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 thatâ€™s not strictly true. Granted, he hasnâ€™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 nightsâ€™ sleep heâ€™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. Weâ€™re part of the lucky third. Something to do with the hugely increased blood volumeâ€”apparently Iâ€™m now full to the brim with half again as much blood as I started out withâ€”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, â€œOh, you were a terrible snorer as a kid. We were afraid youâ€™d never grow into your adenoids.â€ 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 thereâ€™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 â€œflesh-coloredâ€ 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 â€œthe black communityâ€ (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 donâ€™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 bullâ€™s nose. The little balls are apparently made out of some rare earth metal. Iâ€™m not sure how this is supposed to workâ€”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.