Monday, March 31, 2008

Night Terrors

It's just about 10:30 at night and I am exhausted but Clooney is on my TV as Michael Clayton and I'm not quite sure I can go to bed. I love my bed. I miss my bed during the day. In college, my bed was my sanctuary. I would come home from my 4:30am practices and get back into bed before my 10am class, it was wonderful. I would lay in it on rainy days and watch TV with my friends either laying on the bed with me or on the floor next to me. My bed was unbelievably comfortable.

Our bed is still super comfortable. I love sleeping in it. I love watching TV in it. I love playing with my kids in it. I just love it. Lately though, it has been quite cramped. The boy has been sleeping with us. Every. Night.

I am not a proponent of co-sleeping. It's just not something I'm comfortable with. My children slept in an heirloom cradle next to my side of the bed as newborns and they were put into their respective cribs by 4 or 5 months old. I'm a sound sleeper. I move a lot. I like my space. Ironically enough, my son is very much the same way. He likes to be comfortable. He likes his space. He likes his pillows and blankets. Most of all, he likes to sleep horizontally when everyone else is sleeping vertically. That spells A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G!

When he had his surgery we were advised by our doctors to let him sleep with us for a number of reasons. We had to be able to get to him at a moments notice because of the risk of bleeding and vomiting. It would also provide him with a sense of comfort and security after the trauma of the surgery. Honestly, it provided me with a sense of comfort knowing I was right there with him and able to keep an eye on him.

Before the surgery he was waking up in the middle of the night because he could not breathe. He would stop breathing. Sometimes he would come into our room and bed. More often than not we could comfort him and get him back to sleep in his own bed. I figured that this was how things would go following the surgery. It would be a short spell of him sleeping with us.

In the hospital I slept right next to him. Occasionally, I'd sleep in the bed with him because he was scared or in pain. After the hospital we were, again, advised to let him sleep with us when he needed for a short time. Until he was out of the clear of the pneumonia. No problem. Again, I liked the comfort of knowing he was right there and I could keep an eye on him.

His sleeping with us dwindled, slightly. The waking in the middle of the night was supposed to stop. It has not. Now it's not because of the lack of ability to breathe. Now it's because he's having night terrors. He's dreaming about the surgery. He's remembering the hospital and the tests and the IVs and the breathing treatments. And he's having night terrors. Every night. 2am. Every. Night.

I miss my bed. I feel bad for my little guy. I envisioned child therapists working with my son to draw out his problems with crayons and paper. I took my questions to my pediatrician. (I love her. She's incredible. Seriously. I can't tell you how much I respect her and trust her.) You know what she told me? Let him sleep in our bed. It's what he needs. He needs the comfort. He needs the security. I get all of that. But does he really need to sleep horizontally and kick me in the ribs with an odd sense of rhythm?

Seriously, though, I feel bad that the little guy is going through this. He's healthy. He's gaining weight. He's got his energy back. We are beyond lucky and grateful. We are completely appreciative of the care that we received and continue to receive. I just wish I could figure out how to help him put those moments and experiences behind him. I wish I could let him know that it won't happen again (I hope). I wish I could help him talk through these terrors.

I've read it on so many of your blogs, in so many of your lives, so many of us would take our children's pain on ourselves instead of them experiencing an ounce of it. This is no different. I miss my bed. I miss my sleep. But, God, I feel so bad for my little man. This last little hurdle to jump over before this whole mini medical drama is behind him. How do I help him jump it? I don't know. Any experiences and thoughts are welcomed. In the meantime, I'm going to let him sleep in our bed and work through it that way. I'll just wear some protective padding!

Clooney is still on but I think I may have to pause him. The boy is set to wake up in a few hours and I need to get a teeny bit of shut eye before the break in our sleep cycles.


suchsimplepleasures said...

i feel your pain! my 4 y/o, every night, comes into my bed!! since birth. i've tried to break him of it and nothing has worked. my only hope is, when he goes off to college!!
seriously though...he used to have chronic strep throat. we had his tonsils removed. we thought that, perhaps, the constant sickness was what drove him to our bed...nope!!
so, i totally sympathize with you!
i hope your kiddo gets through the night terrors...those are awful!!

The Sports Mama said...

Oh hon... wish I could offer some advice, but I can't. Our youngest has suffered from night terrors since he was a baby, and they didn't start to even dwindle until he was about 7 or so. And then it was only down to three or four nights a week from every night, several times a night.

He's nine, going on ten now, and he still has one every couple of weeks. All we can do is let him crawl in bed with me for a little while. He doesn't even realize what's happening, which almost breaks my heart more than if he knew. Its so far beyond what he can control.

So really, I have no advice. We couldn't do anything with ours but let it run its course. All I can do is empathize and commiserate with you.

I hope your little guy gets through this soon.

Momo Fali said...

My son had so many medical procedures when he was a baby, that he associated all touch with pain, so he didn't want to be in our bed. But, to comfort him (and ourselves), we bought an air mattress and put it on the floor of him room. We slept there sometimes (and still do after surgeries or during illnesses). It might be an idea for you to work him back into his own room again.

LaskiGal said...

Oh, I so feel for you. At nearly 8 months we are finally putting J in the crib. He ends up in bed with me in the AM when daddy heads off to work. I worried about the whole co-sleeping and will he ever leave our bed thing. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't know of any teenagers that still sleep with mom and dad, so, this phase will more than likely end eventually, and sleep will return.

Poor baby--at least you are there to comfort him. He'll know you were there for him, in spite of so desperately needing sleep--that's gotta be worth some hefty parenting points. Glad to hear he is doing better . . . .

Oh, not sure if you are an Oprah fan, but she is doing a show on night terrors today, I think . . .

Kelly said...

I sort of fell into co-sleeping with my children. I think I needed the comfort of bonding with Jackie. He grew out of it. He sleeps in his own little race car bed. Some nights, I have to sleep on his floor, but he is getting better. Molly is currently in our bed. She'll move to her own room this summer. It's not the ideal situtation, but it works for us, for now. They won't be babies forever and at some point they won't want that physical closeness. I cherish it while I can. Glad to hear your little angel is feeling better, but sorry he is having night terrors. Snuggle him close, sweetie. It will pass.

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