I am usually on campus at UCR from 10-2 on Tuesdays, but yesterday I stayed a few extra hours so I could attend readings by graduating seniors from the creative writing department (you did a great job, everyone!) Afterwards, I told a couple of my lovely students that I had stayed past my "pregnant lady naptime"--I usually crash after I come home from campus (I honestly don't know how pregnant women can work full time--those four hours at UCR, as enjoyable as they always are, tend to slay me). One student challenged me to blog about napping--I was too tired to write anything when I got home (sorry, Brian!) but I'll try my hand now.
In my normal, non-pregnant life, I am not a napper. I am not much of a sleeper, in general. Sleep and I have always had a complicated relationship. Sometimes I could nap if I was sick, or on the first day of my period, but for the most part, sleep has eluded me during the day. Napping while pregnant, however, is a different story entirely. Especially this time around.
I still have a complicated relationship with sleep--namely, I'm not getting enough of it. I often stay up too late, and when I do fall asleep, I wake up every few hours (sometimes every other hour) to pee. I know this is preparing me for the baby, for all those nighttime nursing sessions, but it's hard to appreciate that when I wake up feeling like a zombie. Napping is often essential.
Just as hunger is different while pregnant--often a sudden, roaring thing--tiredness is different while pregnant, too. It sweeps over me like a sand storm, hitting me with an almost violent force. If I resist it (which I try to do too often) I start to feel as if my whole body is going to shatter. And when I give in and lie down, sleep tends to overtake me quickly. It's like falling into a deep dark hole, one that can be hard to climb out of. I wake up groggy and disoriented, and often wonder whether the nap helped at all, but once I'm up for a few minutes, the fog clears and I feel refreshed (or at least less tired than I had before the nap.)
When Arin and Hannah were babies, I was never good at following the wise "nap when they nap" advice, even though neither of them slept much during the night (hence neither did I.) I have a feeling that when this baby comes, I'll be much better at napping along with it--these older bones need more rest than they used to. Then again, maybe I'll be back to my old resisting sleep tricks--baby naptime is always such a good chance to get stuff done, and I always have so much to do. But if those naps hit me like a locomotive the way they have been lately, well, I won't be able to do anything but give in...