Sunday, August 16, 2009

Baby Dreams

Today Russell asked his little brother, who has been married for 7 weeks, if he is married in his dreams yet. It made me think about how dreams evolve to include new people in your life, and how this has especially affected my dreams as a new mother.

The dreams I am talking about are different than regular REM dreams...they are more like hallucinations. Like, my sister Carol often has spider hallucinations in the night. She opens her eyes and sees spiders coming down at her from the ceiling, or across the pillow, or some other terrifying scenario. She has to get up and turn on the light before she can convince herself they aren't real. I have experienced this with spiders as well, although I am usually tired enough that I can turn over and sleep with the spiders in peace.

But now that I am a mom, I have baby hallucinations in the night. In the early weeks of Dorian's life, I occasionally resorted to bringing him into my bed in my sleep deprived state. This is not meant to be a discussion on co-sleeping, because I know it works great for some people, but it is not for me. Because for months after I did this a few times, I woke up EVERY NIGHT with the absolute knowledge that the baby was in bed with me. I would shove Russell away because he was on top of the baby, or I would claw through the bedclothes, trying to find the baby before he suffocated. Often I could even feel him breathing under the covers, but then he wasn't there. After a few minutes of looking, I would remember that I had put the baby in his crib after the last time he ate, and then I could go back to sleep.

The hallucinations were like that for several months. But after Dorian started crawling, they eventually evolved. Rather than being under the covers or under Russell, the baby was falling off the edge of the bed, and I had to catch him. Later, as he became more independent, I would wake up because he was in the room, playing in the garbage can, or about to pull the iron down on top of himself. Once, after he started pulling himself up to a standing position in his crib, I woke up to hear him falling down the stairs. Russell and Dorian woke up that time too; I think there must have been a loud noise outside. The next day, Russell lowered the crib mattress as far as it would go.

Now that Dorian has been walking for a couple of months, the hallucinations usually involve him being out in the living room, which doesn't frighten me as much because it is pretty well baby-proofed, but it does make me think I should get up and watch my child. I have often found myself out of bed, walking into the living room, before I again remember that the kiddo is in his crib, and I should be sleeping too.

Last night I awoke no less than 4 times to the kiddo climbing up on a chair and pulling it over onto himself, or falling down the stairs (we had them blocked for months, but have opened them up because he can handle them pretty well now), or other similar catastrophes. Each time I sat completely upright with a gasp, or even jumped out of bed. doesn't seem to be going away, or getting better. And it still happens almost every night.


Debbie said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who had the hallucinations that Abby was getting rolled onto or falling off the bed. My scariest one was that someone took her while I was sleeping. Anyway, they did stop mostly, so maybe just give it more time? It is a mommy thing, so don't stress too much about it and try to get some sleep.

Carolfrog said...

I sort of think that my hallucinations are probably related to sleep apnea. Do you think that causes yours, too, too, or is something else (stress, noises) disturbing your sleep?

Lauren said...

My mom used to have horrible dreams like this when we were little. She had a dream multiple times of my sister falling into the penguin cage at the zoo and drowning. She still has a hard time visiting the penguin exhibit.

I vaguely remember having similar dreams with my boys, but they have gotten a little worse this time around. It amazes me how such a little person can pull at your heartstrings so much.

Amber said...

I've rarely had dreams, my problem has always been the imagined scenarios I work myself into while I'm awake in the middle of the night nursing. I had to stop watching Law & Order reruns entirely because they mostly involved crimes - a home invasion or a fire or being car-jacked. I can laugh about it now but I would get myself so upset trying to figure out what I would do or just sure that I heard someone downstairs. Especially once I had two kids - who do I go get first, could Gray manage the safety ladder on his own, etc. Those maternal hormones really do a number on you in ways we're not told to expect.

Lorinda said...

Now... what exactly is the difference between a dream and a nightmare and a hallucination and a createdmare? becasue i just think they are all a problem. and i'm not sure what to call mine. and i'm thinking that all moms have them. I've had several of Landon drowning or getting hit by a car or me backing over him. man, how do we survive this?
bon, are you still completely sleep deprived?

Amy F said...

After I had Ev I didn't dream too much anymore (sleep deprivation?) and only now being pregnant have I had any dreams that I can remember. I've had a few nightmares about Ev being kidnapped, but the dreams I do have don't usually have my son or hubs in them. (Weird?) But I know what you mean about hallucinations. I've woken up a few times because my son was TOTALLY next to my bed saying "mommy". But when I open my eyes he's not there and I wonder where he's hiding. AND....he's always in his bed asleep.

Jennifer said...

Such an interesting post. You poor thing--you have it almost as bad as that Medium show chickadee. Every time I've seen that program I can't get past how little good sleep she's getting with all those visions snapping her awake at night. Must be a sign you're such a good mom. When Jonas was just starting to sleep longer than the 3 hours he had trained me to expect, I rememeber waking up one night, knowing he was late for a feeding. Ashamed to admit it, my sleepless brain actually thought, Well, either he's going to wake soon, so I should sleep while I can, or he's dead and there's nothing I can do, so I should sleep while I can. Made perfect sense at the time. Lousy mom.

Cindy said...

Welcome to motherhood.
It does get better.
Try meditation to clear your mind.
And remind yourself that you are a great mother and Dorian is safe.
love to you.