I have to admit, I was totally spoiled with my first two children — they were phenomenal sleepers. When I got pregnant with our son, I figured since he’s cut from the same cloth, we’d have another champion sleeper on our hands. We soon found out that was not going to be the case.
Odin was born at home in early August of 2015, just like his sisters. He had a beautiful water birth, surrounded by an incredible birth team of my husband (he should be a doula), two midwives, two doulas, my mom, and his sisters. From the start we loved him fiercely and he loved us back.
Going against all counsel and advice I have given new moms I’ve worked with over the years, I strapped him to my chest at ten days old and went back to work as an Advanced Nutrition Response Practitioner. Rent had to be paid, employees were expecting a paycheck, and our original backup plan lasted a week. So, I showed up, cried my eyes out, and let my village help us raise him.
By the time he was a few months old, I could tell something was off with his nervous system and his ability to sleep. I began caring for children when I was 9, and have a clear understanding of what good, solid sleep looks like (and doesn’t). Despite weekly chiropractic adjustments and a muscle testing program for Odin, his inability to sleep persisted. Nights were spent with him attached to my side or nursing, and this was after several hours of gentle bouncing on a ball before bed. I was lucky if he slept for more than 40 minutes at a time.
Muscle testing him showed that food intolerances were a concern, along with chemical and metal toxicities. Per usual, we followed protocol (supplements and diet) and yet, his sleep cycle never improved.
Sleep disruption is common in babies. I spent 20+ plus years as a birth and postpartum doula, craniosacral therapist, and Bradley Method childbirth educator, and supported many couples around sleep for their wee ones. I also know what it looks like to see a dysregulated nervous system, and I was staring right at it. We enlisted the support of our homeopath with some change, though even that didn’t shift our everyday experience enough to make a difference.
Looking at him you’d never know we were struggling so much. The picture of health, Odin was funny and smart, very verbal from a young age, strong, agile, and so very able. He captured the hearts and humor of everyone around him.
He JUST. DIDN’T. SLEEP.
Let me define DIDN’T SLEEP: naps were a lot of work for less than an hour of sleep. He had to either nurse or someone had to lay with him for hours for him to fall asleep. Bedtime was even more difficult. It took more than 2 – 3 hours to get him to sleep, then he would wake within 2 – 3 hours. He never woke upset and was always calm and happy. It’s like he didn’t want to be alone, because he was awake, and it was dark, and it was night. Digestion was an obvious concern, however, because he would flop around like a fish out of water. Younger than two, he would turn me on my side so he could lean against me like a personal La-Z-Boy. If my tired brain could remember to lay him like that at night, he’d sleep for a solid two hours in that position.
On average he woke between 5 – 8 times per night and was up for the day between 4:45 – 5:15. Our homeopath one time said his suggested remedy describes an orphan, one who can live on little sleep and food. It described him perfectly and simultaneously broke my heart.
By the time he was 18 months old, I was feeling the effects of major sleep deprivation. Emotionally zapped, I took Odin with me to Florida for an advanced clinical training weekend to have him tested by my instructor. Finding more chemical and metal toxicity, his new protocol decreased the night waking from 5 – 8 times per night to 3 – 5 times per night. That was a monumental shift for us, and yet the overall loss of rest began to feel like torture to my emotional and hormonal health, not to mention my relationships both at work and home.
Much of Odin’s case was curious to me, though these three points became of high interest:
- He was quite petite, such a small little dude. He had good muscle tone, was strong, and very physical, just small.
- He began to show mollescum on his skin. I had experience with this common toddler issue in office, and though we see it typically last 6 – 9 months, his had lasted 2 years and would grow quickly and intensely.
- He continually tested for many rotating food intolerances. Egg yolks, ancient grains, fruit, rice, cheese, beans, wheat, oats all came and went until finally he tested for food phenolics. With the beginning of that, this was the first list of foods he could and couldn’t eat at around age 2:
Pulling the above foods had him wake one time less per night for a small time, then he’d revert back to multiple wakings. Eliminating so many foods over time was tricky for me as well due to breastfeeding. Between he and I, the stress was so high, both of us were overreacting to so many things. There were days where he would have nothing more than a bite or two of food. I was so grateful for nursing and the nutrition it brought him — I’m not so sure what we would have done without it. Like a little animal, it seemed he knew when food wasn’t working for him.
Because I was testing for parasites around the time I got pregnant with Odin, I wondered if they could be a problem, though they never tested for him in our office. Turns out we didn’t have the right testing vials. When he finally tested for parasites, it made so much sense what was wreaking havoc on his little body. It explained his experience and symptoms, though no protocol had worked to expel these parasites, so I continued my search to support him.
Other symptoms he began to show include:
- feeling like he was “sick” every other week with something
- random puking with no other signs of sickness
- allergy episodes with bright red swelling on his arm, as if he had just had a blood pressure cuff on too tight
- sinus congestion
- rashes on his face and torso
- itching (at night)
- flakey and soft bowel movements
- tummy aches
These symptoms came and went, and by the time he was 3 ½, they included itching anus, cat allergies, seasonal allergies, and a respiratory allergy to our dog of two years, and once monthly asthma attacks around 1:15 a.m. Once I got the asthma attacks under control, the next three months he woke around midnight (on a full moon) and inconsolably thrashed and screamed for three hours. It occurred like he was still sleeping, but with his eyes open — wanted out of his room, out of my arms, into my arms, into his bed, onto the couch, onto my bed, back into my arms, throwing his body around like nothing I’d ever seen before. He’d wake the next morning completely exhausted, and I would be in tears.
Enter the perfect timing of the Ulan Nutrition Systems annual spring symposium and the promise of unlocking hidden and morphed immune challenges. There are fewer than 2,000 of us trained as Clinical Masters in advanced Nutrition Response Testing in the nation. There were only 125 of us at this symposium being taught this ground breaking technology. What I found in my own health blew my mind. I went home and found MULTIPLE morphed and hidden immune challenges in Odin.
Let me tell you something. Being woken in the night by what I thought was him coughing, and upon further listening, realizing our son couldn’t breathe and was having an asthma attack, is something I don’t wish upon any parent. Running into his room as he’s pushing at his trachea gasping for air, trying to call out for me, exhaling more than he’s able to inhale is something I never want to experience again. I am beyond grateful for the tools and resources I have, my ability to stay calm, and my quick thinking. With each of those times, it took about 5 minutes for me to pull him out of the attack, and with his lethargic and heavy body laying against mine, sitting upright in our bed, I’d quietly weep tears of relief. From that night on there was no more sleep as I lay listening for him, not wanting him to experience that fear of not being heard ever again.
March 3, 2019
It was exciting to have found these deeper immune challenges, though the problem was the lack of supplementation to handle them. With access to nearly 50 supplement lines, we couldn’t find a thing to test for handling the parasites we were dealing with, and we needed answers.
Odin is intuitive. He would tell me in the middle of the night that he could feel “buggies moving around in my stomach”. He would point to where and would sometimes slap his stomach, grab his skin, or punch himself in the nose. My heart hurt for him, and my commitment to this sweet little man kept me searching.
April 16, 2019
A colleague introduced me to a company called Cellcore Biosciences, and I knew we had to try it.
What happened next still feels like a miracle to me. He slept through the night for four nights in a row for 8 – 10 hours each night — after two days on the product!
Three days in, I found a piece of tapeworm in his wet diaper, and when I grabbed my husband to show him, he told me there had been one in his wet diaper the day before as well.
The sleeping continued. This time, if he woke, it was to have a quick diaper change, or a snuggle that would put him right back to sleep. There were mornings I would wake up to him quietly snuggling in bed with us, having worked his way under my arm without waking me.
Remember how small he was? This boy grew 2.5” in less than 3 months and completely potty trained himself during that time as well. His already “hunormous” vocabulary exploded, and the mollescum went away, leaving scars behind. There are no foods left on his intolerance list.
Four months later, still on the same protocol, he had a bowel movement that looked like a little barbell held together by a 2” piece of string that smelled absolutely putrid. In that moment I knew we may not be done with the path that we’re on, but we’re well on our way to true wellness. He continues to pass parasites to this day.
Learn more about Cellcore’s parasite support and the Full Moon Challenge. Then be sure to download our Full Moon Survival Guide, which teaches you how to properly support your physical and emotional health during a parasite cleanse. We walk you through the what, when, how, and why of the Full Moon Challenge (for adults and kids).
Odin’s Health Journey Continues
On his 4th birthday, I knew it was time for me to quit nursing him. We talked about how much we loved nursing together, how much the “nursey” milk helped him to grow and how strong his body is because of it. We talked about how tired mama’s body is and how now that his body is so big and strong, mama needs a little break. He held my cheeks in his hands and said to me as both of us cried, “It’s ok mama, I just love you and want to be with you.” He nursed for the last time just one day after his birthday. I’m so glad I stuck with the commitment to keep him feeling safe with breastfeeding. The power of my breastmilk in keeping his constitution solid and steady is more than I’ll ever know. It’s obvious to me that his intuitive ability has something to do with our closeness and being tuned in to each other’s needs.
We’re currently working through the mold, babesia, and Lyme with him. With further training we’re able to understand his ongoing needs and what’s been laying under the surface all this time.
As mamas, we give the gift that keeps on giving in the form of our microbiome. I can’t say enough about doing the work to clean it up before having our babies. There is so much I wished I had known about my health prior to having children. What I’m grateful for now are the tools we have to support families like us through their path to true health.
I’m so clear on the lessons in this for me both as a mother and as a practitioner.
46 months of not sleeping through the night are over.
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