Monday, September 12, 2011

Night Terrors.

Imagine this: It's 12:34am and you've been asleep for a good hour and a half.  Suddenly the monitor next to your bed is screaming the toddler version of bloody murder.  The kind of scream where they are looking for you while something scary is happening and can't find you.  You run into your toddlers room, pick them up from their crib and they continue to scream. They have no idea it's you that has just picked them up, is softly talking to them and rocking them and trying to make it better.  They continue to scream and squirm and kick.  All with a look of sheer terror on their face.  They continue to call for you.  They are screaming "Mommy, Mommy".  You feel helpless.  Your sweet husband comes in trying to help.  Your toddler scrambles for your husband but continues to cry.  They are confused and disoriented like they are worlds away.  Finally they wake up and you take your child back.  They nuzzle into your neck and you rock them and just hold them, stroking their head and their back and they you lay them in their bed and they fall right back to sleep. Now, you try and go back to sleep which takes about an hour because of the amount of adrenaline that was running through you the last 15 minutes.  
Imagine that scenario around 3 times a week for the last month.  We've finally accepted it is the inevitable Night Terrors.  We've thought it for a while and now we are treating them as such. 

I've researched the hound out of night terrors and this is the basic information I've come up with.

Symptoms: (Teagan has had all of these symptoms)
*increased heart rate, increased breathing rate and sweating
*happens 90-120 minutes after the child falls asleep
*child is frightened but can't be awakened
*child is disoriented, confused and unresponsive
*child does not respond to comforting
*episodes last anywhere from 3-30 minutes

Treatment:
*do not try to wake the child (this isn't something we've done yet.  we get her out of the crib and at least hold and try to comfort her).
*make sure the child isn't hurting themselves (thankfully, Teagan doesn't thrash she just sits or stands up).
*wake the child 10-15 minutes before the expected episode or at least "disrupt" their sleep pattern.


We have started her 7:30 beditme back to ensure she is getting enough sleep (over-tiredness is a cause) and we disrupted her sleep pattern last night (we moved her in her crib so she was kind of awake but went right back to sleep) and she didn't have an episode.  I called her doc just in case and hopefully will have an answer or an opinion by this afternoon.  Hopefully we can continue this routine and the night terrors will go away.  Have you dealt with night terrors? If so, we worked for you?

Here are some websites I looked at:
http://night-terrors-children.com/
http://children.webmd.com/guide/night-terrors?page=2
http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/night-terrors
http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/sleep/a/night_terrors.htm