Monday, January 28, 2008


I have been in a rough spot lately. I had a very hard, very emotional first trimester in this pregnancy and some of the same patterns that I thought had passed have come back.

Every afternoon I am overwhelmed with exhaustion. Overwhelmed with it. It hits at about 4 and it does not go away until I wake up the next morning. It is the kind of exhaustion that I sometimes confuse with feeling very sad. I can't get off the couch. I can't do what I normally do. And I don't want to. It is very frustrating. I get easy irritated and I just want to hide until I am feeling better.

But, this fatigue is not easily remedied. I have tried to go to bed early and I can't. Not only am I hit by a wall of exhaustion daily, but I have not been able to sleep at night. Which, I assume, increases the likelihood of the next day's battle with fatigue. This means I am tired from about 4 in the afternoon until about midnight. Last night it was after 1. Very frustrating.

The other night I was talking to a friend on the phone. I was talking about Sprout and other events that will happen close to Sprout's arrival, namely, Andrew's birthday. I was worrying that I would not be able to do what I would like for his birthday because it will fall during New Baby Days. This thinking, although a tad loopy is nothing. There's more.

We got off the phone, I got ready for bed and I lay in bed for hours obsessing over Andrew's birthday party. Which will be in June. I thought of themes and projects and food and invitations all the while frustrated that I could not sleep. And knowing that I could not sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about a birthday party for a toddler that won't happen for five months. Even though I knew it was ridiculous, I had plenty of time, I just needed to go to sleep. I couldn't.

So, the good news is that I have lots of good ideas and the party is practically planned. The bad news is that those kinds of nights make the fatigue hit earlier than usual the next day.

So, fair readers, I need a little advice. What are your tricks? What helps you to sleep? What helps you to stop planning birthday parties in the middle of the night so that you can drift off?

and who can help me with Andrew's hair?


Susan said...

My advice is to work with your body as much as possible. If you feel like you could sleep when Andrew is napping--do it! You need plenty of sleep. If you can't sleep in the middle of the night get up and do something. Can you do some of your work in the night so that you have more leisure to sleep during the day? Don't lie in bed thinking too much if you can't sleep. Get a small project done (maybe keep a list of the good middle of the night projects). Stamp baby announcements while watching Pride and Prejudice. Clean something. Read a book.

If you can't sleep when Andrew naps but you need to sleep at 4:00 put on a video (yes, I'm still the same Susan) and lie down on the couch. Just make sure to get some sleep.

When I was pregnant with Margaret I slept on the couch every day from 4-5 while Joseph played in the living room. I know Andrew can get into a lot more trouble than Joseph could, so you might need something really fun to get him to stay put. I was up for several hours a night every other night for the last month of my pregnancy.

And when you start feeling sad, call me up. I will explain to you that you are pregnant and tired and not really sad at all, just a little confused :)

P.S. Even if Andrew doesn't quite get it at the time, that little brother will be the best birthday present ever.

Loralee said...

I'm not the best advice giver for sleep--I struggle with it, even when I'm not several months pregnant. It really does help (when I can convince myself to do it) to get up and do something completely different. Have a cup of warm milk or tea, read for a while, put on paper all the things you're thinking about. Then it's out of your head.

I'm pretty impressed to see such lovely muffins even when you're so tired! I don't know that I would have managed so well!

Good luck. I hope this phase doesn't last too long.

Melissa said...

I'm so sorry, Robyn. I know this only too well. It does end, though- does that help? Even after Enzo was born and I was hardly sleeping at all at night (and we don't have naps during the day anymore), I still felt less tired than I did when I was pregnant.

I second the movie thing. We had never shown Atticus any DVDs or TV until I got pregnant, and because he wasn't napping, that's how I got a nap in. Remember it's just a stage- even if you don't like the idea of TV, it won't be forever.

Have you tried magnesium? I take a calcium/ mag supplement at night, which has many benefits, but one is that your infant will get it through breastmilk and it will help you sleep. I have a very pregnant friend who was also having insomnia trouble and now swears by magnesium, because it has helped her so much.

I feel for you.

Anonymous said...

Are you fond of Epsom salt baths?

Tara said...

I don't really have advice on this one, Dill, since I've never been pregnant, and I never have trouble falling asleep (it's the waking up that's the hard part for me). I did videotape a sleep lecture recently, and the person said to avoid doing things on the computer and the TV before bed because the type of light from the screens messes with your internal sleep clock. Makes sense, but I'm not sure I believe it since it doesn't seem to affect me at all. So, basically, I've given you zero advice. And, how dare that friend get you all thinking about Andrew's birthday party! Next time you call her, she will insist on talking about totally boring things like taxes so that you will fall asleep, and she won't be offended if there is eventually a silence on the other end of the conversation after you've fallen asleep before hanging up. This might be my longest comment ever, and it's probably because I just had a margarita. Hopefully, "annonymous" won't be checking the comments again. ;-) Go to sleep.

Robyn said...

Tara, I love your longest comment ever. And I don't think that that 'anonymous' was my she still might read about your margarita consumption. It might make her feel very jealous.... ;)

Miss Vicki said...

I concur on the mag++ but the most important thing is to use bed for sleep, not planning anything(except more grandchildren for me =)) It is hard to turn off your mind but if you can't-go to another room, put your plans on paper and go back to bed. I would have you rest during the afternoon-daytime sleep disturbs night sleep.
I am not the anonymous in the comments today!

Joy said...

Check with your doctor, but when I was pregnant I had horrible morning sickness. My doctor told me it was fine to take half a unisom pill, which is actually a sleep aid, but also has the side effect of dealing with nausea. It might at least let you get caught up somewhat on the sleep.

Good luck!

Joy said...

Check with your doctor, but when I was pregnant I had horrible morning sickness. My doctor told me it was fine to take half a unisom pill, which is actually a sleep aid, but also has the side effect of dealing with nausea. It might at least let you get caught up somewhat on the sleep.

Good luck!

Seeking La Loba said...

Sorry to hear you're feeling so bummed. I don't have much in the way of sleep advice, except that physical activity during the day seems to make a difference.

Mrs Pea said...

Well, what I do to sleep is tell myself stories. A favourite is one where we go on holiday to the seaside - in excruciating detail, I go into what we eat for meals, where we go, even often every item we pack - another is when we go into a reality tv programme where they send the family to a lighthouse for a year of total solitude. All the detail about something that doesn't matter because it isn't true but is still comforting and something I'd like to happen, gets me off to sleep. I've never gotten beyond day two of either story.

Firefly said...

Wow, Mrs. Pea has a great imagination! I like the idea of going off on a nice holiday. I bet it helps with nightmares, too. Wouldn't like to think about packing for it, though (nightmare-inducing).

That reminded me of an old sleep-inducing fantasy I hadn't thought about in a while. I used to use this one as a little girl when I couldn't sleep. I'd pretend I was a a stack of steaming, hot-off-the-griddle pancakes. And I'd imagine I was being buttered, pancake by pancake, and vividly try to feel it to the last detail--the knife smoothing it's way across my belly, lubricated with warm, melting butter, the butter soaking through me and down into the next pancake. Soaking warmly through my head, chest and heart, down through my guts into my legs and down to my toes. If I was still awake when the whole stack was buttered, well then, time for the maple syrup.

Robyn said...

Last night I used Mrs. Pea's trick and it worked great. I don't even think I could decide where we were going to go...I just went through options of where I wanted to picture us vacationing. That's all I remember. Fell asleep during the planning of planning. :)

THanks Mrs. Pea.