Patient Care Story – Sleeping Easy

Chiro Sleep Story - 1

Conscientious Care at AltaVie Helps One Family to Sleep Easy

The lack of sleep that many parents experience is often spoken of as a light-hearted joke. But Emily and her husband weren’t laughing as chronic sleep deprivation took over their lives after the birth of their second child.

Their first daughter Makena had no major sleep or health issues and they were looking forward to their second baby’s arrival. Baby Ellie was born in August 2017 and it seemed like she came out screaming. She would scream for hours every day as if she was in terrible pain and she would continue to scream as she woke up repeatedly throughout the night.  Their doctor couldn’t find anything wrong. All their doctor could say was that babies cry and it was likely colic. Emily and her husband tried everything in the book to help Ellie. Emily restricted her diet, they bought every colic remedy on the market, and went through endless attempts at repositioning, bouncing, rocking, and soothing Ellie to sleep.

Ellie regularly wore a scowl on her face and never seemed happy. Concerningly, she also didn’t poop regularly either. They knew something was wrong but had no idea what it was. The stress and sleep deprivation began to take a toll on Emily and she started to suffer from postpartum depression. She was also starting to wonder if something was permanently wrong with Ellie.

Finding Real Solutions

Emily shared some of the challenges she was facing with Ellie on social media one day. Within 24 hours, she had three replies telling her to try chiropractic care for babies. Emily had no previous experience with "baby chiropractors", but she felt the immediate response from her friends was a sign she couldn’t ignore.  Her mother-in-law had been going to AltaVie and knew they specialized in care for babies and moms, so Emily booked a phone consult with Dr. Anna Marie.

That first discussion with Dr. Anna Marie gave Emily hope that she could help and she took Ellie in for her first chiropractic adjustment when she was about two months old. After their first visit, Emily was astounded when Ellie slept for nearly five hours straight. She had never slept longer than one hour at a time before. Emily also noticed a subtle personality change in Ellie that day. Her usual grumpy demeanour started to give way to a happy, smiley baby.

Dr. Anna Marie continued to work closely with Emily and Ellie over the coming months as she helped correct any spinal misalignments and discuss strategies they could use at home to assist Ellie’s sleep. Emily also started taking Ellie for CranioSacral Therapy massages at AltaVie with one of their Registered Massage Therapists.  Ellie’s sleep gradually improved, with longer and longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep. This also meant the whole family could start sleeping again, which was a very welcome change.

Getting Excited About Poop

Another ongoing issue was the fact Ellie had infrequent bowel movements. Their Medical Doctor never found a cause. Also, it’s possible Ellie’s painful screams may have been partially linked to her constipation.  The MD prescribed suppositories and anal massage that Emily needed to do every two days to help move things along. Needless to say, this was not one of Emily’s favourite tasks.

Ellie went to chiropractic treatment and massage for about two months with very little effect on her constipation. Then, quite abruptly, Ellie started to poop six times a day. This continued for two weeks straight.  Emily was concerned about the sudden turn-around and asked Dr. Anna Marie if she could slow things down a bit. It was too much of a good thing! Dr. Anna Marie assured Emily it was perfectly normal and Ellie’s system was simply getting back on track.

Ever since then, Ellie has had regular, healthy bowel movements. Emily never thought she’d get excited about poop but now it’s great news whenever she has to change a diaper.

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A Welcoming Environment

Emily has always appreciated the variety of resources available at AltaVie. She can go to one place for both chiropractic and massage treatments. In addition, Dr. Anna Marie will readily consult with the Naturopath who works at AltaVie for further assistance and insights.

Even the receptionists provide a supportive hand when needed, often playing with one child while the other one is receiving care. One time after Ellie had a massage, Emily was surprised to come into the waiting room to find Makena sitting with Dr. Anna Marie’s while she was reading her a story.  “That’s certainly not in her job description. She obviously does it because she really cares about her patients,” Emily said. “The whole clinic is built around going the extra mile for families.”

An Unexpected Miracle

Emily still remembers how hard Ellie’s sleepless nights and bouts of screaming were on their family. She never expected the amount that Ellie could change for the better in such a short time. Ellie now laughs, smiles, and loves interacting with everyone in her family. She still has a fiery temper but now Emily knows it’s simply part of Ellie’s lively personality.

Ellie continues to wake up a couple times a night, but this is a vast improvement over waking up every 45 minutes all night, every night. “We’ve come a long, long way and I’m so very grateful,” Emily said.

“I did not expect such a miracle, but Dr. Anna Marie changed Ellie into a happy, normal baby,” Emily said. “I tell everyone who has children with sleep or crying problems to go to AltaVie because they’re amazing. They can really help."

This true story was written up as a gift by one of our mama's.  She interviewed Emily to help express her experience with chiropractic care at AltaVie.  Every family we work with has their own unique story.  We are honoured to be part of Emily and her family's health journey. Thank you for sharing, Emily!

To learn more about the mama who helped share this story, check our Zoe's LinkedIn Profile.

About Anna Marie Gierach

Dr Anna Marie Gierach is a chiropractor with a big heart, a brilliant brain, and a ton of energy. Her practice focuses on family health, from preconception prep and pregnancy to kids and adults of all ages. She is invested in lifelong learning - whether clinically, in the kitchen, on the yoga mat, or adventuring around the world.

2 thoughts on “Patient Care Story – Sleeping Easy

  1. Aww what a cute baby! I had no idea that there is chiropractors for babies! Yes MASSAGES are the best thing EVER! I bet I could of massaged Th at sweet baby to sleep! ❤

    1. We have a lot of fun and work with so many amazingly sweet little babes. They do tend to love massage! Our RMTs do infant massage and craniosacral and teach parents how to do massage at home too.

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