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I am broken.

(63 Posts)
AllOutOfNaiceHam Thu 04-Dec-14 20:08:47

My 3y 7m old dc2 has always been a shit sleeper. He's one of those duracell bunny kids. Waking/feeding every half hour day and night for months, bedtimes taking anywhere between 2-4 hours.
Then the daytime naps got dropped at 18m. The only way to get any rest was to co-sleep and keep breastfeeding. At his 2 year check with the paediatrician he blamed my breastfeeding him for the fact that he was underweight and not sleeping. He weaned ay 2.5 but the sleep never improved.
We have several nights every week when he goes to sleep at midnight then wakes up for the day at 3am.

I've seen the HV and the nursery nurse. I jumped through hoops. Did sleep diaries, food diaries, tried every strategy, eliminated various foods and electronics, tried osteopaths and supplements, and every "sleep training" method short of CC. Went back and forth to the GP several times. Eventually, with the support of my HV who is at a loss, the GP agreed to refer him to the paediatric consultants to a sleep clinic. The referral reason is stated as "extremely disruptive sleep patterns and behaviour". He chased up the referral and I was sent a choose and book letter. I rang the number on the letter only to be told that the paediatrician reviewed the referral and his symptoms and decided they can't see him at the nearest big hospital. Apparently they can't see him at the next two that are a bit further away in either direction either. The nearesr they "might" have a sleep clinic is 3 hours away, but they aren't even sure if they would accept to see him there.
I've had to tell them that circumstances would make it extremely difficult for us to attend an appointment 3 hours away, so they want to just cancel the referral, assuming I don't want him to be seen.
I went back to the surgery this evening, but the referring GP wasn't there. A different doctor basically shrugged at me and said she didn't know what to do either.
I've cried and sobbed, said I just want him to be seen by someone who will listen to me and actually hear what I am saying.
I can not cope anymore. I am broken. His daytime behaviour is hard enough to deal with when I'm rested, but this sleep deprived I'm tempted to shove him in a cage. Or find a tranquiliser gun somewhere. Or throw myself off a bridge.
I can't cope with him bouncing around in the middle of the night anymore. Or the incessant talking.
I'm lucky my other two children usually sleep well, but my 1 year old has been very poorly for the last 3 weeks, so there has been less sleep than usual.
She said she would "ask them to see him" again, but it didn't sound very confidence inspiring.
I don't know what to do anymore. Between full time work, 3 dcs and the sleep deprivation I am close to burning out.

NomorepepperpigPLEASE Thu 04-Dec-14 20:14:37

Wow bloody hell op you need a medal!

Ive no amazing advice but im sure others will be long soon with some.

flowers and hand holding

TwiggyHeart Thu 04-Dec-14 20:18:49

This sounds awful.....I really don't know what to there the possibility of seeing someone privately? Have you tried a sleep consultant?, a few friends have with some success. Is his behaviour at nursery/pre school ok?, do they have any ideas?.

AllOutOfNaiceHam Thu 04-Dec-14 20:19:16

Thank you. I've sobbed all afternoon since that phonecall. It's like someone has taken my lifeline away. I've noticed over the last week or so that I'm so tired I can barely form a proper sentence out loud. My husband copes a bit better on less sleep so he has been staying up with him if I can't keep my eyes open anymore, and we do take it in turns, but he's running on empty, too. sad

AllOutOfNaiceHam Thu 04-Dec-14 20:23:39

I think he needs melatonin, to be honest. He just doesn't get tired until his body just shuts down. He is usually bouncing one minute then out cold the next.

Pre-school say he needs a lot of one to one attention and that he is always "switched on", and needing/seeking stimulation.
Sometimes that means randomly running around and into walls/doors and dropping himself on the floor, or jumping of chairs and tables or climbing frames. They say he is very very bright, and quite hard work. But they are all out of sleep strategies, too.

findingherfeet Thu 04-Dec-14 20:28:55

Um I'm not one for crying sleep training either but given you've tried everything else, your mental and physical health is suffering and no doubt life for you, your husband and other children is affected...maybe it's worth a thought?

My limited experience of sleep clinics run where I live (health visitors mind not hospital run) only seem to advocate crying approaches...

.it can't be much fun for him either, I imagine he's exhausted too, so unless you think there is a medical reason why he's waking perhaps it's worth a try.

AllOutOfNaiceHam Thu 04-Dec-14 20:32:03

He's not exhausted, or at least he doesn't seem to be. He can wake up at 3am and still be bouncing and perfectly happy by midnight.
I think it's too late for something like controlled crying at hid age anyway - he would just refuse to sleep and wreck his room. Or wake the other two. We've been there. sad

cilldara Thu 04-Dec-14 20:34:23

Oh God, poor you.

I think it sounds as though your DS may need a full psych assessment.His sleep patterns and daytime behaviour would be raising a red flag for me.

findingherfeet Thu 04-Dec-14 20:34:30

Hmmmm true...might be a bit obvious but a grow clock plus masses of rewards for good sleeping (old fashioned bribery!)

Icantfindaname Thu 04-Dec-14 20:39:54

What happens if you ask for melatonin? I don't know much about it but they know a lot in the special needs board. Might be worth an ask there?

I am sorry for you. You must be so exhausted..

sleepysleepy Thu 04-Dec-14 20:40:00

Ask your gp to seek advice re melatonin. This, combined with behavioural things (rewards for staying in bed etc) would be a good approach.

A general paeds or child development clinic would be appropriate. Especially if you're querying ADHD behaviours (reading between the lines?)
Sleep clinics have no magic bullet other than melatonin and support to change behaviour.

AllOutOfNaiceHam Thu 04-Dec-14 20:40:22

Tried it, finding. He very quickly figured out how to change the clock tonthe daytime face even with the lock on.
I have spent hours sitting on his bed, in his room, by his door, trying to get him to sleep. Lights on, lights off. I can't actuallt say thay anyone has been able to make a single suggestion we haven't tried over the last couple of years.

I would quite like a full assessment for him, but apparently it's not a priority because he is developmentally advanced, or so the GP said.

AllOutOfNaiceHam Thu 04-Dec-14 20:42:30

sleepy GP says only a paeds consultant can prescribe melatonin for long term use after an in depth assessment. But paeds just refused to see him.

sleepysleepy Thu 04-Dec-14 20:43:06

Being chronically over tired does lead to poor concentration as you've described of course - and being unable to get yourself back off to sleep when you wake (at 3) doesn't necessarily mean he's done all his sleeping?

Drugs plus grobag clock andbstar charts is where I would be!

sleepysleepy Thu 04-Dec-14 20:44:19

Paeds can't really refuse? I would try and clarify this with your hv or a different gp. ( I am a gp - I can't see why they would be saying this? You're clearly struggling )

Hopelass Thu 04-Dec-14 20:45:12

Oh my, poor you thanksbrew
I work in paediatric admin and all I can suggest is that you find a sympathetic GP who is willing to re-refer to a paediatric consultant. Doesn't have to be a sleep clinic specifically, and state in the letter how utterly at the end of your tether you are. Are you able to get an appointment with such a GP at your surgery? Easier said than done, I know confused

I agree that it sounds like he needs slow release melatonin. That would help him get to sleep and also stay asleep for at least a while.

One slightly bonkers idea I heard from one of our consultants is that a red lightbulb in DC's bedroom (really!) when your having a bedtime story or such can help promote the release of the body's natural melatonin. Worth a try? We got a bulb off ebay when DS was having a bit of a nightmare sleep wise but just as it arrived his sleep settled down.......

I really feel for you, I crumple without enough sleep and what you're going through sounds like torture. I hope you can get the support you need thanks again.

atticusfinchatemybaby Thu 04-Dec-14 20:45:35

I think hospital/gp are treating you terribly but in your situation I'd find a way to get to the appointment three hours away even if you have to borrow money for a hotel, take a week off work to attend, etc. This is not at all normal and doesn't sound like it will magically resolve itself.

sleepysleepy Thu 04-Dec-14 20:45:50

Also - may be worth the three hour ridiculous trip to the clinic you were accepted at: they may then transfer your care back locally.

bamboostalks Thu 04-Dec-14 20:48:26

Can you go private and take him to a psychologist. He sounds as if he has some SN to me.

ommmward Thu 04-Dec-14 20:49:13

You can order melatonin from the USA. I know families who get the capsules and put about 1/6 of a cap into a bowl of yoghurt or something else strong tasting but palatable to the child, about half an hour before bed.

It's really simple. If he's under producing melatonin, the melatonin will help him drop off to sleep and sleep better. If he's got plenty of melatonin sloshing around, a bit of extra synthetic melatonin isn't going to make any difference. So you'll quickly be able to tell whether melatonin is the problem.

Melatonin under production often correlates with children being on the autistic spectrum. This doesn't mean you need to run off and try to get a diagnosis; it just means that the parents who have children on the spectrum might well be the ones to hang out with (get yourself to the SN board) because there will be aspects of your daily life that they just get.

RedNosedClone Thu 04-Dec-14 20:51:11

I'm full of admiration for you for coping with all that. Unfortunately I can't think of anything to help you, but think you should insist with your gp for a referral to a paediatric neurologist.

I truly hope someone can help you, it sounds horrific to be constantly so sleep-deprived. Sending you big empathetic hugs.

NowWhatIsit Thu 04-Dec-14 20:51:38

Can you get him to just play/do stuff quietly in his room and not disturb you? Take him swimming for an hour? Sorry if these are really stupid suggestions. I would go back to your GP and ask for a referral to local hospital or comunity paediatrician. Once you are speaking to them they will be able to direct you onwards if necessary but you will be in the system.
Can you do shifts so one of you goes to bed at 7 with other kids and then doesn't feel so dead if woken after midnight while other sleeps?
Sorry you're having such a rubbish time.

nottheOP Thu 04-Dec-14 20:53:06

Can you try a nanny or sleep consultant? After that long I'd be willing to spend the money if at all possible

AllOutOfNaiceHam Thu 04-Dec-14 20:55:18

I did say today I would just like a consultant to see him - doesn't have to be a sleep clinic for me.
The message from paeds in a nutshell was "we've reviewed his symptoms and do not have a clinic here that would accommodate him, nor are there any in this part of the country. There may be one at the hospital 3 hours away but they would need to make enquiries about that and find out whether he could be referred there."
Of course if that's the only way I would have to work something out.
The GP who referred him in the first place is sympathetic, and he also has children, so I will try to see him again. Would they give me an emergency appointment in this case?

guineapig1 Thu 04-Dec-14 21:01:11

Another one here feeling for you OP. I have a friend who's Dd was a rubbish sleeper. At about 3 years old they introduced a reward chart. 1 star for going to bed on time and staying in bed; 1 star for laying quietly and trying to go back to sleep. 2 stars for a whole night's. Once she got to 20 starts I think she got a reward like a trip to the cinema or a comic or new socks etc. It didn't solve the problem but noticeably helped. They also used story CD's at bedtime which their add loved. Apologies if you have already tried these- just thought I'd mention them incase they helped.

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