Why Pregnancy and a Good Night's Sleep Don't Mix

I was having a really hard time falling asleep the other night, and as I lay there tossing and turning, I suddenly remembered this ice cream treat I made pretty much every single night when I was in the final weeks of pregnancy with my first son. Here's the incredibly complicated recipe:


• Take several round mints, the kind that come in individual plastic wrappers, and smash them with a mallet.
• Scoop a few blops of vanilla ice cream into a bowl or, for extra fanciness, a plastic beer keg cup.
• Dump the smashed-up mints into the ice cream and stir.
• Surprise! You forgot to remove the wrappers! Eat the hell out of it anyway because OMFG SO PREGNANT MOOOOOO.

That got me thinking about my general routine for sleep—or lack thereof—back then. It was the end of summer, I was the size of a Beluga whale, and every night involved the following activities:


11:00: Take long, warm bath, since cannot have enormous shot of Nyquil.
11:20: Settle into bed with book.
11:45: Eyes droopy. Optimistically, turn off lights. Spend several minutes arranging three separate pillows for maximum comfort.
12:01: Get up. Pee.
12:05: Re-arrange pillows. Untie bedsheets from knotted mass around ankles.
12:30: Left side becoming uncomfortable. Switch to right side. Re-arrange pillows. Untie bedsheets.
12:32: Get up. Pee.
12:36: Re-arrange pillows. Fuck the bedsheets, it's hot.
12:42: Well, someone's awake. Internal belly wiggling commences.
1:03: So thirsty. Mouth so dry.
1:04: Take large gulp from bedside water glass.
1:05: Get up. Pee.
1:08: Re-arrange pillows. Shove snoring husband with foot, "accidentally."
1:14: Jimmy leg (AKA Restless Legs Syndrome, AKA The Most Annoying Pregnancy Side Effect of All Time).
1:48: Jimmy leg.
2:05: Jimmy leg.
2:06: Leap from bed, tossing back covers. Stomp around house in useless attempt to walk off jimmy leg.
2:17: Re-arrange pillows. Untie bedsheets.
2:18: Get up. Pee.
2:19: Fetus is annoyed. Kicking commences.
2:21: Wander forlornly back into living room. Sit at dining room table and chug large glass of milk. Flip on TV, start watching Cribs.
2:45: Cribs worst show known to mankind. Who are these jackasses, and why are they all obsessed with the movie Scarface? Hate everyone and everything. Turn off lights, waddle back to bed.
2:47: Re-arrange pillows. Thrash bedsheets down around feet.
2:52: Gah. So HOT. Flap tank top wildly.
3:01: Get up. Pee.
3:03: Re-arrange pillows.
3:05: Ow.
3:08: Burrrp.
3:09: OW.
3:10: Get up. Devour three tropical fruit-flavored Tums. Might as well pee, too.
3:12: Throat burning from digestive juices. Drink enormous glass of water.
3:13: Re-arrange pillows.
3:15: Get up. Pee. DAMMIT.
3:17: Re-arrange pillows. Flop heavily onto bed, sigh loudly. Husband deaf and snoring. Dog also snoring. Cat snoring. No one cares. Am alone, suffering with incomprehensibly difficult task of growing entire human being inside own body. Snivel quietly to self.
3:19: So thirsty.
3:28: SO thirsty.
3:29: Resist water glass. However, at mere thought of water: Get up. Pee.
3:32: Re-arrange pillows.
3:45: Jimmy leg.
3:49: Jimmy leg.
3:52: Fetus is ANGRY. Lord of the Dance-style foot movements are trained with military precision on lower right ribcage.
4:14: Ow. Burp. OW.
4:20: Get up. Eat fourth Tums. Pee.
4:23: Jesus ... so tired ... finally ... drifting ...
7:01: Motherfucker.

That was basically how I spent every night from mid-July to my son's birth on August 31. Which is why I always had the same response whenever some well-meaning soul told me to "Enjoy your sleep while you can!"—instant peals of high-pitched, hysterical, bladder-threatening laughter.

Was sleep also a challenge for you in the final stretch of pregnancy?

Image via Flickr/danoxster

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