This week has been decidedly schizophrenic. I am starting feel as if I'm living two lives - my rather mundane waking life and my decidedly more dramatic dream life. Although I've always had very vivid, interesting dreams, a steady infusion of pregnancy hormones has elevated this dream life to new, psychotropic heights. Writer Robert Louis Stevenson reportedly had a continous dream of living another life that picked up where it left off every night. It felt so real and so disturbing, he was inspired to write "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
Inspired by Stevenson, I'm going to divide my week by waking
events and by dream events. During my waking life, Teddy and I
snuck away for a three day mini-break to Las Vegas for some
pre-holiday gambling and buffet browsing. We had a wonderful time
and enjoyed every minute, knowing full well this will probably be
our last vacation for before all hell breaks loose in April. By
the way, Vegas is the perfect place for pregnant people. There's
always someplace to sit, although that someplace is usually in
front of a slot machine or a gaming table; free drinks
(non-alcoholic of course); a mind-boggling selection of buffets
to graze at and most importantly, a clean bathroom every hundred
feet. Every creature comfort is within a moment's gratification
and as all pregnant women know, when you want something, you want
it NOW or else extreme unpleasantness will ensue.
Ever since I've become a walking incubator, my dear husband Teddy has turned into a human Hovercraft of paternal protectiveness. Depending on my mood, I find this new trait endearing or irritating. He's always been somewhat protective of me, but now that I'm the vehicle of his genetic material, no precaution is overlooked. In Vegas, jaywalking is the rule, not the exception. It's something we've done mindlessly every time we go there. Hordes of pedestrians clog every intersection and crosswalk, making it impossible for cars to complete turns. There's a certain safety in numbers and the trick is not to be that lone wildebeest that strays too far from the pack and gets flattened by a Jaguar.
But this time, oh no, no jaywalking allowed for his pregnant wife. Teddy was quite adamant that we had to wait for the light to change before we could cross the street, never mind there wasn't a car coming for miles. This was a bit much coming from a man who is such a chronic jaywalker he has even been ticketed for it several times. In our pre-preggo days, crossing a Los Angeles street wasn't worthwhile unless it resembled a game of "Frogger." He used to drag me screaming across the street and when I refused to risk life and limb, he just left me stranded on the other side and went off by himself. So basically, when I'm not pregnant, he shoves me into oncoming traffic with both hands but when I am pregnant, he practically dons an orange crossing guard uniform to ferry me across the street.
It doesn't take a genius to conclude that my life is cheap, but his offspring's is precious. When I pointed this out to him, he just hemmed and hawed and came up with some lame excuse about how any physical injury would be complicated by my pregnancy and that he's only looking out for me. Yeah, right! Whatever his true motivation, I might as well enjoy the fringe benefits: He never lets me lift anything over five pounds, carries all my packages for me, caters to my every whim and most importantly, puts up with all my hormonal craziness.
I know that I have it exceedingly good in every way, yet when I close my eyes and go to sleep, the paranoia begins. My model husband becomes the anti-Christ in dreamland. Upon our return, I had the most wildly vivid dream that I caught Teddy hitting on an ugly woman on Las Vegas Blvd. When I confronted him about it, we got into a huge fight and Teddy drove off in a fury, leaving me stranded miles away from home with no wallet and no suitcase. Penniless and pregnant, I tried to use the payphones to call friends and family but in exasperating dream fashion, I couldn't dial the numbers no matter how hard I tried. I wandered around the city trying to get someone to help me, but I was frustrated in every attempt. By the time I woke up, I was beyond furious with him. Poor Teddy woke up to find me glaring at him and accusing him off all sorts of nefarious deeds. I was so pissed off that he even spent the rest of the morning trying to apologize for something he never did.
I know it was totally irrational, yet the dream felt so real and the negativity hung over me like a dark storm cloud all morning. Any Psychology 101 student could interpret this dream easily enough. It's a classic fear of abandonment during a very vulnerable time. And as much as I pride myself on self-sufficiency and independence, the truth is, that since I've become pregnant I've had to reconcile myself to the fact that I am more physically dependent on my husband. With my big belly hanging out to the world, I feel very vulnerable and exposed. And the bigger I get, the more help I seem to need. No wonder I feel so exhausted when I wake up! Between the heebie sex dreams with gross guys and the nightmares, not to mention the excruciating leg cramps, going to sleep is fraught with anxiety.
Teddy would argue that waking up in the mornings is even more fraught with peril, since he doesn't know whether he's going to wake up to the rational Ms. Jekyll or the hysterical Ms. Hyde. Some mornings, I open my eyes to find him staring at me fearfully, no doubt wondering what I was dreaming about and if he was going to be in the dog house that day. I'm sure the only antidote is going to be labor and delivery. But then again, who knows what waking hallucinations I'll be having as a result of sleep deprivation experiments once the baby is born?
Happy Holidays everybody and sweet dreams!