Today marks the end of the Week The Second Nap Was Dropped. All things considered, it’s been fine – for Eliza, dropper of said nap. It’s me who’s struggling with getting things done during a mere two hour afternoon window while also battling for precious shut-eye myself.
In fairness, we’ve had it pretty easy on the zzz front with her so far. She’s proved the Cherubim of Sleep, setting out her stall as an all-nighter from around 12 weeks old. We worked hard to eke out a routine for her, to the point I tipped into the neurotic insisting if she wasn’t wearing, special pyjama’s or if the teddy bear lightshow wasn’t on for exactly 9.5 minutes, everything would fall apart.
My neuroses aside, I believe she was also just a baby with genes geared to sleep – lightshow or no. You just need to look at her daddy, open-mouthed and dribbling in front of the TV of an evening for evidence of that....
But it’s been a stroke of conception genius that Number Two began cooking just when s/he did – any later and I don’t know how I’d have coped without the chance to lie down twice a day, nursing my sick bucket while Eliza slept.
I applaud all working mamas who stagger through the fug of inexplicable fatigue that the first trimester morphs into. Cue a fanfare of cyber trumpets for those who do it while battling the gut-wrenching, appetite-crushing, misery-inducing thing experts dub ‘morning sickness’. Morning my arse....
A 24/7 condition involving forehead resting on a toilet seat at least twice a day does not a morning make. I’d forgotten how bad it was – a little like child birth itself, our bodies are trained to erase certain memories and it’s just as well.
I don’t think it was physically any worse this time around, but with Eliza to entertain, food to prepare for her, a nose in sensory overload and poopy nappies to change, I plunged into despair. I was just seven weeks in, unable to hold down even a few sips of water and was relying on the humble saltine cracker for all sustenance needs.
This is to say nothing of my personality change. I was cranky as hell, leaching ill-feeling and doom-mongering at every turn. I’d also found that bad language, which I’d kept so carefully in check in attempts to make good impressions with new friends, had returned with a vengeance. I was cussing like a drunken sailor...
Eyeing the 14 week horizon, that magical place where my sickness lifted last time around, it just seemed too far away.
But then something wonderful happened. Before whisking knickers off for my ob/gyn, he asked how I’d been feeling. Moments later, I held a prescription for drugs to help pregnancy sickness. I went home and eyed it suspiciously.
When I sought medical help during my last pregnancy in the UK, I was, albeit sympathetically, told to drink ginger tea and get pressure bands for my wrists. That went down well...
Apparently being sick thrice daily didn’t qualify as serious enough but in the US, it had proved my passport to drugs.
Still clutching my prescription, I spent the weekend on the internet seeking cyber reassurance. And I found it – these drugs were commonly prescribed in the US and I found dozens of forums with one-time sickness-embattled women praising the benefits of them. There seemed little in the way of serious side effects – or of known adverse effects on an unborn baby.
Of course, that didn’t allay my fears completely. What woman doesn’t want to be drug-free during her pregnancy for the sake of their baby? But I reasoned, going on as I was, being trusted friend to the saltine cracker alone would eventually hospitalise me anyway and how would that benefit my unborn child?
So I began taking them and life was transformed. I still felt nauseous and tired but it was now manageable. Unfortunately for my husband the personality disorder hadn’t shifted. But most importantly, a faint appetite had returned and so I became well acquainted with the world of American tinned soups.
Fourteen weeks did arrive. Just like clockwork the veil lifted and I stopped taking my pills. And despite a few barfy relapses and the swear words becoming a permanent fixture, all is well to date. I know this because I can eat Wendy’s again. It’s a cliché, but I do feel like a new person and am poised ready for all the glowy, shiny-haired, radiant loveliness of the second trimester.
Though I don’t feel the need to lie down twice a day anymore, I do mourn the passing of Eliza’s morning sleep. But as any multi-tasking mum will tell you, it’s amazing what you can squeeze into a childfree two hours when you’re pushed – and so I must once again adapt to the ever-evolving role of parent. Once I’ve had a wee nap.....