Breath Holding Spells: An Update

It's been awhile since I have updated you guys on Winter and her dreaded Breath Holding Spells. If you don't know what they are, you can read about them in our first post describing what they are and what they look like for us HERE


These spells, while not harmful to Winter, have caused some major anxiety for me. There are moments when I am so fearful that she will be triggered by one. I almost "wait" for it to happen, if that makes sense? This way of living, anticipating the worst, is not and was not a fun way to live. I have had to do a ton of work around my thoughts and reshape the way I think about the spells. Instead of thinking about impending doom, I think about a quote I learned from one the greats, Winnie the Pooh:

Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?’ ‘Supposing it didn’t,’ said Pooh after careful thought. Piglet was comforted by this.
— A.A. Milne

So rather than thinking, "Oh no, she may have a spell", I think, "Suppose she didn't?" just like Pooh did. That seems to ease my overelaborate mind and really help.

The doctors said that most children grow out of them by the time they are two, while others won't until the are six. I have been praying that Winter will be in the age two category. When they were at its worst, she would have them everyday for about three to five days a week (and up to three per day). Then after a week of this pattern, they would seem to ease up for a few more weeks before they amped back up again. 

Her triggers still remain the same: Being overtired, falling down and getting hurt, and being taken away from me (or me leaving her). 

Over the summer, however, Winter was doing so well. It had been a month and half since she had one and I was wishful in thinking that maybe that phase was behind us. The night of a neighborhood block party, I told my friend that she hadn't had one in such a long time. That same night, we pushed bedtime to stay out a little longer at the BBQ. When we got home, Winter was overtired and had one during the transition from the stroller to her room. I felt devastated. The next day, Winter and I were walking on a path outside, and she fell and had another one. Then two days later (which was on August 8), she had another one when Perry put her to bed because I had some work to do. Three in a week! Sigh. 

I am still hopeful that she will outgrow them soon. As a school psychologist, I am always analyzing data. If a child has a frequent behavior and we see a decrease in frequency, my team and I are always excited that the child made progress. I am great at thinking about a child's behavior in terms of data at work, but when it comes to my own kid, I am highly emotional and struggle to think logically. I was so grateful when someone saw my story on Instagram about how discouraged I was that she had one, and reached out to remind that a month and half gap was progress. She too is a school psychologist! I just love the Instagram community so much. I can't thank you all enough for the messages and outpouring love that you set me on the day I needed it the most. 

Fingers crossed we can go another month and half again!

Winter's Darling Vintage Dress c/o A Rocking Cradle | Terra's Under Shirt c/o Tobi

Photography by Brittany Renee