She felt her pulse quicken as she did her nightly ritual of putting the kids to bed, brushing her teeth, setting up the camera in her bedroom, and turning off the lights!
She watched the footage in disbelief. She couldn’t believe what she had slept through. How was something so close to her face unable to wake her up? What had really happened that night?
Melanie Darnell is a vegan fitness guru and mother of three. She is also a blogger with 100,000 followers. She juggles looking after her kids and keeping a strict routine working out and staying healthy.
But in reality, many people didn’t know what was actually going on. And no one would have believed her anyway. Melanie met her husband, Paul, in college when she was 18 years old. It was pretty much love at first sight. Everyone who knew them knew they’d end up tying the knot – and they did.
Seven years later, they got married and it wasn’t long before three kids and a dog soon followed. She thought everything was turning out just how she planned, but she was wrong.
As a popular fitness blogger and mom-of-three, Melanie’s life was busy but so was her husband’s. Paul works as a stunt man and often left home for days at a time to film in whatever upcoming movie he landed.
It was a hectic family life but one that Melanie loved until things started to get strange when she was home alone. No one would have ever thought that Melanie was actually going through awful bouts of fatigue.
It all started 10 months ago when strange noises started emanating from her house. She thought it was just the trees in the wind or the old wooden house creaking. But when it happened no matter the weather, she had to stop lying to herself.
Almost every day for the last 10 months, Melanie would wake up feeling exhausted as if she didn’t get any sleep at all. But recently, the noises she could faintly hear waking her in the middle of the night we’re getting louder and louder. She decided it was time to find the source of what was exhausting her. But what she’d find would leave her gasping for air.
Melanie settled the kids into bed and went to her room to spend the night. However, this time, she was determined not to sleep. She would stay up all night, identify the sound and follow it to its source. But her plan didn’t exactly turn out as she had planned.
Her exhaustion had her passed out after 2 hours of fighting through her tiredness. Then she got an idea. If this noise was constantly annoying her, it must have been annoying her husband too. After all, they did sleep in the same bed together.\
She decided to mention it to her husband who was away filming. She brought it up casually expecting him to tell her it was just the house but what he said freaked her out.
Her husband said “set up a night-vision camera and see what’s going on. If you’re not sleepwalking, then something really strange must be happening to you.” His advice only scared her more.
All the classic horror movies Melanie watched when she was younger popped to mind, would Freddie Krueger be visiting her in the night? She shuddered at the thought. Suddenly she realized that maybe there was more to this than she thought. And there was.
Melanie hung up the phone with her husband and searched for the symptoms of sleepwalking. Was she sleepwalking? If she was, that would certainly explain her exhaustion.
Melanie read the symptoms and realized she identified with many of them. Her heart raced as she realized she might need help. But first, she needed to be certain. So she did exactly what her husband said. But what she’d find was like nothing she suspected.
That night, after Melanie put her kids to bed, she slept on the couch. She was too afraid to sleep in her room alone and scared she’d sleepwalk down the stairs. She prepared herself for a better night’s sleep and decided to go to the store tomorrow to get a night came.
She wondered if she’d sleep better tonight not that she was away from the noise, but it went from bad to worse. Melanie woke up the next morning with the exact same unsettled feeling as all the nights before. Only this time a vague memory of the night sent a shiver down her spine.
She had to understand what was happening to her. She lay on the couch trying to focus on the image that was threatening to leave the edge of her sleepy memory. Her eyes widened.
She remembered waking up briefly to the feeling of a breath on her face. As a heavy sleeper, she awoke and turned, falling back into a deep slumber. But now, she realized the significance of that moment.
She got the kids up and raced to the nearest camera store. The unimaginable truth was just around the corner. Her heart pounded as she got herself and the kids ready for bed that night. She set the camera up on the ceiling at the foot of her bedroom and turned the lights off.
She braced herself for another horrible night of sleep before eventually drifting off into another restless slumber, completely unaware of what was about to happen right under her nose.
She got the video camera ready the next morning and nervously made coffee. She was now ready to find out what was happening at night.
Her hand was a little shaky as she pressed play. The footage rolled and she saw herself leaving her room to put her kids to bed, then there was nothing but silence.
Melanie watched herself lay in bed, shuffling quietly until she finally fell asleep. At first, everything seemed peaceful. She pressed the fast forward button desperately hoping that she didn’t have a sleepwalking problem and that no one appeared that shouldn’t have been there but that’s exactly what happened.
Melanie jumped and hit pause. In shock, she hit the rewind button and played it again. Her eyes popped as she took in the image of a small figure pushing open her door and crawling up on her bed. She watched herself sleep in complete ignorance.
Two more shadows appeared through the door and gazed over her from the corner of her eye. Her jaw fell as one got so near to her face that she wondered how she could have slept through it. What went wrong?
Melanie was heavily asleep in her bed, which was slowly but steadily turning into a party! Her children resurfaced around two a.m. after being put to bed several times between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Melanie was too drowsy to be startled awake by the sounds, but she was still unsettled and tossed and twisted drowsily. Melanie then noticed something that explained the lack of breath.
Between the chaos of her children entering her room, her dog followed. He jumped up on the bed, licked, and smelled her face as he hovered over her.
The most remarkable thing about this was Melanie’s reaction. Although she seemed to be asleep and couldn’t remember anything, she was displaying actions of consciousness.
She would cuddle her toddler and move her hair away whenever he tried to pull on it. She seemed to be half awake and half sleeping. It explained everything!
She was so taken aback by the footage that she decided to share it on her platform. “Parenting doesn’t end when the sun goes down,” she shared.
“During these moments, let’s think of all of the other parents that are up with their babies at the very same middle-of-the-night moment and take comfort in the thought of each of us cradling our babies in the dark of our homes, together in shared experience.” she said.
From one mom to another mom, the post gathered up hits. Melanie hoped to spread the message that motherhood is hard and it never stops. She also wanted everyone to see the aspects of motherhood that hardly ever get talked about.
It’s not easy and moms often get criticized heavily yet no one knows what they deal with in their daily life! Even Melanie has had her fair share of criticism.
As a young mom who shares her life and family online, Melanie often leaves herself vulnerable to receive intense criticism online Her busy lifestyle with her career and her decision to share so much of her family and kids online often gets questioned by her critics. But at the end of the day, Melanie does everything for the benefit of her family and kids.
She wouldn’t be able to support her children and offer them the life she envisions for them if she didn’t share her life and open her family to the public.
It’s difficult to make the perfect option every time, but as long as you do your best to look after yourself, your children, and your family’s well-being and nourish them with love, nothing you do can go wrong. Melanie demonstrates this every day!