As every parent or parent to be knows, there are several things you no longer do once growing a baby or having a baby. Those pesky 8 hours of sleep that interrupts your 24 hour day is one of those things you can say goodbye to for a start! Now I have never been a great sleeper anyway, and it seems my daughter already takes after me by being extremely active during the night! The other things I’ve noticed in the third trimester more than the rest of the pregnancy is two things that seem trivial but have a much bigger effect than most…that restless feeling in your arms and legs, especially when you’re lying in bed trying to get comfortable. Suddenly all of your limbs are numb/in the way/aching/just generally a pain! The other thing is the extra stretching of the skin in the last few weeks as baby grows at a faster rate meaning an increase in that horrible itching feeling that no amount of showering and moisturising can seem to ease!
At first I had a few nights of no sleep, then in my own traditional way of dealing with sleep, tried to push on to power through the day thinking that would then enable me to be so exhausted that night I’d easily sleep. Sadly, that’s not a tactic that works anymore. The result was just me being useless at functioning, irritated and generally not a joy to be around before not being able to sleep at night anyway! Having spoken to some Mum friends when I said I tried not to nap I was met with looks that told me they thought I was mad. “If you can sleep at any point, YOU SLEEP!! AT ANY POINT!!” The other piece of advice I got was to not stress out when trying to sleep, if it wasn’t coming and I was getting uptight, the only person I was harming was myself. I needed to chill out! The other person it had inevitable consequences for was my poor husband who had to lie next to me, with the light constantly going on and off, the constant huffing, puffing, crying, sighing, random trips to the bathroom just to get up and stop going insane, the middle of the night showers, you name it I tried it and it meant he was getting no sleep either! The consequence of that was of course that he was so tired then during the day, it was more of a struggle to support me, not to mention he has work to get through, it was just an incredibly difficult few days.
SO, after taking advice from friends who’d been through similar, we decided that my husband would sleep in the spare room so that at least he got a good nights sleep and was then able to support me in the days and function better himself when working. Sounded like a great plan although we didn’t relish the idea of not sleeping in the same room. Anything was worth a try though and I was under strict instructions to try to relax and just let the night happen and then let sleep happen whenever!
The first night we tried it, I got a couple of hours sporadic napping and when I found it hard being awake I text my husband in the other room. Of course, this meant that every so often his phone buzzed so although he slept better, he did keep getting woken up by a buzzing phone! Last night was the second night and I suggested that when I was a bit stressed out, I’d write down how I was feeling and email it through to him to avoid the phone buzzing but still being able to share it. Of course when not restricted by a text, the length of ramblings got slightly out of hand but I have to admit, it definitely helped. I had a few 20/30 min dozes in between being wide awake and then managed to get a couple of hours in late morning but the main difference is feeling less stressed out about it. And today, my husband has gone to work feeling refreshed. It’s hard not sharing a bed but it’s definitely worth it for the increase in time spent together the rest of the time!
So although it’s probably a bit of a frightening insight to the internal workings of my mind…please find below last nights diary style log book! The ‘you’ I’m referring to is of course my husband and the quoted times are the times as according to my phone when I saved each one…I make no apologies and take no responsibility for what goes on in that brain of mine in the witching hours!
“01:20 – watching the first Britains Got Talent semi final, my favourite three were the top 3 (Britain better at voting for variety shows than politics clearly…!) and a magician and male singing group are the first two acts are through to the final. I think you’ll like the magician, I couldn’t tell how he did it which of course meant I hated him as much as liked him..!
02:30 – my nails aren’t all that long but I can’t seem to move my hands without scratching myself, all of a sudden they just seem to be in the way! In other news, your daughter has her head firmly sticking into my ribs and knees or something digging into my right side. She seems comfortable enough to stay like that so I’m adjusting my breathing accordingly (shallow!) and a hand on her to tell her that Mummy’s here and that there’s really no need to push any further, it’s especially important to me that she knows she shouldn’t try to come out that way in an Alien style move…! Missing a sleep catch up day today may have infected my brain…
03:00 – watching Greys Anatomy, Burkes back! Which will mean nothing to you, but is quite exciting. Although I’m sure he left last time because he was fired for being homophobic so maybe I’m not ok with it…maybe I should write a letter to someone. I probably won’t.
In other news, our baby girl hasn’t let up, maybe she’s a fan of Greys! Or maybe she knows that Mummy misses having Daddy next to her for cuddles so she’s trying to cuddle up on your behalf and doesn’t know her own strength!
Dr Shepherds sister on Greys is a famous surgeon, and called Amelia. Made me smile, I think we’re getting to know her personality more though and our current ideas for name suit that better.
I miss you.
03:40 – they made waffles on Greys. I really want waffles, with some bacon and maybe even syrup on the side…reminds me of breakfast at IHOP in Vegas, which makes me really want USA style hash browns. I know you agreed to go to McDonalds for a middle of the night craving but I suppose an international flight is pushing it…?! So to take my mind off the lack of breakfast goods, I instead daydreamed (nightdreamed?!) about our trip across Route 66. I feel like we should all have visors for the trip, and matching printed T-shirts are a bit tacky maybe, matching printed socks maybe? Still too much?!
I’ve taken an extra multivitamin and put moisturiser on to help with the itchiness. Hasn’t really helped but it’s something to do. Think I’m going to take ‘shower’ off the to do list as the 4.30am shower yesterday just seemed to make things worse, still, at least I’m squeaky clean!
04:00 – think I’m nervous about tomorrow’s hospital appointment. It’s much nicer being poked and prodded from the inside than from the outside! I’m not worried about going back on epilepsy medication, if that’s the decision, that’s the decision. I don’t really know what I’m worried about but I guess it’s on my mind. Logically I know it’s fine, but it’s 4am, I haven’t slept nearly at all in three days and my entire body is restless and my brain hurts.
In other news, I really would like a chocolate pop tart, why can’t I stop thinking about food?! In fact, I’m nauseous, my body is ridiculous!
04:30 – fishcake, a fish shop fishcake, that’s what I really want.
I stopped looking at any kind of technology and lay in the dark trying to relax for half an hour. The itching got worse, the restless arm and leg situation got significantly worse. I had a little cry, and now Greys is back on. Sally’s right, babies do their developing at night and it’s significantly harder to sleep when all that’s going on – sometimes it’s better to give in so I don’t a) scratch myself to bits b) drive myself insane.
It’s comforting knowing that you’re getting a good night sleep, I know that when I’m dropping the ball on sanity in the daytime, you’ll be more able to pick up the slack and then if by any chance you need anything done in the middle of the night, I’m your girl!
God I love you.
04:50 – you know when it feels like your arms are just sort of…in the way? Well…that.
05:05 – do you think if unicorns were real, people would ride them like regular horses?
06:00 – our baby girl can be anyone she wants to be. That’s so exciting, and I know how important it is to both of us that we give her every opportunity we can to let her be everything and anyone she wants to be and I cannot wait to see what she chooses to do. What she chooses to try, what she drops along the way. The decisions she makes that makes us burst with pride, the decisions she makes that make us despair, and the decisions she makes that we have to tell her off for but secretly wish we were quite as ballsy as she is!
I can hear you gently snoring away in the other room, the lack of sleep is starting to really hurt. I really need to drop off soon, just for a bit, just for a while.
Sleep deprivation will be a constant companion now I’m a Mum and that’s totally fine but at least when I’m not pregnant, when the baby sleeps, I’ll be able to get some sleep even if it is just a couple of hours at a time.
HA! Getting used to functioning on no sleep will be our life now because we’re parents. WE’RE PARENTS!! We’re in this as a team! You, me and little bean. I’m so excited! I’m so happy to be doing this ridiculous adventure with you! It’s going to be the hardest thing either of us ever do and it’s going to be amazing!
06:15 – God my hips are killing me. Looking forward to my massage tomorrow – you’re the best!
Feel hot and clammy and bleurgh, have to admit, I put cold water on a sponge again and chewed on the sponge…! Look up the forums yourself though, it’s REALLY common and totally safe!
It’s strange how ‘bleurgh’ is the generally accepted for that noise isn’t it, admit it, you knew exactly the noise I meant when you read it!
Had some extra ideas for the song we’re going to record together for baby, it should definitely be upbeat, maybe it should be her favourite song, it is also from our wedding after all so even though the words are inappropriate really, it’s also kind of apt..?!
06:30 – looks like it’s going to be quite a nice morning, my weather app says that it should be raining right now…weather app, you sit on a throne of lies!
Some sharp pains in my tummy a minute ago, who knows why, but I can tell they’re not anything to worry about, weird how you start to instinctively know these things.
Tempted to creep into the spare room just to cuddle up behind you for a bit but the whole point is for you to get some thorough sleep so I won’t. I’m hoping that I’ll be at least half asleep when you wake up but maybe you could come in and give me a little cuddle regardless, even if I’m asleep, I’ll know it happened somewhere in this brain.
It’s just started to rain, come on now Mother Nature, be prompt or just don’t bother. Still only lightly though and weather app suggests more extreme so I still feel let down…”
I’m hoping that I do start to get a bit more sleep over the next few nights because it has still been a difficult week but at least with a plan in place, we can both feel a bit more in charge of the situation…something that probably won’t be said in a few weeks time when baby arrives and we realise we won’t be in charge of anything much at all for quite some time! Pregnancy’s difficult, and it’s often not the things you think will be the worst that bring the biggest challenges. But it all prepares you for what’s the come and if pregnancy were easy, then the part that follows would be one hell of a shock!
So if anyone is similarly struggling with sleep and getting through each day, why not try and write your own sleepless night diary even if you don’t plan to send it anyone. The roads your brain goes down with little to no sleep are quite the find and who knows, your sleepless night may lead to the next bestseller…now to start my masterpiece, “the highs and lows of the weather app accuracy…”