June 02, 2005

I Got Those Benadryl Blues...

Would someone please tell me how I'm supposed to "get sleep while you can before the baby comes" if my body didn't get the same message?

Sleep has become like a logic problem, with a rapidly decreasing number of solutions. Lying on my stomach? Um... You try sleeping draped over a good-sized melon and let me know how long you last.

Lying on my back? If pregnancy books are to be believed, the baby will (uncaring) cut off blood returning to my heart from my legs as casually as stomping on a garden hose. The result is numb legs and lower oxygen delivery to the baby - it kind of makes me wonder if we're masochistic from conception.

Lying on my left side? This, according to experts, is best. For whatever reason, my body responds to this position by putting the entire left side of my rib cage to sleep - numb, but with tingling sensations that don't let up. It's like trying to sleep while lying on a vibrating massager from Homedics.

Up until last night, lying on my right side worked (provided the pillow configuration was correct; I'm up to four pillows now, three regular-sized, one body pillow). Last night I was determined to get a full night's sleep, so I took two Benadryl. I knew I'd wake up the morning after with a really dried out nose and mouth, but I value sleep more at this point than moist nasal passages.

Last night the Benadryl betrayed me. I learned later that antihistamines can kick off Restless Legs Syndrome in pregnant women. RLS is a lovely, innocuous acronym for a tingling sensation or even waves of pain in your legs. The mind associates the sensations with muscle cramping or nerves falling asleep. Solution? Move your legs. Problem? To sleep, you have to ignore these sensations for X amount of time until you fall asleep.

I finally fell asleep in a recliner in the family room around 2:30 this morning, trying to keep my mind off the tingling. I woke at 4, moved to a couch, slept 'til 5:30, then went back to bed and crashed until after 10.

No Benadryl tonight. I guess my body will let me sleep when I really need it.

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