other place besides Chicago.

Anyway, he still has to take the actual test (March 10!) and get in to the different schools, but if anyone has an experience interviewing midway through 3L year or knows the general cost of living in Boston- let me know!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Midway Point (which turned into a review of UC law)

Last night was the law school's "Midway Dinner" which marks the precise halfway point of our law school career. In everything I've done, the halfway point has always come as a surprise- a "wow, I can't believe we've only got X amount of time left". Law school does not feel that way to me. It's more of a "damn, I can't believe we still have 1.5 years left."

Thinking back to 1L year, which felt like it was 5 years long, and knowing I still have another full year left is almost depressing. I say almost because there is no way 3L can be as bad as 1L, so I really can't compare them. 1L was by far the worst year of my academic life- it was truly miserable and there is nothing in the world that could make me do it again. I'm not even sure why it was so awful- I had amazing professors who, for the most part, really seemed to care about their teaching and their students. I made some good friends and in general liked my classmates. I've never been a person who gets stressed about school, studying, or grades- yet, that's exactly the person I became after a few months. I was downright depressed by spring quarter- my parents even sat me down and tried to talk me into transferring, apparently I sounded that bad on the phone (and my parents never worry about or interfere with anything). I can't decide if its the Univ. of Chicago's fault because law school is hard everywhere, but I do have friends at other schools that seemed quite a bit happier than me and my classmates. There were definitely people who were happy here throughout the first year- the kind of people who enjoy "academic rigor" and who don't mind spending every night and weekend in the library. I am not that kind of person and in retrospect I should have listened more closely to people when they described this law school. I wanted time to spend exploring my new city with my new husband, time to read other books, and time to just sit on the couch and watch a movie- I resented all the hours in the library because it was taking away from things I'd much rather be doing. I understood I would spend a lot of time studying, I didn't understand that it would be every night, and all day every weekend, and that I would still always feel like I wasn't doing enough. I'm not saying UC is a bad place. There are a myriad of excellent reasons to go to law school here, but you can easily find those on other UC student blogs, the website, or at admitted students weekend. I wish people had talked a bit more honestly about the intensity and "rigor" of the UC experience (or maybe they did, and I should have listened better). I think at the time "rigor" sounded exciting and I was bored of doing nothing but wedding planning- I supose you really can't understand what something is like until you're in the middle of it.

So anyway, back to the midway point reflection. I'm (very) glad to have 1L behind me. 2L has not been what I expected either, but that's because I keep signing up for classes that I feel like I should take rather than ones that just sound interesting. I've decided to stop that cruel cycle and choose classes purely on interest for next quarter- and I'm actually looking forward to them! I'm hoping that by the time graduation comes around, the memory of 1L will have faded a bit, and the more interesting classes of 3L will be fresh in my mind- I might even be a little sad that law school is ending. I hope so. I've never ended anything in my life and not been a little sad and nostalgic about it. The good thing is I know I like law and I think I will enjoy the practice of law- its this rigorous learning of it that I'm not so fond of.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Mortality Concerns

While eating my lunch of macaroni & cheese and cut up apples (I revert to childhood when I'm sick), I watched TLC's "A Baby Story" for the first time. It was about a mother who had metastatic breast cancer and discovered she was pregnant in the midst of chemo. She had a healthy baby girl at 34 weeks and at the same time, found out the cancer had spread to her liver and bones. At the end of the show it was revealed that she died less than a year after the filming. I was sobbing. I can't imagine how bittersweet those months were- enjoying your time with your baby and husband while knowing its not going to last very long. My eyes are still watering as I type this.

Since becoming pregnant I've become much more aware of JP and my mortality. I worry about things that never used to concern me before- like JP driving his 40 miles to work when the weather is bad, when he doesn't answer his cell phone, or when he says he'll be home at a certain time and is late. I've noticed that he'll call when I'm not home from the library when I said I would be- something I don't think he did before. For him, its concern over his wife and baby, but for me, its more of a crippling fear of doing this alone. So much of what I'm looking forward to in being a parent is being a parent with him-- seeing him play sports with our kids as soon as they can make contact with a ball, seeing our little girl(s) wrap him around their little fingers, and seeing him scare off any boy who even thinks about dating one of his daughters. I want to be at our kid's high school and college graduations together, relish having the house to ourselves again, and then count down the days until the kids and the chaos come back to visit.

Hopefully we'll both live a very long time together, but I think about the "what ifs" a lot more than I used to.

School Work?

Today I am determined to do some school work. There is nothing on day time TV and I watched all our animated movies yesterday (I forgot how much I love "The Emperor's New Groove"). Movies with real people just annoy me when I'm sick, so I watched "The Little Mermaid", "Emperor's New Groove", and "Finding Nemo". JP came home and rescued me from my boredom just as I was about to start "Monsters, Inc." I haven't had any interaction with people outside my apartment since Friday and I'm starting to go a little crazy. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror yesterday as I was heading down to check the mail (highlight of my pathetic existence) and it was a scary sight- hair all frizzy, nose bright red and shiny from vaseline, my skin looking dull, lifeless, and even more pale than usual. I was wearing grey sweatpants and my favorite grey sweatshirt which I accidentally shrunk in the dryer the day before- it looked like I had stolen a 4th grader's clothes. My mom would be truly horrified that I let anyone besides the cat see me looking like that. It was a low point.

Today I'm a little better- less runny nose, more coughing. I think the cold is working its way through my system. I was going to make a big trip out to Walgreens to pick up more medicine, but its been snowing since I woke up and the roads haven't been salted. So once again I'm back at the inevitable truth that I have no excuse not to do some law reading. I'm not as behind as I feel like I should be (probably b/c I feel like I've been sick for an eternity, but its really only been 4 days). I am behind in Securities- which is my very favorite class. Oddly enough, I'm caught up in Admin, which is my absolute least favorite class. Commercial transactions needs a little work and I have to have a one-page paper topic proposal written for my seminar tomorrow.

Hmmm... maybe after watching "The Incredibles"?

Monday, February 5, 2007


What was a swollen throat is now a full blown cold. How can a person use up 2 boxes of kleenex in 2 days? Where does it all come from?! Surely I must run out at some point. My nose is bright pink from all the blowing and my throat is still sore and swollen. Everyone seems to yell at me when I think of taking something (everyone being random internet message boards- they were my company at 3am when I couldn't sleep), so I've just been waiting it out.

I called my midwife this morning and she approved Sudafed and Robitussin. I trust her and the practice and am elated to have some helpful drugs in my system. It's amazing how many people will condemn that advice! On so many message boards, one poor sick mom would post that she was drowning in her own head (my interpretation of her post) and people would yell at her for trying to take anything. One sudafed and YOU'RE HARMING THE BABY AND HOW CAN YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF?! Ugh. It's my fault for reading them and getting irritated, but why must people be so judgmental? If your doctor has told you not to take something, then pass that along, but don't yell just because you abstained from all non-natural products and never left your house while gestating your child. Then women would start yelling at each other in the comments. Mom A says "my doctor told me sudafed was safe." Mom B says/yells "NO! You can't take that - it will cause your child to have 3 heads and a low IQ". Anyway... I got my sound medical advice and I hope all those other sick moms did too.

I'm now watching "The Little Mermaid"surrounded by Kleenex, a giant bottle of Purell, tea, and cough drops. I need someone to venture out into the -4 weather to buy me more kleenex, I'm quickly using up my last box!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

So Sick

I had a very bad case of mono my freshman year of college. My throat developed a severe infection and nearly swelled shut- I spent over a week in the hospital unable to swallow, talk, or eat. It sucked (although it did help me lose the weight I'd gained since college began- and then some), and ever since I get random throat infections. My throat will start to tingle/itch, then I'll feel it start to swell. It hurts to breathe (especially at night) and swallow. There's pretty much nothing I can do for it but take Advil and wait for the swelling to go away. I don't have a cough or cold, so that kind of medicine is ineffective and unnecessary.

Yesterday after lunch I started to feel that familiar tingle. I was at a library way across campus from the law school (the law school library is now totally ineffective for making me study). It was about 6 degrees outside and I was building up the courage to face the frigid weather. Courage failed me, it got dark, and I decided I wasn't leaving the warm building- even though I was getting hungry and my throat hurt. Hours went by and finally JP left work and took pity on me by driving all the way down to Hyde Park, an extra 30 min. added on to his nearly 45 min. commute, to take me to my car. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home for chicken noodle soup ingredients. I found this recipe online- Very yummy and Very fast!

It doesn't look like I'm supposed to be taking Advil while I'm pregnant- although every site says something different and most just say its bad for the 3rd trimester- so I've been taking only 2, twice a day (normally I'd be taking 5, every few hours). I'm drinking tea, sucking on numbing cough drops, wearing PJ's, and not leaving the apartment until Monday.

Friday, February 2, 2007

So Cold

It's freezing outside. I grew up in Texas and we used to throw around the word "freezing" when it was in the 50's. My weatherbug says its 9 degrees out right now, and its not supposed to get above 10 for the next six days. Tomorrow, with the wind chill, it will be -25.

I have stocked up on food. I have a fireplace, a fluffy purring cat, and a husband to run out in the bitter cold should I get a strong craving for Thai food.

I may not go outside for the next several days. But thanks to the internet, I will remain connected to all of you!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A Tragic Event

Today, my constant companion, my shiny little Dell laptop, took a precipitous plunge out of my locker. In the harrowing moments that followed, I opened the padded case to find the "pg dn" key broken off, a crack along the left side, and the shiny silver plate on the top popped out of position. When I tried to resuscitate it, the little machine would turn on, but the screen remained dark. I rushed it off to the tech guy who lives in the library computer room. He took a screw driver to it- prying off different parts and panels- it was truly painful to watch. The diagnosis: a broken back light on the LCD panel. I immediately pictured a little light bulb replacement and am quite relieved. Unfortunately, its a little more complex than that. The poor little guy is going to be mailed to the Dell depot, fixed up, and then sent back to me.

The good news is that all my files are fine (those copious notes from admin are unharmed!) and the repair is covered under my warranty. The bad news is it will take 8-10 days to get my laptop back. The longest my laptop and I have ever been separated was when JP and I went on our 6-day honeymoon to Jamaica. As amazing as that trip was, the whole flight back I thought about checking my email. Yes, I may have some kind of addiction. I have never been separated from my laptop during law school. But I have faith that somehow, we'll both get through it.

How do you take notes by hand again?