I often have bad dreams which I call nightmares. But I think nightmares are actually defined more distinctly by the sweating, chills, crying and inability to accept the dream as a dream upon awaking. Well, maybe not, as dictionary.com describes one as 'a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences feelings of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc.' At any rate, I have a lot of bad dreams. The night before last I dreamed I lost my baby. I woke up upset but relieved it was only a dream. I waited for a few minutes until I felt her kick and felt reassured enough to go back to sleep. I probably described it to Scott as a nightmare.
But last night I was reminded of the real distinction between the two. Last night I had a genuine nightmare. I woke up gasping for air, covered in cold chills and sweating. I woke Scott in a panic and began sobbing uncontrollably. He kept assuring me I'd just had a bad dream, and it was all okay. But I couldn't stop crying. The dream had been so real. Even after waking, I couldn't console myself. I was sweating and couldn't close my eyes for fear the images would reappear - which they always did when I did try to go back to sleep. Scott got up to get me a glass of water to help calm me, and I just sobbed the whole time, praying that God would take the images away from me.
I can't even describe what I dreamed. Even now it's too horrifying, and I don't want to recall the images. But once again, the dream was about losing my baby. Only this time it was the kind of dream where I was certain it wasn't a dream, and in the dream I kept trying to wake up, hoping it was a dream, and I couldn't. I just kept looking in the crib and screaming.
I know it's normal to have scary dreams while pregnant. I've had a few scary dreams, ones where I drop the baby or hurt her somehow or forget to feed her or whatever the case may be. But they've all been resolved upon awaking. Last night's dream just keeps haunting me. I relish my baby's kicks even more now than ever. I couldn't go back to sleep last night until she gave me about five sturdy kicks in a row, as if to say 'Mama, I'm fine! Go back to sleep, you're stressing me out!' I just sat in bed, rubbing my belly and praying. I finally rested my head on Scott's chest while he coaxed me to breath slowly with him until I drifted back off. The dream didn't return, thank God.
I suppose this is just my brain trying to work out all my fears and all that, separating the real fears from the fake ones. What happened in my dream wouldn't actually happen in real life, I realise that now that it's morning and it's all over. But I still don't like the prospect of going to bed at night with the possibility of more of these dreams tormenting me.
It helps to get it all out this way. I'd rather blog my fears than dream them.