Saturday, September 19, 2009

Night Terrors

This is mostly for my reference so that I can remember perfectly what happened. I'm always afraid that I will forget something important and this important.

In the last 6 months Maria has had probably 3-4 Night Terrors (I only recently was able to put a name to the situation). Thursday night, though, was something I've never seen before and hope to NEVER see again. I would say Josh and I (and Maria) slept a total of 1 hr the entire night.

She went to bed at 8:00 like usual and probably fell asleep within an hour. But by the time Josh and I went to bed at 10:00 she was a hysterical, inconsolable, mess. She was screaming, drenched in sweat, her heart was beating out of her chest. Her eyes were bulging out and darting around the room and she was acting like I wasn't even there. She was shaking uncontrollably and pointing on top of her dresser. The only thing I could understand that she was saying, was "swiper!" (from Dora). I swear it was like she was "possessed" as dumb as that sounds, it's what it looked like. I held her for a while until she got calmed down (about 15 minutes). I went back to bed and within a half an hour she was screaming again.

This time it was bugs. She was going crazy in bed slapping her legs and all over her bed. Kicking her sheets and throwing everything. Josh was with me and he picked her up to hold her and she started hitting him and screaming "bugs get out of here" (as if he were a bug). It was the same thing with her looking around us, but not AT us. She wasn't really awake but she was just going nuts. She had woken up Sophia so we decided to put her in our room so we could console her easier. Josh put her down and got her some new clothes (she was DRENCHED). I thought she was walking behind me, but when I turned around I saw her walking pressed up against the wall (like there was something on the floor). She then started jumping over what I can only imagine were "bugs". She really did see them all over the house. Then about halfway to our room, she fell to the floor and started hitting her legs and screaming that the bugs needed to get off of her. This went on for a while in our bed. I was holding her when she sort of calmed down a little and she said "why all these snakes in bed with me?" I said "what snakes hunny?" and she said "right there" as she pointed right at a space between her and I and the blankets. I just started crying. I felt like she was going crazy. I didn't know if she was awake or asleep or something in between, but it either way, it didn't seem "normal" (for the record I HATE the word normal so I hesitate to use it here about my baby).

It went on all night she would sleep for about an hour (or sometimes less) then she would be up for anywhere from 15 minutes-2 hrs screaming about things that weren't there. At one point she wouldn't stop screaming at me to close the door so "that horsey can't get in here to poop on me!" (I am not sure if that one was a "nightmare" or a "night terror" b/c she acknowledged I was there and she was speaking fairly clearly).

Josh is a man and men are inherently impatient and unsympathetic so he lost his temper at around 4:30 and went to sleep on the couch because (I quote) "what's the matter with her, she can't tell the difference between a dream and reality" to which I said "obviously NOT or she wouldn't be screaming at me to save her from a horse that's waiting for her in the living room, because I closed the door and apparently horses are like vampires and they have to be invited in! (yes, I saw fit to add a little of my usual sarcasm into the situation at this point...hey, that's just me without any sleep recalling my days of watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

From the moment she "woke up" (I use that term VERY loosely here) she was telling me how tired she was. She basically layed around all day watching TV drifting in and out of sleep. At around 11:00, she asked to take a nap. She was back there for about an hour and a half before it started again. This time I went back there to see the "usual" NT activity and she was also swatting at bees, while Sophia yelled at her "there's no bees in the house Mia! Bees live outside!". I held her for awhile and she eventually calmed down (about 15-20 minutes).

Last night was only twice (yes, in this upside down world I am living in, 2 psychotic terror-filled episodes deserves the word "only"). I'm not sure what they were about though because they were brief and she didn't say any "actual" words.

I'm not sure what (if anything) we can do to stop them. I've read some things that say they will "grow out of it" and some that say that's crazy and lots of adults still have them. One important thing I've learned today is to not say "it's only a dream. it isn't real" (which we were saying), because to them, it IS real and it just makes them more angry. I might try a lavender and chamomile candle (for 2 hrs burn it in her room with the door closed, then blow it out when she goes to bed) and I think on days she has school, since she doesn't get a nap, she will go to bed at 7:30 instead of 8:00 because I've read that if they get too tired, it makes it worse. Also, if they continue too much longer (at this frequency) I may look into getting her in to see a neurologist because a friend of mine read that they might be linked to underdeveloped brain cells. (which might be related to her sever prematurity) Thankfully she doesn't yet, seem to remember any of them. I am just praying that continues so that she doesn't have these memories that are so terrifying.


Danifred said...

We've got through this alot with Tot. When hers begin, we can't even get her to snap out of it. For us, it helps to turn on the light, give her some water, sometimes remove her from her room to just get her mind off of whatever it was she was dreaming about.
I've noticed that the more tired Tot is, the more likely she is to have the dreams/ terrors.
Lately, it's been dragons in our house :(
I'm hoping she also grows out of this.

Danifred said...

Whoops... "gone" through this...