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Mundane Mouse Musings
Time does go by quickly.  Six months ago today, I gave birth to my daughter.  Its been one hell of an adjustment!  Thankfully, our little girl is healthy and fairly happy.  (The Mouseling has started to teethe, so there are moments when she is miserable. I, in turn, feel helpless and frustrated.)

Isn't she cute?

Hopefully, I will be posting more often.

The Mouse
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Pregnant women are stressed.  They worry about "taboo" topics such as postpartum depression, not wanting the baby and changes in their relationship/sex life.


Many of these "stressors" have been on my mind for months.  Nice to know I'm not alone.  However, will the medical and social establishment be willing to address this subject and try to change things?  I have my doubts.  There are days when I want to beat the next person who says "Having a baby is a wonderful thing!" or "Why worry about your career?  You're a mother now."

Pointless aside:  I am going to try to breast feed.  Mouse_Spouse lost a sibling to SIDS, and there is some evidence that nursing reduces the risk of this mysterious and horrifying syndrome.  

A few weeks ago, I attended a local seminar on breast feeding.  I was very nervous, part of me can't separate exposed boobs from sex.  During a Q&A session, I asked how nursing could affect sex and intimacy.  There was an uncomfortable silence.  How dare I mention sex in a room full of pregnant women!


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Today was my last day in the lab.  I am going to be laid off.  Since my PI hasn't been in the lab since telling me, so I have operated under the assumption that my position ends August 31st.  There is a lot of paperwork involved with leaving the U.  It will not surprise me to have to some back in order to fill out these forms in a week or two.  (PI have been on service at the hospital, then out of town.  I haven't seen or heard from him in weeks.)

One of the post-docs made brownies.  The handful of people left in our department and I had these chocolate treats.  They had pitched in and got me some baby gifts.  It was sweet and sad at the same time.  Since this department has been slowly dying, our positions have been in jeopardy.  In an odd sort of way, we were lucky.  I am the only person to be let go.  The other techs and post-docs have been transferred to different labs -  one tech went to grad school.

Officially, I am no longer a mouse maven.  No colonies to manage, no breeding to track, no more protocols to read and edit.  I'll miss the mouse rooms.  They were quite and peaceful - if you didn't mind the smell.  These rooms were the only place I felt "at home", I knew what I was doing, why I was doing it, and how I wanted it done.  I was known and respected. 

Caring for animals is something I have always felt drawn to.  Working at an animal shelter was disheartening; so many loving pets dying because there were no homes for them.  The research animals appealed to me.  My grandfather was a small-time farmer.  I grew up knowing that the chicken we had for dinner was walking around outside earlier in the day.  We took care of the animals and they took care of us.  The husbandry of research animals fit into this philosophy, and I was comfortable with that.

"What will I do next?" has been running through my mind for weeks.  Seven years among the rodents, where could I go?  Guess we'll find out.
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The Last Supper, until Tuesday.


(This is another punch on my Free Trip to Hell card.)


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There are better uses for my brain.  Someone has developed a mouse with OCD like behavior – I would like to read about it and see what they did.  Saw a blurb about the number of repeated genes in the dog genome effecting breed characteristics – that sounds fascinating.


Instead of feeding my intellect, I’m biting my nails with anxiety.


Mother got her invitation to the baby shower this Saturday.  She called me.  “You’re mother-in-law is rather presumptuous.”

As presumptuous as jumping straight into a conversation, instead of taking one second to say “Hello”?

“What do you mean, Mom?”

“There is no address on this invitation.”

Ok, my friend, Terra, made and sent the invitations, not my MIL.  However, MIL is taking RSVP’s because she lives in town and Terra does not.  Also, the name of the place we’re meeting is on the invitation.  I’ve been spoiled by the internet and didn't give much thought to looking up directions.

“If you call MIL to RSVP, I’m sure she will give you directions, or I can pull it up online and give them to you.”

“I have to RSVP, so don’t worry about it.”

You just called a woman you’re seen only a handful of times presumptuous.  I would rather you never talk to her!


We said our good byes and hung up.  Yesterday, I visited with MIL.  She is a very kind and generous woman and I treat her with a lot of respect.  Unwisely, I told her about some concerns I have about my family: I suspect that my mother is mentally ill and my brother is an alcoholic.  These things have been festering in the back of my mind.  What if the baby inherits my gene pool’s propensity for self-destructive behavior?


Right now, I’m worried that Mother will say something to upset MIL or MIL will comment on what I have told her about my relatives.


I’m tired of trying to keep my fucked-up family life in the closet.  I want to have this kid, give her up to someone less flawed, and run far, far away!  Everyone can just fuck off and think what they want about me and where I came from.

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Baby hedgehogs bond with brush.  I hope they don't hit on brooms when they're grown!



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I'm seeing the OB every week now.  Today, I asked her for an estimate on the baby's size.  She felt my abdomen, looked at my chart and guestimated that the little one was about seven pounds.

"That's a big baby!" I cried.

"Don't worry," said the doctor. "I've delivered nine, ten pound babies before."

"Well, *I* haven't!"


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I have lost my mind and my spine.

My self-esteem and sanity seem to be linked to how much rest I get.  Since I haven't been sleeping much, I feel insane, out-of-control, helpless, ugly . . .  The list goes on.  Just give me the title of "World's Biggest Loser" and we'll call it even.  

The flip side of this is after a few solid hours unconscious, I'll feel much better about myself and the world at large.  However, I'm eight months pregnant.  There will be no uninterrupted rest for at least a couple of decades.  (I have been around medical students and doctors on service.  How they manage to stay up for over 24 hours mystifies me.  Typically, I don't go to sleep, sleep comes and gets me.)

Yesterday, I ranted about my mother - its becoming a hobby.  This morning, I got an email from her.  Mother mentioned that she hasn't received an invitation to the shower my friend and MIL are hosting.  I could explain to her (again) that this shower is mostly my friends and MIL since she lives close by and Mother's shower can be for our side of the family.  Sadly, I didn't do this.  Instead, I emailed my friend, asked her to send an invitation and that I would tell Mother the time and place.  Abandoning my vertebrae, my only hope is that Mother will behave herself.

Its been a couple of years since Mother has made a big scene in public.  If she does so at this shower, maybe it will be like an earthquake: chaos followed by a period of peace because the pressure has been released.

Sum up: I'm stupid and easily manipulated.  I just want all of this to go away.   

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Daleks take over Manchester!  Where's the Doctor?



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Next week, I'm attending the first of two baby showers and I'm dreading it.  The anxiety has been keeping me up at night.

First, I know that these showers are going against etiquette.  The first one has been planned by my best friend, Terra, and my mother-in-law.  The second one is for my mother and her friends.  As I understand it, baby showers should be planned by a friend, not a family member.  Also, I don't know Mother's friends.  To me, its tacky to receive gifts from folks you don't know.  Against my better judgment, I agreed to Mother having a shower because I know she doesn't get along with Terra and some of my other friends.  My thought: Mother would be happy playing hostess at one party and I could have a good time with my friends without worrying about Mother making a scene.  (Also, I don't want my MIL to see Mother when she's in a bitchy mood.)

Having two showers was a bad idea.  MIL and Mother want to attend both!  To make things more complicated, Mother is very pissed at Terra.  (Brief background:  Terra and my brother had a son together.  They broke up, Terra has custody and Brother has weekend visitation.  Brother wants full-custody*.  Mother has hated Terra from leaving Brother, now I can smell Mother's pent-up rage.)  The breakdown: Mother is hostile to my friend.  My MIL doesn't understand why I'm trying to keep Mother away from the first shower.  

How do you explain to someone that my mother is not a rational person and I'm stone-cold scared of her?  In the past, Mother has attempted suicide, physically attacked people (including me), made embarrassing scenes in public (once, in a court room as Brother and Terra's custody agreement was being decided - almost got a contempt of court citation), and has threatened to kidnap my nephew.  This woman has some sort of mental problem, but has never agreed to see a professional for help.  Every time I'm around her, I'm a bundle of nerves; watching what I say, trying to steer the conversation away from subjects that may set Mother off, counting the seconds until she's gone.  

Once, I was estranged from her.  To be frank, my life was easier then.  No fear, no anxiety, and no drama.  Mother had a bout of cervical cancer and I felt duty-bound to resume contact.  Now, not having her around sounds like a very good idea.  I'm irritated that she doesn't acknowledge my husband when we talk about the  baby.  (I want to be there when the baby is born.  Mouse_Spouse, the kid's father, will be the only person there with me.  We'll call you after she's born.  I'm very private person and would like to keep the number of people seeing me naked, sweating and screaming to an absolute minimum.)    Also, Mother's threats to snatch my nephew and her past behavior of taking my brother and I away when she was angry with our father makes me very nervous.

On top of the family drama, I'm lonely.  Of my circle of friends, Terra is the only mother.  I feel awkward when the other friends and I get together.  Will we grow apart?  How do I meet other new parents?  (I'm not very religious, but I have joked about joining a church just to meet other parents.)

Whine, moan, bitch, complain.  Nothing new here.   

*I am trying to stay out of this.  However, I feel that Terra is a better parent than my sibling.  It saddens me that Brother's motivation for this custody fight is so he can stop paying child support.  He hasn't thought this out - the money he pays is probably a pittance compared to the actual up-keep of an 11-year-old boy.


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