Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Night Terrors and being repeatedly smacked in the face...

Since Sunday night, Jack has had 7 episodes of uncontrollable screaming - all in his sleep. Each time it happens it lasts at least 15 minutes. He just starts screaming out of nowhere - and won't stop. And he doesn't wake up. He's just screaming, crying and totally asleep. The freakiest thing is how his entire body shakes. It's almost like he's doing it on purpose because he's moving so much. It's like he's thrashing around in pain or something. When it happened the first time on Sunday night, I thought he WAS in pain and after about 25 minutes of non-stop screaming I was getting ready to take him to the ER. I was on my way to wake up Hope and get her in the car when it stopped. It happened two more times that night, but not as long as the first time. And because Kurt was out of town at the time, Hope wanted to sleep with Mommy. So I go stumbling back to bed so exhausted, and yet wide awake at the same time. Hope has moved her little body so that she is somehow occupying the entire queen-sized bed. I finally find a place in the bed that I can call my own - I take a deep breath and wait for merciful sleep to find me. I'm almost asleep and WHACK! Something smacks me dead on the nose. Hope. Apparently I had crossed over into her sleeping space or something and she was helping me understand that this was HER bed and I was merely a guest there. I think I slept about an hour over the whole night. Hopefully this explains the crankiness of my Monday morning post.

Last night - after having been awakened 4 times to deal with what seems to be a new Nightime Ritual for Jack - I was getting to my wit's end. Having gotten very little sleep the night before and then worked all day, I was so tired. I was sitting in the rocking chair with him on my lap facing me. There's a nightstand with a lamp to my left; I turn the lamp on and look at him. His eyes are shut and he's just thrashing around screaming. I decide I'm going to try and put him back in his bed and I reach over to turn the lamp off. It's one of those lamps with the switch on the cord. My hand slips and I flip the light off and then back on immediately. And then it happened. Instant - TOTAL silence. No more shaking, no more screaming. Jack is just sitting there on my lap. I can see his face because the hallway light is on and lighting his room pretty well. His eyes are wide open and he's just looking at me with this look that says "what are you doing in my room?". I told him that it was nigh-nigh time. Without a word, he flopped his head on my shoulder and was sound asleep. It didn't happen again after that.

Have I found a cure for his night terrors? Could it be as simple as flipping the lights on and off to kind of shock him out of dreamlike state? Oh I hope so... As for Hope beating me up? I'll take her smacking me in the face over Jack screaming in my face any day.

9 comments:

Lisa P said...

Oh man. This sounds tough, and it's always rougher in reality than when you're telling the story, so it's been really rough.

Here's to hoping that the light trick works and you keep your wits about you!

VikingMom said...

Oh my, I'm sorry to hear that you're having to deal with that all by yourself. I won't tell you how long Travis dealt with it, but it did seem to get better once he was potty trained. During his screaming fits Billy and I would have to trade on and off before the other started to lose it. The nights when I was alone I felt as though I was going to lose my mind.

Hang in there my friend...better days will be on their way soon. I always go back to the fact that they will be sleeping well, feeding themselves and fully potty trained when their 20. Until then our job is just to make sure they live that long.

discomommy said...

Oh Crap! I know how scary this can be. I am sorry Kurt is not there to help you through the first few times. Meg has a sleep disorder that is similar. It is scary! We'll dish the details when he go for coffee/tea/scones/PIZZA! YUM!

Heidi said...

Ooooh - let's go soon! I'm very curious to hear about Megan. This thing with Jack came on so suddenly - it's really weird. And it makes me so sad because you can tell how miserable he is. Poor little guy. Poor, loud, little guy...

johnsonandjohnson said...

Oh, Heidi---I am so sorry! I do hope he sleeps tonight!

VikingMom said...

Has Jack had any improvement yet? Hopefully, the light trick is working for you.

Roni said...

Cory used to do that. It's very disconcerting!!! By the way, on another subject, because of your enthusiasm about "Lost," which I had never seen, I have been renting the DVDs from the first season on. Now I'm all caught up (watched the first eight episodes of Season 4 online) and ready for tonight! Thanks for getting me hooked!! Here's a good article:
Lost!
Roni (blog-stalker)

Heidi said...

Laurel - you know what's weird? It hasn't happened again since that night. He's still waking up crying a lot (every couple hours!) but it's a different kind of cry and it doesn't last that long. Kurt got home from Staff Retreat and I asked him to take Jack last night so I could sleep. I feel MUCH better after getting a whole night's worth of sleep. But I will definitely be trying the light thing if it happens again.

Roni - so glad to hear that there's a new fan of Lost! It's such an awesome show.

mattwalker said...

i had night terrors for quite a few years growing up.
bad ones!