I’ve always been under the impression that naps were de rigueur for pregnant women lucky enough to have time for them, and assumed that it would be the same for me. I’m a nap-lover anyway, and pregnancy gives the perfect excuse to nap as much as you want. But, um, nope. At nearly 38 weeks, I’m not napping at all, and if you’d predicted that seven months ago, I absolutely wouldn’t have believed you.
Extreme exhaustion was my first real pregnancy symptom. I got a positive pregnancy test about as early as I possibly could – five days after implantation, by my estimate – and by that point I was already so tired that I could conk out for a solid three hours in the afternoon and still be ready for sleep again by bedtime. I could not believe how ridiculously tired I was, all the time.
This continued well into my second trimester, and the napping habit was so ingrained by that time that it took me several weeks to realize that the pervasive exhaustion had dissipated and I no longer needed the nap. I’d thought I was developing insomnia, as I would toss and turn for hours in the dark, but the moment I began staying up through the whole day, I started sleeping beautifully again.
Sometimes more beautifully than other times, of course. For example, when we visit my parents-in-law we sleep in a standard full-size bed which I’m fairly is constructed from diamonds (Bryan’s dad is a jeweler, after all) or some other equally hard substance, such that I generally come home from a weekend there feeling like I’ve hardly slept in forty-eight hours. His mom tells the story of how she put a board in their bed when she was pregnant so that it would be hard enough for her to sleep comfortably, but I find that our plush pillow-top mattress (bonus: queen-size!) treats me much better. As long as we’re home, I sleep well.
With the onset of the third trimester’s baby-sitting-constantly-on-bladder, sleeping straight through the night had to be sacrificed to my need for frequent bathroom breaks. But I quickly acquired the ability to take care of things while hardly breaking the lovely fog of unconsciousness. I’d generally wake up every three hours, take some big gulps of water (proper hydration being essential to the health of every person), make the five-yard round-trip to the bathroom, and be asleep again within minutes. REM cycles, they are a thing of beauty.
But last week, it all went to hell. Suddenly, I was not sleeping. If there were some kind of world record for number of times turning from one side to the other in a night, I would be a contender. In typical fashion (see above where it took me weeks to figure out that unnecessary napping was the culprit), I was clueless about the cause of the new insomnia. Since I’d just hit thirty-seven weeks, and I’ve heard that many women get very uncomfortable near the end of their pregnancies, I figured it might be that, despite the fact that I’m not really uncomfortable (except for the heartburn, but that deserves its own entry).
Then one morning on my daily stomach-mandated trudge to the kitchen to root out breakfast, I glanced at the thermostat and noticed the temp was in the upper 60s despite the fact that I hadn’t turned the heat on, which meant it had been at least that warm all night. Fine for summer sleeping, but way too freaking warm for winter sleeping, and it seems my brain had made the switch and started expecting winter temperatures without telling me. So that night I opened the window, and voila! I slept again, as beautifully as ever.
Except, of course, for last night, when we very efficiently opened the window but very idiotically forgot that the heat was actually ON, with the thermostat set to 70 degrees. Sometime about five o’clock this morning, after hours of tossing and turning and feeling unbelievably parched, I listened carefully and realized I could hear air coming out of the registers. I’m sure our furnace, assuming it has the capacity to do so, was thinking that we’re either lunatics or made of money and unconcerned with rising gas prices. Running the furnace with the windows open! An excellent way to make those utility bills even more painful than usual.
We’ve got somewhere between zero and four weeks to go. (Personally, I’m rooting for Caroline’s prediction.) Hopefully I’ll keep sleeping well that entire time, because anything is possible. Heck, isn’t the fact that I’m thirty-eight weeks pregnant proof of that?