Monday, September 28, 2009

At least my hair hasn't fallen out

Before the birth of my son, I spent a long time talking with many of you about physical effects postpartum and how, considering the lengthy list of potential problems, it's odd how little they are discussed.

For the curious, here's my experience. I don't claim that it is typical in any fashion.

Pain down there-- achy three days and then serious stinging on the toilet for about 5 days, much less bad than I imagined.
Boobs- sore cracked nipples for about three weeks; needing to wear a bra all the time, including sleeping for 5 weeks; itchy, sweaty and generally uncomfortable all the time still. Leakage when my "milk came in" and minor since, mostly at night. Did have an infection at a week and a half-- didn't take antibiotics and it went away.
Bleeding- very very heavy first two days, like a heavy period for another week, like a normal period for the next week, spotting for a while and then starting up again heavy around my four week appointment. Actually stopped at five weeks. Might have been longer since I was on blood thinners. Never had any clots the size of a fist or larger (you're supposed to call your doctor with these) but definitely passed some doozies.
Temperature control-- horrible when my milk came in (freezing and sweating simultaneously) and off for a full five weeks, including bad night sweats.
Contracting uterus-- one of the freakiest things I've experienced is the draining of my uterus by a nice nurse pushing on it, followed by direct links between dianthus sucking and tingling in my tummy region. It was very weird while still at the hospital my tummy was still so large and hard. By two weeks it was soft and now it looks like I'm just carrying excess fat around the stomach rather than recently pregnant. I'm still wearing my maternity capris but really want to lose some weight before it gets much colder so I don't need to wear my maternity pants (all of which are dress pants for work with fairly wide spandex tops and no pockets.
Post partum depression-- my crying all the time for most of the first five weeks felt more like a physical than a psychological symptom, if that makes any sense. I never thought that I was going to hurt myself or my child and I always thought that exercise and time would make it better (and I thought that it would get better), so it may not "really" have been PPD, but many books label "regular" baby blues as lasting a week or less and PPD lasting longer. I didn't stop crying daily until sometime after I stopped bleeding, about five weeks. I feel much better now.
Incontinence-- Never had any fecal incontinence, thank goodness, and urine hasn't been bad-- just when I sneeze or cough, and it's less of a problem than when I was pregnant. Still, should have done more kegels.
Hair loss- One doesn't lose much hair while pregnant (mine looked great, I might add) so sometime after the baby is born, hormones shift and one can lose six months worth of normal hair loss at once. This has not happened to me and my hair is lovely when it is down. Of course it is never down because Dianthus can grab, so I didn't really realize how long and blond it currently is until I brushed it out over the weekend. 'Cause I'm vain and want somebody to see it, I thought I'd post a picture for all of you to admire.

Oh, as to why the physical aspects are so little discussed, I suspect it is because the emotional issues overwhelm the physical or there are just too many other things to do (unlike pregnancy, which is largely waiting, so you can think about and talk about your body). Or that people need to forget quickly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gift ideas for a new mom

I'm going to a baby shower this weekend for someone I don't know that well. Since it is her second baby, most people are getting gifts for her since she has most of the baby things covered. Anyone have suggestions for gifts that would be good? I thought about a gift certificate for pedicure...but will she have time to actually use it? Thanks for any ideas!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

solar chargers for laptops

Anyone have experience with solar chargers for laptops? Know anyone who uses them for fieldwork in remote places? Thought I'd check with you guys before researching them on the web. Maybe I should email some of the people at the museum. I was thinking of getting a laptop and charger for Haiti since I'll be there a month. Though a charger isn't necessary since I can tap into my hosts' electricity while their solar/generator runs a couple hours each night. But they often have trouble with it and plugging in an extra device makes a difference in how much electricity is available. A side note - our tall flamboyant knitter is due next week! I gave a Haiti talk in her seminar today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Final Report Haiku

Report due panic.

Where did all the data go?

Report due Friday!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Glad Somebody Wasn't At Her Window

At bus ran into the Kansas Biological Survey today. From the image at the Journal World, it looks like it went straight into the office of one of our beloved members (or to the office next door). Said member, can you confirm that you are okay?
Image with the bus from twitter.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nursing Miscalculations

My son is expected to be (and is, I think), growing at a rate of about an ounce a day (or half a pound a week). Milk from me is his only source of food.
If 90% of his energy inputs go to metabolism, rather than growth, he should need the caloric equivalent of 10 ounces a day.
Because energy is lost at every step, it must take me more than 10 ounces worth of calories to make the milk that is providing him 10 ounces of calories.
If I am eating only the amount of calories needed to maintain my basic non-nursing metabolism, I should be losing more than 10 ounces a day.
In total, I have lost 2 pounds since the original big loss.
Ecological theory, logic problem, life question. . . where are the calculations off?
I can think of several places but would like to hear other hypotheses.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vampire moth help

Hi all,

Gearing up for my evolution course, I need a semi-simple and hopefully interesting or even fun article on phylogeny and its uses. I have vague memories from undergrad 12 years ago of a neat discussion of the origin of blood-sucking behavior in moths in just such a context but have had no luck finding it. Another example I know of (which I also can't find) is the origin of color vision pigments in primates. Anyone have access to these (or other) articles/book sections that would fit this bill. I would also love a nice reading on evolutionary transition in a group (such as whales reentering the water and that physical transformation). I don't seem to be keyed into how to find less-technical, interesting, undergrad-level readings!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009