I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea when I was 8 months pregnant. I was very reluctant to trial CPAP but I had heard it could transform the lives of people with OSA so I gave it a go.
The first few nights that I used it were great; I slept for long periods and loved being able to comfortably breathe through my nose for the first time since I could remember. I woke in the mornings feeling refreshed and full of energy instead of groggy and lethargic.
After the initial success and as my pregnancy progressed I started to find it harder to tolerate the CPAP. I would lay awake feeling as if I was concentrating too hard on my breathing or I would find it hard to get into a position that was comfortable with the mask. I gave up using the CPAP completely in the days leading up to the birth of my daughter and for the few days afterwards. It wasn’t until we came home from the hospital that I realized just how great CPAP was. My sleep apnea was worse than ever because I was so exhausted. I managed to get 3 – 4 hour stints of “CPAP sleep” whilst my husband looked after our daughter and it made the world of difference to me. It gave me the quality of sleep that I needed to have enough energy to keep up with a young baby.
It’s been five months since I started using CPAP and I still battle with image issues and wish that I could sleep normally without looking like an elephant! The nights of battling with the machine are now far outnumbered by the nights of good, comfortable sleep. I just have to keep reminding myself that I feel so much better when I sleep with the CPAP. The most important thing of all, especially now I have a daughter, is that I know it’s hugely beneficial to my long term health which acts as a powerful motivator for me.