remedies

Thanksgiving has come and gone. My family all left this morning. We took Joe to the airport at 8:00, and at the same time, my parents left to drive home. So far we've only found a couple things left behind, and they're nothing dire like a cell phone or pair of glasses or prescription meds. We ate well, and we ate a lot, but even after gorging on turkey on Thursday, turkey salad sandwiches on Friday, and pozole with turkey (instead of pork) on Saturday, I still put 5 pints of chopped turkey in the freezer this afternoon. I'll probably just use it in soup.

I was plagued all week with the insomnia and itching that seems to be my personal cross to bear in the last two months of pregnancy. It was just as bad when I was pregnant with Daniel. I've griped about this plenty before, and one day I'll shut up about it, I promise. But it's so constant and makes me so miserable, it's really really hard not to whimper and moan about it all the time. I'm not sure which affliction is worse, but there seems to be little I can do to relieve either problem. I just have to stick it out and try to get through each 24 hours without breaking down from exhaustion and self-pity.

There are a couple things that I've found helpful, though. The first is baking soda. It's cheap and environmentally friendly, so that's a good start, but it turns out that baking soda is pretty amazingly versatile stuff. I ought to buy it by the case and put a box in every room of the house because it turns out that making buttermilk biscuits and chocolate chip cookies is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many, many uses of baking soda. You can scrub the tub with it. You can add it to your laundry. You can sprinkle it in the diaper pail to cut down the smell of wet diapers. You can mix a little of it with your shampoo to get your hair really clean. You can make a paste of it and rub it on your face to exfoliate your skin. And here's the best part for me right now: you can dissolve it in warm water and bathe in it to soothe irritated skin. Pam posted about this about a week ago, and I tried it on my feet where the itching is the worst and it actually helped more than anything else I've tried (which includes everything from cortisone cream to aloe gel to calomine lotion to asking Stuart if I should get a skin transplant.) This morning, when every inch of my arms, shoulders, back, legs, ankles and feet were itching so badly I thought I just might die, I took a shower and right before I was done, I rubbed a little baking soda over my skin, rinsed it off and felt much, much better.

The insomnia is proving to be trickier, unfortunately. When you're pregnant, you can't take ANYTHING to help you sleep, even herbal rememdies. A google search for "pregnancy sleeping aids" revealed a bunch of web pages with a lot of information that is profoundly useless to me. It's not heartburn or restless leg syndrome or nausea or the frequent urge to pee or consumption of caffeine that is preventing me from sleeping. None of those things are an issue for me. Sleeping on my side and taking Tums and avoiding drinking lots of water before bedtime isn't doing squat for me. Neither is meditating, deep breathing or counting sheep. Swimming makes a tiny difference, but I can't do that every day, and all the chlorine makes the itching worse, so I have to strike the right balance there. Basically, I've just resigned myself to the fact that I will only get 2-4 hours of sleep per night, and I'm not fighting it anymore. I stay up really late, reading or knitting or baking or working on paper revisions (though it's not like I'm at full brain capacity right now, alas) until I can't keep my eyes open. Around 2a.m., I collapse into bed for a couple hours before waking up to fidget and pee and scratch my feet, and then I get up again and putz around some more trying to get tired enough to get another hour or two of sleep before it's time for everyone to get up.

Through all this, I keep trying to remind myself that I'm lucky. I'm lucky to be having a healthy pregnancy that has been relatively easy up to this point. I'm lucky that my husband is just as helpful and supportive as he can be. I'm lucky that Daniel is taking decent naps in the afternoon so I get a small reprieve in the middle of the day when I need it the most. And this isn't luck as much as my own hard work, but I'm fortunate that I really can wrap up this doctorate in the next couple weeks. As excruciating as it is to work on a paper that I'm losing enthusiasm for by the day, as difficult as it is to muster up the mental and physical energy to put adequate work into this revisions, I can do it, and by gum, I will.

Comments

You've got a great attitude, Suze! Keep it up, and be like the Little Train that Could... I know I can, I know I can, I know I can get this durn paper done and be Dr. Gaeddert!
Andre said…
That's the spirit! This was great to read. Totally inspiring. . All this (even if it doesn't feel like it now) will pass.
Pamela said…
Oh, Susan! I'm so sorry you're not sleeping and you're all itchy and everything. I'm glad the baking soda is helping a little. That's good. I don't know what to say other than just keep plugging. I know you can get through this! I'll be thinking of you and wishing you well!

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