Friday, April 24, 2009

Night Terror

Last night I was startled out of my sleep by a blood-curdling scream. At first I thought I was having a nightmare, but the screaming continued after I had woken up. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was Rachel--I had never heard her scream like this before. I jumped out of bed and sprinted into her bedroom.

Usually if she's had a nightmare I'll find her sitting up in bed or crawling out of bed, still crying, but not like this. I couldn't see her and she was screaming wildly. I called out to her.

"Rachel, baby, Momma's here."

No change. Her ear-piercing screams continued.

"Rachel, calm down. Mommy's here now."

When my eyes adjusted to the dark of her room I could see that she was still lying down. I crawled into her bed talking to her the whole time, trying to calm her down.

"Sweetheart, you can stop screaming now. Mommy's right here. It's okay."

She still wouldn't stop screaming and wasn't even beginning to calm down, so I reached out to stroke her face. When I did that she let out one of her famous wild-jungle roars and recoiled away from me. And then kept screaming.

By now she was officially creeping me out.

I picked her up. She was burning up with a fever and was rigid with fright. After a few minutes she stopped her mindless shrieking and relaxed into my arms screaming, "A momma! A momma! A momma! A momma!"

"I'm right here!" I almost yelled back at her, "I'm momma! I'm holding you! Stop it!"

Her screams dissolved into a more normal cry, and she started shaking. She was desperately clutching onto both her favorite blanket and a dress for her baby doll but kept trying to wrap her arms around me. The blanket was getting in the way and she was getting frustrated but she wouldn't let go. I had to pry her fingers open and rip the blanket away from her. Then she wrapped herself around me like a little monkey and buried her face into my shoulder, sobbing and shaking.

I took her into our bedroom to look through the medicine cabinet. I couldn't find the Tylenol anywhere and was having trouble holding her well enough to comfort her while searching through the cabinet. We ended up waking Andrew up (he's an amazingly deep sleeper and missed the whole screaming escapade) and he took over looking for me so that I could cuddle Rachel. She didn't want him to hold her or me to put her down and was still shaking and crying.

She didn't calm down until 7:30 am, four hours after her night terror. I ended up giving her a cold wash cloth to hold on her head to help lower her fever and she stayed in bed with us. I was so happy when she finally fell asleep. It meant that we got to have 1 extra hour of sleep before church.

If only I had known that waking up a child during a night terror makes it more difficult for them to calm down and go back to sleep, I wouldn't have woken her up. She was scaring me, though, and I didn't know what else to do. It would happen on Daylight Savings, too, so we were already losing an hour of sleep. What's 1 extra hour when you've already lost 4, right?

We woke up at 8:15 am and Andrew panicked because we were supposed to be to choir practice at 8:30 am. I told him that we weren't going to sing with the choir. How could we? Rachel was stuck to me like glue the entire day. We still had to get out of bed and get ready for church though, no matter how sluggish we felt.

Both Andrew and Rachel spiked fevers last night and none of us were feeling too hot from having been up all night long. But Andrew was assigned to speak in church today.

We had district conference and Andrew was called to be in the Elder's Quorum presidency. Since the new EQ President was out of town, Andrew had to give a talk in his place. I forgot to have him comb his hair. I hope no one noticed.

Rachel was hard to handle during the meeting. Conferences are hard. 2 hours in the same room? Ugh. All the children were going a little crazy. When Sister Cook, the District President's wife, was finishing her talk, Rachel beat her to the amen.

"AMEN!" she hollered enthusiastically, causing several surrounding families to giggle. She then announced that we were "All done! All done! All done!" and that it was time to "Go! Go! Go!"

We ended up in the hallway with Finn and Rex. Rex will be Rachel's new friend. He's two months younger than her and will be moving here in a few months. All three of those little guys were having a hard time for the last part of the meeting.

I was so glad there was a Linger Longer after the meeting. There was no way I would have had energy to make lunch. We went over to the Lewis' after and picked up some baby Tylenol and then went home to take a nap.

Nap time failed.

Poor Rachel's eyes were so puffy and tired-looking by the time bedtime rolled around and even then she didn't want to go to bed. Once she was in bed, though, she fell asleep relatively quickly. I'm hoping she stays that way all night long. I could use a good night's rest!


  1. How scary to have her screaming like that:( Hope everyone is feeling better soon.

  2. We've had all three of our kids go through night terrors before. It terrifies me when they scream like that. I'm sorry that Rachel had one. They're no fun for anyone in the house. I hope she outgrows it soon. The only one who still has them from time to time is Anthony. The girls outgrew theirs pretty quickly.

  3. That sounds horrible! I'm so sorry for you!

  4. Apparently that happened to one of my roommates once - night terrors. I had earplugs in and didn't hear a thing... I'm almost glad, because it probably would have scared me half to death.

  5. Are you sure it is worse to wake them up during the terror? Because I would've done the same thing.

  6. From what I've read online it's usually best to let the child keep sleeping, making sure that they aren't going to hurt themselves, instead of waking them up. Not that the internet is the greatest source of everything...but since a variety of sites said to leave them sleeping I figured it probably was true.

    The reasoning is that a night terror one of the freakiest things to witness that I've witnessed and so obviously when she woke up, she woke up to a not very calm mommy, which made her freak out again in her awake state.

    Night terrors typically only last less than a half hour, so it isn't as if the child would be screaming forever.

    I don't know though. My friend said that night terrors were common in her family growing up and they always were woken up to deal with them.

    Usually, though, the child won't remember them because they weren't actually dreaming when the terror it's not like they can talk about it or tell you what they were dreaming about. They just wake up scared and then will quickly fall back asleep because they won't remember anything scary happening. In a nightmare they usually will remember something happening--for Rachel it's usually dogs--and will want to talk about it, etc. short...I have no clue.