Sleep deprivation and altered tempo: rotten combination

The baby has been messing with my thermostat– I keep waking up at night sweating a lot and drooling a little, while my husband sighs comfortably under the blanket I’ve kicked off. The bedcovers are a disaster in the morning. I had already been getting up 1-3 times a night to pee, and I really didn’t think my sleep could get any more disrupted, prior to the kid’s arrival (after that all bets are off). I guess late pregnancy is to make sure you are ready and willing to go through childbirth just to get it over with.

The lack of sleep makes me grumpy and intolerant.

The thing I am most often grumpy about is the way my husband eats. This has never bothered me before, but now I can barely stand to be in the same room with him if he is eating. Every little slurp or grunt or chewing noise is stomach-churningly disgusting. I actually avoid eating breakfast and lunch at the same time he is eating, so that I can put on my headphones and listen to podcasts that drown out the noise.  I steel myself to sit through dinner like a civilized wife. But it’s not just that he eats noisily: he eats too fast. Like he’s late for something, and in a rush to finish.  Maybe it’s the natural result of growing up with older brothers: if you finish last you have no chance at second helpings?

Maybe not, though. pregnancy seems to have slowed my whole tempo. I walk more slowly. I think more slowly. I’ve been forced by my creaky joints to move more slowly. I probably even breathe more slowly.  I’ve gotten used to it. And this makes my husband seem like a caffeinated hummingbird, flicking from website to website, from the computer to the kitchen, from making tea to pacing the floors. It is supremely irritating.  When he wolfs down his dinner, I feel threatened. Not by him, personally, I just pick up on his frantic pace, and I have to fight to avoid speeding up to match it– it makes some part of me think there must be an emergency, some kind of danger, like we might have to jump up and dash out of the house at any moment. Where? What is it? Where shall we flee to?

I’m worried about this. It’s making me crazy. I feel like I need to go with nature here– slow down, relax. But I can only do it when I’m not around my husband. Even when he’s trying really hard, he seems totally incapable of slowing down. He gives frantic back rubs and staccato foot massages that leave me with clenched teeth. And as desperately as I need him to be present when our child is born…   I feel like I might have to kick him out and let him pace the halls while I give birth, because I can’t afford to have him flitting around making me tense.  That makes me want to cry.

There are a lot of advantages to giving birth in a foreign country: I’m not being coerced into procedures I don’t want, I can give birth outside the hospital with a midwife (in my home state this is largely illegal), we can actually afford the medical care involved, our kid is eligible for dual citizenship…  there is so much to like.  But it’s lonely.  If it turns out I can’t have my husband around during labor, there aren’t any other familiar people to turn to. We know a lot of extraordinarily kind people here, but we haven’t been here that long. Not people I know well enough to have with me for who-knows-how-long, who would be comforting to have around while I am tired, naked, and in pain. Only my husband, the hummingbird.