If you know anything about a Mothers’ Intuition then you know it is pretty strong. We all want what is best for our children, but the right answer is not always the easiest to come by. I have recently experienced this and wish I had originally gone with my gut, but as a result, I have learned a very valuable lesson.
2 weekends ago, Lucas got sick. The kind of sick where I saw him start to get the chills, then he vomited all over me (I finally know the difference between spit-up and vomit…and YES there is a difference 🙂 which of course sent both dad and I panicking. I gave him a quick bath, took his temperature and just held him. I held him for a few hours to ensure he was sleeping and doing alright before putting him in his crib. Watching him get those chills, was heartbreaking (once we figured out why he was getting them). His fever never got out of control so we kept a close eye on him. I kept him home Monday and called the Dr. Monday morning. After giving them his symptoms, they called back and said there was no need to bring him in. If he got worse to call back. I said that since he had been congested, sneezing, and coughing for about 6 weeks plus the sudden onset of a fever (although mild) and since I had him home, I really preferred to bring him in to rule out any type of infection. So, we brought him in and the Dr. confirmed that he did have an ear infection. AHAH! I hated that he had this, but I was happy to know I wasn’t being a crazy mom. So, of course the Dr. prescribed an antibiotic.
In the same breath, he mentioned that since we can’t seem to kick the congestion that it could be allergies so he immediately prescribed Singulair. I said ok and went on my way. Now, if you know me, you will know that I HATE taking medicine and I especialy HATE giving it to my son. There is a small part of me that thinks that his Dr is a little too prescription happy, but that is for another post. When I told my Husband, he immediately asked what the side effects were. My response was that I had no idea, but I would read about it when I got it home. I got it filled, brought it home, and gave it to him that evening. After getting him to bed, I started reading the info sheet that came with it. Side Effects:
” Behavior and mood-related changes have been reported: agitation including aggressive behavior or hostility, bad or vivid dreams, depression, disorientation (confusion), feeling anxious, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there), irritability, restlessness, sleepwalking, suicidal thoughts and actions (including suicide), tremor, and trouble sleeping.”
HELLO!! My first reaction was that if this were for me, I would NOT take it. I would go without it or find something else to take. DING DING DING – My intuition kicks in – “If I wouldn’t take it, then why would I give it to my son? I had already decided (per my ped’s suggestion) to give it a couple of weeks before ruling it out. So, whats a couple of weeks, right? He’s 6 months old, I’m sure he’ll be fine. I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. Starting that night, he started waking up at night with an inconsolable cry (wail is more like it). The first night we tried calming him down until finally I picked him up. He was wide awake, but I was able to get him back to sleep so I put him back in his crib. Night two, he woke up a couple of times, Again, once I was holding him he was fine. As each night arrived, Lucas became more and more difficult. Going into this past weekend, he had gotten to the point where he would not even let me out him in his crib. He would be asleep, but within 20 minutes of laying him down he would wake up REALLY mad. We had two options, bring him into bed or sleep holding him in the recliner. I did both and the said thing is that I slept better holding him in the recliner. He would sleep in the chair for 6 + hours, I would put him in the crib around 5 am and BAM he was awake crying. You might be asking whether or not we let him cry-it-it. DId we ever. We went 2 1/2 hrs of us going in and trying to calm him, but he would not give up. So, finally we just quit trying and would go pick him up. By Sunday night (after a week of this, I just had to feed him in my bed and he was asleep in seconds. After falling asleep, I got back up and finished getting ready for bed.
By this point I was desperate. My son who sleeps all night (@ 11 1/2 hrs/ night) has become the worlds worst sleeper overnight. It was a nightmare around here. I just dreaded night time. I was researching Nighttime separation Anxiety, etc… Was it a phase, was it due to him growing and his brain needing an outlet to defuse the stimulus from the day or “Was it the Singulair?” This was ringing in my head daily, but for sure it would not have had such an immediate effect on him within hrs of first starting it. While his congestion was clearing up, his sleep was not happening and neither was ours. Doug and I were walking zombies. Thank goodness for being able to work at home because there was no way I could have made it down my street much less driving 35 minutes. Not 1 meal was cooked in this house (Thank goodness a great mexican food restaurant, Arboledas, opened up down the street from us, because they provided our nourishment on more than 1 occasion. Each morning I woke up (as if I had actually been sleeping) thinking that that was definitely the worst night we have ever had. I realized that each night was progressively and quickly getting worse. I called his Doctor Monday morning (yesterday) explained what had been going on over the past week. I mentioned a couple of my thoughts and reminded them about the. After speaking with his Dr, the nurse called me back and said that I should take him off the Singulair..OH and get this “I should practice a little tough love and make him cry it out a little” I started laughing at her. I asked if 2 2/1 hours was hard enough? I’m pretty sure there I heard crickets chirping.
So, Monday night (last night), I did not give him the Singulair and guess what? He fell asleep nursing and I put him in his crib w/out a peep. He did wake up about an hour later, and instead of me going in there, I sent Dad a few times. His crying was not nearly as bad as it had been and within 1 hour he had soothed himself to sleep. WOW! I cannot even describe the difference from 1 day to the other. And tonight, he woke up briefly but had soothed himself to sleep in about 20 minutes.
After this experience, I have realized a couple of things:
1) Do NOT give your child Singulair! If needed, there are other allergy options out there without such HORRID side effects. Options we may explore, but we may not.
2) ALWAYS discuss the side effects of any medication with your Doctor.
3) You have to be an advocate for your child. Next time, I will speak with my Doctor about other natural alternatives before jumping straight to pumping him full of a prescription.
4) Go with your GUT! The next time I have that ringing pang in my ear with red flags everywhere, I might just listen to it next time.
My heart is broken for having put this child through such hell. Hopefully he won’t hold it against me.