A few months ago I legitimately thought I’d never again sleep through the night without interruption. It wasn’t that irrational of a fear either, like the one you have when the stomach flu hits your house and it finally gets to you and you vomit all day and start to wonder if you’ll ever be able to keep food down again… No, this fear was a little more founded.
You see, my husband and I had been up almost all night with a screaming two year-old nearly every night for 2 and a half months.
Was she getting teeth? No.
Did she have an ear infection? No.
Did she appear to be in pain? Yes.
Would she point to an owie or explain anything to us? No.
(This is a very verbal two year-old we were dealing with, mind you. During the day she’d say things like, “Can I please have a tortilla?” or “There’s a hair in my mouth. Get it out.” So to have her refuse to speak to give us any indication of the problem was extremely frustrating.)
Not only was this girl problematic at night but she also refused to obey ANYTHING I asked of her during the day. She was more difficult than her twin older brothers were at that age COMBINED. Every day was an all out battle of the will and I, the parent, was losing.
On top of that, she’d rarely nap– and if she did it’d be after a 3 hour-long struggle to do so.
In addition to this, she would not sit down to read even one page of a book or watch more than 1 minute of TV— EVER!
Are you getting the picture?
Very little sleep at night, rarely napping during the day, no ability to sit for any length of time and no willingness to obey.
I felt like I was on the verge of being admitted for mental health services!
One afternoon I met with Rebecca, a dear friend of mine, and she asked how I was doing. I couldn’t even pretend I was okay, so I gave her my sob story: Luca will not stop waking up at night. She’s up for hours at a time crying and we have no idea why. She’s beyond horrible during the day. I’m exhausted and I can’t take it anymore!
Rebecca prayed for us and asked God to make it clear what was going on. I was so thankful that she brought our cares to the Lord. It was refreshing to see that seeking Him was her first solution, though, admittedly it was one of my last resorts.
The next night was Luca’s worst night up to that point. She woke up at 11pm and by 2am she was still awake, still screaming, still not telling me why.
So I decided to take her on a drive. I drove till 5am. She slept for about 45 minutes of that time.
In 6 hours she slept for less than one hour. I was going to lose my mind.
That day I begged God to either make it stop or give us answers. I begged him desperately.
My first thought the following morning: “I wonder if Luca has a gluten intolerance…”
Next thought: “Where in the world did that thought come from?”
I googled “gluten intolerance symptoms in toddlers”.
She fit the bill. It was crazy!
Not only were the markers a. irritability due to pain, b. frequent waking up at night, c. little napping, and d. inability to concentrate, so were very foul smelling and frequent bowel movements separated by bouts of constipation (she would normally poop 5 times a day- and each time we’d have to evacuate the house because it was so pungent) and then once a week be constipated. Skin rashes were also common, and she had been suffering from them for a while.
I woke up my husband (which at the time seemed perfectly legit but looking back wasn’t very nice because he’d been up with a screaming two year-old that night!) and shared my preliminary findings.
We decided to visit the pediatrician to see if he had any answers.
We love and have the utmost respect for our pediatrician but guess what– the 100s of dollars we spent on tests gave us nothing conclusive. One of her blood levels tested *a tiny bit* high, her urine was *slightly* abnormal, her stool was fine, but all in all, it told us nothing.
We went gluten-free anyway. And within 3 days she was a different kid! I mean, she’s still 2 so we have our moments and not everything is perfect but she is:
Sleeping better at night. (She isn’t sleeping all the way through the night every night but she doesn’t scream anymore, especially not for hours on end.)
Taking naps willingly most days.
Obeying a good chunk of the time.
Sitting down for an entire book (or two or three!).
Watching up to 20 minutes of a show a day. 😆
Having only 1-2 BMs most days and, of course it IS poop so it doesn’t smell good but not at all like it used to (unless she accidentally has gluten– then it’s BAD!).
Luca adapted to her new diet with tremendous ease. We are so thankful! She’ll point to a brownie at church and say, “Does this gluten in in in it?” (She always adds the extra “ins”. It’s cute:).) And if I say yes she replies, “Oh, then I can’t have it. It’ll make my tummy hurt.” A two year-old willingly gives up sweets to avoid a nasty tummy ache. 👈 If that’s not telling of a gluten sensitivity, I don’t know what is.
After after 2 and a half months of being gluten free, we are entirely convinced that she does NOT have Celiac disease but rather is gluten sensitive. Blood work doesn’t usually reflect that, so it makes sense why our tests were inconclusive. In order to be officially diagnosed she’d have to go back on gluten every day for the next 6 months and then have a biopsy done. Kerry and I and our pediatrician all agree that’s not worth it. If the GF diet is working stick with it!
Oh man, there is still SO MUCH I could say but this post is looooooong so I’m going to wrap it up. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I will be sure to get back to you. 💕