Does Your Kid Snore at Night?

My son snores.

At first, it was no big deal. Just annoying. And loud. But anyone who watches television has seen the ads: “does your husband snore at night? Maybe he has sleep apnea!” And then it goes on to list all the scary things that sleep apnea can do to you. So I worried.

Watch my son sleep. It’s like turning off a light. One second, he’s talking to me, snuggled in my arms, and the next? Boom. He starts to snore. His nasal passages are completely blocked, and he struggles for each breath. Sometimes, I can see his chest pulling for air, but nothing is happening, so I say to him, gently, “Breathe, baby. Breathe through your mouth.” Finally, he’ll take a breath and I’ll realize I’ve been holding mine.

No one’s getting much sleep in our house, these days.

It’s horrible in the winter, with the dry air wreaking havoc on all of us, but him most of all. I’ve tried vaporizers and Vics Vapo Rub, eucalyptus on his pillow and humidifiers by his bedside. I’ve tried propping him up, I’ve switched out his pillows for more or less height and support. Every time he crawls into the big bed in the middle of the night, I spend the hours until dawn worrying over every breath he takes–or doesn’t.

There are three possible problems that need to be addressed. I know something’s not working right in his nose, because he can blow his nose a hundred times and nothing comes out… but if you close one nostril and ask him to breathe, he can’t. He might have a deviated septum, which can be fixed surgically (I don’t think shoving drinking straws up his nose would alleviate the problem, thanks for suggesting it, though). He might have enlarged tonsils, which can also be removed with a minimum of fuss, as soon as I stop getting freaked about anesthesia. Or it might be his adenoids.

Do you know what the adenoids are? I didn’t, until I began to research why my son couldn’t breathe. Adenoids are hidden behind the nose and the roof of the mouth, and may help young children fight infections while their immune systems develop. There’s a chance my son’s adenoids are swollen and infected, and that a round of antibiotics might clear up the problem. If not, they can be removed, and a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are sometimes performed together. Now, if only I could get his doctor’s office to pick up so I could make an appointment! Sigh. No time like the present.

Child health, Mothering

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