Being Your Child’s Advocate: Our Journey with Sleep Issues

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Last summer, I read this article on Wichita Mom titled Why We Can’t Ignore the Snore about kids, snoring, how it can be a sign of sleep disorders and impact on overall health. Our son started snoring as a baby and I thought it was super cute. I never considered it could be a concern or a medical issue. But with that kind of title I had to at least check it out. So I read it.

You know how after you read a list of symptoms in an article you think to yourself, “I’m trying not to overreact here, but oh my gosh, that’s me.” Well, I read that article and thought, “Oh my gosh, this is my child.” I decided I shouldn’t go into full-blown helicopter mom panic mode. Before calling our pediatrician or dentist, I observed our son to make sure what I’d seen wasn’t happening only on occasion. Once I felt like I had seen him consistently breathing through his mouth while concentrating, having challenges sitting still, grinding his teeth and snoring on a regular basis, it was time to ask the professionals questions.

A Long Road of Varied Opinions

Early last fall, I started with our dentist who felt that there was no concern. While she is an excellent dentist, she doesn’t specialize in pediatric dentistry. I wasn’t searching for something to be wrong, but I also didn’t think she took what I was saying to heart.

Our next step was to see fellow Wichita Mom contributor Dr. Denise Dopps to help with the teeth grinding. She did an amazing job adjusting his jaw and neck. The teeth grinding stopped and his jaw alignment improved after only a few appointments. We happily checked one issue off the list.

My next interaction happened by chance. I was sitting by a pediatric dentist mom during a birthday party. I asked if I could talk shop for just one minute. I wanted to know if she thought I was completely off-base or if I should pursue this. She actually encouraged me to have a serious talk with our pediatrician about my concerns. I’ve since thanked her multiple times for her guidance.

By now we are at January 2020, I explain to our pediatrician that I had serious concerns that our son wasn’t getting a restful sleep. After recording him in his sleep for several nights in a row and showing clear pauses in his breathing, she agreed we needed a referral to Children’s Mercy for a consult. It took five months to get the consult, so now it’s May. After loads of paperwork and a telemed call to confirm we were candidates, the next step was a sleep study. We were told it would be another six months until an opening for the sleep study. As it turned out, we were fortunate and got in on a cancelation earlier than expected.

Time for Answers

In mid-August, we made the trip to Kansas City for an overnight observation at Children’s Mercy Sleep Clinic. Talk about a confusing trip for a five-year-old. With his little body covered in wires and sensors, I prayed that nothing would be wrong yet that we would get answers. Of course, he slept like a rock during the study. I on the other hand did not.

As we got ready to leave the next morning I said to the technician, “I know you can’t tell me specifics, so I’m not asking for that. What I am asking is can you please confirm that my concerns were justified. I need to know before I can leave.” He assured me that they were justified yet I shouldn’t be overly concerned. It would be three more weeks of waiting to hear the results.

Finally, more than a year after waking up one morning to read a Wichita Mom article that struck a chord with me, we have answers. The diagnosis: mild obstructive sleep apnea and PLMD (periodic limb movement disorder).

Moms Just Know

I was right. I wanted to shout it from the rooftop. I pushed for answers. I wasn’t willing to let it go even when others said I should. If you have concerns about your child, use the resources you have at your disposal like Wichita Mom and other moms. Get medical opinions. Several of them. Seek experts in the field. And always trust your mom gut.

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