Monday, December 13, 2010

The Up-All-Night-With-a-Teething-Toddler Club, accepting applications! {A View on Night Terrors}

It's been a long week over at our house. AJ is currently cutting 5 teeth, including her top molars, and she is absolutely miserable. On Thursday night we were up all night (literally) after she awoke from a night terror at about 12:30am.

Night terrors are an extremely scary thing for any parent. You hear your child crying out in the night, and you go to her side, but with glassed over eyes she reacts as if she has never seen you in her whole life. She screams bloody murder and thrashes to get away from you, yelling "NO! NO! NO!" and crying hysterically. After 3-4 minutes of panic, you begin to realize that she isn't actually awake. A night terror has commenced, and it's time to wait it out.

After the first time AJ had a night terror, I couldn't go back to sleep I was shaking too hard and so nervous. Was that actually my child in there? I soon began to research and found that the average night terror lasts about 20 minutes, and it's not the best idea to wake a child from it, because that in itself can be an awful experience for them. (Not that I could wake her, I kept saying her name over and over and it was like I wasn't even there.) Most importantly, children do not remember night terrors, and as long as they are in a safe environment, they are harmless.

The first time we dealt with night terrors, they happened 3 nights in a row. I thought my life was forever changed as I accepted this new routine of waking up to a nightmare each night. I found though, that if I turned on the light in her room during the terror that she would gently start to rouse out of it. (Of course, then she was wondering why I was in her room with the light on, and we'd have to start our bedtime routine all over.)

I had taken her to the doctor's office and learned that she had an ear infection in the middle of these 3 nights. I was told that the night terrors are probably not related. But after a couple days on the antibiotics they were gone for good.

Until the other night (a couple months later). What I thought to be teething pain (which has kept us up a lot lately) turned out to be another night terror. Screaming, flailing, banging her head against the side of the crib. It took everything in my power to try to make sure she didn't hurt herself of me. And once she snapped out of it, we were up for the remainder of the night.

First thing in the morning, I told my husband to call the pediatrician's office and make an appointment, because I wanted her ears checked for infection. He got off and told me that the receptionist didn't "believe him" that a night terror could mean she had an ear infection, but we had an appointment made for 9:15am. I told him it wasn't her job to diagnose our daughter, but I could see her snippiness come out when we reached there and I saw on the chart what she had written down for Reason For Visit: "General Fussiness. Ear Infection????" Not necessary. Four question marks. Is that her sign to the doctor that I'm an insane, overly worried parent? I began to question whether or not I should have made the appointment, but at this point I was already there - no turning back now.

The doctor pointed out that my daughter didn't have any signs of an ear infection - no congestion, runny nose, fever, cold symptoms, pulling at the ears, etc, and every sign of teething - teeth poking through, fussiness, and swollen gums. I told him about the night terror she had the night before and that I wanted her ears checked. He told me he had to see another patient but would be back in 10 minutes. 

After checking her ears, my suspicions were confirmed - another ear infection. I was happy when the doctor actually commended me for sticking to my guts and bringing her in. Moral of the story... as a mom (or dad) you really DO know your kids the best. And if you have any doubt about anything, give your doctor a call or bring your child in.

As for AJ, she is now back on a stronger antibiotic and she is back to sleeping terror free. I'm not saying it's true for everyone, but ear infections definitely correlate with night terrors in our house. 

Does your child have night terrors? How do you handle them? Any advice?

Photobucket

14 comments:

  1. I have never heard of this but it is amazing that it is associated with an ear infection! Darling photo!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh poor AJ, poor you!! I've read about night terrors, but haven't known anyone personally who has had to deal with them. That sounds just awful. And on top of cutting molars AND an ear infection. Ugh! Good for you for sticking to your guns and getting her on the road to recovery. I hope AJ's feeling better soon and you all get some much needed sleep!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have never experienced night terrors, but have heard from other moms that they are horrible! Hopefully for you and her, they are short lived! Good for you for sticking to your instinct...moms (and dads) DO know best!

    Your little girl is a doll!!

    Thanks for stopping by and following...I'm now YOUR newest follower! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Following you from BabyDealsDujour,
    we list all the baby daily deals in real-time. Love to see you on Facebook and
    Twitter
    too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my gosh, that's horrible! I had no idea they could get them at such a young age. No advice for you on that, but my little guy is cutting a bunch of teeth (including molars) and I feel so bad for him! It's gotta be the most painful thing ever. I just freeze those rubbery teething rings and give them to him to go to sleep with. It kinda helps :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello! Visiting here and happy tuesday
    Happy Holidays
    newest follower ,pls. follow me back
    :) Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi,

    I hope it doesn't last long. Two of my kids had it when they were young. Eventually it went away. Im your newest follower. I hope you get a chance to stop by.

    http://pacifierspumpstheworld.com/

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm out blog stalking today!

    Your little angel is adorable. I hope this problem goes away quickly. Poor baby. And poor momma.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you so much for stopping by and following me! I'm following you now.
    songberries

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Holly!

    AJ is super cute. Sounds and looks like things are going well for you and your family. Keegan has night terrors. The first one was terrible. I was crying and didn't know what to do. I almost called 911 because I thought he was having a seizure. He finally fell back to sleep. I talked to our ped and he said he should grow out of them by 7 or so. I'm so thankful that he doesn't remember anything. I was told that if he had them a lot- at least 2-3 times a week we need to wake him about an 1 1/2hours after he goes to sleep to interrupt his sleep pattern and that should help. He is now sleep walking, which is so scary now that we live in a two story home! Neither has happened lately so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Take care and great job holding your guns with the doctor-you do know best :) Take care and I hope the terrors stop!!!

    Amy

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi! My daughter is now 9 and I still remember the first night terror she had as a little baby. She was screaming as if someone had cut off her arm, so I picked her up and She was wailing and kicking so much she gave me a black eye! (I had trouble explaining that one in the morning!) I panicked and did my research and found out exactly what you found out. Although my doctor at the time said to let her be in her crib and let her work it out, my intense pain inside, and my emotional tears, could not let her deal with it alone. I would turn on the light a little bit, pick her up, and soothingly call her name. After a few minutes she would wake up and look at me like nothing had happened. Her terrors were not related to illness or pain, but I did increase her nursing prior to sleeping so she felt more full when she went to sleep. And, my daughter did not sleep through the night until she was almost 3.5 years, so our nights were always rough.

    Thanks for following my blog! Also an ABE Blogger.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for stopping by for FMBT. I'm your newest follower.

    Happy Holiday's,
    Stacy
    www.sjunkie.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. How awful these night terrors are. I hope they pass soon. Following you back! thanks 4 the follow http://goodbyecityhellosuburbs.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, good for you, mama, for insisting the doctor hear you out! You are definitley right about parents knowing their children best!
    Thanks for following me on MBMBH, I'm following you back now. ;)

    ReplyDelete