It seems a little unfair to me that insomnia is a common pregnancy issue. As if we pregnant girls don’t need our beauty sleep?! Okay, forget the “beauty” part of it–pregnancy is, at best, mildly tiring, and on the worst days it can wipe you out. So why am I blogging at 4:28 a.m. rather than sleeping? Grrrrr.
I’ve had insomnia at times during all four of my pregnancies. Usually it happens when something–either my bladder, my growling tummy, or a fussy child–wakes me up, and I can’t manage to get back to sleep. I always try to go back to sleep, but sometimes, after an hour or more of laying in bed without sleep, it just seems to make sense to get up. Usually that means a bowl of cereal and early-morning TV on the couch, with the hopes of drifting off and catching a few Zzzs before the sun (or one of my early-bird boys) rises.
This morning, my awake time began with Gracie being wakened by a series of bad dreams. Each time I got close to falling back to sleep, she’d cry out with another dream. Of course, now that I’m thoroughly awake, she’s been sleeping peacefully for almost an hour, but I’m thankful at least one of us gets to rest. By the time I checked on her a few times, went to the bathroom, listened to my tummy growl, and felt kid #4 do his gymnastics in my abdomen for a while, sleep seems like a pretty unattainable goal. Might as well get something useful done.
Insomnia aside, it’s funny to me how many things seem so much less earth-shattering with this pregnancy than they did with previous ones, especially my first. My mom recently joked about an acquaintance who’s in the midst of her first pregnancy, obsessing about everything and talking about nothing else. Mom said, “You’d think she was the first person to ever have a baby!” I don”t think I was quite that bad the first time around, but occasionally I feel guilty that with #4, sometimes I almost forget I’m pregnant.
I suppose that’s bound to happen, with three other active little beings to take care of and have fun with, but it’s weird to me. This weekend, for instance, we went camping with our church group, and there I was: swimming, boating, tubing, hiking, making pancakes for 20 people–then I got home, looked in the mirror and said, “Wow, I’m getting big!” I was too busy to notice all weekend. (Looking back, I wish I’d noticed a little more over the weekend, like when I hauled my big pregnant self out of the middle of the lake and onto our boat. With an audience. And probably without gracefulness. Oh well.)
I should probably count my blessings that most of the time I’m feeling well enough to not dwell on the pregnancy, and just enjoy life with three increasingly independent kids before a newborn enters the picture. One strange blessing that happened while we were camping: Our air mattress cured my sciatica. A few weeks ago I mentioned I’d been having trouble with back pain. Before we left on our trip, my husband swapped out the thin foam mattress with an old, but thicker, inflatable one. I woke up after the first night feeling like a new person. I’m still not sure why, maybe something to do with the way my hip lined up with one of the dimples in the mattress as I slept on my side, but I woke up feeling better those three mornings of camping than I have in a while. Now that we’ve been back home for a few days, the pain is back too. Logically, I know it would be silly to sleep on an air mattress at home when I have a perfectly good one on my bed, but it’s enough to make me wonder–we’ll see if it gets any worse.
Desperate times call for desperate measures!
When I think about hitting the 25-week mark, I realize that I really don’t have too much longer to go. In three-and-a-half months, I’ll be the mom of four kids, and I’ll finally get to meet this strong, squirmy little guy who is starting to crowd out my internal organs. I also realize we’re at the point he’d have a chance to make it on the outside world. While I certainly want to wait until he’s “fully cooked” to meet him, babies are born at this stage of the game and survive.
In a way, it’s comforting to have made it this far, but it’s also a little intimidating to me that sometimes, for whatever reason, pregnant bodies can decide that the pregnancy is done early. Even though I’ve done this three times before, I still want my body to carry this little guy to term, to give him the best chance at starting life without complications. Maybe it’s just the tiredness talking, but I feel that pressure and responsibility as his mom to do the best I can, even when it’s largely out of my control. It helps to share those feelings, even when I also realize they’re not completely rational. Maybe now I can get a little rest–after I grab an early-morning snack!