|Ayden and Riley, asleep in our bed in 2008 =) Peanuts.|
See, anxiety messes with sleep patterns. I would often get between 2 and 4 hours of sleep per night, wrestle exhaustion all day, fall into bed, and instantly be the widest awake I had ever been in my life. Almost in panic mode. Fight or flight, like. I had nothing ELSE to do when I was lying there, so why not watch my sweet, beautiful, chubby baby while he sleeps?
Mostly what I would do on those long nights was rehearse worst case scenarios, generally involving my kids' lives.
What would I do if we were camping and Ayden fell in the campfire? and then I would rehearse;
I would quickly grab him out, and depending on which campsite we were at, I would run down to the lake and toss him in the water, or I would run to the tap and douse him under it. Then I would get the nearest adult to call an ambulance, and get Brent. Then I would cool the burns for 10 minutes. Then I would expose the wound. No, you have to expose FIRST, so I would expose it first and then cool it, probably even at the same time. Take quick ABCs, quick vitals, remember to ask for an ambulance helicopter because he'd be automatically auto launch criteria but they might not know that right away. I'd have to make sure not to let anyone touch the wound. I'd have to make sure his throat didn't swell up from breathing in smoke or if he got burned around his throat or face.
The fire department might get there first, or the ambulance. I'd have to make sure they know I'm a paramedic. We would go Code 3 to Princeton. I'd ride in the ambulance. Brent would drive the other kids in the van. Ayden would be screaming.
Glance at the sleeping baby. Isn't he sweet, breathing away over there all quiet and miraculous? What a gift. It's so weird that I can't fall asleep!
Another thing I would do is watch Riley sleep in case he died of SIDS and if I was watching, maybe I could resuscitate him in time and save him. And I'd run through a rehearsal of how I'd react if he stopped breathing in his sleep. A few times each night, with variables.
When I told Brent this, he snorted. Seriously?
No wonder you couldn't sleep.
I also had this thing where, if I wasn't sleeping or rehearsing, I would pray. Praying for your kids is pretty great and probably sort of holy. Yet normal at the same time. Who but atheists doesn't pray for their children kind of regularly? I mean, tossing up a "help!" or a "thank you!" But I had this complicated OCD-ish way of praying. I couldn't pray anything that could possibly be interpreted too literally. Like I could never pray, "Please make Riley go to sleep!" as he was nursing to sleep (or not, otherwise I wouldn't be praying that prayer), because that could be literally interpreted as the euphemism for death. And God might interpret that as I want my child to die, and "Be careful what you wish for" could come true, I could pray he would go to sleep, and he could go to sleep, and never wake up. And die. And it would be all my fault.
It is weirdest to me that this kind of thought pattern felt very rational and normal, to me. From my vantage point NOW I can see how F@#$%d up that is, but at the time it was extremely reasonable. When Amarys was born I was shocked to realize I NEVER hesitated to beg God to make her fall asleep. And to remember how convoluted my prayers were, in the thick of anxiety. It nearly paralyzed me into not praying at all, just in case God misinterpreted the meaning of my words and took them too literally and killed one of my babies because I asked Him to.
This is torture/life in an anxoid's head. Welcome! May God always bless you with the freedom to beg Him to make your kids fall asleep, without fear.