When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face (Up on the roof)
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space (Up on the roof)
On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there, the world below can’t bother me
As I was driving Quentin home yesterday from his last day of preschool, the song “Up on the Roof” (Rockapella version) came onto my playlist. For whatever reason, without thinking, I flipped to the next song. Quentin immediately yelled “No! Go back! I want to hear that song!” I went back. Listened to the lyrics.
For two years now it has been never a moment of rest. It was pregnancy. Then loss. Then pregnancy. Then loss. Then waiting. Now pregnancy again. Discomfort of pregnancy means little rest. Loss means countless nights of sleep disturbed by nightmares, or suffering into awake. Anxiety that prevents sleep altogether. Needing a nap so badly but heart racing so much that all I can do is stare into a pillow. If I had a night of good sleep, it was usually a singular occurrence. I had no reserves.
If it became unmanageable, I could take a day, or even a half a day and step away from work. But this was hardly enough when the day snowballed into multiple days or weeks of emotional exhaustion. Stepping away meant catching up later and prevented any true relaxation. Weekends were almost harder, with the flurry of kid activity and their constant need for attention.
Immediately after the losses, I took several weeks off of work. But this was hardly a period of rest. I spent hours crying, until my body ached. Very little sleep. Walking around in a zombie-like state in a combination of living nightmare and exhaustion. Days turned into weeks turned into months without any real rest. My face reflects this lack of restoration in its lines, creases, and dark circles.
Pregnancy added another layer. Between nausea, gripping fear, and now an ever-growing list of physical discomforts. Last night it was a side ache, beginning around midnight, similar to what I might experience after exercise. Walking around helped, but who wants to pace the hallway as the time neared 1:00 am? Lying on my left side provided relief for the right but that impeded my ability to toss and turn.
I woke up again at 4:30. Every time this happens, I cannot fall back to sleep until I feel the baby move, and often Baby is sleeping around that time so it takes awhile. I get up and walk around again, or give a gentle nudge to help move things along. Maybe if I’m lucky, Baby will move right away… or maybe I will be so tired that I will fall back asleep on my own. Optimistically, in 9 weeks’ time or less, I will have maternity leave. For some reason lately, oddly, I’ve been viewing this as a “break” even though I know that in reality it will be far from. But I can have a singular focus of the Baby for a few months; not be dragged down by the pregnancy anxiety I feel now, or work. Maybe sleep will be easier. Of course, I have also considered that it may take me awhile to settle. That finally holding a baby in my arms may just fuel feelings of “What else can go wrong? Now that Baby is here, how can I keep my children safe?” It seems to be a natural evolution of loss to be even more protective.
But still. I look forward to those weeks of maybe, finally, breathing again. Finally some of the weight of the past two years lifted. And wish and hope that this will be the outcome and not that my “time off” is because of another loss.