Nesting and Insomnia

I’m not even sure how long I’ve been sitting in my living room in the dark trying to get comfortable/ turn off my brain/ get sleepy/ write this sentence. Before that I was in my bed for a few hours attempting the same (except for the writing part). Last night was similar and before that… I can’t quite remember. Today is my first day of the 3rd trimester and it seems Insomnia has found me again (a little earlier this time). As Dora would say, “That sneaky fox!”

On my short list of favorable pregnancy symptoms is a new found focus. I had the odd experience of finding a to do list in my coat pocket from a few days past and realizing that I had completed every single item on the list. I don’t know if that’s ever happened to me before.  I’m making appointments, putting them on the calendar, planning ahead, cleaning the bathroom, staying on top of documentation at work, filing taxes, organizing closets. It’s crazy! I’ve wondered several times if this is how normal people operate most of the time. Maybe these pregnancy hormones are kicking in to help me prepare for this new life and giving me a taste of what it’s like to be more organized.
The only part I don’t like about it is the feeling that there is always more to do. As soon as I complete one item, I am on to the next and feel a bit panicked that the list keeps getting longer. I feel like I can’t sleep because I’m… well I’m itchy, heavy, and can’t breathe very well… but also because there’s so much to do and my brain won’t stop obsessing about the next thing I could be doing. I almost did a workout last night at 2am but I stopped myself because I was realizing that it was time to rest and that I need to work on being content with what I can and can’t get done in a day.
I’m tyring to intentionally counteract the turbo-powered-nesting-instinct and just be present in each moment as they come. I’m trying not to be too focused on what’s happening in less than 3 months (although I am so, so excited) and not too focused on what I didn’t finish yesterday. I just want to be grateful for this moment in which can feel my contacts getting stale, and I can hear the trains rumbling by, the dog’s heavy breathing and the clock ticking. This moment in which my womb baby is flipping and my girl baby is probably nestled in one small corner of her crib… blanket kicked off and boppy (aka pacifier) near. This moment in which the heartburn I felt earlier is subsiding and the nausea that seems to always be with me may just be taking a little nap.
And for my next trick, I will be attempting to fall asleep. Again.

p.s. I remembered that I posted about insomnia during my last pregnancy 2 years ago, so I searched back in the archives and lo and behold… I posted in on this EXACT day 2 years ago. Must be something about February 10th and me being awake thinking about being awake!

How to Survive so-called “Morning Sickness”: 9 uncommon tips

If you, like me, think “Morning Sickness” should be called “The 9 Month Flu” you might benefit from reading this post. I’m not promising any cures or remedies. As someone who has tried just about everything to alleviate my nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (special diets, mint, lemons, ginger, Zofran, other drugs, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, small frequent meals, liquid chlorophyll, sea bands, protein, bland foods, Unisom, exercise, relaxation, Vitamin B, and many more) I don’t see the need for another post along those lines. These are some mindsets and practical tips that have helped me cope with feeling like a moody, sleep-deprived adolescent with the perpetual flu.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to put crackers by your bedside, we’ve all heard that joke too many times!

Disclaimer: I am not an expert; I am just speaking from my experience: one complete pregnancy with severe nausea and vomiting for the entire duration, one miscarriage with moderate nausea and vomiting, and one current pregnancy, 13.5 weeks along with ongoing constant nausea and occasional vomiting.
1.       Keep an empty ice cream bucket in your car. This one was my mom’s idea, and the more I think about it, the more I realize its perfection. Just yesterday a strong wave of nausea hit me while I was driving home from work. I was on the interstate and there was nowhere to pull over. I grabbed the first thing I could find to use as a receptacle; a paper bag. While it was better than nothing, it was not ideal. Yes it leaked out on my pants… yes my husband thought I wet myself… yes I was grateful I was coming home from work and not going to work. An ice cream bucket would have been so much better because you don’t have to hold it open (safer while driving), it doesn’t leak, AND you can put a lid on it. The only problem is we don’t really eat ice cream in this family so we don’t actually have one. I will buy someone ice cream if you give me the container! Anyone?
2.       Learn to interpret nausea as hunger. This is really difficult because it is unnatural to eat when you feel sick. During pregnancy I have not felt hungry. Instead I feel nauseous. Tricky little nausea is always trying to make food seem repulsive, but food is the only thing that calms the storm. There is a point of no return when the nausea is too strong and food will not stay down. Just try not to get to this point… I know it is hard.
3.       Choose the least of evils: During my first pregnancy I got my vomiting under control with drugs but I still felt miserably nauseous. I ate frequently to get my nausea under control and gained too much weight. The drugs gave me headaches and slowed my digestion way down if you know what I mean. During my second pregnancy I threw up too much and ended up losing the baby… though we’re not sure why. So based on what you can tolerate today you must choose: vomiting or drug side effects, nausea or weight gain, healthy foods or pickles and gummy bears, being a semi-functional human or spending the day in the bathroom.
4.       Don’t eat it if you are disgusted by it. I ate chicken the other day because I thought it would be a healthy choice. I turned off the lights because I was grossed out by the sight of it. I didn’t sleep for the first half of the night because I was so ill from it. When will I ever learn to listen to my aversions?
5.       Enjoy the 1-5 minutes after you finish throwing up. This is the best you’ll feel for months. If you can, fall asleep during this time so that you can avoid experiencing the resurgence.
6.       Take Gummy Prenatal Vitamins. Forget about choking down those horse pills. Mary Poppins was right a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. My new gummy vitamins do contain sugar, and they do not have iron so they are easier on the tummy.
7.       Lie to yourself. Despite my track record, it was imperative that I believed I would feel better during the second trimester this time. It gave me hope, it gave me something to count down to. It made me feel better just knowing there was an end date. That date was over a week ago, so now I’m changing my nausea end date. It’s just a little game I play to keep myself sane… if you call this sanity.
8.       Keep your Eyes on the Prize: baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby (it’s all worth it for you babe).
9.       Accept that you feel how you feel. One definition of suffering is pain plus the non-acceptance of that pain. My first pregnancy I felt upset because it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t right, it wasn’t what I read about in the books, it wasn’t what my friends described, it lasted much longer, and it felt much worse than I ever expected. Now I am coming to terms with my situation, and it is still hard, but a little tiny bit better. I still have hope that by some miracle, I will have some relief from my nausea before this is all over, but I am doing better at accepting that at this moment, I feel sick and it’s not helpful to protest that fact.
My guess is that if you are reading a post with this title you have had similar or worse experiences than mine, or you know me and are reading out of boredom, empathy, curiosity, obligation, confusion, amusement. If you fit into the former category, how have you coped? Which of these things have been helpful/unhelpful for you? I’d love to know, and I’m sure others will benefit from your wisdom. Comment below!

Miscarriage

The silence and the furrowed brow of the ultrasound technician was my first clue that something was wrong. Adelaide was with us and she was making some cute sounds, but the technician wasn’t laughing. Finally, approximately 100 years later, the technician finally said the thing that is still echoing in our ears. She said, “Well, I see a baby, but no heartbeat.” She also said that it appeared the baby stopped growing 3 or 4 weeks ago.  She zoomed in on this tiny, still baby curled up on its side. The pressure in my head and throat swelled as my heart dropped, to where it is currently located. The technician didn’t offer any sympathies or apologies, she just said we were done and someone would call me later.

I had always sympathized with others who had miscarriages, but I never fully understood the depth of the experience. I didn’t know how it would feel to un-tell those we had just shared and celebrated the news with. I also didn’t realize how empty it would feel having already carved out a place for this baby in our hearts and our plans and imaginations of the future. I had begun a pregnancy journal filled with my prayers, hopes and feelings for the little one, and now I was sitting with the news that for no apparent reason, the baby died.

Then the craziness really began. The midwife called me once to tell me what my options were for expelling the pregnancy. Then she called again to say that the radiologist reviewed the ultrasound pictures and was not certain the baby was dead, but maybe it was just younger than expected, and too young to detect a heartbeat. We tried to keep our hopes in check, but that was impossible. It wasn’t until three days later that we got the results of my blood tests that showed my hormone levels were high BUT dropping- which meant the baby was gone. Then the next day I got a call saying they were fairly certain the pregnancy was not viable but not 100% sure, so I would need another ultrasound the following week. A torturous week later, a second ultrasound confirmed that the baby was still the same size and still no heartbeat.

Still, I felt sick, like not just emotionally, but actually very ill. I was nauseous, extremely fatigued, had migraines, and was using the bathroom every other minute. If it hadn’t been for Adelaide, work and other responsibilities, I might not have gotten out of bed for a few weeks. I couldn’t figure out why I still felt so many pregnancy symptoms and the phrase “hysterical pregnancy” entered my mind. I learned that it wasn’t hysteria, but in fact it was because my hormones levels were still very high and dropping ever so slowly. And they still are (dropping). It took three weeks from that first ultrasound for me to begin bleeding, and it has continued for another three weeks and counting. This has been a long ordeal and I’m looking forward to feeling normal again (I’m almost there… just the headaches persist).

Rest in peace little-itsy-bitsy one. Your short little life left an impression on us and we are sad we didn’t get to meet you. We were bursting with love for you the moment we found out about you and we feel your absence deeply.

Pineapples!

We heard that pineapples can help start up the labor process. So we figured, a little fresh fruit never hurt anyone! I’ve been eating it plain for now, but I have some ideas… that involve a blender, coconut milk, strawberries, and of course- pineapple! Perhaps a mini umbrella will tie the whole thing together. 

I’ll let you know if it has the intended effect!

Still Waiting Expectantly

I hate waiting rooms.

I hate sitting there, watching the brass clock tick- I hate those Highlights kid’s magazines and looking at the ugly painting of a bouquet of pastel flowers in a giant vase or two little kids walking in a meadow (like that ever happens). Those minutes spent in the mauve vinyl chairs of a waiting room… are minutes of my life I can never reclaim.

Early in my pregnancy, I went to an eye appointment. Just a regular ol’ check up. I was so dizzy and nauseous I felt like the room was spinning. They had all of these books of optical illusions- which didn’t help my situation. I had to close my eyes, or focus on a spot on the floor so I wouldn’t throw up. It took everything in me not to drop to all fours on the floor… just to stabilize. The receptionist kept telling me, “Sorry, we’re running behind, the doctor will see you in ten minutes.”  Fifteen minutes later, the receptionist apologized again and asked if I wanted her to clean my glasses while I waited… probably another five. Yes!! -as long as you stop saying numbers (ten, five). Numbers make me think of clocks, and clocks make me think of circles, and circles remind me that my insides are spinning in circles!

I never thought I’d make it through that waiting room experience, or that appointment… or that month… or actually these nine months. Everyone was telling me it would get better- and I would forget all about it soon, and that I should eat crackers and ginger. I could hardly hear what they were saying over the quaking and queasing and shaking and swirling I was experiencing. But somehow, I got through the worst of it! Tomorrow’s my due date!!!! From what I’ve learned in waiting rooms- the time on my schedule reminder card doesn’t always (very rarely) matches the time that I actually go in to get my braces tightened (or what have you) but it means that the hour is near!

I know that when the baby is ready, and when we are ready, she will come. I hope I don’t end up having to wait way past my due date… but if so, so shall it be! We are excited for her to be on the outside but there is plenty of time for that. I’m having some feelings that resemble those I have in a waiting room… the impatience, the tapping, staring at the clock- the wondering how much longer, but mostly I’m enjoying not being trapped in a waiting room and trying to enjoy life as I know it for the unspecified amount of time between now and then. Today is a day for celebrating because today the anniversary of the day that Grant was born! Just more proof that babies do come out! And I’m glad he did! Happy Birthday Grant! Here’s to many more years of waiting for things together!

Just Resting

4 days till my due date, and ironically, I’m feeling great! Ironic, because I haven’t felt well since last June, and usually this is the point in pregnancy when discomfort is welcome (because it means the baby is coming soon). I’m not complaining though. Yesterday and today, I got ample sleep, enjoyed the sunshine, read, stayed hydrated, and even did a little shopping. While I would really like to meet this little girl face to face, I am very grateful for this chance to dial down and rejuvinate. It feels like it’s been years (or never) since the only item on my to-do list was to relax.

Last night Grant and I went to a parent topic meeting hosted by the Childbirth Collective. The topic was “The Natural Rythmn of Labor.” The speaker did some draumatizations of what each stage of natural labor looks/sounds like (the breathing, body positions, the moaning, the crying, the mood changes)… and wow- she was good. I’ve seen it in the videos, but it was a different experience in person. Despite being slightly terrifying, it was helpful for us to see and talk about what to expect, what will be helpful for Grant to do (or not do) in various stages, etc.  All in all, I feel confident that it will be an incredibly intense, painful, exhausting and difficult experience, but I expect that it will also be an incredibly rewarding, exhilerating, empowering, bonding and uplifting experience. Anyway that’s my hope.

Time to go… hmm, I don’t know, trim my fingernails? Watch a movie? Go for a walk? Prenatal Yoga? Work on Grant’s birthday present (his b-day is Friday by the way!)? Pet the dog? Lunch maybe?

Swollen

Okay, so I wasn’t kidding about my feet being swollen. That ring around my ankles is what was left about an hour after taking off my loosest socks. As unsightly as it is, I thought I should document the state of things. I took a picture of my hand too… but it was grossing me out, so I deleted it. It feels like the dull ache of growing pains. I was told the best thing to do about it is take a warm bath, drink lots of water, and avoid sodium… all of which I’ve been doing- so I guess it’s all taken care of.

Anyway, instead of going on and on about my bloated feet… the exciting news is… No more socks, no more commutes, no more case notes, no more forgetting my lunch at home, no more hair dryers… I’M ON MATERNITY LEAVE!!!! Hooray! I never thought this day would come, and here it is in all it’s glory. I thought I’d get that feeling when I left work, like the last day of school- when you just want to jump up and click your heals, and pump your fist towards the bright blue endless sky. It wasn’t quite like that. Instead I felt sick, sleep deprived, achy, and overly emotional. I’m feeling overwhelmed about being a mother soon, being pregnant still, and other such things. It’s hard to fathom all of the changes that are coming… and most of all, I think I just need some sleep.

So with that, I bid you all farewell, and good night!