Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sleep is for the Weak

Or for those with normal-sized adenoids.

We have endured nearly three months where we have not co-slept. Two months of no more night nursing. One month of no more early-morning momma "snacks" with the hope that doing so at 4:30 a.m. might give me a few more precious hours of sleep.

I use the word endured because that is what we have been doing.

"Sleep training, my ass," I think as I stumble down the hall for the third, maybe fourth time that night. Out of sheer desperation after one particularly brutal night, I looked up a local pediatric clinic specializing in sleep disorders. I suspected...well, I mean, you start grasping at straws when you haven't cobbled together more than 4 hours of sleep at a time for a year-and-a-half.

Then our new nanny commented to me that Missy stops breathing occasionally when she goes down for a nap. I had noticed this, too, but it took an objective perspective to make me realize that it wasn't just me looking for something else to blame other than myself for completely fucking up my kid's sleep. Something that could cause my daughter to still wake so much in the night and look in the morning like she hadn't slept a wink, even after 12 hours in the crib.

"Oh, yes," said the doctor, "Just as I thought." A tiny camera is up my daughter's numbed nose. She is handling it - like she handles everything - like a champ. Her chin out, jaws clamped, narrowed eyes but no crying.

The nasal passage 98% blocked by an oversized adenoid.

Her brain isn't going into deep sleep because it may need to react quickly to not enough air. When she gasps for air, her body moves as an involuntary response and she wakes. Missy, it turns out, has been subsisting on light REM sleep for who knows how long.

It's not a huge issue now (except for if you are the mommy who gets up to comfort her each time she wakes) but school-aged kids that have undiagnosed sleep apnea have trouble focusing, get frustrated easily and are often improperly diagnosed with ADHD because they are wired from being chronically overtired.

With that in mind, day surgery to have the offending body part removed will be scheduled shortly.

"I can't guarantee she will sleep through the night," said the pediatrician, "But I can guarantee that she will get better quality sleep when she does sleep."


megan said...

oh, poor momma and poor missy!
i'm glad you followed up on this. keep us posted on the surgery.

Life in Eden said...

Oh I know this senario all too well. The Snake had both tonsils and adenoids out at 5 yrs old. He was probably dealing with sleep apnea excerbated by allergies for years. And he too was a frequent waker and early riser from day one.

We did see a huge improvement after surgery. But a few months later he did begin to wake sometimes at night again. But who knows if this is now an ingrained thing after so many years. The night waking waxes and wanes and there are times it is non-existent.

Hoping you and Missy both get some better rest soon!

Erin said...

Oh god, you poor thing! And poor Missy! I hope the surgery isn't a big deal and that you can all sleep better soon. Ugh.

Lavender Luz said...

I'm so glad you found out why!

Wishing you both well with the surgery.

JJ said...

Will be thinking of you and Missy! Hope you both get better rest soon

L said...

Poor Missy and poor mommy!

I am glad you found it, though.



Meg said...

Poor little thing! I really hope surgery is quick and gets you all sleeping soundly very soon! And what a kick ass nanny for seeing something so important. Seriously, keep her.

Fiddle1 said...

oh my god! I'm speechless. Poor Missy and poor mama. wow. i'm hoping for a very easy procedure and a quick turn to nice, peaceful, deep, restful sleep (for you both). hugs..

Fiddle1 said...

We are in the middle of "sleep training." My heart goes out to you. Please let us know how it all turns out. And..wow that there is a pediatric clinic that specializes in sleep disorders. That sounds invaluable.

stickybun07 said...

Oh no! Poor Missy! And poor Ms P! I hope the surgery goes well and you all start to sleep better soon. :-)