It has been way too long since I posted! I can't tell you how busy life has become. I decided to post today because I just have so many things swirling around me head that I just need to get it out. I am not even sure where to start. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, having fallen down the rabbit hole, in an unknown world. But this one is not full of wonder, but of fear. I fear for my oldest daughter.
To begin, nothing going on is life threatening. As far as I know anyway. But we are facing some health issues and maybe some neurological issues.
Maddie is now 4.5 years old. She has always been a horrible, no good, very bad sleeper. It began with chronic ear infections that caused us to develop bad sleeping habits. This past year we tried to change the bad habits and still she was a bad sleeper. She can not wind down and needs melatonin to fall asleep. She also wakes often, sometimes staying awake for hours at a time. Then she spends the entire day in a state of overtired but if she naps she doesn't sleep at night. And with the overtired comes bad behavior. It is a viscous cycle we are helpless to break.
This is Maddie's first year in preschool and someone from mental health services was there for another student and observed Maddie throwing a fit. The person stated that Maddie may need to be evaluated by a neurologist, that something wasn't right. Thankfully, hubby and I had been praying about what to do so this was not completely shocking news. I called her pediatrician and she believes that it is sleep related. She referred us to a sleep specialist but in the meantime checked her ferritin levels. This is your iron storage and a better indicator of your iron levels. They like children to be between 50-150. Maddie is at 7. Just 7. She is extremely anemic. And in children, anemia can cause a host of problems, some of which are sleep issues, restless leg syndrome and behavioral problems.
Maddie began iron supplements immediately and we saw a sleep specialist last week. She was diagnosed with restless leg syndrome as well. Learning this has really helped us understand some of the sleep habits she has and allowed us to be more understanding of her behavior at night. But her sleep is not better yet.
While anemia can affect behavior I am not sure if her problems are all from anemia. The past week or so her tantrums have escalated. Considerably! It is almost like she is a different child when she is spiraling out of control. And I am scared. Scared that there is something more going on. Scared that my Maddie is gone. Don't get me wrong, my sweet, thoughtful compassionate, witty, fun Maddie is still here. But I feel like we are walking on eggshells, waiting for the next blow up. Most days we are heading off tantrums before they happen. Our prayer is that it is just from the anemia and will correct itself. My fear is that it is not. I also fear that her anemia is from another cause. Being a mother is a scary thing!
As of right now we are giving the supplements and rechecking her levels at the end of April. And her teacher is going to document her tantrums, what set them off, duration, what calmed her down. I will do so as well, and will document her sleep patterns too. If, at the end of April, her levels have gone up but her behavior remains the same or is worse, I will ask for a referral. If her levels have not gone up at all then they will begin looking for causes for the anemia.
My mommy heart is sad to see my baby struggle. She doesn't want to be like this. I can see it in her face. And she hates bedtime. She has vivid dreams (from the anemia as well) and she is scared of sleeping. I hate making her do something that she needs to do but is scared to do. I hate all of this to be honest. And the thoughts that something else could be wrong makes me nauseous. But I am trying not to borrow trouble and just focus on the day.
If you could pray for my Maddie I would appreciate it.