Hey again! So the other day, I gave you a little glimpse into who I am and what has brought me to where I am today. Well…kinda. I didn’t quite get to the “where I am today” part. There are A LOT of bumps along the way, as I am sure you can completely relate to. Life is a tough road, but you really need to make the most of the journey. No matter if you are 16 or 96, I am sure that you have had a few bumps of your own. Some that maybe others don’t think is that big of a deal and may even tell you that you are being “overly dramatic” or “making a mountain out of a mole hill”, but what they don’t understand is that from your perspective it may just be THAT BIG of a deal. Urgency and the size and scope of things that happen to us really lies in the eye and perspective of the beholder. If it is an outsider looking in, or someone who has been through something very similar to what you have gone through, they may not think it is as big as you do, but you have to keep in mind that they are not living in it now and just take what they say with a grain of salt. So…anywho…I am rambling again…there was a point to all of this.
I want to walk you through the more recent years and bring you up to speed on me. As I mentioned the other day, my husband and I have 4 children. What I didn’t mention is that prior to my son being born, I had a miscarriage. Technically, what the doctors call it is a blighted ovum. It is easier for me to just say miscarriage as to not get a bunch of snide remarks and funny looks because when people hear “blighted ovum” they tried to tell me that I “wasn’t really pregnant”. That irritates me more than anything! I was pregnant and it was real! A blighted ovum is when an egg is fertilized and attaches itself to the uterine wall, but nothing else develops. It just remains a small yolk sack. Because there was no developing fetus or no heartbeat, many people tried to tell me that it wasn’t real. But, I will tell you that the pain (physical and emotional) was very real. I went through what a lot of women go through when miscarrying a pregnancy, and didn’t get out of bed for 3 days just crying. My husband stayed home from work for those 3 days to be with me because he knew how badly I wanted a child of my own. He knew what kind of toll that was taking on me and actually, almost lost his job over it. Thankfully, that didn’t happen! I went through some horrible thoughts though. I thought that my dream of mothering my own children was going to be just a dream and not something that could have been real. Much like my dream of working for the Feds after my knee injury. Thankfully, that was not the case and the next month, we conceived again.
When I realized I was pregnant again, I was terrified! I found out I was pregnant when I was 11 weeks along. This was just as far along as I was when I lost the first one. I called the doctor and was able to get in right away for an ultra sound. You cannot imagine my relief when my husband and I was able to sit in the room and listen to our baby’s heartbeat for the first time! On the way home, he even asked if he was allowed to start telling people now that we knew that the baby was OK. 🙂
I did everything I could to make sure that this baby was going to stay with me. I ate all of the right foods, made sure that I didn’t drink anything bad and maintained a very healthy pregnancy. In December of that year, my son was born after an induction and eventual C-Section. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life and I remember holding him one night alone in my hospital room just smelling his small head and cuddling his soft skin. I cried as I whispered to him how in love I was with him and that I had waited for him for so long. He was my little angel, the answer to my prayers.
He was a very good baby, but we had noticed some things as he was growing older that raised some “flags” for us. As a brand new mother, I took what the pediatrician said as fact and in hindsight wish I would have listened to my instincts. He was hitting the right mile stones at first and then when he was about 6 months old, I noticed that he started rocking hard in his highchair. In college, I was a forensic psychology major and we did go over several mental illnesses and disabilities, his behavior led me to think about autism, but the doctor told me it was just a phase and he would “grow out of it”. Like I mentioned, I took her word as gold and wrote it off as nothing. Thankfully, my husband did not take it that way at all. Instead of crawling on all 4’s, my son did this “army crawl” type of thing by letting his legs drag behind him while he used his elbows to pull himself along. He then started to pull himself up and was finally walking by 13/14 months old. By 18 months old, my son’s verbal skills started to regress. He “talked” with his mouth closed and a lot of his speech was just mumbles. My husband kept asking to take him to get checked out because there was something wrong developmentally. I kept turning him down, saying that the doctor said that he was fine. (He still had not grown out of his rocking phase) Around the 2 year mark, he started having TERRIBLE night terrors. He would wake up in the middle of the night SCREAMING and there was nothing we could do to calm him down. The only thing that worked was my husband wrapping his arms and legs around this small boy until he was completely spent. Eventually, it led to my husband letting our son fall asleep with him on the couch and then me taking him to bed. Sometimes they just slept on the couch together, just to keep our son calm. By the time our son was about to turn 3 years old, he was barely saying 5 words. Our daughter, who is just 1 year younger than him, was developmentally already surpassing him. I couldn’t deny it any longer and my husband took him to be evaluated. The results came back and that is when we found that my perfect little boy had Autism. I was crushed! I bawled my eyes out for 4 days straight. I couldn’t believe that my baby would have anything wrong with him. Why? I did everything right, I didn’t eat bad foods, I didn’t drink anything I wasn’t supposed to. Neither of us had any family history of Autism.
There is nothing that I am aware of that is a sure cause of Autism. I completely blamed myself, because I had no other explanation. It couldn’t have been because he got vaccinated. My daughter had the very same vaccines and was perfectly fine. My husband did everything he could as soon as we found out to get our son the resources he needed in order to help him as best as we could. We enrolled him in preschool as a special needs student and got an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in place for him. That first day of school, as he hid under the dining table was the first time I heard the most beautiful sound come out of him. My son, in an attempt to not have to go to school, called me “Mom”. I cried as I pulled him out from under the table and gave him the biggest hug. I didn’t want to let him go after that, but I knew that he could only do better in an environment with other kids and with a teacher who know how to best handle his educational needs. We got him enrolled in speech therapy and occupational therapy as well. He is now 9 years old and is doing very well. I swear he has a photographic memory! He is so smart! He is still delayed in reading and in math, but he works very hard with my husband on these things throughout the week. Unfortunately, there was some bullying going on at his school and we had to pull him out after the 1st grade. He has been doing online school with my husband for the last 2 years and is making so much more progress than he did in a traditional school setting. He makes me so proud. He tries so hard and while he does get frustrated, he knows that both his father and I will do everything we can to help him the best we can. While I was very upset to learn about his diagnosis in the beginning. I can honestly say that I would not change that for the world. He is just who God intended him to be. He has taught me SO MUCH about compassion, unconditional love, and patience.
So, while there may be bumps along the way, take them as they come and know that they are there for a reason. They are there to teach us, guide us, and show us the beauty in our lives.