WHEN YOUR CHILD WON’T OUTGROW SLEEP PROBLEMS
I think about it all day long; I want it all day long and night; And I’d do just about anything to get more of it. Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m referring to my now insatiable obsession with sleep.
I know the day it started: rewind 2 years 8 months 7 days ago— the day my second son was born. Since then we’ve experienced nearly 2,000 joyful days, but also suffered through nearly 2,000 sleepless nights. No, I’m not exaggerating. Our boy hasn’t slept through the night his entire young life.
During each of his pediatric checkups, I’d bring it up with his doctor. No, more like I’d plead my case with the good doctor: something surely must be wrong with kid because our first born slept through the night at 8 weeks (yes, we were lucky with him). The usual response from his pediatrician, “no two babies are alike” and “he’ll out grow it”.
Shortly after he turned two, my gut told me that something was wrong with him medically. I knew my kid. And there had to be a reason why he was be waking (on average) three times a night. I didn’t act on that feeling then, but I should have.
My “mommy intuition” went into overdrive during a recent family vacation to San Diego. For the first time since he was an infant, we slept together. I wouldn’t call it sleep, but rather it turned into two nights of me watching my boy struggle to get some rest. He tossed and turned all night long. He snored loudly, as well as broke out into night sweats. But what concerned me the most was the fact that he appeared to have episodes of not breathing, followed by gasps for breath. This was not right.
After we returned home, I made another appointment with our pediatrician to demand that she take a closer look at him. She listened as I rehashed the vacation sleepover. She too agreed this didn’t appear right. Plus, she also said he appeared to be a classic "mouth breather". We finally got our referral to a specialist.
The specialist was amazing. By the end of our visit, he diagnosed our child with possible “Obstructive Sleep Apnea”. Yes, my boy apparently suffers from what I wrongly assumed only plagues older, overweight people.
According to the experts, obstructive apnea affects roughly 2 percent of kids under the age of 6. I also learned that sleep disorders have serious consequences. My kid could be at a greater risk of obesity and diabetes, as well as attention deficit disorders. The most common culprit of childhood apnea is enlarged adenoids and tonsils. The most common cure is surgery.
Part of the diagnosis includes an overnight sleep study. To my surprise this also includes toddlers. A few weeks ago, my son had his sleep study performed at a clinic in Glendale. It started off promising, my child actually allowed the sleep tech to attach all the sensors to his body. But, after a few hours, my boy decided that the sensors interfered with his tossing and turning, so he pulled most of them off his body. The tech tried replying them once. He pulled them off again. Game over.
As for our journey, we are now waiting to see what’s next in the diagnosis to treatment phase. Depending on the study results, the doctor will either remove just his adenoids, or perhaps both the adenoids and tonsils.
Bottom line, I can only hope it leads to a better night sleep for us all, especially for my son, who really doesn’t know what he’s missing.