(read part 1, dreaming, i was only dreaming…)
the next round of the special dreams arrived a few years later when i was temporarily back in the States. in the first dream, i saw my friend Tanja with a large, obviously-pregnant belly. she and i had been very close when i was an exchange student at her German gymnasium nearly a decade earlier, but we hadn’t seen each other or been in touch in at least five years. the dream caught me a bit by surprise…i hadn’t thought of Tanja in ages. it’s almost always an unexpected pleasure to run into old friends while wandering Morpheus’ realm, though, and i just enjoyed the little swell of happiness the dream brought with it instead of thinking too much about whether it meant anything
two months later, i had another dream about Tanja. in this one, she was smiling and bouncing a baby on her knee. this was enough for me to put pen to paper. “did you just have a baby by any chance?” i wrote in the letter that i sent to her. she never did respond, but ten months later when i was visiting friends in Europe before heading off to the Peace Corps, i did get to see Tanja. yes, she’d gotten my letter, but she’d been too busy to respond. her ten-month-old daughter was smiling and babbling at me from her high chair as Tanja acknowledge that it was a pretty strange coincidence.
a couple of years later, when i was back in the States again, i began having dreams about my friend Min-Ha. she had been there for the first dreams, for the terrible tae mong. when we found out that our former host parent’s had lost their twins, the two of us got very drunk together. “you have to tell me if you have other dreams like this,” she insisted. i could see how shaken and serious she was when she made me swear that i would.
four years later, she was living in Germany and pregnant. i knew immediately that she was having a boy, and i told Min-Ha that. she called me a couple of months later when the ultrasound she’d just had showed that she was carrying a girl. “i guess you’ve lost your superpower,” she laughed with what sounded like a bit of relief in her voice.
in her last trimester, Min-Ha’s doctor discovered that her amniotic fluid was low. when she told me over the phone she sounded scared, and that fear in voice made me scared for her. i didn’t hear from her over the next few weeks, but one night i dreamed about her. we were sitting together in the front seat of a car, Min-Ha in the driver’s seat and me on the passenger side. she turned to me with a smile, took my hand and it put it on her huge stomach. “see,” she said, “everything is alright.” a few days later, her husband called to tell me that she’d given birth. he sounded almost crazy with joy, shouting over and “ich habe einen sohn!”, “i have a son!”
i have never known what to make of these feelings and dreams that seem…i don’t know, almost prophetic. after my experiences in Korea, i came to dread the dreams like that, but after my good dreams about Tanja and Min-Ha, i began to think that i’d be spared any more of real nightmares.
boy, was i wrong.
in my first pregnancy, Froggy and i learned at 8 weeks that i was carrying twins. to say that Froggy was overjoyed would be an understatement. she excitedly showed me the double stroller that would be just perfect for our two little ones, and we both researched things like nursing pillows for twins and co-sleeping beds that would fit two. i secretly coveted the Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 onesies and hats that i found online. we were superstitiously avoiding buying anything for our babies, but bookmarking the hell out of twin gear that we *would* buy didn’t seem to be tempting fate too much.
i began to have recurring dreams about a big black and red snake that was trying attack me. the dreams were filled with fear, and after i awoke from each one, the residual dreampanic permeated the rest of my day. then i dreamed of my Oma, a German woman who had been a kind of adoptive grandmother to me since I was four years old. she had died nearly a decade before, but in my dream, she stood before me and stretched out her arms as if to embrace me. instead, Oma reached out and took a baby from my arms. she patted my cheek, and gave me a sad smile.
a few days later when the doctor doing my 12week ultrasound said, “oh, it looks like one didn’t make it,” i could see that Froggy was completely stunned and on the verge of tears, but i realized that i wasn’t surprised at all…i’d known all along.
as my pregnancy with little sun continued, there were other dark, foreboding dreams. in one i was standing in an abandoned town in the middle of a darkened desert. two or three ramshackled buildings stood on the periphery, and at the center of my vision was a shaman standing over a smile fire. suddenly his voice roared in my ears and he flung his arms out at me with a violent gesture. the fire leapt and became a hyena that ran straight at me and straight through me.
in my final month of pregnancy, i met death. i stood before the stereotypical grim reaper, a faceless, hooded figure in a black robe. he reached out his bony hands, slid them deep into me and took something. i gasped and closed my eyes, and when i opened them again, death had metamorphosed into old woman. her face was filled with wisdom and sadness and something that might have been a reluctant empathy as she stared into my eyes.
i think i laughed a bit nervously when i told Froggy about that dream. like Min-Ha, she’d asked me to tell her when i had certain kinds dreams. “i hope this doesn’t mean that i’m going to die in childbirth,” i said, only half joking.
the final dream, the worst one of them all, came just a week before little sun was born. it didn’t have the surreal quality that most dreams do, and it wasn’t very long. it was like a flash, a moment pulled out of time. i’m wearing the blue wrap that Froggy and i bought to carry our baby in. it’s a wrap that i love because of its deep, rich, slightly turquoise blue, and i have been happily imagining carrying my newborn baby in it since we bought it. i smile at the sight of the wrap, knowing that my baby is snuggled up against me inside of it. but when i pull back the edge of the fabric to look at the baby inside, there is nothing.
this dream shook me more than any other dream i’d ever had. it was so bad that i didn’t even tell Froggy about it, at least not until later…when that same beautiful blue wrap that had held our son for a few minutes at the hospital was folded and put away somewhere far out of sight.
there were more bad dreams before my miscarriages, but at the moment, all’s mostly quiet on the night front. i don’t know if they will come again, but sometimes in the darkness i can hear my own voice crying out silently the way my host mom’s once did:
please, oh please…one more dream. just one. just one more good dream for me.