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Go To Sleep

I recently left my job for a leave of absence to take a break from long hours creating media at a private school. I wanted to start a web company, have a child, and go back to school. Doing all of these things at once isn’t really taking a break.

Complaining to everyone about how overwhelmed I feel isn’t helping. I was talking to my Mom about how I need to learn Smarty templates, PHP, MySQL, CMS and buncha other web stuff ASAP, and how pressured I felt to do all that and apply to CUNY Hunter’s Integrated Media Arts MFA Program.

“Enjoy it now! You entire life is going to change in two months in ways you can’t possibly imagine!” Which could be translated as: “Hah! Everything you ever did to me is coming back to get you!!”

Pretty much everyone delights in torturing expectant parents. If they’re not rushing forward to grab Terry’s belly, they are telling us how we won’t get any sleep when the baby comes. Enjoy the calm before the coming storm is a favorite expression.

Of course, that assumes that we’re actually sleeping now. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t think I’ve slept well in six months.

There is, of course, my recurring fear that I will kill the baby. Or the recurring fears that I’m not making enough money. Or the recurring fear that I can never go back to my old job and end up with a worse one. There’s also the fear that my replacement at my old job will throw out every piece of equipment I had and paint everything else.

More than enough to not sleep. But the main reason I’m not sleeping is my wife’s snoring.

Snoring is a great facilitator for thinking all kinds of new worries about your life. Sure, people tell me I will be a great Dad, but that’s required. Unless you’re a guidance counselor at a really terrible school, or unsupportive parents of a pregnant teen, people hardly ever walk up to someone and say, “Gee, you’re going to be a horrible Dad.” Try it out on your pregnant friends. “Say wow, you’re expecting? That’s a mistake!” I guarantee tears will follow. (NOTE: Do not actually try this on your friends unless you don’t want them as friends.)

I come from a long line of snorers; my grandfather actually sounded like a chain saw. You could sleep 20 feet away behind two sets of closed doors, and it would still be too much to take. Just about every girlfriend has told me that I snore like a freight train. Once my brother and chased the cat under my parent’s bed while my Mom slept. We thought the cat had a chicken bone and was growling while eating it. He didn’t. My Mom just snores like a cat eating a chicken bone. However Terry’s magical superpowers have left me snoring only occasionally.

Terry didn’t snore much until she got pregnant. With the weight of the baby, which is larger than average size for 31 weeks, crushing her lungs, kidneys, spleen, and guts, her lungs have to work overtime to get air.

The simple situation is I can’t get to sleep with Stuka Dive Bombers next to me. Or elephants trumpeting. Or creaking metal gates. Or whatever she sounds like at any given minute. If she just picked a sound and stuck with it, I might be able to adjust. But it’s different every time. It’s like an iPod of snoring recordings on random.

Recently she began to stop breathing while sleeping, a condition known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea in pregnancy is scary because all sorts of things can affect the fetus. Things like the father freaking out because his wife sounds like she’s choking. When this happens, I sit up in bed and look to see if she’s dead. Terry then wakes up and asks “why are you staring at me?”

So, to figure out what we could do, we went to the Ear-Nose-Throat doctor (ENT). The ENT was very nice, up until she decided to put an ENT camera up Terry’s nose and down her throat. I went along to describe the sleep apnea symptoms. I also made Terry laugh during the nasal camera procedure. Dads, if you find yourself in this role, do not make your wife laugh when there’s a 2-foot camera in her nose. I quickly realized that laughter is the worst thing you can do to make someone relax when they have a camera up their nose. Then they gave us pictures. I’m sure why we got  a copy, but I thought I would scan them and tell Ronan’s grandparents that these were new shots of the fetus. Thankfully Terry stopped me before things got out of hand.

Then Terry had to go to the sleep center. They connected her to a machine that had sticky electrodes all over her face and neck, bands across her stomach and chest, and a probe on her finger. After that, they tell her to go to sleep. Try it at home: get some of your computer peripherals and glue them to your head and fingers. Try to sleep. We’ll wait. (NOTE: Do NOT actually glue anything to your head.)

The problem with this, besides it not being able to facilitate sleep in an unfamiliar environment, is that they have tethered a pregnant woman to a fixed location that is not a bathroom.

Stupidly, I assumed that in the 21st century, sleep centers would have Bluetooth or Airport or some other kind of wireless transmission of data, so that Terry wouldn’t have to plead for the nurse to unhook every time she had to pee.

What’s worse is that the nurse fell asleep. How did Terry know this? The nurse snores. (I think there’s something good about medical personnel having to go through the same ordeals as their patients. I had a girlfriend who was crazy and she became a psychiatrist. I’m undergoing vision therapy with an optometrist who also has convergence insufficiency. I know of several other doctors or nurses who went into medicine because they wanted to be a better caregiver than they had when they were sick. I digress.) So after shouting for a while, the nurse got Terry unhooked and all was well. The nurse said she wasn’t snoring; she was balancing her checkbook.

So after a restful night of not really sleeping, the nurse decided to release Terry at 5 AM, after letting her sleep in (checkout was supposed to be 4:30 AM.) Terry, a trooper with magical superpowers of recuperation, came home, took a nap, and went to work.

We will have the results shortly. Hopefully there’s nothing to worry about.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 3, 2007 2:35 PM.

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