Airing Dirty Laundry

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Breakdown June 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 5:41 pm

Baby, breakdown, go ahead give it to me

Breakdown, honey take me through the night

Breakdown, I’m standing here, can you see?

Breakdown, it’s all right

It’s all right

It’s all right

Just about every time I see or hear the word “breakdown”, I think of Tom Petty. And I like Petty, so it’s all good.

Except for 4:30 this morning, when I had my first pregnancy breakdown. Hours later, in the light of day, it seems trivial and, well, petty (pun TOTALLY intended). But in the darkness of night, an hour before dawn was ready to break, I fell apart.

I went to sleep at 10:30 last night, dutifully on my left side, sharing my king-size pillow with a sprawling 10lb Guinness, as comfortable as one can be nine and a half weeks away (Or less. Or more.) from giving birth. Even though we were in the midst of a pretty bad thunderstorm, I was tired. We had spent half an hour at our local Wal*Mart that evening, 29 minutes more than was really necessary, and if any place in the world can drain the life energy out of me, Wal*Mart can.

I don’t sleep as well, or as deeply, or as long, as I used to. My days of being able to pass out for hours with lights blazing, TV or music blaring, and in uncomfortable positions seem to be over. And I’m OK with that. In theory, at least. So when I woke up at midnight or so and talked to Mike (who was still awake, in the dark, watching a very muted TV), it took me a little while to get back into a deep sleep. And when I woke up at 1:30 because a certain cat’s paw was too close for comfort to my eye socket, it took me a little while longer. And when I woke up at 3:00 for seemingly no reason at all, I couldn’t fall back asleep. Mike was snoring, although not loudly, but it was all I could concentrate on. After a few pokes to his rib cage that he failed to acknowledge, I grabbed my body pillow and water bottle and headed downstairs to the couch. A common enough scenario for me anymore, and usually I can fall back asleep at least for a little while.

I got myself comfortable on the cold (ahhhhh) leather of the couch in the family room, closed my eyes, and waited for blissful rest to come my way. Seconds later, I heard the tell-tale thump of Forrest knocking something off of the island in the kitchen. I squeezed my eyes a little tighter and tried to will myself to sleep. A few minutes passed, and I heard him in the dining room, playing with the glasses that hang from our wine rack. I got up, turned the lights on, grabbed him off the wine rack, tapped him on the nose, called him a bad cat, turned the lights off, and laid back down.

Five minutes later, he was at it again. In a loud whisper, I said “Forrest!”, and he stopped. He got back up on the counter, and used the weight of his body to push my purse off onto the hardwood floor. No small feet for a scrawny one year old cat.

Not getting a reaction out of me, he walked into the family room, got on the coffee table, knocked my phone (which I had the alarm set on) off onto the floor and played hockey with it across the hardwood and into the kitchen. Of course, I was lying there wondering where he would hide it and imagining that I would miraculously fall asleep and then be late for work.

I once again grabbed my body pillow and water bottle, retrieved my phone, and, as Forrest trounced back upstairs, I shut myself into the room that is supposed to be our formal living room but is more of a den. The room is dark red, the blinds were shut, and only a little light was coming through the windows of the French doors. I laid down on the couch, settled in, and maybe even fell asleep for 5 or 10 minutes. Until Forrest figured out that the only thing separating him from me were those doors. He, at first, gently pushed at the doors, making them rattle. His pushing increased until he was throwing his little cat shoulder into the doors, trying to use his body weight to push them open. He’s very persistent.

I packed up my stuff and went upstairs to one of the spare bedrooms, and although he didn’t follow me, I couldn’t get comfortable on that bed. And I was cranky by that point, which makes getting comfortable a teensy bit harder. So I moved to the other spare room, shut the door, swept the mess of clothes off the bed, and threw myself down. It was 4:30.

The first time I heard Forrest in the hallway outside the room, the tears started. I knew there was no chance now that I would fall back asleep. Within seconds I was sobbing uncontrollably. I knew I had an intense day at work ahead of me, and knew that I would have trouble being “on” for nine straight hours after such a restless night.

I cried until my eyes were swollen and the tears eventually dried up.

All the while, I could hear Forrest pacing in the hallway, trying to figure out how to get to me. I felt like I was in the movie Jaws, in a cage in the ocean, a shark swimming laps around me, smelling blood, anxious to make his move.

Having exhausted the options of the two couches and two spare beds, I gave up and went back to our bedroom, climbed into bed, laid my head down on the edge of my king-size pillow that Guinness allowed me to have, and closed my eyes. The tears started anew, not racking sobs this time, but enough to wake my (still snoring!) husband, who talked to me, hugged me, and calmed me down. Forrest, meanwhile, leapt onto the dresser, weaseled his way through the curtains, and rattled the blinds when he stuck his head through them so that he could look out the window.

The sun was up. I fell asleep around 6:00, and my alarm went off at 6:15. Time to get up.

I showered, forced my contacts into my swollen red eyes, got myself ready for work, and stopped for a second on my way out the door to pet Forrest, who was passed out cold on the couch. As annoyed as I was with him, I still love him. But couldn’t resist a small poke to stir him awake.

Sure, I’m still tired, and my eyes are still puffy with dark circles underneath, but I got through the day by thinking that at least I could go home after work and lay down for an hour or two. And the baby was really active today, so my mood improved with each movement, each kick, each scrape of an arm or leg as he or she flipped and turned.

Breakdown, it’s all right

It’s all right

It’s all right

Good night.


4 Responses to “Breakdown”

  1. Holli Says:

    Oh i remember when my cat used to do that to me….. pregnant and not pregnant….. I could have killed her at times. I used to throw her out the door when she was younger and could defend herself better outside. Now her bedroom is a Papasan chair in the basement with the door shut and I sleep blissful sleep. I’m so sorry. I really do know your pain.

  2. Sydney Says:

    Hang in there. Consider it training for the sleepless nights yet to come. I’ve had more sleepless nights with the pregnancy than I did with Alex. It does get a little better once the little one comes. At least you can get comfortable when you’re sleeping for those brief, glorious moments!

  3. Jamie Says:

    OMGoodness. Poor you. I feel so bad, but I’ve had many sleepless nights due to crazy cats. Now, when our cats get active like that in the middle of the night I put them in the basement and shut the door.

    And then I don’t waste the opportunity to wake them up and give them a bath during their snoozefest! Payback!

  4. Lisanne Says:

    I’m SO sorry for saying this, but the entire time I was reading this blog entry, it reminded me of the sleep deprivation that I went through when our kids were born. I just was NOT prepared for that part of parenthood. I’m sorry that you slept SO poorly that night. 😦

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