Tuesday, February 24, 2009

While She was Sleeping


A few months back, I wrote that Maddy has experienced night terrors occasionally. She had some when she was younger. Well, they have recently re-surfaced again. The past two weeks, on at least 3 or 4 occasions, I've heard her crying and sometimes even sobbing in her room or in the hallway on the floor. Running to her, I've found her sitting straight up, crying and then kicking her little arms and legs as I got closer. I talked to her quietly, but she just continued to be very agitated and upset. So, then I would take her into another room to sleep. I generally have had to carry her because it is quite apparent that even though her eyes are open, she is not registering that I am even there. She falls soundly asleep nearly as soon as her head hits the pillow and has no recollection of it whatsoever the next day! Even though she falls right to sleep and doesn't remember the episode the next day, it's hard to see her so upset.


After consulting Dr. Google and Webmd and its definition of night terrors, I've been trying to figure out if something has been upsetting her, but I haven't come up with anything. She's been going to bed at about the same time as usual and her routine hasn't changed. Maybe there simply is no explanation. The only thing I can come up with is that this month (February) is the month that she was moved from her foster family back to the orphanage to get ready to meet us in early March nearly six years ago. Do you suppose her subconscious is remembering that?

She had a very difficult time with changes and adjusting to new people during her first year with us. I always attributed it to the fact that she experienced so many changes during her first 13-14 months. Knowing how she reacted to changes when she was a toddler, it seemed to me that probably as soon as she got used to a place or caregiver, it changed. And she'd have to go through the whole grieving and readjusting process all over again. I haven't really come up with any answers about the recent night terrors, but am just hoping they stop again as quickly as they began. The good thing is that she does not remember being so upset and crying at all the next day. For now, I'm going to watch and see if the night terrors continue. So far, none this week. It is definitely something that I will discuss with her pediatrician.

25 comments:

Christy said...

Mia has them when she is really tired and most of the time it is at nap time and not at bed time. It is so hard to do but I just have to leave her to freak out and when she is done she stops and is fine. Strangly, if I try to comfort her it makes it worse. I think that is the hardest thing to do as a mom is just ot let her thrash aroung and do nothing. One of my boys had them, the other didnt-- strange.

Christy :)

Jodee Leader said...

The poor little thing! Maybe this time of year is really hard for her! I am just glad she doesn't remember a thing the next day! Of course, that doesn't make it any easier on you during the night though.

Cute pictures of your sleeping beauty! Hang in there!

Rachel said...

Poor Maddie and poor Mom! I know its awful to see your kid so upset and realize there's not much you can do about it.

Maybe its just some sort of transition going on inside her. This age is so full of internal and emotional changes - feeling big, feeling like a baby, wanting to be a big kid, wanting to be a little kid - you know what I mean.

Whatever the cause, I hope they end soon!

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry to hear about poor Maddie! I'm glad she doesn't remember anything the next morning. My sister used to have night terrors too.

I'll keep you guys in my prayers.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Night terrors are the worst! The Tongginator struggled with those for a long time, especially when she was overtired. It felt horrible to not hold her, but touching her always seemed to make it worse. :(

Super Mommy said...

Oh poor sweet Maddy. Jasmine had horrible night terrors too. She has them every once in a while now - moreso when she is overly tired. Are you able to ask Maddy about them?

I think the kiddos do remember a lot more subconsciously - and it is very possible she is remembering the trama from being moved.

I think the only thing you can do is what you are doing - go to her when she is crying and assure her you are there. I wish her peace.

Kerry said...

Well Jan- you are the third person in the last two weeks that I have heard mention or question whether their child's change in sleep and emotional behavior could be the result of her disruption in China as a baby. I really have not faced it personally- but two separate friends of ours (in playgroup here) are currently going throught the same thing- night terrors around the time of removal and family day. Where they were fine months ago. It is really a scary thing to be going through and I send you all my best. I have been researching it and it does appear that others state a kind of PTSD that seems to reemerge around birthdays, family days, removal days. Really makes you think.
Big Hugs to you and your sweet girl. I know that you are giving her extra lovin and that has got to help.

Donna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna said...

Wow, the timing of your post is eerie. Emma had very bad night terrors the first couple months after we returned from China and eventually disappeared. But the last few weeks, she has been yelling and crying in her sleep and I'm wondering what's going on. I ask her in the morning if she had any bad dreams, but she always says no. Very weird. I'm just going to keep an eye on her and hope it passes. Let me know if you find anything else out.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

I can't believe you posted this today, because last night Sarah had her first real night terror!! We were all awake for almost an hour and a half.....she was SCREAMING and would not stop and would not say anything to us. Pat had to walk around the house with her to get her to snap out of it.....I felt helpless and it was really scary!!

I would definitely talk to the pediatrician....not sure what to think about the timing of it all...it is an interesting theory!

Please keep us posted on anything that you find out....give Miss M a big hug:)

Lisa

Missy said...

I have NO DOUBT that our kiddos remember things in their subconscious, as Paige always grieves in December (her adoption month). ALWAYS has and we have had her for 8 years now. She used to have night terrors, but they subsided once she started elementary school. Is everything going ok for her at school? I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. It's always scary to see them go through that!

Rhonda said...

Well, bless her heart. That's sad. I hope it has nothing to do with her pre-adoption days. I just pray that all that is erased from Macy Li's memory. I don't know much about all that, so I can't offer much advice.

HOWEVER, she IS SLEEPING BEAUTY!!!!!!

~Rhonda

Lucy said...

Poor thing, good thing she doesn't even recall them. I had them as a child and so did my little brother. It was with him that I got to see them firsthand and they are scary! More traumatizing for the person witnessing them than the person having them for sure.
I hope she'll outgrow them soon...
Take care and have a good weekend.
Lucy

Lisa said...

glad she doesn't remember them. My son used to have them but not my daughter.

Super Mommy said...

I've tagged you - come play!!

Erin said...

Janet, have you read this site? http://a4everfamily.org/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1 It is very helpful with these issues... I love it. Maybe you could find something taht would give you some insight. Bless little Maddy's heart... I tell Libby all the time how very brave she is. They've just been through so much...

Alyson and Ford said...

Hoping she has less of them.

AA has them but she does go back to sleep soon after. Not sure if they ever go away....

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Michelle said...

Mia suffers from night terrors, too. They were very frequent for the first one year+, but she still has them now occassionally. I do believe she is grieving in her sleep, but we have also noticed she gets them when she skips a nap or has had an extra busy weekend and is short on rest. As a parent, they are just horrible to watch and know that you can't really do anything to "reach" them or comfort them. I hope this was just a single case for Maddie and that they won't be rearing their ugly head again. On a positive note, congratulations on getting close to celebrating six years as a family!!!

Julia said...

Oh I really feel for you both Janet, my youngest used to suffer from night terrors while still in her crib and they are so scary! I will tell you hers were always generated when she was overstimulated the day before. I don't know if that helps or not, but looking for what triggers it is key to helping her through them. Thank goodness they don't remember them the day after though, that would really scare her even more.

Kimi said...

Poor baby and poor mama!

It is so hard to see your child go though that.

She is such a beauty...awake and asleep!

Kim

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

I am sure that is really stressful...probably more for you than for little Maddy. I am sorry you are having to deal with this!

Hope things are good with you other than the night terrors! Have a great weekend! :)
Carrie

paige said...

oh precious maddy
janet, i'm sure that you were just as frightened as she appeared.
that's interesting the time correlation...i have no idea though.
my smk had some around the same age, never remembered anything & completely outgrew them , but they are ever so disturbing
prayers with you
xo

Heather said...

Oh poor baby. Hannah has them too, they break my heart and sometimes there really is no rhyme or reason, from what we can tell.

I pray for peaceful nights and for that sweet- angelic- peaceful girl to remain just that!

Thank youf or sharing with us, it does bless me to know that others have experienced similar occurrances with their children.

Have a great weekend.
Heather

Jennifer said...

Poor Maddie!! It is so upsetting to see them so upset.

I am so glad she doesn't remember it the next day. Not that it makes it any easier on you.

Jen

Bridget said...

So sorry to hear this. Lucy had night terrors last summer and again just recently. They are so upsetting and we have yet to figure out how to stop them. I have read varying opinions and have yet to find something that works for Lucy. I hope Miss Maddy is doing better and can sleep through the night. Hope you had a nice weekend and are staying warm:)

Bridget