To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

(insomnia, grief, anxiety, NICU)

It’s currently one a.m. and I can’t sleep. This isn’t uncommon, unfortunately. It IS frustrating. I know it’s my own brain working against me, and that’s frustrating too. And listening to hubby’s breathing get deeper and softer is maddening – because I’m not falling asleep too.

Today my brain decided I needed to bake cookies, which is totally and completely deviant. I don’t think you understand just how much I don’t bake cookies. AND doing it by stealth! They are ready to go and in the fridge, because one thing I could not figure out was how to preheat the oven, without the “ready” beep waking up hubby. Who, I presume, is still sleeping, because he hasn’t come to find me.

I know why I’m awake this time. I don’t always. Usually it’s a mystery to me, or I just sleep badly, or I dream vividly. Sometimes I can figure out an event or stressor that is making my anxiety (frequently present post loss…) jump into full gear, but often not.

Today it’s that my knitting group – the one that donates blankets to the NICU – arranged for us to see and tour the facility. It was fascinating, and helpful to see where the blankets go and how they are used (since they are NOT part of sleeping safely. Think instead of things like shading the baby’s incubator, tucking around them in a car seat, etc.).

But on another front, it was so hard for me, for many reasons.

One, they are babies. This is hard for me, because if there is one thing I long for, it’s holding a baby. Any baby will do, but ideally mine and even more ideally it would be Charlie. Here were lots of tiny babies – and none of them to hold, and none of them mine.

So two is that they aren’t my baby, and I’m SO jealous of anyone else getting to have babies when I don’t have mine. Fascinatingly, this doesn’t mean I’m not happy for my friends who get pregnant – I am very happy for them, but I’m also very jealous, so sometimes this means I just can’t be in touch quite as closely for a while.

Three is the weird feeling that instead of feeling jealous, I should be feeling sorry for the moms who have to go through a NICU experience – or something. I don’t know exactly what I think I should be feeling. At the same time, intellectually, I know I’m allowed to feel any feeling, and that’s ok. And part of me does empathize with how difficult I imagine it could be for some of those families. So my feelings are very tangled up.

And of course, over, under, and through that, I miss Charlie. I miss him so much I can’t sleep, and I’m crying, and I’m chatting on Facebook and baring my heart to a friend, because sometimes telling somebody about how much, how very very much, I love my little boy, and how hard it is to be a mom without him here, is the only way I can let myself feel it enough to let the feeling exist and then, hopefully before too late at night, let it finish washing over me, so I can finally rest.

One, I want to hold the babies. Two, I don’t want others to have what I can’t have. Three, I don’t know how I feel and I feel a lot of things. And fourth, most, and biggest, I love and miss my Charlie boy, my little bouncy tigger with the big feet who loved music so much, who I will never get to watch grow up and never hold again until my days are done.

It’s been a really hard day. I learned a lot, and got some other things done, and had a nice dinner with hubby, but until I tried to sleep, I didn’t realize how there were leftover feelings from this morning lurking in the back of my mind.

I hope and think, now that I have listened to the feelings and felt the feelings, that I’ll go blow my nose and wash my face, and I think now I can sleep.

Please remember Charlie.



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