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Happy New Year

Just for the record, I am very optimistic about the New Year. I feel incredibly lucky to be pregnant, healthy, and starting a family, and I am SO ready emotionally for this baby to arrive. I just can't wait to meet her, and every time I read about how she's developing, I have to stop myself from crying crazy tears of joy. I am that much of a sap.

That said, I am still totally grumpy!

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm having serious trouble getting — and staying — asleep at night. And it doesn't help that I'm itchy EVERYWHERE. What is up with that? My midwife said that the itchiness could be caused by a liver function problem, so she tested my liver function when she tested my blood glucose and iron levels the other day, and my liver is fine. So apparently, I'm just plain itchy. It's winter, it's dry, and my skin is stretching. I don't know how I can put on much more moisturizer than I already do, so I guess I'll have to just deal.

But the itchiness is nothing compared to the sleep deprivation. Lately, I just toss and turn, and itch, and worry about what still needs to get done before the baby comes. And then of course when I finally do get to sleep, a minute later I'm up again because I have to pee.

Last night it was SO frustrating. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, but couldn't. I know it's a normal part of pregnancy, but that doesn't make it any better. Complicating matters was the fact that I have a major kink in my left shoulder, neck and back muscles — so much so that I can't even turn to the left — despite the mini massage I made my husband give me, and the hand-held electric massage machine I tried to use on myself.

To try to get to sleep last night, first I adjusted the millions of pillows I'm now using to try to get more comfortable. That didn't help. Then I read. That didn't help. Then I wrote down the list of things swirling through my head to try to relieve myself of some worry. That didn't help. Then I got up to get some toast and milk. That didn't help. Then I finally gave up and went into the living room to watch TV. That didn't help. Eventually, I went back to the bedroom, and I don't know when I fell asleep but I woke up way too early — with a headache and a bigger crick in my neck.

To top it off, this morning I turned on the Today Show to find a segment on how sleep deprivation during the last weeks of pregnancy is linked to longer labors. Great. Jodi Mindell, M.D. — a sleep expert I like and have met and interviewed before — was offering tips on how to get sleep. The problem is that I'm doing ALL of the things she mentioned (taking a calcium supplement to avoid leg cramps, drinking lots of water to try to stay hydrated and fend off itchy skin, sleeping on my left side for the most part in order to improve circulation, etc.), and they're not working! And I'm sure that the tip about sleeping on my left side is the reason I have the paralyzing pain in my left shoulder and the left side of my neck. Perfect.

It's official then: The pregnancy novelty has worn off. I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable, so I know it's probably only going to get worse, and I'm still not getting a seat on the train. In fact, this morning this jerk was actually talking to a woman sitting next to him about how he and his wife were going to start trying for a baby soon while I hovered over him with my belly hanging out right in front of his face. Not once did it occur to him to give me a break and let me have his seat. I can only hope his wife teaches him some manners when she goes through pregnancy.

So enough with the pregnancy already. Maybe what I'll do every time I get annoyed with pregnancy is I'll try to remind myself to channel my energy into thinking about the BABY. Not my list of baby items to buy or labor classes to come, but the tiny, squishy, cuddly BABY. I can see the warm light at the end of the tunnel — sort of — so I'm really going to try to focus on that.