Friday, December 22, 2006

Ah, sleep, it is a gentle thing

Ah, sleep, it is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole.
To blessed Mary praise be given, she sent the gentle sleep from Heaven
That slid into my soul.

I think I got that right. I'm a bit pregnancy-addled at the moment, and too goddamned tired to look it up, so please forgive me if I've screwed up The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, of which my terrific 8th-grade English teacher once forced me and my classmates to memorize select bits. (See, that's how old I am. We had to memorize poetry. Hasn't that been outlawed or something now?)

The tired bit comes from the fact that I have reached that point in pregnancy where there is NO position that is comfortable for more than an hour at a time. And I have months to go. Oh, boy.... Although, I hope it goes without saying, I would rather have this problem than the alternate problem of feeling just fine and being non-pregnant. I remember I once wrote I would crawl on my bare knees over broken glass to have children. Well, I think I'm reaching that section of the road.

Last night was a good example of the no-sleep thing. We are currently staying at my husband's sister's house in Portland. They are terrific people and I'm glad to be here. Nonetheless, it's hard. I feel like I am constantly whining about the food, since I have to follow the diet for gestational diabetes. The sister and her husband have been great about trying to accommodate me, going out and buying whole wheat bread for me, for example ... to which I am eventually forced to say something along the lines of, "Oh, yeah, great bread, thank you! Except that it has, um, honey in it, and it made my lunchtime sugar level shoot up to 166 when it's supposed to be under 140... uh, do you have some other whole wheat bread around?" As if, of course, they've been keeping the really good stuff secret in the garage or something, just to spite me. I feel like a whiny house guest, which I hate. Hell, I am a whiny house guest.

The sleep thing has been ongoing for the last couple of weeks. I have reached that point in the amazing growth of my belly at which there is NO possibility of sleeping on my side without it hurting like sixty. There's just too much there there. The free-weights-in-Jell-O belly has won the battle. I capitulate. The problem is that I'm really not supposed to sleep on my back since it compresses the vena cava which cuts off some of the blood to the uterus. (And I believe this now, since after about an hour of lying on my back - if I'm awake - I start to feel short of breath.)

So at my doc's suggestion, last weekend I made a clever device out of folded towels, designed to cant me up on one side just enough, a few degrees, to keep me from sleeping directly on my back. I tried that on Friday night, slept reasonably well, though I awoke with a slight backache. Well, I thought, maybe this is doable. Tried it again the following night. Woke up on Saturday morning ... with a mother of a backache. I mean, really, just a huge awful backache. I've been very smug throughout this pregnancy, that even though I've had back problems in the past, I've had absolutely none for the last six months. And now this! I've been using a heating pad the last couple of days and it is finally starting to abate, but really, it was just awful.

So let's see ... I can't sleep on either side. I can't sleep flat on my back because my babies will die of asphyxia (or something equally dire). I can't sleep on my back with the addition of the towel device. I can't sleep upside down like a bat, though I've been about ready to try that. So what does a desperate pregnant female do?

Well, this particular desperate pregnant female resorted to sleeping on her back anyway, feeling like a Bad Mum the whole time for obviously ruining my children's lives before they're even out of the oven. So now I'm the Hetty Green of the pregnant world. (Remember Hetty Green, the Witch of Wall Street? She was a millionaire, but so tight with a buck that she delayed getting medical help for her son's injured leg, which eventually resulted in the leg's amputation.) This sent me down into depression over the last couple of weeks, just feeling so helpless over this. But I saw my doc on Wednesday and whined at her, and she suggested a last try at solving the problem, by propping up one side of the entire bed so that the whole thing would be at a bit of an angle. (As she pointed out, this is what they do in surgery when they need to keep pressure off that vein -- they just prop up the whole surgery table.)

So we tried that here at the sister's house, with a couple of 2x4's under the feet of our bed, and it wasn't so bad. It did not, however, solve the sleep issue since I think I just simply get uncomfortable from staying in one position for any length of time. So last night I slept the way I have been this whole week: in shifts. I slept from eleven to 3:30, got up and peed, then slept from about 4 to 5:30, walked around a bit and got to bed again about half an hour later, then got in one more hour of sleep. That was my night.

So I'm just incredibly freakin' tired. (Oh, and don't suggest a recliner, please ... I also need to get completely horizontal at night, to let my myomectomy scar stretch out and relax. Joy.)

And now tonight ... The brother-in-law absolutely insisted we watch the new Batman movie (the Christian Bale prequel). That's fine except that I couldn't get comfortable anywhere, so I was roaming around the back of the living room like a caged whatsis, trying to be inconspicuous. Plus I'm so tired of the whole Hero's Journey thing. That was new when Lucas did it first, but it's so old now it has whiskers. So here I am trying to be polite to make up for my pickiness about the food. Then my husband decides to drink numerous beers, even though he did the same thing last night. But that's nothing new ... whenever we come here, D acts like he has a free pass to drink every single night. (Perhaps I should mention that D's drinking is a long-standing bone of contention. He maintains that since he doesn't -- usually -- drink every single night, plus he doesn't let it impact his job, and he never has blackouts, that he doesn't actually have a problem. I maintain that there are other considerations, but hey, I'm just the wife ... so what the hell do I know?

Anyway. Sis and BIL went to bed, I felt like crap, D was still in there swilling them down, and I burst into tears. Nice long cryfest. I just feel like shit and this tunnel looks so incredibly long. I assume that's light at the end. But tonight I don't really feel sure.


Blogger chris said...

Hey, I bought the sleeping pillow thing because of you--the Snoogle--and finally had a good night's sleep. I highly recommend it.

As for the husband? Tell him he has two kids on the way and it's time to stop acting like a frat boy. I would have cried too.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Thalia said...

Of course you cried, particularly after no sleep. ALthough I often think that americans are a bit funny about alcohol, it does sound like he's drinking a lot, and those justifications start to sound a bit weird. As Chris said, tell him to get with the program. Or tell him we said so.

1:12 PM  

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