Thursday, May 11, 2006

holy leg cramps, batman

At 2:46 a.m., I woke up with the worst charley horse I have ever had in my life. My left calf muscle was spasming uncontrollably. I moaned or shrieked, and Steve shot straight up in bed in Protector mode.

First he tried to massage it. "Argh. No, no, stop, it's making it worse!" "Sorry."

The thought crossed my mind that this is child's play in comparison to what labor will be like.

Then he told me to flex my foot. Slowly, I stretched my leg out straight and willed my toes toward me. That helped a little bit. Slowly, the killing pain decreased to more of a dull stab. I eased out of bed to stand on it. No worse. I bent my knees a few times.

I hobbled out to the bathroom. Flipped the lightswitch, but it didn't come on. Stupid flourescent light. Why does it take it two seconds to come on during the day but three minutes to come on in the dead of night, if not longer? After peeing in the dark, I hobbled back to bed and gingerly laid my leg on the pillow I keep between my legs to keep my hips level. Closed my eyes.

Then the bathroom light came on, belatedly. I'd forgotten to flip the switch off. Steve got up and turned it off. Came back to bed. "Sorry," he said. "What for?" I said. "For hurting you when I massaged it," he said. "Oh, honey, you didn't know," I said. "Don't worry - you helped me feel better." "Sorry you had to get the light," I added.

An hour later, I turned over in bed, which at six months pregnant is a big production that always wakes me up and sometimes wakes Steve up.

Then it happened again. I felt that twitch, the one that warns that it's about to become a cramp. This time it was in my right calf. Sure enough, there it came, another charley horse. (Why do they call them charley horses, anyway?)

This time, I flexed it right away, before it got as bad as the left leg, and it loosened up quickly. "I need to be getting more calcium," I said out loud.

In the morning, Steve said, "Did you say something about calcium last night?" "Yeah," I said. "I think I read somewhere that calcium deficiency in pregnant women is one reason for leg cramps."

He's been reminding me to drink more milk ever since he read the "pregnancy for men" book that his friend Mark gave him.

Today, those muscles are still sore. I feel them every time I get up to walk around. If I stretch one of my legs the wrong way, it feels like it might seize up again. I think I'm going to get some milk or cottage cheese for the office refrigerator.


Monkeymama said...

I had the WORST leg cramps when pregnant. Sometimes my hips would cramp up too if I sat for too long. I'd wake up screaming in the night and Greg wouldn't be able to help. Once he had to actually straighten my leg for me.

The pain of leg cramps is different than the pain of labor, I think. The leg cramp don't do anything positive, like prepare your body to bring a baby into the world, which makes them seem worse to me. :)

Liz P. said...

Ouch! I really hate those. I've only gotten them once or twice but they are nasty.

C and I were taking a finals "stress relief" break last week and he got a charley horse. Poor guy. hehehehe. I don't know why I giggle. It isn't really funny.

Liz M. said...

When my brother was running track in high school, he used to wake up the whole house with 2 a.m. leg cramps. This guy is one tough hombre and the cramps would break him. I can still hear him scream 15 years later.

A trick you might try....
Mommasharon tried putting a bar of soap under her sheet one night when having leg cramps. She said it worked the next morning. I have no idea what it does... as long as it is a bar of soap there doesn't seem to be much mess or investment involved.

AnnabooMommy said...

Hi, it's Theresa. I had gotten the advice to take extra calcium as well in dealing with those leg cramps. It worked perfectly for me to take Tums, as I was already dealing with heartburn and it could help me with both problems. Tums comes in a lot of surprising flavors, otherwise Viactiv is good as a calcium supplement. In addition, don't forget to stay hydrated.

Take care!