Gasping, in the middle of the night, our Stinkpot would suddenly awaken and sit up in bed. Could my child have sleep apnea? He’s always gone back to sleep easily, but it was always startling to me how he would just wake up.
And our child’s snoring rivaled that of my husband’s!
Our poor baby boy, born premature, to a smoker, has always had severe breathing issues. Numerous hospitalizations and bouts with pneumonia, allergies, asthma, and even TWO, nearly three, myringotomies (tubes in the ears).
While consulting for his second myingotomy, the ear, nose, & throat doctor (ENT), asked us about his breathing. He told us that Stinkpot had enlarged tonsils which could cause Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). He said that our toddler’s tonsils should be removed to help with his breathing — but only after he is 4-years-old or old enough to follow doctor’s orders.
Knowing our strong-willed hyperactive toddler, we knew it would be a few years before he was ready, especially given his propensity for rages! However, maybe some of his rages could be caused by his sleep apnea???
Signs/Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Children (1)
- Pauses in breathing
- Mouth breathing during sleep
- Night sweats
Our Stinkpot had all of these symptoms, including waking up a sweaty mess every morning. Other signs of sleep apnea in children could include daytime cognitive and behavior problems, including problems paying attention, aggressive behavior and hyperactivity. (2) Hmmm!
Our Stinkpot was scheduled for his tonsillectomy after Christmas. We were extremely worried about fasting and if low blood sugar would cause him to go into a rage. However, a 6:15 a.m. check-in time might have helped, since he was still mostly asleep.
The surgery staff were fabulous! To prepare him for his surgery, they told him that they were going to put a special Super Hero mask on him, and he would have to smell some monkey perfume. “It doesn’t smell good since monkeys are stinky!” They told him that when he took a nap that they were going to put a straw in his arm!
The adenotonsillectomy (removal of both the tonsils and adenoids) lasted only 15 minutes. He awoke as most children do, but not crying as he did before. Surprisingly, he has done tremendously well!!!
At home, he was HUNGRY! And ate more than he has…ever! Probably due to no ADHD stimulant that morning. He ate yogurt, pudding, Oreo cookie pie, popsicles, French fries, ect.
And he was hyper! “Put the football down & rest, son!” He took a short nap that afternoon, but was climbing the walls otherwise. As if he hasn’t had surgery at all!
The second day, he slept – the entire day – all but three hours. However, since then — I am simply amazed!!! No sore throat, no other symptoms that he had had a tonsillectomy, except….
HE DOESN”T SNORE!!!
Does your child show signs of sleep apnea? Has your child had a tonsillectomy?