Tag Archives: Sleep Saga

A Form of Torture

13 Nov

There is a reason why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture .

Between daylight savings time (what a joke), being ill, and a MAJOR sleep regression from Miles for the past six weeks, my hands have slipped off the end of my rope.

I’m hoping there’s a soft bed at the bottom.

Prayers would be ever so appreciated as I attempt to power through this weekend while Aaron works. Prayers for cognitive thoughts, kind words, calm emotions, positive parenting.

Sleep Shakeup

9 Nov

Last week, I posted a picture of Aaron having put Miles to sleep. Ever since that night, things have been changing in the sleep department here. And for once, it has been for the good!

Now, I put Ella to bed every night and she slips into sleep so quickly. If it’s a rough night, it takes 30 minutes. Folks, I can’t even begin to express what progress this is. Last year at this time? She would wake up every forty minutes, sob and scream for 20, then fall back asleep for another 40. It would take Aaron up to 2 hours for her to go to sleep. Thank God her pediatrician took me seriously and referred us to our sleep specialist.

The best part of this sleep shakeup isn’t how quickly Ella falls asleep. No sir, that’s just the cherry on top. The best part is the bond that has developed between Aaron and Miles.

Ever since that picture was taken, Aaron puts Miles to bed with no assistance from me. Last night, I tried to wake Aaron up three separate times as he lay in bed with Miles. Nothing could rouse him beyond barely coherent.  It wasn’t until I finally came to bed that he woke up completely. I asked him if he felt like he wasted his night, having gone to bed at 6:30. He sat there for a moment, thinking. Then he replied with:

“No. Not at all. It meant I got to connect and snuggle with Miles. He sleeps with his ear over my heart the whole time and that is one of the best things in this world.”

Chicago Bound

4 Aug

We’re off to Chicago tomorrow for another visit with Ella’s sleep specialist. I realize I’ve been quiet on the topic of our sleep saga but I’ve been just riding this out to see how things go. It’s so easy for me to get my hopes up by talking about any improvements to only then have them dashes to smithereens  the following night.

Instead of staying the night, we’re doing the round trip all in one day. One very long, exhausting day. Between the trains, the el, and automobiles that will get us to our destinations, I’ll be glad to reach our beds come 10:30 tomorrow evening.

I also lost my list of questions that I’ve been formulating for the past three months.

Prayers and good thoughts for a clear mind and easy traveling would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday Thoughts

22 Jul

There have been moments where I’ve questioned our choice to sleep with our children in our bed. To be completely frank, it’s hard. This set up has been the only way we’ve stayed sane with Ella’s sleep struggles. It has allowed us to meet her needs without having to get out of bed, which provides a small hope that we would be able to go back to sleep quickly. I’ve always been a bit jealous of friends who talk about how wonderful cosleeping is and how it encourages their family bond with night time snuggles and early morning giggles. For us, bedsharing was out of necessity and desperation, not happiness.

Then a couple weeks ago, something changed. I woke up with a strange feeling, something I struggled to identify. Finally, I pinned it down. I felt rested! Refreshed! I was actually ready to get out of bed instead of fighting sleep as I tried to roll out!

Then I realized everyone else was still sleeping. Did you read that? Everyone else was still sleeping. At 7:00 AM. Miles, Aaron, and Ella were still fast asleep. Even though I had to desperately use the bathroom, I refused to get up and run the risk of waking someone. So I laid there, luxuriating in the fact that I was the only one awake. At 8:00 AM, Miles opened his eyes with a smile and promptly sat up. His giggles woke Ella, who kissed Aaron to wake him up. We all talked and laughed together for a good ten minutes until someone’s limb ended up in my bladder and I had to break the spell to make a dash for the bathroom.

I got my wish. By following our instincts and meeting Ella’s needs, we got to celebrate as a family the huge milestone of sleeping past 5am. I am so incredibly thankful it happened this way. It’s a moment that I hope never to forget.

Small Steps Forward

28 May

Last night, after supper, Ella and I were snuggling. Suddenly she sighed and and said, “Mama, I feel tired”.

You could have knocked me over with a feather at that point. Never, EVER has she expressed feeling tired. I can count on one hand the number of times she has yawned once she left babyhood.

I asked her what sleepy felt like and I was told that her “eyeballs here super heavy”.

Aaron and I hustled it up and whisked her off to bed ASAP. And would you believe it? Within twenty minutes she was out COLD.

Honestly, I think she has been exhausted her entire short life and didn’t know what sleepy or tired felt like since she always felt like that. So now that she is waking up a bit less at night (we’re down to about ten wakings!) and getting a solid chunk of sleep in the beginning of the night, she’s more rested. More rest means she’s able experience the transition from being rested to being tired.

This gives me so much hope!

Some Answers

10 May

Every time I sit down to write, one of the kids (figuratively) explodes, I develop a horrible headache, or something. So I’ll take this brief moment and give a quick rundown.

~ The doctor was so kind, understanding and took his time to answer all of our questions.

~ He told us that we have been doing everything right and doing it well. That our decision to give her melatonin at bedtime and naptime (including the amounts) was perfectly fine.

~ Her fundamental sleep pattern is normal. She goes through all the stages of sleep. This was huge to me. Her ability to sleep is not broken!

~ She has a very low ferritin iron count. Ferritin is the stored iron in your body. Normal ranges from 10 to 300 and her count is at 12. Low stored iron can cause the body to spasmodically jerk during sleep. The sleep study noted that she constantly jerked herself awake all night.

~ Solution 1: Put her on a large daily does of iron to raise her ferritin count. Go back in 3 months, discuss how things are going, do another blood draw and go from there.

~ Solution 2 (if 1 doesn’t work): If raising her stored iron doesn’t work, it indicates her nervous system is extremely immature, so we just have to wait it out until maturity. It’s basically the same thing newborns and infants do — jerking themselves awake to help prevent SIDS. To allow everyone to sleep and get the Ella the rest she needs to allow her system to mature, we would give her a medication that would dull the nerve receptors in her body during sleep. She’d be on it for 3 months, then we’d wean her to see how sleep goes. If it doesn’t happen, she’d go back on it for another three months, etc.

I can’t even begin to express my thankfulness for answers and solutions. Solutions that involved a doctor who actually listened and didn’t just give just give us sleeping pills for our toddler or tell us that it was normal.

Sleep Saga Ditl

5 May

Another day in the life of us. Not so typical, since we were on our way up to the big city to see a specialist for Ella’s sleep issues. We just arrived home tonight, so I’m hoping to be able to write about our experience (and answers!!!!) tomorrow.


I look sleepless because I am. I have been for 2.5 years.


No amount of teeth brushing or face cleansing completely washing away the fact it’s 5:30am


Little miss is pretty disgruntled by the time as well. Ironic, considering she’s pretty much always up by 4am.


Breakfast on the road seemed to help the disposition of all.




After a bit of stress, our tickets are spit out at us and we head outside to wait.






We get settled in.


Built in entertainment.






So much travel gives poor Ella ants in her pants. Daddy must entertain.



We finally arrive at our hotel.


Head out again to nix a craving.



Then we meet up with new friends for lunch!


Elizabeth and her adorable children brought us hungry travelers lunch!


The girls bond.


Miles watches on with amusement.


After throwing my back out, Aaron wears both children the mile to the hospital.



We opted to participate in a family food allergy study since we had nothing to do that afternoon…



Head size burritos were picked up for dinner.


When she sleeps, this is how she does it.


Baby is with me in the other bed and I shortly all join them in the land of nod.


19 Apr

I’m so discouraged right now. The sleep clinic office called me this morning and told me that our appointment needed to be rescheduled for May 5th due to a family emergency for the doctor. We were suppose to see them THIS Wednesday, so that puts us two more weeks out from talking to someone who understands what is going on, someone who can give us a plan of action, etc.

Of course, the hotel and train costs doubled when I rescheduled our reservations. Did I mention we had JUST walked in the door from grocery shopping for food for the trip? At least half of it won’t last for two weeks, so all that will have to be repurchased again, too.

I have a very sad little girl on my hands as well. She was SO excited about traveling on the train tomorrow. I’m so glad I didn’t tell her that we would be going to a new zoo. That would have been so upsetting for her.

Oh well. At least they didn’t call tomorrow when we would have been on our way up and no ability to turn around.


Sleep Study Run Down

1 Apr

After it was all said and done, Ella did splendidly. We had talked about what to expect for weeks leading up and spent a lot of time looking at pictures. Personally, I got really kind of sick of it but it all paid off in the end. She knew exactly what was going to happen and what was expected. I really feel that being up front with her and proactive was the key to this being a success.

I was very worried that for the first time in her life, Ella would sleep through the night or sooth herself back to sleep every time she awoke or SOMETHING completely bizarre and out of the ordinary. Thankfully, it was like any other typical night with a million and a half night wakings, struggles to go back to sleep, and everything else we deal with.

The techs implied that they got great readings and information, so I’m really hoping the doctor will have a concrete plan to help us when we see him in late April for our follow up visit.

Traveling to and from Chicago was pretty much as I expected. We took Amtrak up to the city and got on the El to the hotel Miles and I stayed at. It was a very long and exhausting journey but much less stressful than if we had driven up. Ella LOVED the train! There were moments of “ants in her pants”, but it all passed with a new distraction of walking between cars, cows in a field that we traveled through and a whole host of other things.

We did not take a stroller with us, though it would have been a lifesaver as we walked from Union Station to the L and then from the L to the hotel. We could have tossed our luggage in it or a child, but it would have been very awkward, bulky and potentially very frustrating to take on Chicago public transit. Instead, we each wore a child and carried our bags. I think in April, we’ll wear both kids again but bring our bags with wheels. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that this time!!!

The entire hospital staff was incredibly friendly, kind, accommodating, understanding and everything hospital staff should be. Ella was simply blown away by the fact there was a McDonald’s inside the hospital. I think she thought she was entering a little slice of heaven! There was a great waiting area full of big windows, bright colors, and child size furniture that was comfortable for adults.

I wish we didn’t have to wait until late April to get results. Oh well. At least next time, we’ll know exactly where we’re going and how to get there. We’re also factoring in some play time to try and hit up a museum or something. Hopefully it will all work out. 🙂

Here are some pictures from our adventure:

Making our way through the city.


The electrode attachments they left on her for us to peel off. There were 10 total It took a 30 minute hot bath and a ton of baby oil to work those things off.

Yucky Hair

Her hair was a DISASTER from the disgusting paste they used to attach wires to her scalp.

Train Traveler

We were very tired.

We were very tired on the way home.

Wordless Wednesday

31 Mar

All wrapped up

Ella getting prepped for her overnight stay at the hospital where a sleep study was conducted to try and find answers. She did surprisingly well, especially with Aaron staying with her. Even the clinic techs commented on how well prepared she was! The only real meltdown occurred when they put the pulse and oxygen meter on her toe instead of her finger. She had been looking forward to having a “flashlight finger”.

More on all this tomorrow. 🙂

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