Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sleep Tight

You might remember that last week I talked to the kids' pediatrician about Avery's current sleep problems. He suggested giving her melatonin, to which we really didn't want to do.

After several more nights (two weeks straight) of her staying up until after 10pm, I decided to call the local pediatric sleep center based on a friend's recommendation. 

Yesterday was the appointment.

I will say that I honestly went in thinking that we (as parents) were going to get a hand slapping. That her behavior was something that we were feeding into. Or that it was just her being a toddler. Or that it was because of the arrival of the baby. I was fully prepared to get a lecture on something and that the appointment was going to be a waste of time and not much help.

I was surprised.

They started by taking Avery's height and weight and oxygen level-all which were normal.

Then we went down the hall to a decent sized room and sat down with a nurse practitioner. I will say one thing-I was disappointed in the set up. It's a pediatric office and they didn't have a single toy for her to play with. And we were in this room for an hour! Of course Avery was running around, opening drawers, etc and the nurse was getting aggrivated. What do you expect this kid to do for an hour when you don't have a single thing to occupy her? Luckily I had my iphone with me and asked if I could pull it out (she said yes) so that kept her busy while I talked with the NP.

Anyways....she drilled me about Avery's history-health background and her sleeping background. Things were going fine-nothing out of the ordinary-until she asked if Avery snored. I replied "yes" and she said, "well, this might change things."  Apparently it's unusual for toddlers to snore and Avery snores pretty regularly.  I've never mentioned it to her doctor because I kept forgetting and I didn't think it was a huge deal. 

So after going over a zillion questions, she says she thinks one of two things might be going on....restless leg syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea.  The funny thing?  Both are hereditary and both run in my family. And neither of them were on my radar. 

She informs me about both things and says she wants to do a quick exam of Avery-check her tonsils, heart, chest, etc.  Well, she takes one look at her tonsils and says to me, "Her tonsils are enormous." She had me look....let's just say the uvula in the back of your throat (the dangly thing)-yeah, her tonsils touch it! You can barely see the back of her throat!  And when she sleeps, it closes up even more from the muscles relaxing! 

Of course she thinks there is some behavioral issues at play too. For instance-one of us always lays down with Avery until she falls asleep.  That came about when she was put in her big bed because if we leave her room, she'll play for hours on end. So one of us would stay with her until she fell asleep and it would work....until recently. So we're supposed to break that habit at some point but the nurse felt like it might be hard to break if there is a real medical issue playing into this whole thing too.

Basically we have to do a few more things until we have any solid answers. For the restless leg syndrome, Avery has to go and get bloodwork done to check her iron levels. With toddlers, it's hard to diagnose since they can't explain things to you so they check their iron levels in their blood. For the sleep apnea, she has to do an overnight sleep study to see if her sleep is interrupted and how severely it's interrupted. Once both of these things are done and we get the results, we can determine how to move forward.  I'm dreading both of them-she's never had blood taken (besides the finger prick) and the overnight study is going to be pretty rough too.

I scheduled her overnight for a weekend so unfortunately we have to wait until the end of March! We are on a cancellation list so it might end up being sooner. I'm hoping we get called in sooner because waiting that long is just crazy! If it stays as is, we won't have results of the study until two more months of waiting!

Gabe called our pediatrician and talked to him about everything too, just to get an idea of what he thought about this whole thing. And the pediatrician agreed that the sleep study was a good next step for us. So that was good to hear as well.

Part of me was relieved that there might be something actually causing this behavior. And of course part of me doesn't want her to have some medical issue to deal with. 

We just want some answers and suggestions to make bedtime easier.  Hopefully we're one step closer to that!

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