The woman has no recollection of the birth of her son because she slept through it.
The Mum of Two, Jody Robson, 24, from Birmingham, falls asleep for up to 11 days at a time and can take weeks to emerge from her slumber. Although she has not been formally diagnosed, Jody believes she has Kleine Levin Syndrome (often referred to as Sleeping Beauty Syndrome), a rare neurological disorder which leaves sufferers unable to rouse from sleep for days or even weeks on end.
Jody’s episodes are so severe that she has no recollection of several Christmases and even slept through the birth of her first child.
The mum-of-two said: ‘One moment I’ve closed my eyes and the next I’ve woken up and it’s two or three weeks later. I’ve missed holidays and my sister’s eighteenth birthday because I was in an episode.’
Jody’s first experience with suspected KLS was when she was just 12 and living in Alicante, Spain. Excited for a sleepover at a friend’s house, Jody arrived with a bag of toys, sweets and a change of clothes, but that day she fell into a deep sleep and didn’t wake up for eight days.
When she finally woke, Jody couldn’t recognise her family or surroundings. She said: ‘Coming out of the episode, everything was dreamy. I couldn’t remember anybody, I couldn’t even remember who I was.’
It can take three weeks for Jody to get back to normal, during the recovery stage where she sleeps, eats and bathes she has no memory of the things she does or says. Now, Jody relies on her husband, Steven, 29, to fill her in on the events of her lost weeks. Inevitably, Jody can sleep through some of life’s biggest moments. She fell into a long slumber a day before her first child, Harley, was born and has no recollection of his birth.
When she finally awoke two weeks later she looked down at her body and realised her bump had gone.
Steven had to introduce her to her son and explain the events of the birth.
She said: ‘It upsets me because I don’t remember giving birth and it’s supposed to be a precious moment. I think that’s the most upsetting episode I ever had. It gets me emotional because I missed it.’
In Christmas 2014 she fell asleep on Christmas Eve and didn’t recover from her episode until January 12, 2015.
She said: ‘I don’t remember anything about Christmas. I remember the run up to Christmas, putting up the decorations and shopping but I don’t remember anything after finishing work on Christmas Eve.’
Jody is frustrated that she is sleeping through the first years of her sons, Harley, six, and Riley, three. She said: ‘I honestly feel that I am sleeping through my children’s lives I have missed out on so much. The first year with your first child is really special and I missed out on it. I had seven episodes the first year Harley was born.’
While Jody is asleep her mother and husband look after the children. As she can be asleep for days Steven must wake her at least twice to eat a snack, drink water and go to the toilet.
But while Steven can momentarily wake Jody to fulfill her basic needs, the young mum falls straight back to sleep again. A typical episode for Jody consists of a least a week’s sleep and then two weeks of recovery. Despite the debilitating effect on her life doctors have yet to diagnose her.
The condition is very rare and doctors have even used Google to research KLS during a consultation. Over the years she has been tested for epilepsy and narcolepsy with negative results.
‘I just want a diagnosis so I can get some help,’ Jody added.