How are you feeling?
I am asked this question, by many sweet and caring friends and acquaintances and family on a daily basis. And having so many people look at you with genuine concern on their faces is very touching. But, I have to say, when asked this question, I can never answer right away.
I have to ask myself, is this an "I'm Fine" kind of conversation....where the acquaintance cares enough to politely ask and to show interest in my pregnancy, but isn't really in it for the half hour rant that may follow? Or is this a friend who can handle hearing a bit of mild griping, you know, upbeat comments such as "I'm getting a weeeeeeeeeeeeee bit uncomfortable, but really, in general I'm fine" being-a-good-sport kind of attitude stuff. Or is this a friend who loves me enough to truly want to know that I am far too self-centred and superficial to truly be enjoying all the joys of the growth of another human being for self-pity because I have tried every feasible position on land and on sea and there exists not a single one that gives me comfort enough to sleep thoroughly through a six hour period and I am complaining even knowing that the person who is asking may have a young child and is his or herself not getting more than three hours of sleep in a day but I don't care!
So let me start off by saying that I KNOW this is not pain. I KNOW that childbirth is far worse and that early parenthood will leave me in a state of sleep deprivation ten million times worse than this, the depths of which I cannot even imagine right now. I KNOW that discomfort is a word that I might toss around now casually, but that when applied to labour contractions will take on an entirely new meaning. I KNOW that there are women out there who can't experience the wondrous joy of pregnancy and that this is a miracle blossoming forth from my loins. I KNOW that I am lucky beyond reason to not be in a third world country where I have to lug stagnant and dismal-looking water in a jug on my head thirteen miles each way to and from a watering hole and sleep on a hard earthen floor of my straw hut. I KNOW. I KNOW. I KNOW.
However, this is my blog.
And I get to say whatever I want on my blog.
And I just have to say that I am only seven months pregnant and I am ALREADY a bit distressed that I can't seem to find comfort....in any position, for a period longer than sixteen minutes.
Walking is okay. I sometimes try to remember how I walked before I was pregnant and before my toes decided to point outwards and my hips "opened". I try not to stop, midway through my walk, to lean back with my hands on the sides of my back in the oh-so-typical-I'm-pregnant pose. I also try to rest on objects such as park benches and fences with my arms atop, my rear end poking shamelessly out the back and my belly hanging freely somewhere below like a huge hornet's nest under a bridge ... only when no one is looking. I sit on pillows at the dining room table. I stand up in doctor's waiting rooms (and there have been many) every few minutes, to rock from leg to leg so my back doesn't kink up. I sometimes hold my arms up in the air after a little outdoor excursion to reduce the swelling in my fingers. I use hand lotion to unstick my wedding ring from my finger. And sleeping...well....that's a whole other ball game.
You see, sleeping poses two problems. There is the ever-present question of position and there is the heat issue.
Let's start with the heat issue. I am pregnant and it is summer and we have air conditioning, so really and truly, it shouldn't be any different from being pregnant in the fall or winter and it probably isn't. And walking around the house during the day, my body temp feels completely reasonable. At night, however, when a cushy mattress cradles at least a fourth of my skin surface and pillows and sheets may, to many varying degrees, cradle other parts of my skin layer, well, I heat up. Mark likes to say that around one o'clock in the morning, I go atomic. I go super-nova. I begin to incinerate every flammable fabric that I touch. The sheets heat up. The air beneath the sheets heats up. The poor, loving husband who shares the air beneath the sheets heats up too. And god HELP him if his arm should accidentally graze one of the prime heat producing parts of my body (boobs and belly). I shudder to think of what the consequences would be.
Pair this heat problem (vast understatement) with the whole finding-a-comfortable-position issue and you've got the perfect recipe for the most imperfect sleeping conditions. The answer, I am told by every knowledgeably post-gestational woman I know, is to use pillows. Pillows, they tell me. Put pillows between your knees. And put them behind your back. And put them under your abdomen. And put them under your neck. Well, then we've got a super-atomic-heat-producing mass of a woman, completely cocooned on all possible skin surfaces by insulating material. Does this seem safe to you?
The answer, I have decided, is refrigerated pillows. Or maybe pillows with refrigerating units within them. You know, similar to those plug-in heating blankets. These would be plug-in cooling pillows. Then a woman could cocoon herself to a point of adequate comfort AND douse the copious amounts of thermal energy emanating from her pregnant bits to such an extent that perhaps, and only perhaps, sleeping might be possible.
Where is her partner during all of this?
Probably on the couch.
Thinking that his sleep issues will be resolved when the baby is born........