There was a time (a long, long time ago) when we used to sleep naked. It is so long ago that I am not even certain if it is a memory or a foggy fantasy. Nevertheless, after Meredith was born, I begrudgingly went to bed with clothes on knowing that at least a dozen times, I would be leaping out of that bed to Meredith’s crib side. As time passed and night nursing services were acquired, I still wore pajamas to bed knowing that at some point, I would be beckoned and would have to go downstairs for one reason or another.
We have reflected often on the many wonderful things that have occurred because Meredith was born as well as those things that have been lost as a result of caring for our beloved child. Things like a lack of privacy which includes hushed conversations, sleeping fully clothed and creativity when it comes to maintaining intimacy in our relationship. We are so beyond grateful for the support we receive in the form of our family relief workers (all four of them) and our night nurses that we hesitate to complain and boo hoo about our lack of privacy. The reality is that although it is a part of our “normal” life, it is something that we both have had a very hard time accepting.
So last night, I had a soak in the tub with Epsom salts, baking soda and lavender oil. I climbed out of the tub and put on my thick, cozy robe to go downstairs and give Meredith her last meds and get her feed started before bed. After saying good night to the nurse, I went upstairs, disrobed and decided to throw caution to the wind and climb between the sheets stark naked! Yippeeee!! As we drifted off to sleep, my husband and I chuckled at my recklessness knowing that Murphy is never too far away. Besides, I had not been called from our bed in ninety-three nights (yes, I keep track of these things~ they are the equivalent of gold stars on my chart of life) so it wasn’t really a daring act.
At 1am, I got up to use the washroom and on the way back, just as I was partway across the top of the stairs between our bedroom and the bathroom, the nurse bolted from the living room sofa to the bottom of the stairs and called out to me. I am sure that all she saw was a streak of white light from my alabaster body making a leap for the threshold of our room. I called out, “Just a second, just a second!” as I frantically felt around in the dark for my robe. I went to the top of the stairs to answer her question and then returned to bed cursing Murphy and his law.
This incident is one of countless that are a part of this life of caring for Meredith. There is a balance in welcoming so many people into our home round the clock while also ensuring that some sense of our privacy is preserved. It’s tricky because we want our caregivers to feel comfortable in our home while at the same time we, too, want to feel a sense of ease and comfort.
Apparently that does not include nudity. We’ll save that for the nights when we manage to get away and can trust that we won’t be unintentionally flashing our caregivers.