Happy New Years, friends! The ball drop came and went in my life this year without too much pomp and circumstance. I was out in Albany, NY with Ben for his work. We were barely up late enough to watch the ball drop and turned out the lights shortly thereafter. But the trip, overall, was a success and good times were had by all at other, more reasonable times of day.
And speaking of the middle of the night, I thought I'd let you all in on the toughest part of pregnancy for me thus far-- SLEEP. During my first trimester, I didn't have any of the usual issues that anyone describes... no nausea to speak of and I felt fairly energetic and rested on my usual amount of sleep and sleep routine. But basically, as soon as my 2nd trimester hit, all hell broke loose for me. Didn't they say that the 2nd trimester was supposed to be easier? I was gonna have more energy and be more productive? Not true for this mama, so don't believe everything you read.
Here's some of the issues I've had and my solutions or general thoughts on them:
Plain ol' Insomnia
Now I tend to be someone who wakes easily in the middle of the night anyway -- Ben and I toss/turn most of the night. And usually, I've just fallen back asleep. But around week 13/14, I started waking up and staying awake. I fell asleep easily, but couldn't stay asleep for the life of me. I wasn't uncomfortable, I didn't have to pee... I was just awake. For a few days/weeks, I would let myself get back up-- stay in bed but turn the light on and read, watch Hulu, or try to be otherwise productive. But I nipped this issue in the bud eventually by refusing to turn the light on and do anything. Sure I had a couple of looooong nights, but eventually I started sleeping through the night again around week 16 or so. This problem has come back once in a while, but I've moved on to other things.
Around week 23, I had one tough week with regard to pain/discomfort. I think I posted about it when I thought it was associated with a fibroid. As it turns out, for about a 2-3 day period of time, I had contractions. Yes, contractions and no the docs/midwives never called them Braxton Hicks. They occurred for 12 seconds a piece every 2 minutes for all of Sunday and Monday as well as the nights surrounding. They took a Tuesday off and then were back Tues night again. Bizarre. No one knew why they happened, but I had an ultrasound and everything checked out as a-okay, so the best advice I was given was to ignore them as much as possible. In the interim, however, it was definitely a couple of uncomfortable, mostly sleepless nights. To 'cure' this issue as much as possible, I rested (off my feet, no house chores, etc but I did go to work), hydrated, and used a heating pad -- a surprising recommendation by my midwife since I'd read that "heat was bad" for the pregnancy... don't they say no hot tubs? Regardless, the heat to my belly felt wonderful and actually let me rest a little and forget the pain.
Over the last 4 weeks or so (between 21-25 weeks), I've had intermittent heartburn, specifically when laying flat. It's different than the heartburn I describe to my patients and different than what I've felt before when I eat too much Italian food. But it's heartburn, as best as I can describe it. For me, it's literally a long, slow, acidic sizzle in my lower throat, just below my thyroid. I don't have it frequently enough to figure out what foods trigger it, but I'm sure it's at least partially related to my diet. To solve that, I am trying to do as much of the typical GERD diet as I can tolerate -- reduce orange, tomato, onion, fatty, fried, carbonation, caffeine, etc. But realistically, I like to eat and I want to eat, so I'm gonna eat and I'll suffer the consequences.
Of course, laying fully flat doesn't help either-- I should elevate the head of my bed in general and especially when feeling this heartburn. But some times I can't get comfortable with my head elevated, especially now with the growing belly, so I try to find a happy medium. I have also been working on laying on my LEFT side as much as possible. I saw an awesome picture recently which really brought the anatomy home for me-- when laying on my left, the curvature of the esophagus is supposedly such that the lower sphincter is "above the water line" where as when laying on the right side, the sphincter is "below the water line." Brilliant. I'd never really thought of that or realized it before-- wondering if it's really true. Anyone medical out there want to confirm it for me?
I'm lucky that hunger hasn't been a real issue for me during my pregnancy. I've always been an awesome eater and I continue to be so, but I'm not STARVING during the day nor do I have weird cravings too much. But thirst... I can't get enough water these days. I was reading some (likely unreliable) online references which stated something about how the amniotic sac will re-generate/refresh the fluid every 3-4 hours if you drink enough fluids?!?! It seems totally bizarre to me, but I suppose I can picture it. The woman who was talking about it then talked about how "gross" it was to have your baby floating in "dirty old fluid" if you don't drink enough... which seems to be a bit of a stretch to my mind, but I guess I see her point. Regardless, my midwife's recommendation to me was a cup of water for every hour I'm awake. I should have clarified whether she meant "a glass" or "a cup" the measurement. I'm certain that most days I actually end up having more than that. And when I don't, I wake up DYING OF THIRST in the middle of the night. I started leaving a tall cup of water on the dresser near my bed for just this issue... but that brings me to the next problem...
As I barrel towards the 6 month marker, I'm definitely visibly pregnant. It started with Ben commenting, "Did you pop over night???" and has continued with complete strangers feeling comfortable stating "and good luck with your pregnancy!" at the ends of our conversations. Yup. Definitely showing. With regard to sleep, it's definitely made the rolling and tossing and turning I do more difficult (and reaching that water at 3am!). First of all, I think when not pregnant, I really like to sleep at least partially on my stomach. Now that's impossible. And second of all, my center of balance is all off-- fine for walking (though Ben did ask the other day if I'll start falling forward now...) but actually causing some challenges when trying to roll back and forth in bed or even get out of bed in the AMs. Given that this is the newest issue, I don't really have a solution for it yet. I try to get into a comfy position and then just stay there as long as possible before feeling the need to roll.
But I definitely am looking for other suggestions, if any of you mamas have any? I'm also a little worried about this "difficulty getting out of bed" thing because a) it's gonna get worse as I get bigger and b) Ben's out of town for all of March! What if I get stuck in the bed?!?! Who will come help me get out?!?!