Thursday, April 23, 2009

O Sleep, O Gentle Sleep*

Good news. I'm not nuts.

Abby really doesn't sleep well, and the docs have agreed to do a sleep study on her! We had our appointment at the Children's Hospital Sleep Clinic yesterday, and they agreed that this is a problem. A checkbox in our favour is that the neuro on the sleep clinic "board" is our regular neurologist!

*I'm not sure if it's a good thing or bad thing when they say, "Oh yes, we've been briefed about Abigail."*

Sleep disorders are so common in kids with epilepsy and autism, and since she's got a double-neurological-whammy, it only makes sense that she's got it bad. We've actually been having to medicate her the past few months to help her sleep and so we can function. Not a long-term solution, hence why I want to get to the bottom of why she's not sleeping properly and what we can do to help her.

*does a little dance of joy*

Whoa, I suddenly got a vision of Balki and Larry.... (sorry, channelling a little Perfect Strangers there).

Abby's appointment at the clinic was fairly early in the morning, so we drove to Capital City the night before. Of course, leave it to me to forget Abby's sleeping medication at home the night before we go to the sleep clinic. It's almost funny. Almost.

So we went through a morning at the hospital (would already be not fun if I had an average almost-three-year-old), who pretty much tantrumed the entire time, because, well, let's face it she's seen more doctors and hospitals in her short life than most people see in two lifetimes. She woke up screaming (and I mean screaming) thrice the night before, so we were all functioning on about 4.5 hours of sleep. Except the baby. 'Cause she slept like a baby. Small miracles, eh?

I think I had a point to this thought, but it seems to have escaped me. I guess that's my cue to go to bed, huh?

*O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my sense in forgetfulness?
~William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I


  1. All my points are lost in fuzzy sleepless nights brain too!

    I'm curious...what've you been using to help Abby sleep? Trevy's doing okay right now...but we have some spells that are AWFUL!


  2. Right now, she's on clonidin, which is actually a blood pressure medication. She's getting 1/2 of a 0.1 mg tab about 30 min before bedtime. It doesn't make her fall asleep if she's not tired, but helps her settle and keep a sustained sleep without waking up as much. They tell me it works without sedation by altering the way the blood flows in the brain, helping prevent arousal. It's only available by Rx in Canada, I don't even know if it's approved for the US.
    We also gave her melatonin for awhile, it's over-the-counter at health food stores. It did make her fall asleep, but would wear off in about 3 hours and we found she was waking up and then would be up for hours... some people have reported great sucess with it, especially if they mostly just have trouble with the falling asleep part, but we have the sustaining sleep part too...
    I was dreading the baby being born because I figured that I was going to get less sleep, but it actually turned out the be the opposite.. LOL... She slept like a champ, and we'd often cosleep, so when Abby woke up I would poke my husband, saying "honey, go to Abby, I'm nursing the baby" (which was usually true), and then I could drift back off in my nice, cozy bed cuddling with the baby.. :D