So I made a wall of pillows, tucked her in as close to my body as I could, and hoped for her to be more stationary than her usual sleep patterns.
L woke up anyway, and when she wakes up at that time of night I usually bring her into bed and nurse her while we both continue sleeping, but instead M gave her a bottle and put her back in her crib.
M came in to the bedroom to shower, and since E and I were still awake, he whispered to me asking if I wanted to take an early shower and then climb back in bed, so that I could shower while he was still home instead of having to shower at my regular time in the morning, but while home alone with two awake girls. E jumped out of bed. "I wanna sit on the potty and talk to you while you shower, Mama!" And she ran to the bathroom. "Why not?" M asked as he shrugged. "She's awake anyway." So at 4:15 in the morning, I was showering while my two-year-old dictated my shampoo choices.
We said goodbye to M, and I got dressed and lay a towel on the pillow, and just as soon as we got comfy back in bed, just as soon as M was gone and we were almost asleep, L started screaming. Not in her usual asleep cry, but in a panicked shriek. E sat up in bed -- "Let's fix her, Mama!" and she jumped off the bed and ran into the hallway. L had, for the first time, rolled onto her belly in her sleep, and realized she was stuck.
I had already failed in keeping E out of our bed, and now L was very agitated, too. I found myself doing exactly what I hope never to do when M is gone - I was alone in bed with both girls. E wouldn't agree to let me sleep in the middle, because she wanted to hold L's hand. So we lay in a row: me/L/E/teddy bear/wall of pillows. L nursed herself to sleep quickly, and E fell asleep, finally, too. I think I finally slept a little myself, but not before watching the room turn a light gray as the first rays of dawn showed through the curtains. And in the soft light that fell across our very crowded bed, I watched our two daughters, fast asleep, shallow breaths exiting matching open mouths, still holding hands. The image of them was so beautiful that I thought it was almost worth starting my day at 3:30am. Almost. Because then the alarm went off and I had to dress myself, dress two children, deliver them to school and function for a full day of work.