I tend to second-guess myself, especially when it comes to parenting. I rely on my friends and family to bounce ideas off of and tell me I am doing a good job (or at least not terrible). I know that all kids are different, even siblings, so how are we supposed to know what to expect? Who’s to say what’s “normal?” Each of my 3 children have met their developmental milestones at different ages. They have their own personalities, eating habits, social abilities and growth patterns. One thing has been consistent with all three. They slept through the night by 6 months and continue to sleep 10-12 hours per night to this day. I started diffusing essential oils in their rooms at night last year so I am fairly certain I had the whole sleep thing down pat. I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but I promise I’ll make a point.
Recently, when Hadley started waking frequently (3-5 times per night) my first thought was that this was just another difference among my kids. My second thought, per usual at this point, was to wonder if this was related to her hypothyroidism. Is her Synthroid dose too low, making her sleep too much during the day, so she’s not tired enough at night? Is she waking because her TSH is too low and now she’s experiencing side effects of too much medicine in her system?
In my constant effort to NOT overreact, I let this go on for about 10 days before I reached out to Hadley’s specialist. I contacted the office via a message system on the patient online portal and sent a message directly to Hadley’s primary provider, Nurse Practitioner L. I let her know that she was awake and crying/whining continuously for 30-60 minutes. She would eventually fall asleep but would wake again within an hour. A few times she asked for water or milk to drink. We would get it for her and she would fall back asleep. I also mentioned that Hadley was recently treated for ear infections in both ears. She finished her antibiotic and got the “all clear” at her 3 week re-check. I just thought I was worth mentioning. I also included in my portal message that Hadley had been eating and drinking normally, was having no fevers, no vomiting, no diarrhea. Her next appointment with Nurse Practitioner L wasn’t for another 4 weeks so I felt like this was the best next step.
I received a message back in less than a day. Hadley’s specialist mentioned that some toddlers experience sleep regression around age 2, but she wanted to check blood work in case this was related to her thyroid. There are standing orders for Hadley in her chart for TSH and Free T4 so I was instructed to take her to the lab at the hospital and have blood drawn. As much as it breaks my heart to have Hadley stuck with needles, I was relieved that my concerns were validated and that her levels would be checked.
Later that day, I took Hadley to the Outpatient Lab at the hospital for her umpteenth blood draw since she was born. She was a little over 2 years old at this point and we have been doing this every 6-12 weeks since birth, but I still get sad, anxious, and nervous when we walk in. We checked in and sat in the waiting area and Hadley was fine. We got called back to the lab and still she was fine. I sat her up on the table. This is when she typically loses it. Surprisingly, she was fine. The lab technician called for an assistant and they got started quickly. She laid Hadley down and applied the tourniquet. I was holding her other hand and rubbing her head, but all she did was make a little whimpering sound. No crying, no struggle, no movement at all. She just laid there. The lab tech used the butterfly needle to stick Hadley’s arm and got the vein on her first try. Hadley was completely fine. She watched the whole thing happen, held her arm completely still, let the tech wrap a bandage around her when she as done, and then let me hug her. She never cried at all. She was fine.
That was when it happened. That was when I started to forgive myself and stopped blaming myself for Hadley’s disease. It was the first time since she was born that I didn’t feel sorry for “giving” her this disease. I was proud of her. I was proud that she was so brave and strong. The tech and the assistant were thrilled that she did so well and gave her a toy. This was a HUGE milestone! I only hope that we have truly turned a corner. I have often wondered, will Hadley cry her whole life when she sees a needle? Or will she be one of those people that brushes each one off as just another blood draw. Who cares, today was a good day! We walked out holding hands and blew bubbles in the parking lot to celebrate.
Hadley’s TSH was high--9.296--which meant we increased her Synthroid. If you’re keeping track, she takes her low dose,which is 62.5mcg, 3 days per week; she takes her high dose, which is 68.5 mcg, 4 days per week. The medication isn’t actually available in these doses so we take split pills in half, crush the half in a spoon and slide the medicine into a syringe with water in it.
Over the next few weeks Hadley went back to sleeping 10-12 hours per night without waking. By the time we followed up and the Endocrinology office, she was back to her well-rested self. I am thankful for an easy way to communicate with Hadley’s provider. I am even more thankful for a provider that listens to my concerns and responds with care. I am thankful that I listened to my mom gut and didn’t let things go any further. I am thankful that Hadley found her courage--when it comes to blood draws at least. Mostly, I am thankful that God hears our prayers.