Losing sleep (and ta’s not even here yet)

To balance out the sunny sweetness of my last entry, here are some thoughts on a less life-affirming aspect of late pregnancy.

When introducing his pregnancy journal below, B reports that nothing much has happened to him during this nine months of waiting, but that’s not strictly true. Granted, he hasn’t acquired stretch marks that make the area around his belly button look like an unfolded accordian, the way I have, but when we were reunited after three months apart back in December, he discovered that his wife had become a world champion snorer. Since then, I think the number of good nights’ sleep he’s gotten have roughly equaled the number of nights out on the couch or curled in the far corner of the bed, earplugs stuffed in and a pillow folded around his head.

My reaction to the more bizarre transformations of my body has been to gauge their normalcy with statistics. In this case, I learned that up to 30% of women get a fearsome snore by the third trimester. We’re part of the lucky third. Something to do with the hugely increased blood volume—apparently I’m now full to the brim with half again as much blood as I started out with—that swells the tissues and constricts the nasal passageway in some people. And I gather I may be more prone to this trait to begin with; when I mentioned the snoring to my mom over Christmas, she said, “Oh, you were a terrible snorer as a kid. We were afraid you’d never grow into your adenoids.” I guess I did, though, at least long enough to trick B into thinking he could spend the rest of his life sleeping in the same room with me.

Hoping the father-to-be could get some sleep before becoming a father (and losing his peaceful nights for who knows how long), I turned to our local drugstore for help. CVS has a couple of shelves of anti-snoring remedies, so at least I know that I am not alone, but there’s not a whole lot of variety to choose from. Most of the arsenal consists of Breathe-Right strips, those stiff little band-aids that hold your nostrils open. These come in generic and brand-name, flesh-colored and clear, for big honkers and regular-sized noses. [As an aside: the clear ones are twice as pricey as the flesh-colored ones, and when I say “flesh-colored” I mean a sort of pinkish-beige. None of the cheaper Breathe-Rights at our CVS that would match darker skin, despite the large proportion of African-Americans who live in our neighborhood. Which makes me wonder: do black people not snore as much as us pinkish-beige ones? Do members of “the black community” (whatever that is) shun stupid-looking nose band-aids? Or, their needs ignored, are they forced to buy the more expensive clear strips if they want a less visible option?] For a while it seemed like Breathe-Rights might be the answer. But my roar overcomes even their mitigating effect. I persist in breathing wrong, even with flared nostrils.

CVS also carries some sprays and pills, but I think the medical remedies are off-limits for pregnant ladies who don’t want to dope up the little space aliens inside their bellies. Their most expensive solution is also their wackiest: a semi-circular ring that you slide into your nose, pinching the septum with the two little balls on the ends of the ring. It looks like the ring through a bull’s nose. The little balls are apparently made out of some rare earth metal. I’m not sure how this is supposed to work—something about realigning the magnetic field around your nose? It sounds like something that a nineteenth-century huckster in a top hat and spats might have sold along with a machine that would administer electric shocks through the ring. But I am getting just desperate enough to try it.

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