We have a new form of late night entertainment in the Gavin household and it seems as though I am at the center of it. For the past few weeks, the strangest thing happens when I'm asleep. I don't know if this is a phase or the latest long-term change in my life to come from being a mom. I hope to God that it's just a phase, but only time will tell. Whatever the cause, Rob and I have had many laughs as we recall my antics from the previous night of sleep.
So what exactly is happening? Well, I'm not sure of the exact term for it, but I'm pretty sure it's related to sleep walking. Except I never leave the bed. And even my thoughts are all about what I perceive is currently happening in our bed.
I've never been one to sleep walk and, if you don't count the restless, uncomfortable nights of my pregnancy, I've been gifted with the ability to sleep deeply and well in my own bed. But these days, it has become a regular occurrence to have my sleep interrupted in the middle of the night and often follows the exact same pattern.
I often wake up in the middle of the night absolutely convinced that Dessa is in bed with us and dangerously close to falling off the edge of the bed. Convinced. I sit up and it's like I can see Dessa bumbling her way toward the edge of the bed. And this dream state isn't passive. Oh no. I become an active participant – often moving covers off of my body in an attempt to get to her more quickly. One time, I even launched myself across Rob to reach his edge of the bed because I was certain that Dessa was about to fall and I had to grab her quickly. Poor Rob wasn't expecting that type of abrupt wake-up call during the wee hours of the morning.
These strange dreams have happened so often that I'm getting better at sensing when the things I see may not quite meet reality. Lately, when I sense myself reaching for a baby who may not actually be present, I stare at the end of the bed long and hard for a few seconds and try to convince myself that she's not really in the room with us. It's super weird and it's hard to explain because I will be looking right at the bed and no baby will be present. And I'm sort of aware of that fact, but I keep on staring at the end of the bed trying to convince myself of reality. After a few more moments, I eventually wake up enough to convince myself that everything is ok.
Sometimes I need a little extra reassurance, so a few weeks back I told Rob to tell me that Dessa is in the crib if he notices that I'm sitting up in bed. And I've started to look at Dessa's video monitor if I ever need a little extra convincing. Once I see her little silhouette curled up and sleeping in the crib, I get all the reassurance I need and can easily fall back asleep as though nothing happened.
So where are these dreams coming from? I have no idea. I'm not pregnant (so we can't blame any crazy new hormones) and nothing in my life has changed to elevate my stress level. In fact, it's fair to say that my stress levels are the lowest right now that they have been for several years. Dessa never co-sleeps with us, so it's not like I'm outwardly exhibiting any safety anxieties about her sleeping in the same bed with us.
I will admit that sometimes, when Rob and I are feeling lazy and Dessa wakes up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning, one of us will get Dessa out of her crib and bring her into our bed for a little early morning snuggle time – which always evolves into Dessa whining and getting upset because she wants to explore and we won't let her crawl to the very edge of the bed. My best guess is that our weekend morning routine is somehow filtering into my dreams, but I can't say for sure. I do know that I haven't been plopping Dessa down on the bed quite as often and I've had a few dream-free nights in a row.
Before Dessa was born, I would occasionally dream that a spider was crawling on or near me in bed. It wouldn't happen very often – perhaps a few times a year. And when it did, I would wake up, turn on a light and throw the covers off searching for the offending eight-legged creature. I never actually found a spider and the next day I wondered whether or not I was dreaming or if there really was a spider. But then I thought about the rumored statistic that the average person swallows seven spiders in their sleep each year and I figured maybe the spider was real. Now that I have a new nightly wakeup, I'm starting to suspect that all of those middle of the nighttime visitors were just a figment of my imagination.
Now I've just got to know if I'm the only crazy one or if any other mommies experience similar awakenings in the middle of the night. Please tell me that I'm not alone and that it will all end soon!