Sunday, April 26, 2009

Farewell to Iris

For some time, Rob and I have known we would have to get rid of Iris, our beloved Honda Insight. We got the car in 2002 and have been getting close to 60 miles per gallon ever since. There have been some times when it has been a bit complicated that our only vehicle is a 2-seater hatchback with no back seat, but we always worked around it. Now that Fig is on the way, we had to come up with a mode of transportation that would accommodate all 3 of us. While I had my hands full with researching things like doulas, cloth diapers, vaccinations, and hypnobirthing, Rob took the bull by the horns and researched our car options. He determined that our current best bet would be a Prius.

I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t terribly excited about the prospect of becoming a Prius owner. It’s definitely an environmental step down from the Honda Insight. While everybody else who’s ever bought a Prius is probably making a good change for the environment, for us, it would actually be increasing our carbon footprint. Having a child is never good for the environment though. We’ll try to make up for it by raising Fig so that he/she grows up to solve the problem of global climate change and while he/she’s at it, end hunger, poverty, and violence against women. (That’s a tall order, Fig!)

At first, we thought we’d have no problem selling Iris on our own. Over the years, numerous people—ranging from friends, family, to complete strangers—have expressed interested in buying Iris should we ever decide to sell. Iris’ popularity was at its height back when gas was at $4 a gallon. But alas, gas is too damn cheap now. Rob placed at least 3 different ads, but we had less than a handful of takers and no one who was seriously interested. I wanted to wait until the summer, when gas prices are sure to climb again, and people become less fearful of the idea of a 2-seater car when they are faced with the sting at the pump. But my desire to wait it out was also partially motivated by the fact that I really didn’t want to let go of Iris!

We ended up taking the plunge this weekend. A few months ago, we had headed to O’Brien Auto Park and test driven a Prius. Rob had loved it (the only other times I’d ever seen him so excited was when he got a new bike), but I was at the height of the whole hyperemesis gravidarum thing, and was just trying to get through the ride without vomiting all over the brand new car we were merely looking at and did not intend on buying that day. Well yesterday we went back to O’Brien to seal the deal. I’ve got to say, it was an overall truly pleasant experience. I feel like we were treated very fairly, and the salesperson who worked with us was really friendly and helpful. The whole thing took forever (over 4 hours), but that was only because they were so thorough. They gave us a full-on tutorial of how to use all the crazy features (we chose the model with the built in navigation system). By the end, I had gone way too long without eating, which was good in a way, because I knew if I threw up in the new car, at least it wouldn’t make too much of a mess.

We traded in Iris, and while I do feel like we got a fairly reasonable price, it was very sad to drive out of the lot and leave her behind, knowing we would never see her again.

Melissa says goodbye to Iris
I am actually carrying twins that were due yesterday.

Rob & Melissa say goodbye to Iris
But see? From the front, I don't even look pregnant!

But drive away we did, in a shiny brand new Prius. We ended up going with a black car, which wasn’t the first color choice (or even second) for either of us. Rob and I had agreed that we both liked the red model the best, and I even had a name already picked out for it (Ruby). When we got there, they no longer had any red cars with the features we (i.e., Rob) wanted. Our options were to go with what they had (black and seafoam green) or special order the color of our choosing. In the end, we decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle and expense of holding out for the red car. After initially feeling a bit disappointed, I realized that the black car did look pretty sharp and snazzy, and that I would probably learn to live with it. Besides, my main hesitation with the black car was far from practical. I wasn’t worried about the way it would show salt from the roads this winter (though I am worried about that now). No, I was worried about what we would name it.

At any rate, the Prius-with-no-name drives like a dream. For my inaugural trip, I went to the grocery store to get more soymilk. It was amazing. After driving such a tiny car for 7 years, it does kind of feel like the Prius-with-no-name is some kind of gigantic armored tank, but I suppose I’ll get used to it. It is definitely weird to have a backseat and a trunk again.

So if anybody has any name suggestions, please let me know. I’m kicking around a few ideas, but nothing has seemed to stick just yet. Thanks for reading!

The new car
The Prius With No Name.
And do you see those daffodils and tulips? Those came from bulbs marked "Irises."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Honing my skills

Little Miss C’s kindergarden class has been studying animals and conservation, and I had never been more honored than when she asked if I would come to her school and talk about the monkeys that I study! Aimee set the whole thing up, and on Thursday morning, I drove over to Indianapolis for the big talk. It went pretty well, considering that the unrelenting nausea had kept me from sleeping the night before and I was past Crawfordsville before feeling even a modicum of relief from the Zofran. Talking to 5-7 year olds was definitely more intense than middle schoolers or college students, but I am really glad to have had the experience! I talked to two classes of about 30-40 students each (Aimee, correct me if I am wrong on those numbers… but it seemed like there were a lot of little people in the room!). During the first class, I did abysmally. I started off with a picture slide show (that didn’t show up too great on the screen) and told them the difference between a monkeys and apes. To my surprise, a lot of them actually already knew that monkeys have tails and apes do not. Some students even came up with additional differences: apes are bigger than monkeys (true!) and apes go like “this” [little boy demonstrated by making fists and beating his chest] (sort of true, I guess!).

I froze like a deer in headlights after that initial introduction though. They were all shouting questions at me or madly waving their hands in the air trying to get me to call on them. Most of the time the questions were actually comments, that began something like, “This one time, my cousin and I went to the zoo…” It was a little overwhelming. Aimee—who had come along to help me out, thank goodness—brought me back to focus by offering suggestions of things that I could tell them, such as, how big are howler monkeys. I told them that howlers are about the size of a large house cat, to which 20 people excitedly shouted, “I have a cat!!” And then they wanted to talk about cats for a while.

All in all, think I did a better job with the second class of students. I think I was over the initial shock and had a better sense of what to say and the way to say it.

Afterwards, Aimee took me out to lunch—where I had hummus for the first time in 5 months, and to my surprise, it tasted amazing. Then before I took off to go back home, Aimee gave me loads and loads of baby stuff. Honestly, I am not even sure what some of it is, but they were things she said I would need, and I trust her judgment. So hopefully I will figure it out! ☺ Some of the things she gave us were little outfits that we had given to them when Miss C and Mr E were born, so I guess it’s all coming full circle! I also got all of Fig’s diapers (purchased second-hand from Aimee’s neighbors), which is a huge relief. They are really good quality cloth diapers (FuzziBunz) that I was able to get at a fraction of the price of what they would cost new. Plus, they are so darn cute.

In a perfect world, I think I would love to become a traveling monkey lecturer… spreading the story of Wrinkle Belly and other primates to school children across the country. The catch is finding somebody who pays me for this. So I guess I shouldn’t quit my day job (what was that again?? Writing my dissertation, I guess?) just yet.

Aimee told me that when she was accompanying the kids home from school, she asked them what they had learned that day. They told her that they had learned the difference between a monkey and an ape! And that’s what makes it all worthwhile ☺

Thanks for reading, and a special thanks to Aimee, Miss C, and the students/teachers at Miss C’s school!

P.S. Sorry to my other Indianapolis friends that my visit had to be so short! There’s only so much time that one can spend away from one’s dissertation….

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A long post about Fig

A month ago I had the “big ultrasound”—the one where they check the baby for all kinds of things and tell you its sex if you want to know. Before the appointment, I was actually getting a little nervous because I realized that if there was something detectably wrong with the baby, that was the day I would find out. I had purposely elected not to do any type of genetic screening or testing prior to this, so other than seeing the initial blob-like ultrasound at 7.5 weeks and hearing the heartbeat at a couple other appointments, I really had no clue what was going on in there.

It seems like these days everybody gets all sorts of genetic screening done in the first trimester. And I think that’s fine—if that’s what people want to do, then do it. But for me, it just didn’t seem necessary. I trusted nature—if something was really, really wrong with the baby, then it just wouldn’t make it, and whatever else might go wrong, I could handle. A lot of people who get testing done say that the reason they want to do it is because if something is wrong, they want to know about it, so they can be prepared and know how to handle it. And again, that’s fine. People handle things in many different ways, and you should do what is best for you. But I get the feeling that that might not really be the reason why many people opt for testing. In all honesty, you don’t want to hear that there is something wrong with your baby, because in reality, what in the hell are you going to do to “prepare” yourself? I think people do it not so much to prepare themselves for the worst, but because they want some kind of tangible reassurance that their baby is fine. And there’s nothing wrong with that, seriously. Don’t get the idea that I am unfavorably judging anybody’s decision either way. I only walk in my own shoes, so I only know what is best for me in the here and now. I would never dream of questioning someone else’s decision, regarding someone else’s baby. It certainly isn’t my place. And believe me, I know how reassuring reassurance can be. Very, very early on, before Rob and I even told anyone I was pregnant, I had a bit of a mini-scare with Fig. The words “Hon, your baby is going to be fine” was the most welcome sentence I had ever heard.

One of the main reasons that I didn’t want any type of testing was because once I started getting so sick, I just had this very powerful sense that Fig was good and strong, and I honestly didn’t feel like I needed any type of screening or invasive procedure to confirm that. I just knew. But the other reason why I didn’t want any testing was because I had done a lot of research, and I know that these tests aren’t perfect. There are a lot of false positives out there. In some cases, maybe there really is something wrong with the baby, but a lot of the time, it's just an anomaly in the test. It seems like far too many women are told that they have some kind of ambiguous result—that maybe there is something horribly wrong with the baby—and then they spend the rest of their pregnancies under extreme stress. Or they have an amniocentesis, which may or may not confirm the suspicious diagnosis and that could (though rarely) lead to miscarrying what would have been a perfectly healthy baby. For me, personally, I just didn’t want to put myself through any of that. At all costs, I wanted to avoid stressing myself out, which can be so damaging to the fetus. So I chose to forego tests, and Rob was on board with that.

Which brings me back to “the big ultrasound” last month. It was one of those things where everything was going pretty well. We saw Fig squirming around, moving his/her arms and legs. We could see the bright spot of a heart as it beat. The technician took a lot of measurements, especially a lot of measurements of the head. I distinctly remember seeing some bright spots on Fig’s head as the technician zoomed in for a closer look at the brain. But I didn’t think anything of it. Ultrasound images are so grainy anyway, and I certainly didn’t know what’s supposed to be there and and what's not. Then it was over. The tech printed us out some pictures of Fig and smiled as she confirmed our impression that we had a cute baby in there.

And so we went on to my prenatal appointment. The midwife came in, asked how I was doing, etc, as per usual. And then she told us the news, kindly, apologetically, reassuringly. She said that the ultrasound had detected a few small choroid plexus cysts on the baby’s brain. She said that it was probably nothing. Most of the time it was nothing. About 1% of babies have these cysts between 16 and 24 weeks of gestation and in the vast majority of cases, they end up just going away. But sometimes, sometimes the presence of these cysts indicates that something is seriously wrong—namely Trisomy 18. What that means is that there is 3 copies of chromosome 18, and having the wrong number of chromosomes (with the exception of chromosome 21, which results in Down’s Syndrome), the fetus is non-viable. That means it would probably die in utero or just a few minutes/hours/days after birth. Most of the time when a baby does have Trisomy 18, there are many other indicators besides the choroid plexus cysts. Most of the time but not always. She said everything else on Fig’s body looked good, but legally, she had to tell me about the cysts and what they could mean. She suggested getting an AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) screen—just a simple blood test that can provide information about whether or not the baby had certain chromosomal abnormalities, such as Trisomy 18. And so even though I had been adamant about feeling that Fig was okay not wanting any tests, what could I do? I got my blood drawn.

After that, all we could do was wait. Wait for the AFP results to come back, wait till next month to have another ultrasound and check and see if the cysts are still there or if they have gone away. Wait to see if you’re going to lose this baby that you’ve thrown up 84 times for and seems like a part of you already. I came home and logged onto the UIUC library website. A quick PubMed search came up with thousands of research articles about choroid plexus cysts (CPC) and Trisomy 18. I read dozens of them. I pored through websites, finding that there is a Choroid Plexus Cyst support group for people in this same situation. The websites and research articles were, for the most part reassuring. The CPC support group linked to this article, which reified my position on unnecessary fetal screening (including ultrasounds!) and made me feel better. But in every peer-reviewed publication that I read, there were always a few anomalies… one or two random cases of a baby ending up with Trisomy 18 that had had no other problems detected except the CPCs. It was difficult being in limbo. And it was ironic—this type of stress was the very thing I had been so determined to avoid.

About a week later, I called the doctor’s office to check about my AFP screen. They told me that it was “negative” and that everything was “normal.” This was a good sign—a great sign—but I wondered, am I supposed to relax now? The AFP screen has only about a 60% detection rate for either Down’s or Trisomy 18. With 40% of cases remaining undetected, did that really mean I could breathe any easier?

And finally today. I had a follow-up ultrasound scheduled to check and see the status of the cysts. I tried to remain calm—afterall, I was armed with my battery of research and the negative AFP results—but still, I was pretty worked up this morning before the appointment. During the ultrasound, I knew what to look for this time, and I could see that there were no suspicious white splotches on the head at all. I didn’t ask the technician about any of this because I think that they are sometimes not legally allowed to make any comment, but she did tell me, “Everything is perfect.” When I saw my midwife afterwards, she came into the exam room with a smile on her face. “The cysts are gone!” she told me, and she handed me a print out of the ultrasound report, where she had hi-lighted the phrase “The CPC are not seen with this U/S.”

So there you have it. After a month of being on edge and dealing with the very drama I had specifically sought to avoid, my initial convictions—that Fig is okay—have been confirmed. All of this probably comes as news to most of our friends and family. We didn’t tell too many people what was going on because, for me at least, it was too difficult to even talk about. Plus, we didn’t see the point of putting everybody else through all this before we really knew what was going on. It was my hope that I could just write about it when all was said and done, and now here we are. Until Fig is born, of course, we still won’t really know if he/she is healthy—ultrasounds and genetic tests can’t detect everything. But from here on out, I’m just going to keep trusting my gut. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fig's first race

Way back whenever it was that I first heard about the Illinois Marathon, I distinctly remember that I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep at all that night. It was a dream come true. After almost 8 years of running marathons, there was finally going to be one in my own hometown. Then when I saw a map of the course, it was if I had died and gone to heaven. Just about every square inch of the course was on streets I have run on hundreds of times. I couldn’t wait.

Then a couple of things happened. I ran the Indianapolis Marathon in October and ended up qualifying for Boston. The Boston Marathon would be just a couple of weeks after the Illinois Marathon, which created a dilemma. Some of the more hard-core ultra runners from the club are capable of back-to-back marathons like that, but from personal experience, I know that I need to take it very easy after a marathon or else I end up with an injury. So if I was going to run Boston, that meant I couldn’t run Illinois. Sure, people had suggested just “running easy” at Illinois to conserve myself for Boston, but I don’t care how slow you go, running a marathon is never easy. There would be the option to run the Half Marathon at Illinois, but that just seemed kind of pale in comparison. It might sound like crazy to people who have worked hard to BQ, but in many ways, I was inclined to forego Boston in favor of the Illinois Marathon.

It all turned out to be a moot point anyway. By December, I found out I was pregnant with Fig, and while anyone else in my situation would have been thinking about decorating a nursery or how to negotiate maternity leave, I was thinking about what this meant for the marathon. “You can always run it next year,” is what everybody said to me, but it really only made me want to strangle them.

At my first pre-natal appointment, when I was under-weight, dehydrated, and barely able to hold my head up from the puke bucket, I asked my midwife about running the marathon in April. She actually laughed. In all honesty, I was much more disappointed about missing the Illinois Marathon than Boston. I still held out that I could try for the half, but the unrelenting nausea and vomiting, coupled with sudden onset knee pain (related to pregnancy or not?) put a damper on those dreams. In desperation one night, I finally signed up for the 5K, but I actually cried while I did it. It felt like my first act of lameness. The first tangible incident in which I had lost myself forever and I would become this mini-van driving mom-bus with bad hair and a “my kid is on the honor roll” bumper sticker, and I would never, ever be my own person again.

Over the winter, I lost count of how many ultramarathons, other races, and training runs Rob did, while I stayed at home throwing up. Whenever I got an email update from the Illinois Marathon Training Group I was supposed to be in, I deleted it without reading. It was like pouring salt into an open wound.

And then all of a sudden April 11 was here—that long anticipated day I was going to have to sit out of. Even though I had signed up for the 5K, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I hadn’t been able to run more than 1 mile continuously since mid-December, whether it was because of pain in one or both knees or because the persistent nausea kept me feeling too sick. The day before the race, I biked over to the expo to get my race number, and that’s when it hit me. This was a real marathon going on here. Not some thrown together fun-run that a dozen or so people from the club had put together. It was real, official, planned, and meticulously organized. When I walked into the expo and saw the huge room filled with booths, vendors, music, and fanfare, I started bawling.

Sometimes having a sense of purpose makes you feel better, so I threw myself into planning the route I would follow to bike around the course and cheer Rob on throughout the race. But still. I couldn’t sleep at all the night before the race, not because I was too excited (like I would have been if I were running it), but because I felt too wretched and sorry for myself. I wondered how I was going to stand there and cheer for Rob when all I wanted to do was curl up and cry.

On race morning we got up bright and early. Rob had decided to drive over to the start (which turned out to be a very good decision), but I rode my bike, so that I’d have it after the 5K to follow Rob around. Biking over in the cold, fresh air did me good, I think, because I felt a little better by the time I got there. I saw Rob off at the start and then somehow in the mass of people, I found my friends Aimee and Renee. They were also running the 5K and planned on finishing in around 30 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay with them on account of my knees, but I wanted to try to for as long as I could.

Running buddies

The 5K was supposed to start 15 minutes after the marathon, but it got more and more delayed. Finally we were off and running. I was surprised that the instinct was still in me. I was running and it felt like I was flying! With Renee and Aimee running beside me, my knees didn’t even hurt. When we got to the mile 1 marker, I was surprised to see that our pace was a bit quicker than 10 minutes, and we even sped up through the rest of the race.

Running on Green Street

Running past Altgeld Hall

Before I knew it we entered Memorial Stadium and ran on the Astroturf to the finish line. I was really proud of me and Fig for making it all the way to the end and for doing a pretty good job too. We finished in something like 28:12; I couldn’t have done it without Aimee and Renee. Someday, I will have to tell Fig about his/her first race.

Running inside Memorial Stadium

It was hard to take a good picture of the finish line while I was running!

There wasn’t much time to bask in the glow of finishing my first 5K with Fig. I eventually found my way out of the stadium and headed back to my bike as quickly as I could (which as it turned out, was by running). Unfortunately, the start of the 5K had been so delayed that I knew there would be very little chance of making it up to West Side Park in time to see Rob pass by at mile 11. I headed up there anyway so that I could meet up with some of the Anthro people, who had set up a cheering station in that area.

It was a lot harder to get there than I had thought it would be. There was no way for me to reach West Side Park without actually crossing the course. With something like 9,500 participants, it was a solid wall of runners that I thought I would never get through. Finally, there was enough of a break that I dashed across the road and pedaled like mad to make it to my first check point. In addition to some Anthro friends, Rob’s dad and Cousin Kevin were there, too. They reported that Rob had been past about 15 minutes before I got there—which put him right on his target pace for a 3:05 marathon.

Cousin Kevin (also on bike) and I decided to head South to my next checkpoint—around Mile 19.5 on John Street. Again, we had some difficulty getting there, as we found ourselves immobilized by a solid wall of runners. Eventually we were able to cross the course and start heading South, but we changed up our plans a little bit and ended up waiting at Mile 21 instead because it was easier to get there. I let a bunch of friends know where we were, and as we waited for Rob’s arrival, we built up quite a cheering section for him.

Rob didn’t arrive quite when I expected him to, and after several minutes went by, I began to feel very nervous because I knew this didn’t bode well. We spotted Rob just after the 3:10 pace group went by, which meant that he had slowed down a bit. As soon as I saw his face, I could tell how bad he felt, and my heart sank. I ran alongside him for a little while and tried to cheer him on, but he just seemed so desolate. He stripped off his long-sleeve shirt and handed it to me without saying a word.

Rob at Mile 21

I hopped on my bike and headed back to the finish line at Memorial Stadium. I saw Rob once more, at what would have been around Mile 23.5 for him, and I tried to convince myself that he looked like he felt better. Finally, I made it back to the stadium. There was a mass of people in the stands and it was so hard to see anything. 3:10 went by and no Rob. 3:15 went by and no Rob. Then 3:20 went by. I felt sick inside, knowing that Rob must have been in serious trouble. At last he entered the stadium and crossed the finish line in 3:22:15. That is a truly fantastic marathon time, but I knew that Rob would be disappointed in himself.

He was pretty beat up after having hit the wall shortly after the halfway point and struggling through excruciating quad pain for the remainder of the race. I ran to get our car in the parking lot and bring it as close as I could to the finish line (which wasn’t really that close). I drove him back to our house so he could get a warm shower and some food, and luckily, Rob’s parents took me back to pick up my bike.

In retrospect, I wish I would have done things differently. I wish that I hadn’t been so sick all winter, so that I could have been fixing healthy meals to fuel Rob through his training. I wish that I wouldn’t have encountered so many problems along the course and been able to see him more frequently. Mainly, I wish that Rob didn’t feel so bad about how the marathon went, because I think he did a really great job. I’m hoping that in a few days (after the quad pain subsides), he realizes what he actually accomplished and starts to feel better about it. Because really, all of this will make a great story to tell Fig someday.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Meetings

The 78th annual physical anthropology meetings have now come and gone. Back in September, when I had to submit the abstract for my poster presentation, Fig wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s eye. Little did I know all the hell that was about to break loose. Even in my darkest days of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting, I never dreamed that I would still be dealing with this by the meetings. Afterall, I would be 20 weeks pregnant by the time the meetings rolled around. Continued “morning sickness” by this stage is unheard of, right?

I really wanted to get off Zofran and free myself of its unpleasant side effects by the meetings, but every time I've tried to go off of it, I start puking again. So I had to suck it up and resign myself to keep taking it, side effects or no. I soothed myself with the reminder that there was no way things would get as bad as they did for me at the meetings in ’04—when I got food poisoning from some bad alfalfa sprouts and puked (among other things) for about 2 days straight. The Zofran doesn’t take away the nausea—it just makes it barely manageable—but I don’t throw up as long as I take one every morning.

I was actually feeling pretty good in the days leading up to the meetings. On Tuesday night I even went running with the club—something I haven’t been able to do since mid-December. Granted, I only kept up with them for about ¼ of a mile, when I realized that 8-minute pace is beyond my capability right now.

Then on Wednesday it was time to leave for the meetings. Thank heavens that this year they were in Chicago, so this did not necessitate air travel. I rode up with a car-load of other grad students, checked into the hotel, and headed over to the opening night reception. A plus side of being pregnant was that I saved a bundle on alcohol this year. A bottle of beer at the reception cost $9 and I heard that mixed drinks (like a simple gin and tonic) were going for $11. Yikes. At those prices, I probably wouldn’t have drank anything anyway, but I would have been bitter about it. Back in the day, it always seemed like the reception had an open bar—or at least very reasonably priced drinks—and I had quickly learned how much easier I could talk to high-profile anthropologists with a little gin in me. This year I made due with cranberry juice.

It was great seeing a bunch of colleagues that I only see once a year or in some cases, that I haven’t seen in several years. A former grad student in my department (who is now a professor at top-ranking university) is also pregnant right now, so I was really happy to catch up with her and commiserate about gestation.

On Thursday morning we all got up bright and early to head back to the conference. I was pleased to still be feeling remarkably well because my poster session was that day. I even heard myself telling people that after 20 weeks, I thought I might finally be over this morning sickness thing.

The poster session went pretty well. In truth, I wasn’t really nervous about it because 1) nobody really pays attention to the posters anyway –and- 2) I had already presented these results as a talk at MPIG, and it had gone over okay. Most of the people who came to look at the poster and talk to me were other grad students, but at some point A Big Name Anthropologist, who I had never met but always wanted to, came over. In my own mind, I have designated a paper of hers as one of the most brilliant articles ever written, and I cite the hell out of it in my dissertation. It was great to talk to her because she was really supportive and seemed interested in my poster, so based on this alone I’d consider the day a success.

Fig and me at the poster. Maternity clothes complements of Aimee and her friend Emily!

On Friday and Saturday, I went to more talks, more poster sessions, and spent more time catching up with friends and colleagues. Things were going really well. I was feeling pretty good, and I was able to find something that I could eat at all the restaurants we ended going out to. I got a little bit worried at one point, because I realized that I hadn’t felt Fig tapping or kicking for quite some time (a day or two maybe?), but then when I was sitting in GB’s brilliant life history talk, Fig began moving around. I was relieved that 1) Fig was okay –and – 2) Fig recognizes good science.

Below: some sights around Chicago

I started feeling not so great on Friday, and by that night was actually feeling kind of wretched. Saturday was another early morning; we all had to get ready, get our stuff into the car, get checked out of the hotel, and then be at the conference before 8. Somehow in the shuffle, I forgot to take a Zofran, and didn’t realize until about noon that the pills were locked in my friend Scott’s car—which would be inaccessible to me until that evening when we left the conference. I wasn’t too worried—thinking that maybe I’d end up no worse for wear and even if I did get sick, it probably wouldn’t hit me until the next day.

We left the conference about 5pm. I was feeling rather ishy but decided not to take a Zofran then because in past experience, they do nothing for me if I take one late in the day when I already feel bad. Just a few minutes into the ride, I realized it was going to be a long way home. I did all sorts of yoga breathing exercises and tried to keep my mind off the nausea. But eventually it got the best of me. Luckily, the others noticed the green shade of my face because I was beyond talking at that point. We passed a road sign that read “Kankakee, 1 mile.” Eight marathons have taught me that I can do anything for a mile. Apparently, this now includes holding puke in my mouth for a mile. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been—it had been about 6 hours since I’d eaten anything, so there wasn’t anything solid in my stomach anyway. But I was determined not to puke in Scott’s car.

We zoomed off the interstate and peeled into a gas station. I’m not sure if the car had even come to a complete stop when I bolted out the door and spat out the contents of my stomach. I’ve got to hand it to my Anthropology friends—they handled the whole thing so well, even though they must have been completely grossed out by all this. As I panted in the cold air of Kankakee, I briefly considered trying to contact Rob’s aunt and uncle—who live nearby—and seeing if I could stay with them for a few hours or overnight and have Rob drive up and get me later. But the cold air revived me, and in a few minutes I felt like I could go on. So we piled back into the car, and this time Scott insisted that I sit in the front seat—which really does help with the nausea, though I am not sure why.

Eventually we made it home, and I am so relieved to have this all behind me. It was kind of a rough night last night, and as soon as I woke up this morning, I puked again. I waited about ½ an hour and then took a Zofran—which I immediately puked up. So today hasn’t been too pretty either. Just hoping that the sun will come out tomorrow.

This raises my pregnancy-puking total to 84. Thanks for reading.