Tag Archives: sleep deprivation

Injuries and Answers: What a Week!

This week has been a nutty one for sure. On Tuesday I tore a ligament or ruptured my tendon, still not sure, during a pilates class. It slowed me down quite a bit as you can imagine. Thank GOD for my wonderful boyfriend who picked up my oldest, took him to violin practice and then picked up my three-year-old, fed them, and let me go to the emergency room alone. What a relief! And, lucky me, the ER doc is a tri-athlete (of course, in the South Bay!) and knew exactly what my injury was and how best to deal with it.

Two days later, I refused to cancel an appointment with a specialist for my three-year-old. I managed to hobble to the appointment as my little guy needs help and answers. We have to get to the bottom of why he has been sick most of his little life. He had severe colic at four months of age that lasted three months. He would scream for five hours at a time every evening. He had ear/sinus infections and colds often. This past month he was on antibiotics 20 days out of 31. His colds, bronchitis, asthma, gunky nose and ear infections would always come back. He is chronically sleep-deprived as he has much difficulty falling asleep. I’ve been exhuasted for years as I tend to lie down with him and try to help him sleep. He falls asleep by 9:30 p.m. on a good night, sometimes 11 p.m.! The little guy is cranky and full of nervous energy. He has had two official bouts of pneumonia and I’m convinced at least one other. The specialist I saw last year, after testing him for allergies that came up negative, just asked that I buy a nebulizer and give him albuterol treatments six to seven times a day when a cold first emerges. That is clearly NOT an answer as the asthma meds just get his heart racing and ramp him up so it’s impossible for him to sleep. The doctor I saw last week just gave me a steroid spray and suggested that I do this every day. Also, a bit scary as he’s only three…how long did she want me to continue with steroids? So, instinctively, I’ve just known that it’s critical that he get sleep anyway he can. He mouth breathes a lot and sleeps better when he’s sitting upright. So for the past three years, I’m constantly pushing him in the stroller on runs to let him sleep or driving long distances so he naps upright in the car seat. Whatever works, right?

My little guy napping in the car.

As I mentioned, I hobbled to another specialist/allergist on Thursday. He may not have all the right solutions for my little guy, but I think he discovered the problem. After testing for 16 more allergens and coming up empty, I asked that he check James’ adenoids. It was painful to watch. I held my son down as they stuck tube cameras down his nostrils. Sure enough, even on a “good breathing day” his adenoids were huge. That explains everything! No wonder he can’t sleep when lying flat. No wonder when he has a cold, let alone a sinus or ear infection, he can barely sleep and is cranky and mouth breathing. No wonder he’s hyperactive and cranky due to sleep deprivation. Poor fella. Well, the specialist made me take James to another Doctor on Friday who took four vials of blood to test for any possible antibody/immune system disorders or imbalances. He also asked that I use a steroid spray on his throat for years. He says steroids can reduce adenoid size and you can avoid surgery. Maybe. But I think I’ll find a good Ear/Nose/Throat specialist and have the adenoids removed. My oldest had to be rushed to the ER via ambulance when we lived in London and he was three, due to adenoids. He had sleep apnea and I was terrified listening to his breathing stop and hearing him gasp for breath during the night. Just before his 4th birthday, he finally had to have an emergency adenoidectomy when back in the States. After healing from surgery, my oldest was completely fine. And, he never had another ear infection or breathing issue at night.

I’m SO grateful that my little guy may soon be able to sleep, breathe clearly and live without constant infections and bronchitis. It’s such a relief and so satisfying that this mother’s instinct was right all along. Something other than allergies triggering asthma was at work here. There was a reason my other-wise sweet natured and loving boy would transform into a raging, cranky bugs and a whirling derviche during bedtime hours. I’m convinced that he’ll be a completely different child once he’s able to sleep regularly and there isn’t a constant restriction of oxygen to his brain.

Thank God for tiny miracles. Thank God for intuition. Thank God 3.5 years of sleep deprivation for this family, may soon be coming to an end. Now lets just hope I can manage to stay off my feet! Running, power-walking, sunshine, yoga and pilates were my tools to tackle sleep deprivation and depression. My exercise and the California sunshine got me through my darkest days when parenting a baby alone with my husband in Europe. I’m hooked on the adrenaline and endorphins. They clear my mind, race oxygen to my brain and muscles and bring hope to my heart. I’m not sure what I can do while sitting on my tush that will help keep me sane and uplifted. Maybe I’ll have to invest in a pool membership as something tells me there’s NO way I can stay put for an entire month! But, wow, I’m excited about the future for a restful household.

Ahh—A Moment to Myself! (Wait, what’s the catch?)

This week has been nuts—even more than my norm. (Can you imagine?) And, sadly, I didn’t handle it as gracefully as I could have. To be fair, the lack of sleep and potty training is making me batty. My soon-to-be three-year-old just won’t sleep. What is going on? Is there a drug for this? (For either of us??) He’s been a bad sleeper his whole little life, but it’s been especially a struggle for the past three months. For a while I was Ferberizing him—you know, the Ferber method where you let him cry it out. Well, he shares a room with his big brother and his big brother needs to sleep to be present at school. When I was Ferberizing him, my stubborn little guy would scream and run out of the room over and over and over again until almost midnight. I would walk him back in, say he was a big boy and he needed to sleep on his own, put him back in bed, only to have him run out again. Needless to say, both William and I were going crazy. Eventually, I’d give in and lie down with him. Even then, it would take him an hour, maybe more, to actually fall asleep. He’d hug me and say, “I lub you mommy.” Often times, when we’re lying there, he’ll play with his animals, spin around like a top until his head is at the bottom of the bed or he’ll kick the wall … You get the idea. It’s maddening. Both William and I usually fall sleep before him. Typically, most nights I wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. with my body slammed into the small slat of the bottom bunk bed with his chubby arm up on my shoulder. I usually am still fully dressed and my teeth haven’t been brushed, my face not washed—I’m a complete mess. So I get up and start my day, not able to fall back to sleep after the five or so hours I did get. I’ve had a crick in my neck for a week over this due to the bunk bed slat business. I’m going CRAZY!

Twice this week I’ve actually hired a sitter in order to put the little guy down for me. Both times, I’ve returned at 10/10:30 p.m. and he’s STILL UP!  I found myself standing over my adorable cherub dressed in footy pajamas. I’ll put my hands on my waist, put on a stern look and ask why he’s still up.

His reply: “I fraid I lose you mommy!”

Pitiful right?

What’s a sleep-deprived, crazy mom to do? Well, one morning this week, at 4 a.m. I broke down and called the ex in London. NOT my most graceful moment. (Ironically, my first post four weeks ago was about how sleep deprivation and stress can cause decision fatigue and cause a person to make bad decisions. See: “No Wonder I Can’t Decide What’s For Dinner”) Since he hasn’t been with his boys since July, and I’m about to have a nervous breakdown, I let him have it. Not cool. I have no idea how many times I used the F word. Seriously, this was not my most zen moment. But you know what? I apologized later in the morning for losing my cool and explained to him rationally the extent of my sleep-deprived state. And you know what else? He’s called the boys at least two times this week and is squeezing in a one day layover on his way from London to Australia on Sunday and a weekend visit on his way back the following week.

Hooray for small miracles!

I’m SO excited. If all goes well, this Sunday evening I’m going to enjoy the most luxurious bath I’ve ever had followed by a good nights rest—in my own bed!

I don’t think I’ve been this grateful for one day off in all my life.