Donkey wizards, plastic chips, endangered caterpillars, and me
I’ve always had really strange, vivid dreams, but pregnancy has kicked that into high gear. Jon enjoys this particularly, since we have a long-standing tradition of my staggering out to the living room and describing the dreams to him, while he laughs delightedly. Before 2012 and my two pregnancies (altogether, when I finally do give birth in April, I will have spent TWELVE months, not nine, either pregnant or recovering from pregnancy hormones), this would happen probably once or twice a month. Now it happens every few days.
The dreams really are stressful – I’m having those typical dreams about protecting small animals or babies from a cruel, uncaring world that many pregnant women have – and I wake up feeling like I’ve spent my entire night running around doing errands on a busy Saturday afternoon. I feel like I need a nap after those dreams. But last night’s dream had a different component to it – it included a very vivid experience of intense physical pain.
I dreamed I had traveled to a village that was ruled by donkeys. Donkeys who were also wizards, naturally. And this village had a curiously Swiss Alpine look to it, albeit in sort of a touristy, exaggerated way. Somehow I angered the donkeys – I’m still not clear on how I did this, although it involved rescuing a 3 year old from being locked in a car, although why the donkeys would want a child to smother to death in a car, I don’t know – and so the donkeys decided to curse me. The curse was particularly effective – what happened is that I kept finding, over and over, pieces of sharp plastic packaging in my mouth, close to sensitive flesh like my gums or the inside of my cheek. I would pull each piece out before it cut me, but then a few seconds later, I’d find another. Over and over again. For what felt like hours.
The plastic was very similar to that heavily molded plastic that you get when you buy a gadget, like a really good pair of headphones or a new phone, where you have to get a very sharp pair of scissors to cut the gadget out, and sometimes you might almost scratch yourself on the plastic and it really hurts. Imagine that, but in little triangle-shaped pieces that you suddenly find between your teeth, just before you bite down. And then imagine that happening repeatedly for a very long period of time. It was just enough to make you crazy but not enough to be full-on torture.
The dream was so vivid that I had to get up and rinse out my mouth to convince myself that this wasn’t really happening to me. I knew I wasn’t quite coherent enough to tell Jon about it, but I recognized he’d laugh about it in the morning, so I told myself I had to try and remember it. The poor man has had a wife who’s been puking and miserable for the last 8-9 months, so he deserves a little amusement now and then, you know?
I’ve also had a lot of dreams featuring a nearly-extinct species of caterpillar. In every dream, it is impressed upon me that I am being entrusted with one of the very last members of this species and I must keep it alive at all costs. The caterpillar is about the size of a poodle, and strangely emotional, capable of little warbling sounds that are similar to infant cooing. I usually spend most of the dream fretting over it, trying to figure out what to feed it, pushing it around in a stroller, hoping I don’t inadvertently kill it. I always wake up from this dream thinking about how this is my brain’s way of processing both the loss that I’ve already had, and my fear that I will lose the next baby.
I honestly don’t know how the human species manages to survive – seriously, pregnancy just seems like such a fragile, bizarre, difficult process that I am amazed that any new human beings actually result from it. I feel like I’ve morphed into a changed version of myself – I’m losing my words (my memory is totally shot), I’m clumsy, I move slowly and I constantly doubt my own ability to get through the simplest things. On Tuesday, I got dressed and ready for school, put on my coat, went out to my car and then pulled up my sleeve to look at my watch, only to discover my arm covered in blood. I’d scratched myself but never noticed it, and I would have showed up to school like that if I hadn’t stopped to check the time. I mean, forget the bowling ball in my abdomen that I’m carrying around – the real danger to my safety and health right now is my hormone-addled brain.
About ten weeks left to go. I typed that and it looked totally unbelievable to me. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll just be the only human woman in history to just be pregnant forever, that I’ll just get stuck like this. The baby will be like a goldfish that decides to use my uterus as its fishbowl, swimming around in there, bumping into the glass, happy not to be disturbed. I’ll dream about donkey wizards and plastic chips in my teeth for the rest of my life. The idea that this has an end point is just…hard to really grasp right now. It sounds wonderful, for some change to happen and a little human boy to actually be here with us, but I’m not used to things going so well, so I can’t really rely on it. I can’t trust the idea, and I think that’s what’s behind these dreams – I’m wandering up and down the hallways of my worries, looking at all the distortions they’ve caused, because I’ve still got a few months left to go and that’s all my brain can come up with to do. So donkey wizards it is, I guess…for now.