Baby nightmares

4 am is my "normal" wake time these days.  I can't seem to keep Mo awake past about 6:30 pm.  He wakes up twice to nurse throughout the night before waking up "for real" at about 4 am....which is fine.  He is only up for about 30 minutes before he passes back out in his swing and I go back to sleep on the couch.  We wake up once more around 6 am and then again at about 8:30 "for good".  Mo then naps for 40 minute stretches throughout the day and stays awake in between naps for an hour and a half.  It is a weird routine, but a routine nonetheless.  I don't want to sleep train him yet and this is what he has come up with on his own.  It's working.

This morning's 4 am wake up was different though - Mo had a nightmare.  I find it so strange and disconcerting that Mo sometimes has what seem to be very vivid nightmares.  He wakes up and screams in fear - it is obvious that that is the emotion he is feeling when this happens.  It scares the life out of me.  Ted grabbed him and cradled him tight and assured him sweetly that "it's ok".  How could he possibly be having nightmares when he doesn't even know of anything scary?  He spends all day being loved, blowing raspberries and smiling at everyone.  My mind goes to weird and dark places and I start freaking myself out.

The amount that I love Mo is frightening.  I wish that it could just be sweet and transformative and pure - like the love that every other mother I know has for their child, but it isn't.  I mean, it is all of those things too....believe me.  But, it is also desperate and scary.  My whole life depends on Mo waking up from each nap....each of the 5-6 naps he takes every single day.  My whole life depends on him being here tomorrow and the next day and through the next year and every year of my life after that.  That's a lot of pressure for one little boy.  I like to think that his waking hours are just filled with fun and love.  He is read to and sung to and played with and kissed (oh my god!  He is kissed like crazy all day long).  Everyone tells him how much he is loved.  We joke about how much love this child gets....his family has really pulled out the BIG love guns for him.  So, how does he have nightmares.  Memories?  Premonitions?  What?  WHAT????!!!!!!  I must quiet my mind before I lose it.  It's 4:40 am - back to sleep on the couch for me.....if I can shut off long enough to make that happen.


Rebecca Patrick-Howard said...

Abby, is it possible that it's his reflux? Sam used to scream out like that and his eyes would open and his little face would turn red. He looked terrified. It didn't always happen when he slept, but a few times a week and it was unnerving. He was on Zantac so I never thought about it being his reflux. When it got to be bad, though, I took him to a specialist and they said it was classic silent reflux (he wasn't vomiting at this point). When I asked about the zantac, they told me that sometimes it stops working altogether or the dose needed to be changed. They ended up changing his medicine and he never did it again...until he was 1 1/2 and the night terrors started and lasted for nearly 3 months every single night. I have never seen anything so horrible in my life. He would wake up screaming. It would go on for an hour. He didn't want to be touched or bothered and his eyes never even opened. It sounded like he was being chased by demons. Heck, it looked like he WAS a demon.

Ann Frederick said...

Hi Abby, I was going to say the same thing as Rebecca. Quinn would wake up in pain too and it was his reflux.

Rose said...

Silas had nightmares pretty frequently at about Mo's age. He has had them only rarely since. This is me, but I always figured that fear and sadness are part of life, and that their developing minds (and hearts) are just as capable of these feelings as older kids and adults. They "work out" all kinds of things in dreams as we all do. Maybe their dreams are less narrative, but who knows? I used to wake Silas up when I saw he was having a bad dream, but then I thought that might actually make things worse, so I just stayed close and comforted him when he woke up. Thinking of you all with love and gratitude.