I used to think “white night” meant that you just couldn’t get to sleep. But I’m starting to redefine it. Last night, my eyes wouldn’t stay open, my brain was a dizzy vortex of sleepiness, but I couldn’t quite slip over the edge into oblivion. It’s the third time in two weeks. I sincerely hope it’s pregnancy-related, and not something I’m going to be dealing with long-term.
Of course, last night the coughing began—the kind of coughing that reminds me of Julianna’s X rays two years ago today, when she was in the PICU with RSV. The X rays in which her lungs were coated with gunk she couldn’t cough up. That’s how I felt last night. So I took some guafinisen. If I wasn’t having major abdominal surgery in three days, I’d just put up with the coughing; I hate that stuff. But the idea of having to cough while they’re cutting…and the idea of having to cough in the days following…prompted me to overcome my revulsion.
However, guafinisen is a “non-drowsy” medication, which is code for “keep you awake.” After a while I went and took a Benadryl to try to help me go to sleep, but it didn’t work. I went down to the couch. No luck. Then Julianna started crying. I went back upstairs and found her lying head-first off the mattress. She started signing “water” furiously while I was rearranging her. Weaving drunkenly through my exhaustion-and-Benadryl-induced stupor, I got a glass of water for her and went back to bed. And then, finally, I slipped off the edge of consciousness into a crazy vivid dream that I can no longer remember.
The odd thing about these nights is that even though I’ve only had a couple hours of sleep, I’m not that tired the next day. I mean, I’m exhausted, but functional. All I can figure is that hovering on the edge of wakefulness, while maddening, is probably closer to sleep than it feels.
Nonetheless, by the time we got home from swim lessons and a few errands this morning, I was queasy with weariness. I lay down on the couch for a catnap before lunch. Alex went and got the throw and covered me from head to toe. That’s fine, I thought. Use me as a toy, just don’t make me move. Or talk. Or think.
Eventually, he retreated to the basement, and Julianna moved in with her plush lamb pull toy that plays “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” She stood beside my face grunting until I started the music. This went on for five or six pulls until I realized that she was grunting and whining even while the music was going. Blearily I opened my eyes and said, “You want to come up here?” She raised her arms.
I pulled her up against me and spooned her, expecting the usual ten seconds of cuddly bliss before Julianna decides she’s had enough and takes off. Instead, I woke up twenty minutes later to find her still lying contentedly against my chest, her hands idly playing with Lambie Pie, or her hair, or the air. Not sleeping, just snuggling with Mommy. I took her plump little hand and munched and kissed it; I stroked her soft little tummy; I nuzzled her fine hair and warm cheek, and thoroughly gloried in the moment.
I have no idea what possessed my decidedly un-cuddly, non-Mommy’s-girl little girl to want to snuggle with me this morning. But I choose to thank God for the gift, and consider it Julianna’s pre-baby gift to me, in these last days when she really still is my baby.