Hello, fellow sleep-deprived parents who have found their way here via desperate Google searches. May I suggest turning away now if you are feeling like one more bit of bad news about sleep will send you into the corner to sob silently and/or run for the hills?
One of the primary reasons my daughter had a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy surgery was because she suffered from sleep apnea. In the daytime, she was a mouth breather and her voice was a touch nasally, but it didn’t seem to bother her too much. At night, however…she would often stop breathing and her body would jerk itself awake to ‘remind’ her to breathe. When she was sleeping, she was often snoring. Not sawing logs like an overweight old man snores, but any snoring isn’t much good, particularly for a small child.
The primary reason I agreed to do the surgery for my daughter was because I was desperate to get her to sleep. Up until the surgery, she had slept through the night exactly twice in her life, and both of those took place when she was approximately 1 year old. She’s 4.5 now, so you can imagine the depths of my sleep deprivation. And I hope “imagining” is the only way you can relate – I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone. The doctor assured me that removing her enlarged adenoids and tonsils would be a “life changer” for both of us. I believed him.
So, did the surgery help turn my poor sleeper into a good one? Short answer? No. Not really.
Long answer? She’s still not sleeping through the night, most nights. We’ve had a couple nights where she’s slept in her own bed through the night, crawling into mine around 5 am. Those nights feel like Christmas morning for a desperately tired mom like me, and they are a treasure to behold and memorialize on this blog. Because they are (very, very) rare.
Most nights, she’s still waking up at some point and coming into my bed. She’s still waking before the birds – 5 am most days, 4:30 some (always on a Sunday, of course). And 6 am on the days when I am thisclose to losing my sanity, and I swear she knows and throws me a bone to keep me going. She goes to bed fairly early – by 7 or 7:30 most nights, but before you suggest I push back her bedtime, let me assure you that whether she’s in bed by 7:00 or 9:00, she’s still waking at a criminally early hour.
I’m not here looking for tips (believe me, I’m certain I’ve read the entire internet when it comes to baby/children’s sleep). I’m just here to vent and say that sadly, the surgery was not a cure for our sleep woes. I do often blame myself for Evelyn’s sleep health (or lack thereof). I never sleep trained her as an infant. Instead, I nursed her to sleep. I never put her in her own crib. Instead, I snuggled her in my bed. I felt like I was doing the right thing for my baby. But sometimes, a shadow of doubt sweeps over me. Did I do the right thing? Or did I set my child up for a lifetime of being a shitty sleeper because I didn’t “teach” her how to sleep as an infant? If that’s true, I think the heavy bags under my eyes show that I’ve paid the price.
I should have known my poor sleeper wouldn’t magically turn into one after this surgery. I clung on to hope the way Jack clung on to that piece of wood in the Titanic movie.
I know that some day my child will sleep through the night consistently. I know that some day my child won’t wake up before the birds. I know that some day I will have to beg my child to get out of bed. Sure, that day may not come until she’s 16. And I may have no idea how to sleep through the night when we get to that point (my body has already forgotten), but some day it will happen and so unlike Jack, I’m still hanging on.