Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sleeping and Peeing at the End of Pregnancy

I posted this on a forum at the end of my pregnancy with Hannah. I'm posting it here to dedicate this post to my two friends, Charlene and Sabra, who are both at the end of their current pregnancies. My prayers are with both of you ladies. May you find some joy and commiseration in the story below.

It used to be, I believe, that I might occasionally awaken in the night to relieve myself. I would slowly come to, sometimes after a dream involving urination and I would reluctantly hop out of bed and make quick with the duty only to return to the blessed warmth and dreaminess of the place where I had been peacefully resting only moments ago. Sometime after dawn, the memory of having used the restroom in the middle of the night will be as hazy as the plots of my dreams.

And now, that process also seems hazy as I wake with a certain urgency and quickness. I am confused about where I am, what time it might be, and which hip aches the most right now. There is no confusion, though, that the urgency comes from a place below the enormous mound of my abdomen. I throw back the covers in the last quick movement of this process and with determination begin my journey.

First, I take a breath and flip my legs and arms toward the edge of the bed, willing my middle to make the transition with me. Sometimes, I fall short of my goal and find my self stranded and flailing on my back. When this predicament occurs, I find a deep breath, a good grunt, and another lead-with-limbs-and-hope-the belly-will-follow maneuver is necessary.

At last, I am upright and again I am confused: what time is it? Surely it must be nearly daylight as my body feels I've made it past four such battles already. Squinting reveals digital numbers 4:07. I make the calculation and come to the conclusion this is a round trip. I must return at least once more to languish in my bed before morning or find myself dosing off just as the other members of my household begin to rise.

My marching orders firmly established I realize skyrocketing intensity in my need to urinate as my unborn child descends more firmly onto my bladder. I find myself crossing the width of my king-sized bed in the gray glow of my room. It's funny how the bed doesn't feel this large when I'm in it.

I find myself thinking I must waddle faster. Then I realize that the slow, rocking motion I make now is so much more than can be described with the silly word: waddle. Honestly, ducks are able to move quite quickly in their cute gait. My movements resemble that of a splayed-legged paper doll or sleepy circus elephant. I rock to one side so far that I feel the fluids in my inner ear adjust to maintain a sense of up and down. Just before I capsize to the left, everything shifts and I rock just as far to the other side and a few meager inches closer to the bathroom.

I grit my teeth and muse that I am quite reflexively using my arms to aid in balance. Are extended arms really necessary? This is no tight rope performance. This is a swath of perfectly ground-level carpet which is thankfully much wider than my pendulous self. Yet I contemplate whether working without a safety net is wise after all.

It occurs to me that rocking like this is what many mothers do when they walk with their newborns. Is it the body's reminder of the few weeks before the baby comes? Is it a kind of muscle memory perhaps to establish that the mother is still the person she once was: on some level?

I find I've made it to porcelain destination bathed in the lighting color that only an amber street light makes through a lavender curtain. It is comforting, that color. It greets me many times each night. It is a slight reward and cloudy reminder of day after my sojourn from the darker bedroom.

My thoughts wander from the colored light streaming into the room to the relief which was the impetus for finding myself here on the cold toilet. I don't remember the warm feeling of urine leaving my body. Sitting here I wonder what all the urgency had been about. If I had to pee before, I certainly don't have to now.

But I remember all the trips that have come before this one. I know that as soon as I lean forward enough to stand and return to my bed, that the urgency will return. So I will myself to release the necessary muscles and find suddenly that this trip will include a bowel movement.

In my birthing class, the instructor explained that I might feel rectal pressure during the pushing phase. I wonder what that will be like since there's a great deal of said pressure now. I also remember that most of my nighttime journeys end this way. Oh well, I resign, doing a "number 2" ensures I will also empty my bladder.

It is over quickly enough and time to wash my hands and trek back to my bed. On my way, I decide to stop at the computer and record these thoughts. At 4:19 it seemed only logical. And now, at 5:11 it seems my folly is a lot less reasoned. After all, nearly fifty percent of the population already knows everything I've typed above. But again, there is acclaim for writing about the "human condition". Perhaps then, there is also an importance to writing about this particular "condition" as well. If so, I have offered my "due" diligence.

Good night! It is almost morning.

1 comment:

Carissa said...

I remember when you wrote this. It's the funniest thing ever! (And so true!!!)