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In search of a little comfort

Friday, February 22, 2008 | 12:00 p.m. CST; updated 3:29 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 7, 2008

Editor’s note: Jake Sherlock and his wife, Jenny, are expecting their first child in March. His new column will explore the challenges a couple experiences as they become parents for the first time. Look for it periodically here at ColumbiaMissourian.com.

It’s not unusual for expectant parents to receive numerous warnings about a lack of sleep once the baby is born. What you don’t hear as often is that those sleepless nights actually start while the baby is still in the womb.

Jenny has officially reached the stage of the pregnancy where she is perpetually uncomfortable, especially when she is trying to sleep. She’s not comfortable on her back or on either side for very long, and when she does manage to work herself into just the right position to get a little sleep, the baby gives her a swift kick in the bladder.

Tuesday night proved especially tough: Jenny picked up the stomach flu.

The good news is it was only the 24-hour variety. The bad news is it was still the stomach flu, which is no fun when you’re not pregnant. Now imagine being sick and having a baby girl inside of you.

Like I said, it was a tough night, not to mention a little confusing.

Jenny felt nauseous all day, but our doctor explained that wasn’t unusual for someone who was 37 weeks into her pregnancy. Our baby weighed in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces this week, which puts her above the 90th percentile at this stage of the pregnancy. That also means she’ll trump both my (7 pounds, 13 ounces) and Jenny’s (7 pounds, 11 ounces) birth weights.

It also means that the baby is taking up so much of Jenny’s midsection that she’s compressing her stomach, our doctor explained. This leads to women feeling nauseous late in their pregnancy.

Around 6:30 p.m., she started feeling stomach pains, but she wasn’t sure if it was contractions. She called the birthing center at Boone Hospital Center to see if she should go in.

The pain wasn’t intense enough to be a contraction, so Jenny was advised to lie down and drink some water. A few minutes later, we knew from her mad dash to the bathroom that it must be the stomach flu. She couldn’t hold anything down all night, and later she got the chills pretty bad, too.

Although the baby was never in any danger, according to WebMD.com (I looked it up to reassure Jenny), she did worry when she couldn’t feel the baby moving. But soon enough the baby awoke from her slumber to start moving and kicking, and Jenny was wishing she’d go back to sleep.

Like I said, it was a tough night, especially because a pregnant woman’s medicinal options are pretty limited. After some research on WebMD, acetaminophen seemed like the best choice especially because it was the only thing we had in the house she could take.

A good night’s sleep and a day at home seems to have gotten her much better. She even managed to eat spumoni on Wednesday night. But that craving was partly born out of wishful thinking: It’s an old wives tale that spumoni can help induce labor. And for the record, she would have been happy with rocky road from a convenience store on the way home — I chose to drive the extra miles to a grocery store for spumoni. I’m just anxious.

So now Jenny is back to just being uncomfortable, and compared to the flu that’s a much better spot to be in.

If you have advice for Jenny on how she can make herself more comfortable in these final days of the pregnancy, please leave a comment below.

Jake Sherlock is a news editor at the Missourian.


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