This week is packed with the usual appointments and preparing for our weekend. To keep up with the pace, I have been drifting off while Charlie naps. Yesterday, my otherwise blissful nap was interrupted by the sound of a helicopter hovering overhead. Startled awake, a few seconds passed before I realized that I was not in the hospital hearing the sound of life flights. Over a year later, my sleep continues to be impacted since my admission to the high risk pregnancy unit and Charlie’s birth.
Before Charlie’s birth, I would not have noticed the sound of a helicopter. It was a reoccurring background noise in the hospital that I had become acclimated to. It was when Charlie came home that I recognized the sound of a helicopter would awaken me from sleep in a state of confusion.
I was visiting a friend the first time it happened. She resided near a large university medical center. Late one night, a hospital bound helicopter passed over her house while I was sleeping. I woke and required a moment to recognize that I was not at the hospital. The sound has elicited the same response ever since.
In general, I sleep much lighter than I used to. The slightest sound will jostle me out of my sleep. Thereupon, I find it difficult to fall back asleep. If Charlie wakes several times in a night, I am awake the entire night.
In addition to the wakefulness, I have odd dreams. Sometimes, I jolt out of my slumber in a panic from dreaming that I am pregnant again. Often, I have strange dreams about the NICU, the hospital, or Charlie having to return to the hospital again. Each time, I am relieved to wake up and realize that it was only a nightmare.
I am unsure of how to resume my once peaceful sleep. However, things have slightly improved recently. For example, the bizarre dreams are less persistent.
I am curious. Am I the only one with sleep changes? NICU parents, how has your sleep been affected?