Imagine my surprise yesterday when the pediatric sleep clinic called to schedule Little Man’s sleep study. The ENT office had said to give it a week. Imagine my further surprise when the scheduler said, “We actually had a cancellation for tonight.”
We’ll take it.
That was about 11am yesterday. We were to be at the clinic at 7:30 pm. I searched high and low yesterday for an explanation of what would happen. I could not find one. So here is how our toddler’s sleep study went down:
6:00 pm: Little Man and I load up the car & head out. We stop at Chick Fil A so I can get a tea, but he begged so politely for chicken I got us some nuggets to share. (I had fed him some beef veg soup for dinner at home, but I hadn’t eaten anything due to nerves.)
7:00 pm: We arrive at the pediatric sleep clinic, located in a bank office building, across from the satellite children’s hospital. We load out of the car into the stroller and into the elevator.
Once inside, I fill out some paperwork and try to mediate between my two year old and the six year old teaching him phrases like, “I am going to jump out the window.” Thanks, Dr. Dad, for allowing me the privilege of watching my toddler and your child while I try to search for weird info for the paperwork. Oh, and thanks for your intrusive questions.
7:15 pm: We are ushered into our room for the night. It is a stripped to the basics hospital room: bed, medical equipment, foldout chair (made of concrete, I swear!), sink and freestanding closet. No bathroom. No television. No light switches.
7:30 pm: The respiratory therapist (tech?) introduces herself. She asks some basic questions and tells me to go ahead and put LM in his pajamas, but not zip them up.
7:35 pm: Much chasing of the boy ensues. He wants to wash his hands (aka play in the sink), jump on the single bed, push the stroller, open the door, basically anything but get ready for bed.
7:40 pm: Pajamas on and we are watching Veggie Tales on the iPad.
7:45 pm: The doctor comes in to say hello and do a quick checkup on the boy. I have to chase down and tackle the kid, again.
8:00 pm: The two respiratory techs come in to hook up the kid. Here’s where it got traumatic. First they put a pulse ox monitor on his toe. The hysterics begin. Then they place sensors on both legs, his chest and his back. We get those in place and his jammies part way zipped up. They then wrapped two gauze type belts around his tummy and chest. These helped hold down the wires and had sensors attached.
By this time Little Man has worked himself into a frenzy. One of the techs and I are holding down his arms and legs so he doesn’t detach anything, and he is fighting us big time. The techs mention they’ve never encountered a two year old who is so strong 😦
Then we spend a good twenty minutes trying to get the head sensors attached. Basically they squeeze a Vaseline-type goop onto a sensors, place it on his head, and cover it with gauze.
Well. Twenty minutes in and all four of us are sweaty and none of the sensors are still in place. The techs tell me I can call it off whenever, but I want answers. (oh, let me pause here to say that the saddest thing was my son crying, with big tears, “mommy hold you” over and over and over again) So the next option is swaddling. So we swaddle my 36″, 30 pound little boy. I practically lay across his chest and legs while one tech holds his head and one applies the sensors.
Finally we get about twenty sensors placed and they wrap his head with gauze to hold everything in place. He looked like a little mummy. Before we unswaddle him, I ask how they expect him not to pull everything off. Miss R offers velcro casts to keep his arms mobilized straight. I say yes, so off comes the blanket and on go casts.
8:45 pm: The techs opt not to put the nasal sensor in until he is asleep. So I cuddle up next to him, read some Bible stories and sing some songs. Eventually he asks me to turn off the night light because it’s too bright.
9:35 pm: He sleeps.
10:15 pm: They come in & attach the nasal sensor. Meltdown #2. She gets everything in place, I cuddle up again, start Veggie Tales on the iPad, and he sleeps again.
11:20 pm: He wakes up screaming. I get him calmed down. Eventually.
12:45 am: Repeat.
1:30 am: Repeat.
2:45 am: Repeat.
3:40 am: Repeat.
5:28 am: Awake & finished. Miss M comes in and removes all of the sensors, washes his hair and charms his socks off (and vise versa).
6:02 am: We are pulling out of the parking lot for our 45 minute trek home.
So…even though I got *maybe* two hours of sleep, it was worth it. The techs cannot analyze the results, but both assured me I am not crazy, nor am I imagining that there is an issue. However, it may not be an apnea issue, so I have no idea what we’ll do if that is the case. Now we wait 7-10 days for the results.
Here is what I took (that we needed): pajamas, overnight diapers, regular diaper, wipes, his blankets and his Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, my pillow (for him), his pacifier (no comments, please), and a cooler with milk and a sippy cup.
For myself, I wore comfy workout pants and a t-shirt and took a sweatshirt that I didn’t need. I also took slipper socks, my iPad, cell phone, bottle of water and migraine pills (that I did not need!).
While it was difficult to watch my baby cry and struggle, while it was difficult to not sleep because of the beeping of the heart monitor and pulse ox monitor, while it was difficult to watch him struggle in his sleep, it will be so worth it to have an answer.
(Getting up with him every 45-60 minutes was only more difficult than at home because my “bed” was hard to get out of, and I had to deal with all the wires, etc. But this gives a good indication of the sleep troubles we have had).
Anyway. This is a long post, but I hope someone down the road can find some peace in knowing what to expect, as I had no idea!
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