A Facebook memory from 4 years ago came up the other day, it was two pictures of a beautiful sunny day of walking paths my husband and I decided to walk on that day to get out of the house. We needed to get out and distract ourselves because it was the day we found out we were pregnant, it was April 12, 2014. We were so excited and I wanted to tell everyone, but of course we waited because it was so early. We had 2.5 days of absolute bliss before our journey into parenthood began. I went to get blood work to confirm I was pregnant and I wasn't worried as I had 3 positive tests over those 2.5 days. I went in for the results and yes I was pregnant! But the doctor didn't seem very happy and he proceeded to tell me my hormone levels were too low and I would loose the baby. I didn't hear anything after those words, he kept talking and I nodded my head but wasn't really comprehending his directions. He handed me another form for bloodwork and to return in 5 days. I walked out barely seeing the road from tears in my eyes and sat in my car crying and screaming and hitting my steering wheel saying "Why, why is this happening." My husband was working, I sent him a text to call me. I had no idea how I was going to tell him. I called my mom, no answer. I called my dad, "Hi honey how are you?" I could barely speak, through tears I managed to get out, "Dad, I am pregnant but I am going to loose the baby." This is the sentence of how my whole immediate family and very close friends found out I was pregnant. It was not a joyous occasion and a time to celebrate. I took a few days off work and put myself on bed rest, my husband was so supportive and I can't imagine what it was like for him as well. Those early days at home each time I felt a cramp or slight pain I thought, "Is this it? is this the beginning of my baby dying?" I cannot describe what sadness I was feeling, but while resting in bed I held onto my stomach and I talked to my child, "You fight, I fight. Momma will lie in this bed for 9 months if I have to. You fight, I fight." Thankfully the doctor was wrong and 9 months after some more compilations, bed rest for two weeks due to a placenta tear, so many ultrasounds, a couple more dodgy doctor recommendations, we welcomed our beautiful baby boy, Joshua, into this world at 9 lbs 14 oz. Little did I know that those early days of pregnancy were really the beginning of our struggles and fighting for our child.
Fast forward to Joshua being 18 months and I am standing in the parenting section looking at books with regards to Sensory Processing Disorder and crying in the store because I am wondering how we got to this point and me picking out books in the "Special Needs" section. Reading about possible causes such as stress during pregnancy, genetics, environmental factors, etc. It made me think about our pregnancy and how challenging, tough, and frustrating for him the first year was. It was hard not to blame myself a bit, even though I knew it wasn't my fault.
The best way to describe Joshua when he was born is, he loved his momma and nobody else. The first few weeks was tough, as it is for every new parent, but Joshua wouldn't settle for anyone but me and sometimes my mom. My husband was trying so hard to connect and bond with his son, but Joshua just continusly screamed when Dave would hold him. I came down one night, as I was trying to get some desperately needed sleep, because Joshua was loosing his mind. Once Joshua was in my arms he would stop crying, my husband looked at me and said, "I don't think he likes me." My heart broke for my husband, looking back we understand the struggles so much better now but in that moment that must have been so difficult for my husband.
Then he slowly loved his momma and daddy but nobody else. From two months to seven months nobody else but momma or Daddy could hold, touch, or barely look at him. I remember a time while at bulk barn, I think he was about 5-6 months old and I was paying for some snacks when Joshua just began to loose his mind, screaming his head off. A lady in the next line at least 5 feet away looked at me and said, "I just looked at him." I smiled and tried to calm him down, knowing that he wasn't going to and our outing was done. The lady behind me said, "Oh, you don't get out much?" I said, "No, we do quite often, he is just very sensitive to new people." The lady's face told me what she was thinking. I quickly got out of the store and packed up my screaming baby into the car and went home. This was a very common occurrence, we couldn't participate in community programs such as library music classes because a burst of laughter would happen and that was it, he would start screaming and we would have to leave no matter what I tried. Even at two months he couldn't handle new environments, and I would be rocking him at the front door of a relatives house trying to stay far enough away from new people so I could at least not have to go home.
At seven months old I decided I needed help and the ability to have someone else hold him for a little while. My sister and brother in law are my heros, as I dropped Joshua off every Saturday for weeks and they dealt with so much screaming for the hour I was gone. A little backstory, the first time I took Joshua to my sisters for a visit he was about 3 months, he screamed and screamed and nothing calmed him down, so I gave in after 45 min and left. The only way they could keep him calm was to have him cuddled up on my sister with his head away from her and he would watch this very visually stimulating music video from "The Hungry Catepillar" on Netflix. They would play it over and over again, nobody could talk, and if he lifted his head and physically saw it was not me holding him he would scream.
The first year of his life was very challenging, stressful, and lonely. There was so much screaming and crying, and me feeling helpless. We did have lots of wonderful memories and lots of laughter as well, but unfortunately their did seem to be more unhappy and challenging times.
I am a mom to an amazing young son who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2.5 years old. This blog is about the journey we have travelled as a family to discover how our son communicates and to be a happy child in a world that doesn't quite feel right to him. I am an Early Childhood Educator and I use my passion of play and individual needs to support our son to live a joyous and happy life.