KayTar used to be a great sleeper. A champion sleeper, in fact. She used to put herself to sleep in her own bed and stay there, peacefully, throughout the night. She used to be averse to cuddling at bedtime, even. During her 48 hour inpatient EEG last summer, she wanted me to lay with her as she fell asleep and it was a surprising and magnificent treat. I was allowed to cuddle with her, the heavens parted and the angels sang! She was big on personal space and routine, and sleeping any place other than her own bed or all alone were contrary to her established routines. Please note that this paragraph is largely in the past-tense. This post should be alternately titled, "How to Ruin Your Perfect Sleeper in a Few Easy Steps!"
It started months ago, just before her hospital stay this summer. We found her in her bed in the morning, covered with vomit. She hadn't cried out to notify us and must have been too tired to do so. This did not sit well with us. Dangerous. In the hospital, I witnessed this phenomenon, this still-sleeping vomit, and it bother me even more. She didn't wake up or sit up to vomit. I heard the noise and sprang into action (my clothing was an unfortunate causality of this action), but she didn't wake up for it, not for the puking, not for the cleaning, not for the bed switching. It was very, very unsettling, because as you all know, she has a habit of puking. She pukes when she has throat infections, when she has respiratory infections, when she has stomach viruses, when she has sinus infections, when she has episodes. She PUKES. Now we worry about it a bit more, puke plus an unconscious kiddo just seems like a recipe for disaster. When she is sick, she sleeps with me now (Josh goes to sleep in her room, usually). If she vomits in the middle of the night, at least one of us will be waking appropriately.
She came home from the hospital this summer, still under the weather, and was my bunk mate for a few more days. Once she moved back to her room, we had to lay with her at bedtime so she could sleep. Then she got sick again. Back to our bed. Then, back to her bed. She got sick AGAIN. Back to our bed. Then the hurricane happened. We roomed with her at the hotel, then at my parents' house for nearly two weeks. Then BubTar had to room with her, because of his broken window. Then she was sick yet again. Back to our bed. Then we finally, finally got her back into her own bed just before surgery. It was not easy, and she still ended up in our bed in the middle of the night quite a bit, but she was at least starting the night in her own bed.
Then she and I left for the hospital and that was the last time I've slept in the same bed with my husband. November 3rd. It made sense to keep her in our bed for recovery, narcotics plus three surgical sites needed nighttime supervision. It was a good decision. The problem is, well, it seems as though we will never-ever-ever get her back into her own bed. We bravely and optimistically put her to bed in her own bed one night with the promise that if she woke up, she could some to our bed. Two hours later, she was in our bed. Then, we made a second attempt. I mentioned two voluntary vomits in my previous post, the second was at the suggestion that she was going to be laying down in her own bed again that night, not ours. We stuck to our guns initially, she had to lay down in her own bed that night...but she worked VERY VERY hard at staying awake and at midnight, we brought her into our bed so we could get some sleep. She had school the next day, Josh had work. We haven't tried again yet. (We're a little afraid of the vomit, if I'm being honest...)
But I miss my husband. I miss laying in bed at night and watching TV or a movie with him. I miss arguing over what we're going to watch, for that matter, or whose turn it is to be in charge of fast forwarding the DVR. I miss rolling over next to him when I get cold in the night or when I'm spooked for no real reason. I miss putting my hand on his chest to feel his heartbeat when I can't fall asleep. I miss listening to his boring science shows as I fall asleep at night. I miss lazy back rubs and laying my head on his chest. I miss telling him the little things that pop into my head after the lights go out, "Today BubTar....", "Oh, KayTar's teacher said...", "The funniest thing happened in class tonight...". I even miss his advances, both the ones that are accepted and those that are denied. I miss being in convenient proximity to him. I miss the ease with which we could find each other in the night, his dark form always within reach.
We go in our separate directions all day, every day. He is at work, then I am at school. We brush past each other and in that moment, I pass the baton, briefing him on the day in nearly a single breath. Who needs a bath, who needs to eat, who needs medication, who has homework to do. Coworkers handing off a common file. But in the night, somehow the coworkers become friends, the friends become lovers. The demands of the day are suspended just long enough to allow us the freedom to breathe each other in deeply, to become we, who we once were, who we still are, who we one day might be. Simply, we.
That isn't to say we haven't been--AHEM--finding each other in the night...it just feels a bit like summer camp, rowing across the lake from the girls' bunk to steal moments with your lover in the night, hoping the counselors won't find you with their roaming flashlights. Except that I never went to summer camp or rowed a boat for that matter, and the counselors in the scenario are small, lightly sleeping children.