I’m an emotional wreck at the moment.
You know how emergency sprinkler systems have a stop-valve than can be used to turn the water-works off once the burnt toast smell that set the sprinklers off has been cleared from the air? I need one of those to turn off my water-works. Why don’t I have a sprinkler stop valve inside?
I know that part of the problem is that I’m coming off night shift, which always makes me just that bit more fragile, that bit more likely to go off into a tantrum to rival that of any terrible two-year-old. H has commented more than once that since I got pregnant there’s always one bout of tears in the day or two after I finish my second week of nights. And he’s right. Night shift is exhausting – 11 hour shifts which require working twice as hard as day shifts, and with no break. No meal break, no chance to sit and put my feet up, and occasionally no opportunity to take a much-needed toilet break. It is, to say the least, full-on.
But it’s not just my mucked-up body clock creating such havoc. The nesting instinct has kicked in full-force and I’m completely, utterly, obsessed with getting everything in the house just perfect, and having it all done Right This Minute. If not earlier than that. I’m cleaning out cupboards, moving big boxes of files, and building furniture, for goodness sake. On my own. Because I feel this demented need to be able to say to H at the end of each day “Look. Look at what I achieved today. Look at how much I love our baby. Just look at what a good mother I am already”. Or perhaps it’s myself that I’m attempting to prove something to. But the fact is, my body just isn’t up to all that activity, not on top of a job which keep me pretty frickin’ busy, both physically and mentally. Not on top of the disturbed sleep which seems to have kicked in at the end of my second trimester instead of politely waiting until sometime during my third to rear its ugly head.
I love being pregnant. But I have to admit that it’s becoming less comfortable as the days progress. Sleep has started to become difficult, which is a wholly alien concept to me. I toss and turn trying to get comfortable, and no amount of spooning my pregnancy pillow seems to help. I wake hours before I need, and can’t fall back asleep. I’m hungry all the time, but if I eat too much my abdomen becomes tight and uncomfortable. The baby has taken a determined dislike to my bladder, and I live in fear that at any moment one strong jab could cause me to seriously humiliate myself in front of whichever lucky soul is next to me at that moment.
My obstetrician today told me that the baby’s head is down low with a butt or feet up under my ribs on the left. That explains the almost constant pressure, discomfort, and at times pain I can feel in the left upper quadrant of my abdomen. I can’t even imagine what shape my spleen must be contorted into. I have to shift position constantly. Lying down seems to help – for about 30 seconds. And then sitting up helps – for 10 seconds. Arching my back sometimes relieves the pressure, and at times I get a 15 minute break from the feeling after doing some pre-natal Pilates.
Today I baked a dozen chocolate-chip stuffed cookies in an attempt to cheer myself up. I’ve already eaten four of them, and I’m not sure the remaining ones will survive the day. This is not a good coping mechanism in the lead-up to my glucose tolerance test next week. This poly-cystic, pituitarily-challenged, hyperinsulinaemic pregnant chick, who isn’t even being offered the screening test but has been directed straight to the GTT, is using high calorie, high GI foods as her coping mechanism. Because being diagnosed with gestational diabetes will make my life easier rather than more difficult, right. Right?
I’ve had two urinary tract infections since my last OB appointment, despite taking prophylactic antibiotics after the (all too infrequent and increasingly uncomfortable) occasions on which the hubster and I manage to get freaky with each other. This is not new – before starting prophylaxis I had more than 12 infections in the space of a year. But my kindly doc reminded me today that at my stage of pregnancy, a UTI can be all it takes to trigger premature labour. Fuck. So now I’m taking antibiotics every night, as well as after getting jiggy wit’ it, as Will Smith so eloquently put it.
I’m sick of people telling my how big my belly is.
I’m sick of people telling me that they just know I’m having a girl. Or a boy. Or a polar bear, or whatever seems to take their fancy.
I’m already sick of the way my thighs now rub together when I move.
And I’m not quite 26 weeks’ pregnant. In all likelihood I have at least 14 more weeks to get through. Surely it’s too early for me to be this uncomfortable? How will I feel at 40 weeks? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
All is not as bad as I make out. Bert is seemingly healthy and robust. My fundus is measuring perfectly for dates, as it has throughout pregnancy. Bert had a beautiful sounding heartbeat at the check-up today. The student midwife who is following our pregnancy was able to be at our appointment today and I feel so pleased to be able to offer her this opportunity, knowing how vital practical experience was while I was training. I feel useful and grateful to be able to give something back. Our friends and family are all thrilled for us and supportive. With the exception of the cot, baby capsule and our eco-friendly nappies, we have pretty much all the basic items we need for the baby’s arrival. I’m healthy. H is healthy. Our baby is healthy.
But oh my god I’m tired. It’s not the same as that all-consuming physical exhaustion I felt during the first trimester. I almost miss that exhaustion because it meant I could sleep at the drop of a hat. This is more of an emotional exhaustion. When I think about my up-coming work schedule I want to cry. And, in fact, I do. Even if I wasn’t pregnant I think 11 straight day/evening shifts followed immediately by 4 nights shifts, followed after only a brief break by an evening shift and seven more nights shifts would be a bit tough on the system. Especially when you consider that I just finished this last set of night shifts on Monday morning. I checked my September roster today and saw that I’m supposed to be working seven nights shifts in a row at 35 weeks’ pregnant. That’s 70 hours of on-my-feet work. Um, WTF?
I’m sure that once this next few weeks’ of hell is behind me I will feel much more positive and relaxed. Rest assured, I will not be working any more night shifts after August, despite what my roster says. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Maternity leave is only a little more than 2 months away, and then I will have time. Time to prepare, to relax, to breathe.
Until, you know, that all-new wonderful hell of parenthood presents itself.