How my quest for sleep turned me into George Costanza

I started my day by getting yelled at by my Friendly Neighborhood Pharmacist.

In my desperate attempt to find someone who would tell me Ambien was OK to take while pregnant, I was calling everyone I could think of. After three nights in a row of four hours of sleep, I realized I was going to go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs if I didn’t find something, anything to help me sleep for the next seven months.

I put a call into Gary the Pharmacist.

“So Gary, what do you think of taking Ambien while pregnant?”

“WHAT? NO, NO, NO! You can’t take anything, nothing – NOTHING, do you hear me? You can’t take anything while you’re pregnant, only Tylenol. That’s it. That’s it, it, it!”

Oh my gosh, I thought, I am in a Seinfeld episode. Instead of the Soup Nazi, it’s the Pharmacist Nazi – “No Ambien for you!”

What do pharmacists know anyways, right? On to the next. I called my midwife, Diane. She also said negative to the Ambien, but at least she didn’t yell at me. She suggested alternatives – magnesium powder, Melatonin and eating some protein right before bed.

Strike two.

Next on the list was my OB/GYN. I wouldn’t be seeing them for this baby, but I still wanted the doctors’ medical opinion. I dialed the number and told the receptionist my question.

“Have you made an appointment yet?” was the first thing she asked me.

“No,” I told her, thinking to myself, “Hells no. I’d rather deliver my baby naturally at home like last time than let you guys cut me open again.”

“Do you plan on making an appointment soon?” she asked sternly, reminding me of a school teacher asking a delinquent student for his homework.

Uh-oh. Was their answer contingent on me making an appointment? I decided to be ambiguous.

“Umm, not now.”

She put me on hold. A few minutes later, she picked up the phone. “Ambien is Category B. It’s fine to take.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, the doctors said it was fine.”

I said thank you and hung up the phone. But now I was faced with a conundrum: do I take the doctors’ advice for face value, or were they just fucking with me because I wouldn’t make an appointment? This is how I imagined the conversation went between the doctor and the receptionist while I was on hold:

“So doc, some lady who went and got herself knocked up and now can’t sleep wants to know if she can take Ambien. But she won’t make an appointment.”

“Oh, then tell her it’s fine. What do we care if she has a baby with five heads if she’s not coming in here?”

And then the two laugh a Dr. Evil laugh while rubbing their hands together and plotting destruction of the Earth.

Back to square one. I tried the magnesium powder and the melatonin and pigging out on cheese before bed. No go. I was still up at 2 a.m. twiddling my thumbs and fantasizing about Ambien. I am totally fucked. I am going to be a zombie for the next year and won’t be able to drive my kids to school or hold a conversation or make a meal because I will probably light the house on fire.

And then, last night, I remembered we had some Yogi Bedtime Tea. I drank some an hour before bed, said a prayer, begged the Sleep Fairy to take mercy on my soul and went to sleep. I woke up at 4 am. Glorious! Even better, I went back to sleep and slept until 6 am! Hallelujah, there is a God!

I feel like a human today. I am thinking of calling Gary and yelling at him while I channel George Costanza: “I’m back, baby! I’m back!”



5 thoughts on “How my quest for sleep turned me into George Costanza

  1. Go talk to Howard…pharmacist at the Longs in Tahoe City, I just saw him there an hour ago. He’s great and a close family friend. He might be able to help. The other pharmacists in town can be frightening.

  2. I took Unisom throughout my last pregnancy because I had really rotten morning sickness, and it was rumored to help. It did. The only side effect was that NOW if I take anything with Diphenhydramine in it, like 1/2 a Benadryl, I start acting like a drunk sorority girl and pass out within 1/2 an hour. Then wake up with a horrible hang over.

    Although not vomiting nonstop for 16 weeks was worth it. Although, I only gained 15-20 lbs with the first two pregnancies and about 40 with the third. Maybe nonstop vomiting has its benies.

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