The First-Time Mom Who Doesn’t Want to Give Up Sleep
In our new series Pregnancy Diaries, we ask expecting women to jot down every pregnancy-related detail of their lives for a week. (Special thanks to New York mag and Refinery29 for the inspo.) Work-related conundrums, struggles with IVF and a whole lot of nausea ahead. For the seventh entry in our series, we have a 29-year-old labor and delivery nurse who got pregnant a few nights after her wedding. She’s 26 weeks along with her first child, living in Vermont.
Money situation: I make $65,000 annually, and I have a retirement fund. My husband and I also have about $10,000 saved for an eventual down payment on a house. We have some student loans from my husband’s law degree.
Were you previously using any method of birth control before or during the time of conception? Oral contraceptives since I was a teenager, but I stopped a day or two before we got pregnant.
Any other details relevant to your pregnancy? I thought I got my period in August, but it turned out to be implantation bleeding. We went in for our first prenatal visit thinking I was eight weeks pregnant, but had an ultrasound for dates that day and it turns out we were 13 weeks pregnant. I was very embarrassed-feeling since this is my specialty that I should have known. Therefore we were right at the end of the first trimester and decided to forgo any genetic screening — with the knowledge that neither of us carried any risk factors. I also suffered from severe nausea and vomiting — hyperemesis for the first 24 weeks — causing me to lose 18 pounds (although I had plenty of weight to lose, so not too concerning) and need IV fluid hydrations a couple of times. I tried every herb, vitamin, prescription, old wives tale that was suggested, but nothing made me feel better but time. I still have nausea every day, but rarely vomit anymore and am able to eat more and have gained some of the weight back.
8:30 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm and roll out of bed: It’s time to walk the dog. She has a standing 9 a.m. dog-walking playdate on the weekends, and I always feel guilty when I skip it, which is rare. My back hurts, a fun new pregnancy symptom that developed last week. Sciatic pain, it feels like someone is pinching my lower back. I made a chiropractor appointment yesterday but can't get in until next week! I feel like my bladder is going to explode as I hobble to the bathroom only to pee a tiny bit. How is that even possible?
10:30 a.m. — I’m home from walking the dog, so I eat breakfast and start thinking maybe I feel good enough to have sex; I’m finally not nauseated or constipated — a rare occurrence during this pregnancy.
11 a.m. — I get in the shower because it’s been a week since I shaved, aka the last time I had sex. Just as I am getting soapy and starting to relax, my husband jumps in. He thinks he’s being sweet and sexy, and it is… kinda. But our shower is small, I don’t want to share the hot water and it’s getting tighter with my growing belly to trade spots under the showerhead.
11:30 a.m. — Foreplay! He makes me laugh and then I cough, which then triggers my gag reflex and off to the bathroom I run to vomit. Damn it! I hadn’t thrown up in a week — a new record! I brush my teeth, swish with mouthwash and hope I haven’t ruined the mood since I’m not nauseous and want to do this while I’m feeling good!
12 p.m. — Some post-coital snuggling in bed while we discuss baby names — I love my life right now.
3 p.m. — Is it bedtime yet? I’m so tired and it’s so cold outside, so snuggling under the covers and going to sleep sounds like heaven right now.
5 p.m. — Baking chocolate chip cookies to bring to a friends 40th birthday celebration. Why is it that sugary goodness is the only thing I’m craving in this pregnancy? I’m starting to get nervous for my glucose tolerance test in two weeks, which will determine if I have gestational diabetes.
9 p.m. — Home from birthday party. I’m so tired and it’s only 9! It’s so much harder to stay awake and socialize without alcohol. Is that sad? Time for an Epsom salt bath and bed.
8:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off again, and I think, "Why can’t my husband do the doggie playdates?" He says it’s not fun since it’s a group of women gossiping about life and dogs. I know I’ll feel better once I’m outside walking and getting some fresh air, but the initial motivation to get out of bed is so hard. What am I going to do once this baby is here and I’m getting up all night?!! I love my sleep and usually try to get 8 to 10 hours a night.
10:30 a.m. — We’re finally getting organized to start preparing the “gear” for this little one. Just ordered a jogging stroller from L.L. Bean — it kind of makes me laugh since I’m not a jogger, nor do I think having a baby is going to turn me into a one, but everyone says they’re best and of course the most expensive!
11:30 a.m. — I’m picking up around the house while my husband sits on the couch watching the Liverpool vs. Manchester United soccer match. I start to feel annoyed, which is happening more frequently — damn hormones!! — and tell him he has to help. He says his plan is to do chores tomorrow, but we’ll see. It’s a holiday weekend for him so he has Monday off, but I work tonight and Monday night so I need to get a few things done before I take a nap before work.
2:30 p.m. — I get into bed for a nap before work. I’m always excited to nap these days, as it seems I cannot get enough sleep. I don’t know what people talk about when they say it’s a first trimester thing, being tired all the time. So far for me it’s been an entire pregnancy thing. I don’t have those bursts of energy that some women talk about, but man do I wish I did.
5:30 p.m. — Up, shower and start to dress for work. I feel so lucky that I can just throw on leggings or yoga pants and sweatshirt. Scrubs are provided at work; this means no extra laundry and I can go up a size when I need to without buying new ones!
7 p.m. — My shift starts. I usually love taking an active labor patient and generally pick that assignment over the more relaxed slower assignments of an early induction or mother-baby couplets, but my body is starting to get sore quicker, I have to pee more often and I’m tired ALL the time! I choose a mother-baby assignment and start making my rounds. I love the flexibility of my job and not to mention the support from my co-workers — an awesome group of midwives, OB docs and labor, delivery, and postpartum nurses.
8 a.m. — I arrive home from work so tired as the shift had gotten crazy; lots of laboring women coming in all night, which meant I took on more moms and babies. I spent the night running back and forth from room to room helping moms breastfeed, checking baby vitals and teaching dads how to change diapers! A crazy shift usually means no lunch break, so my feet are sore and I’m starving! I walk in the door to find my husband still sleeping. This annoys me for no reason.
8:30 a.m. — I’m so hungry, but nothing is appealing to me as I open the fridge. This seems to be a theme in my pregnancy. I can never decide on what sounds good. I go grocery shopping without a list and just buy what looks good in the moment — not really a smart way to shop, as I often end up with a random assortment that doesn’t really come together to make cohesive meals.
8:45 a.m. — I end up making French toast with real Vermont maple syrup, of course — sweets are always tasty these days.
9 a.m. — Finally make it into bed.
11 a.m. — Up to pee after sleeping for only two hours. This is so annoying! I never used to wake up to pee, and I try to keep my eyes closed so that the daylight doesn’t really wake me up.
3 p.m. — Up again to pee, and this time my stomach is growling I’m so hungry. A snack is in order before hoping for a few more hours of sleep. This time I try to get a little protein in, and since meat is still revolting to me, I opt for some pita and hummus.
5:30 p.m. — While getting ready for work, I notice the laundry is actually done and I can hear the dishwasher running. My husband did his chores! I find myself smiling, relieved not to have another argument.
"It’s amazing how fast our lives have already changed."
3 a.m. — It’s a slower night at work and I’m able to sit down and relax a bit. I open up my Amazon baby registry that we started to work on and I ask my co-workers what I really need to have a baby. Everyone has an opinion and everyone says something different! How should we decide what we really need, what will work for us, what to spend money on? It’s slightly overwhelming even for someone who has spent so much time around babies at work, with friends and family. How is it possible that there are 5,400 results when you type in “infant swing” on Amazon?
5 a.m. — I can’t count how many times people at work have asked me if we’ve decided on a name yet. I know they’re just curious and being nice, but we haven’t even really begun to get serious about names. Like most things in this pregnancy, it feels overwhelming. A name is so important: The child will be judged based on the name, how we spell the name, pronounce the name, etc. Another thing to add to the to-do list.
8 a.m. — This time when I get home, my husband is off to work and he brought the dog with him! I love when he takes the dog to work with him, as then I don’t feel guilty for sleeping all day instead of walking or playing with her.
8:15 a.m. — Quick bowl of cereal, as I’m too tired to make anything substantial, and head to bed.
3 p.m. — I make myself get out of bed. I’m off tonight and know I could sleep all day, but then will need to “flip” so I want to be able to sleep tonight. This is the hardest part of working night shifts — my husband keeps telling me I will be so prepared to be up at all hours of the night with the baby since I already stay up all night at work. I hope he doesn’t think that this means he’s getting out of nighttime wake-ups.
6:30 p.m. — We have a lazy night — my favorite these days — and enjoy dinner while watching TV on the couch. It’s amazing how fast our lives have already changed — a weeknight off together used to mean meeting up for drinks when he got off of work and then coming home to cook a late dinner together.
7:30 a.m. — I’m awoken by my husband's alarm clock. I roll over to give him a quick kiss and then back to sleep for me — I have the day off!
9 a.m. — Head out to walk the dog. I usually would bring a hot cup of coffee with me for the walk, but this pregnancy has turned my stomach against coffee. I hope this is something that doesn’t last — I miss the morning ritual of coffee.
11 a.m. — Dentist appointment. I usually don’t mind going to the dentist and even look forward to the feeling of really clean teeth afterward. But I’m dreading it today. My gums bleed at any touch — another pregnancy symptom no one talks about.
12 p.m. — Yup, I was right. The dentist was a bloody mess.
2 p.m. — I meet up with a friend who’s home on maternity leave to walk dogs. She pulls her 6-week-old out of the car seat to tuck into her front carrier, and I am immediately teary — what is wrong with me! These hormones are so intense. I cannot wait to have my own baby to snuggle. I relay these feeling to my friend and she laughs, saying to enjoy the quiet while you can and then invites me over to snuggle any time.
6 p.m. — I’m laying on the couch reading a book when my husband comes home. He bends down to kiss me and then kisses my belly. I know it sounds cheesy, but I absolutely love that he does this. Not only does he kiss my belly, he talks and sings to the baby daily. “Hows my baby today?” he asks, and I know he is asking about me and the baby. He loves getting a report on how active the baby is, where I’m feeling kicks and just a general update on how I’m feeling. I think I’m pretty lucky at how interested he has been. I recently talked to my grandmother and mentioned that my husband talks to the baby. She didn’t understand — ”Talks how?” she asked. When I explained that he talked to my belly so the baby will get to know his voice too, she was shocked. She couldn’t remember my grandfather even touching her belly once during any of her three pregnancies. Have times changed or am I just lucky?
5:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling pretty good. The heartburn medication I’ve been on for a week now is really working, and I slept with only two pillows under my head last night! I head to the shower before getting ready for work.
12:30 p.m. — No lunch break again. Something’s in the air and we’re swamped again. I stuff a protein bar into my mouth, feeling thankful my mom sent me a few boxes of my favorite bars the other day after hearing me complain about being starving at work all the time. I need to remember to thank her again, but I’ll probably forget: I have “placenta” brain as my co-workers call it — the forgetfulness of pregnancy.
7:30 p.m. — I call my mom on the drive home from work. She’s full of questions — what color crib do I want, does the brand matter, should it convert into a toddler bed? I remind her that I have no idea either! My parents generously offered to buy the crib, but as most projects my mom takes it on, it’s turned into searching the internet for the best deals, reading a million reviews and consulting Consumer Reports. I just want to talk about my day at work and not about the million decisions that need to be made for once.
7:45 p.m. — Yup, I forgot to thank her for the protein bars.
8 p.m. — Home at last. I ask my husband if he’s noticed my swelling feet. “Umm, I don’t know,” he replies — a typical male response. I think as he probably doesn’t want to get in trouble if he says yes.
8:45 p.m. — After dinner my amazing husband — well, amazing in this moment — rubs my feet and I lay back on the couch. This feels like heaven.
9 a.m. — I’m making plans to go the Women’s March in Montpelier, Vermont. Texting a few friends to carpool the hour north drive. I’m so excited! Although I have been feeling very emotional about bringing a child into this world after the election in November — listening to the news is another easy trigger for my pregnancy tears. I think the march will give me some hope and the sense of community I need right now.
12:30 p.m. — It’s a slow day, I’m tired after a busy shift yesterday, and spend most of the morning running errands and doing those boring household chores. Now I am going to sit on the couch and watch some guilty pleasure TV while I eat lunch!!
4 p.m. — I shower and think about shaving. Do I want to try sex again after Sunday’s debacle? Do I have the energy? I really wish I was one of those pregnant women who got hornier, but alas, that is so not me. I get out of the shower and put on my pajamas. In the middle of the afternoon. I know.
7:30 p.m. — It’s Friday, so my husband stopped at our local pub with his co-workers for post-work drinks and is now late getting home. I guess no sex for him since now I’m irritated that the dinner I made is cold.
8 p.m. — Husband has a martini with dinner and is now a little buzzed. This also irritates me. I miss alcohol — not every day, but a Friday evening is the perfect time for a cocktail or glass of wine. I tell my husband he better enjoy it now because once the baby is born, I get to have cocktail time while he is the responsible one (designated driver) when needed! Instead, I settle for ice cream — almost as satisfying as that martini would be. I haven’t taken my glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes yet, but I’m dreading it. Sweets have been my guilty pleasure this pregnancy and I don’t want to give them up!
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Originally posted on StyleCaster.