One morning, just after Leila turned one, I went to check on her. She had always been a good sleeper, but this particular morning she was snoozing way past her regular wake-up time. I picked her up and gently tried to nudge her awake. Her skin felt cool and clammy. Her hair soaked in sweat. Her breath strong and fruity. She woke up, rolled her eyes back into her head and fell asleep. I tried sitting her up, and she just couldn’t keep her eyes open. I took her temperature and it was the opposite of a fever, it was low. Worried, I called the doctor. As I waited for a call back, I did the only thing I could think of, and gave her tiny bites of banana as she went in and out of sleep. The more banana I could get into her, the more lucid she became. At one point she actually sat up and started ravenously taking bites.
When I finally got her into the doctor, I asked if this could possibly be ketotic hypoglycemia. The doctor scoffed and told me Leila had simply had a night terror. A what?! How in the world was this a night terror? I knew friends whose kids had night terrors, and this definitely wasn’t it. She was limp, a rag doll, only awakened by sugar. Her breath was strong and fruity, not usual morning breath. I told all of this to the doctor and she just stared at me.
Nothing I said was going to convince her, and in the end it didn’t matter.
There’s nothing you can do about ketotic hypoglycemia except to be vigilant about it, especially when your child is sick. I learned everything I could about how to minimize risk, and how to react when it happens. In the end, it’s up to me to keep Leila safe.
My intuition has proven correct. When Leila catches a virus, I make sure she gets extra snacks before bed. Sometimes if she hasn’t eaten enough during the day, I’ll wake her up in the middle of the night to eat a banana. Sometimes no matter what I do, she wakes up in a hypoglycemic episode anyways. That’s what happened this morning. She has been sick since Saturday, and this morning she stumbled out of bed with that glassy look in her eyes. Sure enough she had a cold sweat, fruity breath, and her eyes looked like she could pass out at any moment. I quickly gave her a cookie and a banana, got her in the bath, and gave her water and juice. A few minutes after eating the banana, her eyes brightened and opened fully.
My point in sharing this is to encourage you to be an advocate for your health and the health of your family. If you feel like something is wrong, push for an answer. If the doctor doesn’t believe you, find a new doctor and educate yourself. You know your child better than anyone else.
If I hadn’t gone with my gut, Leila could have gotten into a dangerous situation. Now even though it’s scary, I’m prepared. The medical literature says most kids grow out of this condition by the time they turn 10. Until then, I’ll keep buying bananas.
Have you ever had to stick with your “Mama intuition” even when the doctor didn’t agree?