Filed under: Life

The Sleep Pattern of a Pregnant Insomniac

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 • 1 Comment on The Sleep Pattern of a Pregnant Insomniac

There is an app for the iPhone called Labor Mate.  Basically, it acts as a stop watch to record labor pains.  Instead of having to track the duration and length between contractions, Labor Mate does it for you. I don’t need Labor Mate quite yet, but I did find another use for it: tracking how little sleep I get in a typical night.  Last night, I opened the Labor Mate program and began tracking how often I was awake in the course of the night.  Every time I got up to go to the bathroom, get a glass of water, let the dog out, redirect the blind, disoriented cat who can’t find his bed, was awoken by a noise or a hip pain or the baby kicking or my arm falling asleep or the lawn service mowing the lawn, I tapped the Labor Mate.

Here are the results:

2:15 AM—In bed, lights out.

3:01 AM

4:17 AM

5:31 AM

5:57 AM

7:26 AM

8:15 AM

8:35 AM

9:03 AM

10:12 AM— Up for the day.

I was up 8 times from the time I went to bed until the time I got up.  I did skip a couple of taps because I went back to sleep pretty quickly.  The longest I went between tapping was 1 hour and 28 minutes.  Which is not to say that I actually slept for 1 hour and 28 minutes because what I can’t track with this application is how long it actually takes me to fall asleep.  Figuring an average of at least 10-20 minutes to fall asleep after every tap, the longest I might have actually slept is an hour and 18 minutes.  The longest I slept.  Wow.  I mean, I i know I’m an insomniac and I know pregnancy has made it that much worse, but to actually see how many times I’m awake, up, moving around, trying to fall back to sleep—well, it’s startling.  And this is what most of my nights look like.  Non-pregnant isn’t much better.  I wake up fewer times but I’m awake much longer in between (an hour or more).

So what does a good night look like?  Same as above, except there will be a 2 (or if I’m really, really lucky 3) hour chunk in the mix.  A 2-3 hour chunk and a few of the one-ish hour stretches like above and I feel like I can function pretty well.  I have no idea what sleeping 8 hours straight right now would do for me.  I could probably solve the world’s problems and find a cure for cancer.

Between anemia and gestational diabetes (which I just discovered I have) causing fatigue and my erratic sleep schedule causing fatigue and not being able to have caffeine to counter all of that fatigue—I’m pretty damned tired most of the time.  All I can hope is that once the baby is born and I’m not dealing with the physical stuff and I can actually have caffeine again, maybe being the sole caregiver to a newborn won’t be all that exhausting for me.

I can hope.

Posted by Kristina in Life

Where Have I Been?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 • 12 Comments on Where Have I Been?

Well, hello there.  So nice of you stop by and see if I’m still alive.  I am, thank you very much.  Though there are days when proving that biological fact (breathe in, breathe out) is about all I manage to accomplish.  Rough week or so.  Very rough.  I mean, not death rough or finding out you have cancer rough or being diagnosed as allergic to chocolate rough, but pretty damn rough. And I’m tough, so you’ll just have to trust me on how rough it has been.

Jay is in Dubai, UAE.  If you don’t know where Dubai is, you can visit their Department of Tourism and Commerce.  Or, you know, visit Dubai.  I’ve always been a bit geographically challenged, so I did have to look it up initially to get a better sense of where it was. Geography wasn’t offered my senior year of high school because of low enrollment.  I bet many of my former classmates don’t know where Dubai is, either. 

Anyway, Dubai.  A far cry from Iraq, though I’ve had people ask me if it’s like being in Iraq.  From what I understand, it’s like being in Las Vegas, if Vegas were owned by sheiks.  Of course, you can’t ski in Las Vegas (I don’t think?), but you can ski in Dubai.  Rich, exotic, ostentatious, decadent.  That’s Dubai.  And that’s where Jay is.  Strange, huh?  But this is a very strange deployment.  First, he’s in a hotel and not on a ship.  I mean, who stays in a hotel for eight months?  The Navy, that’s who.  That’s your tax dollars at work, folks.  Though his hotel is not exactly a palace, it’s certainly better quarters than a naval ship and it has room service.  No complaints there.  Second, there’s per diem—and it’s enough for three very nice meals and plenty left over for a plane ticket home when baby comes.  Third, it’s eight months—the longest deployment he’s ever been on.  Very different for us.

All in all, it’s a good deployment for a lot of reasons, including that he’s relatively safe.  (As safe as one can be in the Middle East, of course.)  Plus, we have Skype.  Skype is a wonderful and amazing thing.  I think back to that first deployment after we were married (19 years ago today) and there was no internet, no e-mail, no phone calls unless he was in port and then it was ridiculously expensive.  Now we have free internet video calls via Skype.  The world has changed a lot in nineteen years.  If not for the timing, this might be an awesome deployment (hopefully his last) and I might be visiting Dubai and learning to ski on a fake ski slope.  Oh, but the timing… Timing is everything, folks.

So, while Jay is in Dubai, I’m counting down the weeks until this baby arrives.  The days are flying by—which is contrary to what most other pregnant women seem to experience in their third trimester.  I’ve heard time drags and it seems to take forever before the baby comes, but for me it’s as if the days are a blur and I went from July to October with no memory of August and September.  I’m 31 weeks today.  Only nine weeks—at most—to go.  And it’s flying.  Whoooosh!  See, there it goes.  Perhaps if Jay were home and I knew I wasn’t going to be alone when the baby is born, the time might be going slower.  But not knowing if—well, actually assuming—I’ll be alone makes it all so much bigger and scarier—and go by faster.

Where have I been?  I have been trying to hold it together.  I have hyperventilated myself into more than one panic attack in the past couple of weeks (most recently when I took Jay to the airport) and I know that’s not good for me and can’t possibly be good for baby, so I’m trying to get that under control.  So far, so good.  I’ve been dealing with my over-cautious, liability-fearing doctor.  Despite his concerns, I don’t have pre-eclampsia, thankfully.  (C’mon, whose blood pressure wouldn’t have skyrocketed after the weeks I’ve had lately?)  Apparently no gestational diabetes, either, though I did fail my one hour test.  (I haven’t heard about my three hour and they said they’d only call if I failed.)  Baby seems to be doing very well and is very active (to the point of painful sometimes), so I’m glad for that.  Me, I could be better.  It is what it is, though. 

I’m looking for a doula.  I’m reading up on natural childbirth.  I’m working on my to do list(s) and trying to take care of the things we didn’t do while Jay was home. (Though he managed to do quite a lot before he left.)  I still have a birth plan to write and a hospital bag to pack.  I figure I need to pack that hospital bag sooner rather than later because I keep hearing of women having their babies early.  Two so far—26 weeks and 30 weeks.  I’m hoping for nine more weeks, for baby’s health and my sanity, but I know it really could happen at any time.  Packing the hospital bag will make it all the more real.  I’m not ready for real.  I’m ready for a great big dish of creamy denial smothered in rich blissful ignorance syrup.  Please.

Mantra of the next twoish months:  I can do this.  It will be fine.  Jay will be here before the baby is born.  Even if Jay is not here, I can do this alone.  I will be fine.  Baby will be fine.  All will be fine.

Song playing in a continuous loop in my brain:  “Help!” by the Beatles.

Oh, the dichotomy that is me.

So, that’s where I’ve been and where I am now.  Sleep deprived due to various aches and pains and restless pets and 2 AM panic attacks (me, not the pets).  Relieved that I got Fairy Tale Lust in by my deadline, but now anxious to hear what my publisher thinks so I can write some lovely acceptance letters (and a whole bunch more not so fun rejection letters) and promote the book.  Worried about myself, Jay, the baby.  Blue, edging into depression.  Trying to stay busy (not difficult) and keep my brain off the scary stuff (impossible).  Pampering myself in some small ways (naps, taking myself to lunch, new books that have nothing to do with babies, breastfeeding or parenting).  Trying to make time slow down so Jay has time to catch a plane from 7,000 miles away to be here for his son’s birth.  Looking to the future, when things won’t be so scary (whenever that is).  Planning some trips for next year to promote FTL (Nashville, Chicago, New York… ?).  Surviving.  Doing the best I can.  Hanging in there. 

It feels like I should be happier, excited.  I’m not.  I’m just in limbo, anxiously waiting and hoping for the best.  Hopefully baby won’t hold it against me.  If he does, I’ll buy him a pony.

Posted by Kristina in Life, Pregnancy 2009, Pregnancy and Baby

Crazy Week Ahead

Monday, September 21st, 2009 • 3 Comments on Crazy Week Ahead

Crazy is probably an understatement.  Jay leaves for an eight month deployment in Dubai next Thursday.  Fairy Tale Lust is also due to Cleis Press next Thursday.  It seems October 1 is going to be a big day for me—and a day of very mixed emotions. 

We are busy with a hundred things to get Jay ready for deployment, to get me ready, to get the nursery and the house ready.  Which means he’s actually the busy one.  In my case, I do one or two little things, yawn and say I’m tired, then go to bed.  Not quite, but that’s what it feels like some days.  It’s hard to determine if it’s pregnancy or depression that’s wearing on me, but it’s probably a bit of both. My emotions are close to the surface lately and I feel turned inside out most of the time.  Overwhelming doesn’t begin to describe it some days.  But I forge on…

I’m well into the editing process of my anthology.  I love the stories I’ve chosen and I can’t wait to gush to these author about how much I love their work.  I think it’s going to be a terrific collection, but it’s taking everything I have right now (which isn’t much, to be honest) to focus my full attention on it.  When I signed on to do this anthology, Jay wasn’t supposed to deploy again this year and my fall was going to be one of writing and editing and nesting.  I’m still doing all of those things, but now I have this deployment looming over our heads and it tends to suck the joy out of everything else.  I’m trying not to let it be that way—but how do you do that?  How does anyone do that?  One day at a time, I suppose.

For those of you who have submitted a story to Fairy Tale Lust, please be patient.  I hope to e-mail everyone by mid-October, but hopefully you’ll understand if it takes me just a bit longer.  Cleis still has final approval over the lineup and I don’t want to be too premature in announcing the table of contents.  Despite everything else that’s going on in my life, I really am very excited about this book and I can’t wait to blab all about it.  But first, the work has to get done and I have to make it through October 1.

Wish me luck.

Posted by Kristina in Life, Writing

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.