Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nervous as a school girl

The first "official" day of my contract is tomorrow. And I am nervous like those first day of school jitters that I got years ago.

Oddly enough I'm not nervous about the first day of class (next week), even though I still don't have a copy of the textbook, a syllabus written, etc. I'm not nervous about whether I'll stay awake during this week's long series of meetings or whether I'll remember people's names or when I'll figure out how to use WebCT effectively. And what I'm going to propose for two upcoming grant deadlines or when I'm going to finish the revisions on my paper are the farthest things from my mind.

Instead, I'm nervous about:
  • How early I need to be up in order to get Minnow and I ready for the day (since Fish leaves for work at 5 am)
  • How early I need to get Minnow to daycare in order to be at my first meeting on time (and not too sweaty)
  • When I'll manage to pump when I've got meetings scheduled straight through from 8 am to 4 pm (with some double-booking no less)
  • How I'll keep the milk cold in weather that's supposed to be 95 degrees
  • What my colleagues will think of me when I disappear into a bathroom at every break during the meeting
  • Whether there will be outlets in the bathroom for my electric pump
  • What the other women faculty will think when they walk into the bathroom and see me with my shirt open and two cones and tubes coming out of it
  • What people will say when I decline to eat the provided breakfast, snacks, and lunch and instead open up my very strange lunch (I'm currently eliminating 15+ commonly allergenic foods in hopes of solving our sleep/gas issues. So no dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, corn, beef, onions, etc. for me.)
Somehow I don't think the other new faculty have the same things on their mind tonight.


Carrie said...

A note from the trenches -- I've done all those things (left meetings to go pump, pumped in the bathroom in full view, etc, etc). You'll be FINE. You'll do what you need to do and it's one day. And the time you miss from the meetings will be time well spent -- in 5 years you won't even know it was there!

Jane said...

Oooh, best of luck to you! I'll bet things will work out just fine for you. Enjoy your first week!

Happay said...

I just got to do this last week. It really wasn't too bad. There was an administrative assistant who found me a place to pump that was not the bathroom. Everyone knew what I was doing and if the wanted to know what was in the black bag, they asked. Everyone was really supportive and I actually missed one day of meetings because it was going to be 11 hours and mostly on a bus. That wouldn't work for the things I had to do, so I was excused. Everyone will take their cue from you on how to treat the active status of your breasts. If you treat it like no big deal and completely normal they will too.

It's been 100 degrees here for the past week or so. I have been using a little insulated bag that has two ice packs in it and putting the milk into disposable storage baggies. It stays really cold all day. Most of the time it's been going right to the daycare the next day because I haven't had time to get any kind of stockpile going. When I can, I sneak away at lunchtime to feed the baby, waking him if necessary.

And, you'll be so fast in the morning that you'll be early - once you break in the routine, that's when you have to worry about being late. I managed to get two boys into daycare and still be early to meetings all last week - piece of cake! Good luck tomorrow!

post-doc said...

I just wanted to wish you luck too! I'm sure you'll be amazing and while you do have extra and varied worries than some of professors, I'm sure you'll handle everything brilliantly.

Rose Connors said...

Best of luck to you. I know you'll do great!

Saoirse said...

Good luck. I'm sending positive energy your way.

Sweet Irene said...

I wish you lots of luck. Having such a completely different life from yours, I live vicariously through your blog and it sure is interesting. I think it is such a good thing that you are making sure that Minnow gets healthy mother's milk no matter what. I hope this all works out well.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. I'm in my last year as a PhD student. Projected defense in May and I'm thinking I should get pregnant now since I don't need to be in the lab (chemicals not good for mommy) and this way I'll have the baby before I have a more permanent position. Then I also think that I don't want to be pregnant while I'm interviewing for jobs.
But this post makes me think it will be nice to have that year as a post doc to pump (feed) on a better schedule. I'm also thinking I'd take the summer off to be a new mom and hope my new position would start on a fall schedule.
I guess it just confirms my hunch that there is no perfect time to have a baby.
I'm curious, does Fish go to work so early so that he can get off early and pick minnow up from daycare?

From, rugbywater

Veo Claramente said...

I think you may find that the other women faculty will be quite understanding. Some colleagues at a place I used to work at found an empty office and papered up the windows and made it an informal lactation room which turned out to be tremendously useful and much appreciated. Removes some of the potential bathroom awkwardness.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You might be pleasantly surprised at the compassion and understanding of your colleagues, both female AND male. Your male co-workers may have wives that have breastfed/pumped, and won't wonder at all at: 1) where you're going, 2) what you're doing; and, 3)why it drives your schedule and your diet. And even if they ARE clueless, it doesn't necessarily mean they won't be compassionate and accommodating. Good luck!

Sicilian said...

Science gal. . . . you are a worrier. . . now I know why I enjoy your blog. . . . I would do he same thing. .. . but you know what. . . it always works out and the worry is much worse than the events.

Super Babe said...

Hope the first week is going well. I'm sure all those things you were worried about are getting worked out... right? :)

PhD Mom said...

If they've got any sense at all they'll think your a fabulous mother. Good luck. My first semester teaching kicked my behind, but it gets better after that.

Anonymous said...

I'm heading down for a proposal brainstorming meeting next week with faculty at the institution I will be joining in November - with my three month old. Figuring out how much information to tell about negotiating the pumping schedule, needing the private space in which to do it, etc. has been tough so I absolutely empathize. Good for you (+ all of us) for sticking it out - and good for all our future women graduate students....

trillwing said...

Good luck with all the pumping. Always ask if there's a place where you can pump that's not the bathroom. Trust me--you'll be more comfortable. My institution actually has a fairly hush-hush breastfeeding support program. You join and get keys to breastfeeding rooms around campus. A few I've seen are in bathrooms, but only one hasn't been a separate room with a locked door (it had a curtain), but they all seem to have hospital-grade pumps (you bring your own attachments) and magazines to read. :)

Anyway, it doesn't hurt to ask about such accommodations. A baby store downtown, a few blocks from my university, also offers an entire room with couches for new mothers to gather, chat, pump, and breastfeed. Such places are invaluable--doubly so since they're not bathroom stalls!

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