Marital Bedding

body pillows with animal printsIt’s an obvious statement to say that things change during pregnancy. A pregnant woman’s blood volume increases, as does her basal temperature. There are countless tales about mood swings, cravings, nausea, and old wives’ advice to predict what sex the baby will be, and some of these things are fun but many of them begin to annoy the mother and father to be because quickly, they’ve heard of these things.

Less spotlighted are some other physical changes. The pregnant woman’s gastrointestinal tract slows down so more nutrients can be absorbed from the food she eats, resulting in heartburn and a chronic need for stool softener, which she is allowed to pop like so many small candies. And for every pound she gains in parasitic fetus, four more pounds are added to the compression on her spinal column. Susanne has dealt with many of these symptoms and issues, but one of the more stubborn ones to rear its head in this second trimester has been knotty back pain and an inability to get comfortable when trying to go to sleep. It’s enough that she comes from a multi-generational insomniac family; her spinal cord has decided to enter its own voice in the din of not sleepfulness.

“I think I need a body pillow,” she said to me a few weeks ago. At the time my bowling league was in full swing, so I opted to stop in at the Target nearest the alley and procure a long pillow.

I admit I am not a pillow expert. I like a hard foam pillow and I sneeze at real down. Beyond these considerations, I don’t know crap about pillow construction, pricing, longevity, or how to select a pillow for one’s very tired, pregnant partner. I stood in the aisle, trying to ignore a couple fighting over shower liners two rows over from me. For what it’s worth, I care so little about shower liners I can’t even imagine expending effort to actually fight about them with anyone. But perhaps they had gobs of energy because they were both sleeping through the night.

Okay pillow, pillow. I marveled over the containers for organizing pillow types and prices. They seemed to have lifted a page from the Toys R Us beach ball display; a thin cage that allowed customers to lift the pillows up and out. Body pillows don’t work this well, however, as they’re the length of homo sapiens. I wrestled one out from the wires supporting it, aiming mostly to keep from knocking down the whole display. Ten dollars didn’t sound too bad as a price, but one needed also to purchase a body pillow case.

James Franco and his pillow girlfriendThat every pillow case looked like something one would find in a house of ill repute made me wonder what these pillows were really for—leopard spots, tiger stripes, and bright pink all seemed rather un-Susanne to me. I selected black velvet, wondering how awkward that would feel once the summer heat really hits.

I hoped the pillow would help her back and aid her slumbering through the early A.M. Like a warrior returning home after a conquest on the savannah, I triumphantly presented the pillow and case to Susanne that night. It was almost as tall as she. We decided to wash the case before outfitting the core with it, and perhaps this shrunk the case a little. Whatever the cause, it was harder to get the black velvet on the pillow than it would have been to slip a lubed condom over an electric eel at the bottom of the Atlantic. I bunched up the fabric, pushed the pillow into it, fought the misalignment of seams, while Susanne held the other end and after a sweaty, grunting few minutes that in no way resembled actual sex, we had lassoed the thing.

“Try it,” I said, attempting to be helpful.

Susanne agreed it was very comfortable. It took the pressure off of her hips and lower back. Great. So maybe this trouble was worth it.

Later that night, I climbed into our queen-sized bed and realized something: body pillows, given that they’re roughly the volume of human bodies, take up a boatload of space. There was no more stretching out room. We’d both be sleeping ramrod, although one of us would be clinging to velvet. I tried drifting off to sleep, thinking about the limitations of queen size. Why should kings have all the fun?

Susanne also found it difficult to roll over when her body wanted rolling to occur. Now there was a fat tube under the sheets with us, and the velvety nature of the fabric meant that it would stick to everything else, a velvet-cum-velcro of sorts that dragged along the sheets and comforter and leaving a certain supportive husband exposed to the cold of darkness.

We decided to name the body pillow, as it has such a bewildering, large presence in our bed. Its name is Wedgeworth. It is pleased to meet you.

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11 Comments on “Marital Bedding”

  1. jesse
    May 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    try 2 dogs and a CPAP machine in bed with you. I sleep every night in the most cramped position possible.

    • evmaroon
      May 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

      I forgot about the CPAP machine! You guys need a California King!

  2. Nicoline
    May 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    You could try to use an extra duvet (preferably a synthetic one, since it gets flattened less easily) instead of a body pillow. That doesn’t take up quite as much space and is more easily wedged into position. I feel for Suzanne; it’s going to get harder and harder to find a comfortable position to sleep in from here on out, and when she finally does get comfy enough to sleep, she may need to get up to use the bathroom, $%^&*@#!
    It’s been almost 20 years – my god, how old that makes me sound! – but I still remember the best night’s sleep I ever had: the night after I gave birth to my oldest. Not having been able to sleep on my stomach for months, that’s what I did that night, while Eric watched over our newbornn. Slept like a top!

    • evmaroon
      May 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

      Nicoline, I wish you many nights of blissful rest. I’ll talk to S about a duvet pillow, too.

  3. Elyse
    May 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Ev,
    I hate to break this to you, but your days in bed are numbered especially once she hits the third trimester when she will need the whole bed to seek comfort.

    • evmaroon
      May 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      I know! Shh! Let me have my delusions, would ya?

  4. Sarah
    May 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Satin pillow-cases are much easier to shift under the covers if she needs to roll over. And, (bad news) I never stopped using a body pillow after the pregnancies. I used to be pregnant – now I’m just older (not even that much!) (watch out for excessive use of parentheticals!), and it’s easier on my hip to have a body pillow.

    • evmaroon
      May 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

      Yes, we’ve been considering wrapping it in something smoother. There weren’t any satiny pillowcases at the target when I went there, so velour it is for now!
      And I’ll be introducing the body pillow to our child, I bet, so I can get it out of our bed as soon as possible…

  5. Jen
    May 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Almost a year and a half after giving birth, I’m STILL using the body pillow (much to my husband’s dismay). :S I keep hoping that someday I’ll fall asleep without it again, but that’s easier said than done. Sigh. I like the naming idea though — maybe that’s the secret.

  6. May 20, 2013 at 5:22 am #

    Ive had mine since i was a boy lol but back home in asia we call them bolster pillows..similar ot the ones you see here http://www.bolboland.com.au.. my grandma, grand dad, family has one lol..

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Due Date Physics | Trans/plant/portation - September 4, 2011

    […] them, hearing her gentle snores from the bedroom, where she clung to her body pillow known as Wedgeworth. I watered plants, found long-lost socks under the […]

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