Friday, February 22, 2013

Sleeping with a Pregnant Woman

By the time Sunday had grown out of my pants and into pants two sizes larger, our sleep schedule was totally thrown off. 

I learned something about pregnant women by sleeping with one:  nothing comes easy. 


Adjustment in the middle of the night?  Serious undertaking. 

Rolling over?  It’s like riding the Tilt-A-Wheel at the amusement park. 

By the time the third trimester came along, Sunday had grown out of all her regular clothes—including shoes—so she was uncomfortable for most of the day.  Even sitting down was a chore, because she knew she had to get up sometime.  Plus, she retained water like it was her full-time job.  She was swollen so badly by the time she had Jonah that she resorted to wearing my shoes. 

When she eased into bed at night, her entire body had been yanked by gravity for every minute of the day.  Sitting, standing or walking, she was under stress. 

You’d think that bedtime would be a welcome time for a pregnant woman.  It’s not.  Gravity still works and, with the added weight, the pressure is more intense.  On top of that, Sunday’s bladder was the size of a very small change purse.    So, she was up and down about 1,300 times a night.

After going to the restroom, she would get back into bed and begin jerking the covers off of my freezing body.  (Temperature sensitivity is also a major problem with pregnant women.)  She was in a bad mood for most of the night, primarily because I would hog my 15% of the bed and my 5% of the covers.  I felt like I remained on the bed by the power of the Holy Ghost.  Really, it was an impossibility of physics that I stayed in bed most nights.

Before Sunday’s last trimester, though, I thought the lack of sleep would come when Jonah actually arrived on the scene.  I was completely wrong.  When people would come up to me, telling me I should prepare for the lack of sleep AFTER the birth, my mind leapt to a few different thoughts. 

Thought #1:  I would wonder how quickly I could punch this person in the throat and run away.

Thought #2:  I was not getting much sleep as a graduate student as it is.  At this rate, I will probably get a “sleep deprivation rebate” on my life when I die. 

Thought #3:  I would combine the “sleep deprivation” thought and the “punching the throat and running away” thoughts.

Jonah wasn’t being too kind to Sunday at this point.  Her fingers were numb, her ribs hurt, and she wept with relief with every full breath she got during the night.  (I believe three full breaths per night was her record.)  Every time Sunday got out of bed, her effort required loud grunts and moans.  I felt like I was sleeping in the middle of an Olympic weight lifting competition, which explains my dream about falling in love with a rather large Hungarian woman, I think. 

Here’s the situation:  Sunday is fifty pounds heavier than she was six months ago.  She’s swollen in every extremity, including her face, and she was not getting much rest.  There was another human being inside of her, who demanded 24-hour service on everything from food to waste disposal.   The body that hadn’t changed in over a decade had produced a 25% increase in half a year, requiring a different method of walking, sitting, driving, standing, showering, and anything else people do before 9am.

And she had to live with me.  She lived with a constant strain that I didn’t have to live with.  I could go to school or work and forget for a while about our child.  I could read a book and get lost in the story.  I could go to the library and not remember that I needed to eat or to go home. 

She never could do any of that stuff.  Ever.  She merely had to look down, or take a step, or breathe in or out to remember what we were in for.  If she tried to forget with sleep or a movie or a talk with friends, Jonah inevitably reminded her. 

Her body was an around-the-clock operation that should have required double the sleep she’s used to getting, instead of cutting that number in half.  And the only message we were getting from people was that we were going to lose even more sleep.  We both went into the delivery time with a sense of dread. 

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