Saturday, September 1, 2012

Let the whacked-out labor dreams begin.

For those of you who have never been pregnant or have never spent a significant amount of time around a woman who is pregnant, news flash: pregnant women have crazy vivid dreams.

From the reading I've done out of sheer curiosity on the topic, the increased amount of hormones in a woman's body are partially to blame for these dreams when combined with the increased amount of sleep a pregnant woman requires and the increased number of times a Mama-to-be wakes up mid-dream because of (i.e.) fetal kick or needing to pee.  By waking up mid-dream, our brains are able to remember what we were dreaming about due to the recency of the experience.  And since we only sleep in 20-25% of a dream state, these factors create a prime environment for the wildest, weirdest, scariest things to happen every time we lie down to rest and the details of which rush back upon roused from sleep.

I've had several dreams lately that I woke up from wondering where the heck that line of thinking came from, for example in one I lived at high school, but my high school was actually the preschool I went to and in another I was roaming around New York City looking for a parade to lead.  Last night, however, was a first for this pregnancy:  I dreamed I was in labor.   It's my understanding that the baby-related themes pregnant women dream about are generally about what is currently going on in real life or about anticipated events - like what gender the baby is, what he/she will look like or what a wonderful/horrible parent the Mother will turn out to be.  But as the transition into the third trimester begins, which I do in just over one week, the big day becomes an ever present possibility with waking each morning and anxiety about uncontrollable factors seems to drive dreams about what could happen.

In my dream, mid-week 26 (this next week) I started to exhibit serious signs of pre-term labor.  I had regular contractions (which by the way, Braxton Hicks this go around stink since I know and remember what actual contractions feel like) and I began to bleed (a serious sign of complication with placenta previa).  So I went to the hospital and my doctors (who weren't actually my real doctors, but some shmucky dream doctor) didn't believe I had the symptoms I reported, refused to do an exam and promptly sent me to the labor and delivery waiting room where crazy women, like they thought me to be, were put to wait it out until actual labor began.   Rounds and rounds of horrifically young looking medical students were sent in to "check on my progress" but after the first three sets of them, I quickly realized they were there not to care for me but to practice their bed side manor... I was not amused.  Eventually, the doctor did come in and asked me to lie on the middle of the floor in the hallway because of the "proven expediency" this tactic had - had with what is a question I never got an answer to.  It was only after significantly hemorrhaging on the floor did they begin to take me seriously, but it was at that moment of unadulterated panic that I woke up... 

Charming, yeah?  I agree... not so much.

Of course HB was all sorts of reassuring that what happened in my dream would never happen in real life and that he and my doctors have me covered for the worst case scenarios, but I tell you what, that is not the introduction to labor related dreams I had hoped for.  I so enjoyed labor (admittedly after the epidural) last time and I so want this time to go like the first because of the sense of accomplishment and connection I had with the physical act of delivering my own baby.  But with the complications this go around, I don't know when or how delivery will go and frankly that increased degree of the unknown with Baby just makes relaxing into peaceful sleep all that much more difficult.

I remember a dream I had when I was pregnant with GW about how I heard a baby crying some place in our house but I had no idea where it was coming from.  I know I felt lost before becoming a mom last time - I had no idea what I was doing and I had all sorts of concerns about my ability as a woman to emotionally connect with this tiny being.  Retrospectively that was the most ridiculous concern to have given the wonder of mommy-genes, but for me at that point such anxiety was perfectly real and unfortunately relevant in my sleep. With this pregnancy, however, I know I'll connect with her and that we'll adore each other, but the search for quality medical care and the ever present reality of diabetes et. al. as complicating factors makes my pre-birth protectiveness of Baby all the more intense.  In my waking life I'm doing everything I physically and emotionally can and I am working with the best people possible, but in sleep the "what if's" I don't let myself ask creep in and scare the boohockey out of me...

I know it is perfectly normal to have nightmares and for dreams to color outside the lines of reality, but I've got a request for you, Mr. Sandman:  try bringing a dream about Baby that is all pop tarts and rainbows next time.  Go ahead, man,  turn on your magic beam and Mr. Sandman bring me a non-crazy, non-scary, non-complicated dream!

If you are interested in the topic of pregnant-dreams and want to read more, click here and check out this fascinating article.

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