June 15, 2021 2 min read
At first, I didn't pay much attention to Sean's snoring. Some babies snored, and it did sound cute. I brushed aside any concerns my partner Jeff voiced. I had heard other moms with babies Sean's age talking about their babies snoring. We had nothing to worry about, or so I told myself.
It was only when the breathing started getting noisy that I took notice. I went through the motions, keeping the baby monitor close at hand, checking up on him every few hours at night. It was only when Jeff noticed a pause in his breathing that alarm bells finally rang.
We rushed him to ER the same night, Jeff holding Sean, his eyes looking at me accusingly. Sean, now eleven months old, gurgled happily, looking at the activity around him. He was perfectly normal. He had to be!
After a physical examination and a barrage of questions, our pediatrician Dr. Sanjeev Shah suggested a consultation with Dr. Sanderson, a leading pediatric ENT specialist. While he did not doubt that my son had obstructive sleep apnea, he thought it best to let Dr. Sanderson make the call.
With the appointment two days away, I slept in the chair in his nursery, not willing to leave him alone for even a minute in case he stopped breathing.
Dr. Sanderson ran through the checklist of symptoms before doing a physical exam. Was my son snoring? Was the breathing noisy? Were there times when there was a pause in his breathing? The answer to all these questions was yes.
After the physical examination, during which Sean fussed as the doctor checked his nose and throat, he turned to us and told us that our son had large tonsils and adenoids, making it difficult for him to breathe.
Due to the narrowing of the airways at the back of Sean’s throat and nose, he found it difficult to breathe when he was sleeping. He added that since Sean was a plump baby, he was at higher risk, and an operation was the only solution.
The doctor did not feel that a polysomnography or sleep study was needed. The results were conclusive. My son needed surgery; a tonsillectomy, and an adenotonsillectomy or T&A.
T&A is a surgery where the doctor removes the small glands on each side of the throat (tonsils) and the adenoids at the top of the throat.
The surgery took less than an hour but seemed like much more. My son was kept overnight at the hospital so that the doctors could monitor him.
In the days after the surgery, Sean caught a cold easily. We asked friends and family to stay away to keep his infection in check. Eating and drinking were hard for Sean in the initial week, but once the healing process started, he was his bouncy old self.
Today, when I see my son sleep, I take pleasure in the sound of each precious breath he takes, as the air flows in and out of his nostrils comfortably.
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