I did a search in the forums and found some threads that were similar, but not exactly the same as ours, so I'm posting. I know there is probably no great solution, but I'm just hoping maybe someone has some advice that I haven't thought of before.
Ds has always been a challenge at night. Isn't that how all these posts start?? He starts out the night on a futon in "his" room. Typically he wakes 2 times between going down at 7 and one of us being ready to go to bed around 10 or 11 when we move him into our room. We're used to that. He doesn't nurse any longer because my milk dried up about a month after becoming pregnant when he was 9 months old. He comfort/dry nursed for a while, but quickly lost interest. I'm used to him waking up about 5 to 7 times per night. He had been going back down fairly easily in hindsight, unless he had an ear infection. He now has tubes in his ears. Everyone said he would sleep after getting tubes, but no such luck.
The past week he has woken about 45 min to an hour after going down, screaming and inconsolable. For a while he had been waking screaming for milk after getting over a really bad stomach bug. He was already skinny and had lost some weight and we were happy to get him some extra calories at night. Now it has become a bad habit that we are trying to break. I've substituted water, and he ends up chugging so much at night that he is soaking through his diaper by morning.
Anyway the big issue is that now he is waking in the early part of the night, not asking for anything, just screaming. He has craniosynostosis with a mild metopic ridge that the craniofacial specialist we saw says is not an issue as long as his head continues to grow along the predicted growth curve. So far no worries on that. I'm always worried, though, that he could be experiencing headaches as his head is growing. He has no way to express it if that is the case.
Okay so another possibility...night terrors. He seems coherent-ish...I mean he is screaming but if DH does in there, he screams "mama mama" and says "up" asking him to basically get up and take him to me. If I go in there he says "bed" asking to come to our bed where we sleep together. But once I bring him in, he continues to scream. Nothing makes him feel better. Well, okay, if I was to take him to the kitchen and get him a sippy cup of cold milk, he would drink it and chill out. Often, though when he finishes it, he freaks out when it's empty.
Okay so maybe he's thirsty/hungry. We are making sure to get him lots of milk before bed, and the past 2 nights he has had some yogurt right before bed. That's the only way we can get his magnesium supplement into him. We were thinking the magnesium might help him sleep. He eats well during the day and is overhydrated, if anything, at night as he is soaking through his diapers. We had him tested for food and environmental allergies when he had his tubes put in and nothing came up in either panel.
Teething? Yes he is cutting a tooth, but he's never reacted to teething in this manner before.
Sensing impending arrival of sibling? Who knows? If anything I've been more patient with him lately than in the past because I feel like these are his last few weeks of undivided attention. We aren't talking a lot about the baby as I don't really think he has any concept of what is about to happen and don't want to make a huge deal of it for him and possibly confuse him.
Dh thinks he is just throwing a fit. But my response is, to what end?? I get it when he is crying for milk and we say the milk is all done and he starts screaming louder. Yes, tantrum. But when he's not asking for anything, just seems miserable? I think when dh goes in and he starts asking for me, it's just because we have a bit more of a calming ritual that he and dh don't have together. We sing songs and that distracts him eventually. He also has a major sleep association with holding onto my hair. I think he's just asking for comfort at that point. Dh thinks we should "try something different." To me that means letting him cry, and I just can't/won't. I've very reluctantly tried it before. It was disastrous for both ds and I. I wish I never had been pressured in to it, and I don't intend to ever let it happen again. I just don't have the energy to go through the cry it out debate every time ds's sleep gets worse. Dh always gets really "fun" advice from his coworkers regarding sleep. I get that he wants to solve the problem, but I wish he would trust my gut more than people who don't even know our son.
Anyway this is reallllly long. Thanks for sticking it out, if you got this far. Maybe I just needed to work some of this out in my own head. Maybe this is just another really bad phase he has to get past. It seems like we have always taken one tiny step forward and 2 steps back with his sleep. It's worse now than ever, and here comes baby sister right around the corner. If you have even an inkling of what could be going on, I'd love to hear it.