Perma-exhaustion

Long time no post. Sorry for the radio silence, but these days I come home from work every day exhausted and am up for nothing but lying on the sofa and going to bed at 9pm… well.. actually more like 8:30.

So you know how they say the second trimester is the honeymoon, and the third trimester things get hard again? I was prepared for this, but I thought it would be a kind of gradual degradation, just like the shift from first trimester of “total nausea” to second trimester “things are kind of OK” was gradual. But no such thing. After that cold I had a few weeks ago I basically never recovered my energy. I kept thinking it was just being tired from having been sick until it finally dawned on me that the energy was gone for good (or at least until the little one gets out… then the energy will be gone for a different reason).

Example 1: we still haven’t unpacked our basement from our return from our year abroad. At first that was strategic because Mr. Nishkanu was busy with his whirlwind of home improvement projects and we wanted to keep the to-be-remodeled rooms empty. Now, though, it is sheer inertia. Last weekend I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get some of the stuff unpacked. I did 3 or 4 trips up the stairs, carrying the very light boxes while leaving the heavy ones for Mr. Nishkanu. That was it for the day. Had to go lie down. Forget about the unpacking part, the boxes are still standing around the bedroom a week later waiting to trip me on the 7,000 bathroom trips in the night.

Example 2: When I started doing water aerobics in my 6th month I thought it was super easy. Untypically for me, I actually enjoyed the easiness of it – it was great getting some exercise without having to try so hard. Now? “not having to try so hard”, my foot. Two weeks ago we did a drill where we did push-ups on the sides of the pool alternating with paddling our way across the pool. I came in dead last, by a mile, panting like a fiend. To put this in context, the target audience for this course is elderly ladies, folks with joint problems, and the obese – not the kinds of people I thought a month or two ago that it would even have been appropriate for me to compete against athletically.

Example 3: The 10 minute walk to work (up a fairly steep hill) has begun to feel like climbing Mt. Everest. I have to pause and catch my breath several times. Mr. Nishkanu says “should I carry your bag?” I say “You know what would be great? If you could carry the baby for a while.” Mr. Nishkanu: “Yes, that would be great…” with a starry-eyed look (he has major pregnancy envy).

Certainly, there are some great things about being in the third trimester:

1) It is starting to actually look plausible that a real live baby is in there and may actually make it to the outside. Plenty of kicks, punches, rolls, lots of hiccups – and sometimes you can feel on the outside where the baby is lying. Had an ultrasound last week and it was astonishing how little of the baby you can see at once – it sure has grown from the days when you could see the whole thing happily swimming around on the ultrasound. Now just the head might fit. And it is a chubby-cheeked, practice-breathing, lip-smacking head that actually really looks like a baby (if you ignore the fact that you can look through its skin and see its skull – something I hope won’t be the case when it is born).

2) People have stopped commenting on my size. Because, peeps, the belly, she is ginormous. Now they just look at it and say “congratulations.” Honestly it is hard to comprehend how it can get any bigger. But I guess it will.

3) There is going to be an end to things in 2 more months (hopefully we still have that long! Augh, the to do list!).

Here are the things that are not so wonderful:

1) The exhaustion. It is permanent. And I live in an uncivilized country where maternity leave starts when the baby comes out. I am supposed to go 40 hours a week until labor starts. Honestly, I don’t know how women do this. When I get up in the morning on the weekday my first thought is “how am I going to make it through another day?” Not because I don’t love my job – but just physically making it through 8 hours of work is fully at the limit of what I can do. When I get home I am literally good for nothing. In a few weeks it is hard to imagine how I will make it through the day at all.

2) The sleep. Or rather the lack thereof. I am writing this post at 4 AM, having been awake half an hour already. What keeps me up? You name it… the 7,000 bathroom breaks, painful hips from the pressure of lying on them, heartburn, hunger (not the “gee I am peckish” kind but the sudden “if I don’t eat something right now I will die” kind), etc. But also quite often, like tonight, no reason, just can’t sleep. A typical night involves an hour or two of wake time, a good night means I woke up but managed to doze off again off and on until morning, a bad night means a few hours sleep and that is it. Last Sunday I was exhausted beyond belief, but only managed to sleep 4 hours. I was literally weeping in bed, so tired it was physically painful to be awake, but totally unable to sleep. The next day at work I mostly played zombie at my desk.

3) I can’t eat so much any more. Forget about the joys of food in the second trimester, between the heartburn and the squished stomach there just isn’t that much going down. Last night I fixed myself a bowl of ice cream for dessert and, to my horror, found I actually couldn’t finish it. This is ice cream, folks, which (a) is the ambrosia of the gods and (b) melts when you eat it – how much room in your stomach can it take up?!

I will now take this chance to briefly take on the mantle of public service announcement for my companions who have managed the miracle of establishing a long-awaited pregnancy. Here is stuff that seems to help:

1) Sleep. For a long time I was trying to sleep with the help of about 5 pillows jammed in various places. I finally gave in and bought a full-body pilllow – not anything fancy, just the default relatively cheap version. It really makes a big difference. It lets you lie in more than 2 positions ((a) on the left side (b) on the right side) and supports body parts that need supporting such as, gee, that giant belly. The downside is that it takes up a lot of room in bed but I figure that Mr. Nishkanu can take one for the team too…

2) Heartburn. This was awful a month ago but now is getting a little under control. Two suggestions: 1) the miracle of Zantac 2) a wedge pillow that lets you sleep with your head higher than your stomach.

OK, enough about that.

In the meantime Mr. Nishkanu is proving himself to be a saint. Everything I can’t do he immediately takes over without complaining. He remodeled my study and the nursery and is now doing the bathroom. He says things like, “do I get to remodel this weekend?!” and he means it – talk about whistle while you work. He found a daycare slot for us and took care of all the paperwork. He thinks women who are so pregnant that they look like gigantic waddling eggs are sexy. I feel very blessed.

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1 Comment »

  1. Oh, honey, I so feel your pain. Especially the sleep part. Who knew, huh? It’s just unfathomable that I could be so tired and still wake up at 4am and need to get up for an hour or so. But I do, most nights. That 8am wakeup with one measly pee break I blogged about? Definitely an anomaly. Oy!

    I think if I had to get out to an office every day I would be as exhausted as you are. I work from home though, so it’s fairly easy for me to duck off for a nap. (You can slap me now, I know.)

    What I’m trying to say is, I think your exhaustion is normal. I noticed an intensity in the exhaustion in the last week or so. Which seemed odd as I’m getting better sleep. But even this morning, with two nice chunks of sleep (11pm-4am and 5:00am-9:00am), I felt so tired after breakfast that I had to lay down a bit. After a shower, I’m better, but still tired. From what I’ve heard, this is fairly common in the 3rd trimester. Yes, there are those that breeze through it, but I don’t think you or I are in that group… lol.

    My belly popped another inch this week and it’s starting to get that very round look. Amazing to think who is hanging out in there, huh?

    Hope I get the same u/s as you soon. Would love to see an actual face, although I think I will probably lose it if I do.

    We’ve come so far, huh? Ain’t it great?! Hang in there, Nishkanu!

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