Living With Night Terrors

February 4, 2018

My Mila was born a healthy 8lbs 15 ounces.

We struggled with breastfeeding but I made the brave decision early on to exclusively pump. You can read all about my breastfeeding struggles with Mila HERE.

All 4 of my children were fairly good sleepers. At the age of 15 months Mila was sleeping through the night soundlessly.

Sometime in October 2017 my hubby and I woke up to Mila screaming on the top of her lungs as if she was badly hurt. We thought it was just a normal nightmare. But it wasn’t.

It was like we were in a movie and she was possessed by something from another world.

Her eyes were open and she seemed like she was up but she wasn’t.

I tried waking her and it only made her angrier.

I tried picking her up and she kicked  and kicked as if I was hurting her.

I tried carrying her and each time I picked her up she threw her body back.

I tried rocking her and it only upset her more.

I tried giving her a bottle and she would launch it to the floor.

This went on for about 20 minutes.

Her screaming was so loud that our other 3 kids started to stir in their beds and we had to close the windows so we wouldn’t wake any neighbors.

What a night!

Fast forward to January 2018 when I could only recall a total of 2 days where Mila slept soundlessly without a NIGHT TERROR. Only 2 days out of the 3-4 months!

There was even multiple nights where she had 2 NIGHT TERRORS!

My hubby and I were exhausted. My other 3 kids were exhausted. You can just imagine the bags we had under our eyes. My Mila had no recollection of ever having these NIGHT TERRORS.

My anxiety was running high! By this time we had already had two home visits by police officers for excessive crying followed by a visit from two really nice people from Child Welfare Services. Really?! As if we weren’t already dealing with enough. Now we felt as if we were bad parents.

What was wrong with my baby? What did we do to make this happen? What do people do to make it stop?

I quickly became the Google Mama Queen. Every minute of down time I found myself googling any cue words, phrases and any word links. Sleep terrors. Night terrors. Sleep and toddlers. Restless sleep. Overcoming sleep terrors. The search words were endless.

This was the start to our trial and errors. I was desperate for an answer and solution.

Our first trial was the most common intervention I researched. It was to provide my little one with a bedtime routine that was consistent every night. Whether it was a bedtime story, a light massage, etc.

If your family is anything like mine, evenings are a mad rush. Homework, dinner, showers, clean up, etc. We had somewhat of a routine but it was pretty hectic. So we worked on having dinner made earlier and getting ready for bed earlier. All while being as calm as possible.

Still no change.

Some nights were so scary. Sometimes, I honestly thought that she was possessed.  But how could she be possessed at night, and be a happy healthy toddler during the day?

Our second trial was to have our home and ourselves blessed.

Family and friends gave a recommendation of someone who blessed their home. I have to admit, being that I’m not a very religious person I hesitated for a while to call. After a couple weeks I called with desperation.

On the day of his visit, I was anxious, nervous and my heart was pounding. What was he going to say? What would he find? He arrived, we exchanged introductions and then we explained why we called and what was going on in our lives. As soon as we mentioned that someone had called the cops for excessive crying he knew exactly who it was. He blessed us, blessed our home and told us to open up a specific window every once in a while. This would allow the bad vibes to flow right through the house without lingering around. The crazy thing is that that specific window was the only window in the house we rarely opened.

Still no change.

Our third trial was based on her sleep cycle. Most kiddos who have NIGHT TERRORS have them within 2-3 hours after falling asleep when they’re in their 1st R.E.M cycle. So some have the theory of interrupting their sleep around the 2nd or 3rd hour of sleep which would then allow them to transition into the next sleep cycle without having a NIGHT TERROR. Some have said to move them around a little. Some have said to wake them up enough so that they look at you.

Maybe we did something wrong because it totally backfired on us. Maybe we didn’t wake her enough on our first attempt. She still had an episode. And maybe on our second attempt we woke her at the wrong time. She had one of her more severe episodes.

Still no change.

The next few trials resulted in a google research shopping spree.

I searched “sleep terrors” and I came across a product that does the waking for you. I’m thinking to myself perfect! Only thing the product was $230. But at this point we were desperate. So I ordered it without hesitation. You can find it on amazon here » LULLY. This was trial number four. (Sleep Lully product review not available. We didn’t end up trying it)

I had just recently become a dōTerra Wellness Advocate and still had a ton to learn about how essential oils could improve my life. I came across some posts and how essential oils helped those who had sleep issues. Was this the answer? Based on the feedback of others I ordered juniper berry, Roman chamomile, serenity, and vetiver. My DōTERRAThis was trial number five. (Till this day we continue to use these essential oils. I’ve always been a believer. Every night all 5 get diffused together and serenity gets rubbed on my little ones feet. Serenity is our fave. It helps them to settle down at night.)

I came across articles about the healing powers of crystals. What?! Crystals and stones have healing powers? Could it be true? Then it dawned on me. Could her night terrors be caused by the teething necklace she has worn for over a year? Is it because we never take it off? Couldn’t be! Maybe it was time to get her a new one. Maybe I could find one made with healing stones.

My google research informed me that Celestine and Black Tourmaline are good crystals and stones for promoting grounding and good sleep. So I ordered a Celestine Crystal and a custom teething necklace that included black tourmaline. This was trial number six. (My Mila wears her necklace but I don’t have the evidence to prove whether or not it helps) 

At this point I placed 4 different orders with hopes of at least one helping my Mila get a better nights rest and getting rid of those NIGHT TERRORS.

I went back to my good ole friend google. This time I came across an article linking food allergies to NIGHT TERRORS. Hmmm…could that be the cause? Possibly. There is no research that states food allergies are the cause of NIGHT TERRORS. BUT there are some anecdotal records that have gone through trial and error to gather their own conclusions.

Being desperate as heck my hubby and I decided to try gluten free and dairy free. This was trial number seven. Boy was this a whole new world for us. I knew healthy was expensive but didn’t know it would be that expensive. Here are a couple of our new gluten free diet faves:

Gluten Free Pancakes

Quaker Popped Rice Crisps

By this time I had a plan to make many changes in our lives. Sleep Lully, dōTerra essential oils, crystals, gluten free and dairy free. I was determined to try anything.

Her NIGHT TERRORS had been going on so long I finally decided to call the doctors office. I spoke with the nurse who then consulted with the doctor. She mentioned that the typical age for children to get NIGHT TERRORS was age 4 and up. EEK! My anxiety shot through the roof when she said we were being referred to O‘ahu to get an EEG to check for any seizure activity. What?! How can that be? It can’t be!

I cried right then and there. Yes I did. I’m the kind of mom that gets worried about anything and everything.

After I let out my tears I got myself together and carried on. Told myself I would take one day at a time.

My hubby warned me not to google anymore and cause myself any more anxiety.

It was a Wednesday in January and my hubby was on his way to a 3 day field trip with my oldest kiddo. I was nervous as heck to be home alone with 3 kids and NIGHT TERRORS.

That day/night I intentionally did 4 things:

  • I finally took off her teething necklace that she had worn for over a year.
  • I gave her only almond milk for the past few days.
  • I prayed. Yes I prayed. If you know me I’ve been anti-pray and anti-god ever since my brother passed away from cancer at a young age of 22. I started off by apologizing for hating god for what he did to my brother and I asked for all the spiritual gods to watch over mila and to help her get rid of all the bad vibes. 
  • I fed her only gluten free foods and snacks. My family and I are very guilty of eating anything and everything and being lazy eaters. Eating gluten free was a nice change.

I prayed, went to sleep, and woke up the next morning around 5:30 to find her sound asleep. YES!!!!!!!! I was the happiest mom around. So happy that my baby got a good nights rest. What was it? Could it have been the teething necklace? The almond milk? Praying? Or less gluten? Whatever it was I knew I had to do all 4 things again.

I was ecstatic! But I didn’t want to jinx it.

The next day/night I intentionally did all 4 things again. I kept her teething necklace off, I gave her only almond milk, I fed her gluten free foods and snacks, AND I PRAYED!

That night wasn’t as successful as the first. She stayed up from 1am-4am, but she didn’t have any NIGHT TERRORS. Yayyyyyy! Yes still a celebration!

Since then we have had NIGHT TERROR free nights. All except 1!

That day we weren’t aware that we would run out of almond milk. Soooooo….we gave her some cow’s whole milk. Just 5 ounces. Low and behold she woke up at 12 and had mini NIGHT TERROR. Could it be the cow’s milk? Could it have been over exhaustion?

We’re now in February and still not really sure what was the cause of her NIGHT TERRORS.

Me lacking faith? Cow’s milk? Her teething necklace? Gluten?

For now we’re glad that she can go through the night without a NIGHT TERROR. She still wakes up, but that beats dealing with a NIGHT TERROR. I don’t wish that on any parent.

Since then we’ve been eating less gluten, drinking almond milk, taking her new teething necklace off and using dōTERRA essential oils.

Have you experienced NIGHT TERRORS with your little one? I would love to hear about it!♥

(This post contains my personal dōTERRA links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the link. I only recommend products that I love.)

(This post contains amazon affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the link with no additional costs to you.)

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