Dream On

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I have had so many bad dreams. The one that reoccurred the most was a doctor telling me that something was wrong, or that I had lost a baby, followed by me screaming “No. No. NO!”  I would wake from fitful sleep, often drenched in sweat or tangled in my blankets. Continue reading

Giving Permission

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It is 3:00 am and I just finished feeding my baby. Not because she woke up crying and hungry. But because I wanted and needed to be with her.

I had met a friend for dinner. Tucked the big kids in so that I was not leaving Ger to fend for himself with three kids at bedtime. There was pumped milk in the fridge. I spent a few hours away. Even had a glass of wine, a first in a long time. And the first time leaving the baby for “fun” versus out of necessity like running an errand or taekwondo class.   Continue reading

Writing No Energy

No energy 2:00 am again cannot calm cannot sleep feeling nauseous worried about stress a bath sounds like too much work I love baths but cannot take one

Best chance for sleep 9pm to midnight then up every hour or two up and down in and out of fitful dreams and discomfort cannot sleep without feeling baby move every time every hour 

No punctuation rumination just words around and around I wake with a fright with a start with a fear so bright I can’t breathe 

Ache back side arms legs zero right to complain feel guilty 

Write or risk losing the words as the clock creeps toward 3:00 am 

Up on the Roof

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face (Up on the roof)
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space (Up on the roof)

On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there, the world below can’t bother me

-The Drifters

As I was driving Quentin home yesterday from his last day of preschool, the song “Up on the Roof” (Rockapella version) came onto my playlist.  For whatever reason, without thinking, I flipped to the next song.  Quentin immediately yelled “No!  Go back!  I want to hear that song!”  I went back.  Listened to the lyrics.

For two years now it has been never a moment of rest. It was pregnancy. Then loss. Then pregnancy. Then loss. Then waiting. Now pregnancy again. Discomfort of pregnancy means little rest. Loss means countless nights of sleep disturbed by nightmares, or suffering into awake. Anxiety that prevents sleep altogether. Needing a nap so badly but heart racing so much that all I can do is stare into a pillow. If I had a night of good sleep, it was usually a singular occurrence. I had no reserves.

If it became unmanageable, I could take a day, or even a half a day and step away from work. But this was hardly enough when the day snowballed into multiple days or weeks of emotional exhaustion. Stepping away meant catching up later and prevented any true relaxation. Weekends were almost harder, with the flurry of kid activity and their constant need for attention.

Immediately after the losses, I took several weeks off of work. But this was hardly a period of rest. I spent hours crying, until my body ached. Very little sleep. Walking around in a zombie-like state in a combination of living nightmare and exhaustion. Days turned into weeks turned into months without any real rest. My face reflects this lack of restoration in its lines, creases, and dark circles.

Pregnancy added another layer. Between nausea, gripping fear, and now an ever-growing list of physical discomforts. Last night it was a side ache, beginning around midnight, similar to what I might experience after exercise. Walking around helped, but who wants to pace the hallway as the time neared 1:00 am? Lying on my left side provided relief for the right but that impeded my ability to toss and turn.

I woke up again at 4:30.  Every time this happens, I cannot fall back to sleep until I feel the baby move, and often Baby is sleeping around that time so it takes awhile. I get up and walk around again, or give a gentle nudge to help move things along. Maybe if I’m lucky, Baby will move right away… or maybe I will be so tired that I will fall back asleep on my own.  Optimistically, in 9 weeks’ time or less, I will have maternity leave.  For some reason lately, oddly, I’ve been viewing this as a “break” even though I know that in reality it will be far from.  But I can have a singular focus of the Baby for a few months; not be dragged down by the pregnancy anxiety I feel now, or work.  Maybe sleep will be easier.  Of course, I have also considered that it may take me awhile to settle.  That finally holding a baby in my arms may just fuel feelings of “What else can go wrong?  Now that Baby is here, how can I keep my children safe?”  It seems to be a natural evolution of loss to be even more protective.

But still.  I look forward to those weeks of maybe, finally, breathing again.  Finally some of the weight of the past two years lifted.  And wish and hope that this will be the outcome and not that my “time off” is because of another loss.

Sleeping, Dreaming Mind

My dreams have disturbed me lately.  I thought I had finally moved on from images of babies and being gripped by fear, but over the past few days they have re-emerged.

In one dream, I had lost Iris and then went to the doctor several weeks later complaining of stomach issues.  An ultrasound showed that I was still pregnant – that I had been carrying twins, but that the surviving baby was growth-restricted like Nelle.

In another dream, I was confronted by a pregnant friend. I had been trying to avoid her but she invited me to her baby shower.  I tried to explain to her how I couldn’t, how it was too painful, but she didn’t understand.

I often wake from dreams like these, my mind screaming “no! no!  NO!” wanting it to be over.  Last night, I took a long bath and a melatonin and while I fell asleep easily, the disturbed sleep had me awake and shuddering at 1:00 a.m., then again at 4:30 a.m.  So I began writing.

What is my dreaming mind doing to itself?  Why is it torturing itself in this way?  Why – when I finally thought I had moved past such disturbed sleep – am I being dragged into the worst moments of the past 8 months that I would rather forget?

I have been weaning from my anti-depressants for the past few weeks.  Not sure if that is the cause of my increased, vivid dreams, or if there is some other trigger in the background that I have not realized.

In a state of exhaustion today, I wore a prayer bracelet I bought for myself (while on the hunt for a new yoga mat).  I place no particular significance on the prayer beads; they are more of a reminder to take a deep breath.

In the moments before I wake up, I am afraid.  Even in the innocuous scenario of a baby shower in my dream, I am gripped by my own fears.  Waking, breathing heavily, sweating, makes for long nights and longer, exhausted days.

When you’re dreaming with a broken heart
The waking up is the hardest part
You roll out of bed and down on your knees
And for a moment you can hardly breathe.
-John Mayer


(Side note: I created a series of writing prompts for myself, after my Writing Grief course was over.  I was titling the posts “Writing Forward” but instead have decided to number them based on the prompt number I’ve assigned – though I’m doing them randomly.  Just a way to keep myself organized).