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Sleeping Again (Sort Of)

Jenny Feldon

After weeks of agonizing, my toddler-bed-vs-crib debate is finally over. The decision is made, and there’s no going back. I’m done torturing friends, family members and loyal blog readers with endless discussions about who’s sleeping where. Now that the weight of that particular dilemma is off my shoulders, you’d think the whole family would be back to sleeping like babies (pardon the expression.) And they are—all except for me.

Maybe I’m looking for excuses to be stressed, or my pregnancy is finally getting to the point where it’s taking over the rest of my life, but I’m turning into a borderline insomniac. It’s my last chance for a long while to really enjoy my nighttime slumber. Soon I’ll be too pregnant to sleep for more than a couple of hours without needing to pee. And after that, a tiny #2 is going to need my attention around the clock. Sleep now while you still can, everyone says. But that’s just it—I can’t.

A HUGE thanks goes out to everyone who commented with advice on my crib/toddler bed dilemma. Your remarks were invaluable, and the arguments were all so good on both sides that it took me quite a while to figure out which suggestions were the best for my unique family needs. In the end, ErinO said something that really struck home: “Don’t move a happily sleeping through the night toddler.” The very next day, I went to get E out of her crib and found her cross-legged in the corner. She’d sat her “friends” (Elmo, Cookie and George Monkey) on the crib rail and was giving them a private concert.

“Do you want to come out?” I asked.

“No. I’m singing to my friends right now,” E said, barely bothering to look up at me.

“Well, I’m going to leave you here and go make the coffee,” I said. I sort of meant it as a threat.

“OK, Mommy—see you later,” E replied. She turned back to her audience and launched into her version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”—at the top of her lungs.

I made the coffee. I drank a cup, while it was still hot, sitting down at the table. I checked my email. Then I went back into E’s room. There she was, still clapping and singing in the corner. And I decided the crib was hers as long as she wanted it.

So what’s the problem now? Apparently, agonizing over the crib decision was only part of the reason for my sleepless nights. I lie in bed and can’t shut off the endless stream of thoughts, worries and to-do lists that float through my mind like ticker tape. I’m anxious about #2—is he all right in there? Did I feel him moving today? What if something is going wrong and I don’t know about it? Should I have stopped myself from taking Nyquil during my week-long illness? And I worry about E, about her starting preschool in a few weeks, about the little rash that popped up on her right thigh, about what she’ll do when my lap gets too big for her to sit comfortably in. There’s the giant list of must-be-dones that I haven’t even made a dent in. I have a nagging feeling that I should be doing a better job all around—better at being a mom, better at being pregnant, better at being a wife.

Physically, I can’t seem to master rolling over without causing stabbing pains to my abdomen, my hips feel like they’re straining in opposite directions no matter which way I turn, and my breathing seems out of control after the lights go out. Even Tucker is getting restless; it’s like he can sense my wakefulness and has started tossing, turning and sighing loudly in sympathy. Worst of all? The pregnant nightmares have set in--these realistic, awful dreams have started to sneak up on me the minute I finally drift off, causing me to wake up and try to shake them off. And then try to fall asleep all over again. Anyone else have pregnancy nightmares--or know how to get rid of them?

What am I doing wrong? This is the second trimester—it’s supposed to be the honeymoon phase of pregnancy, after the morning sickness but before I get too huge to do anything well, including sleep. How can I calm my mind and my body down enough to take full advantage of my last few weeks of eight-hour sleep marathons? If anyone else has sleep issues, I’d love to hear your thoughts. My old methods for curing insomnia—glass of wine, hot bubble bath—aren’t really options right now. I need some new ideas!

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