Ten years ago, I was the most exhausted I have ever been in my life. I assured myself it was the pregnancy. Although, my prior pregnancy with my daughter was blissful, I was full of energy, and vigor. This time was different though, I was tired all the time, emotional, I could sleep all day every day. And, I often did.
We were thrilled. My at the time boyfriend (now husband) and I were poor, we didn’t have much, but we felt like the richest people in the world because, we had true love and a new life to share it with.
His birth was truly magical. They laid his tiny blue body on my belly and I was filled with pure bliss. I held him, and cried joyfully. He was so perfect. The CNM mentioned an extra lobe on his placenta and sent it to the lab. He likely had a phantom twin, who passed early in utero. My husband and I rarely talk about this.
My son never slept more than an hour. Thank god I produced enough milk to nurse hourly. It continued past 3 months, 6 months, his first birthday, and yes, at his 2nd birthday I was still nursing this child every hour, every night. This is no exaggeration. When he was two and a half, this was still going on. I was tired and overwhelmed and stopped breast feeding, I put a small bed in our room, and forced him to sleep alone. I felt guilty, I still do…. oh the many guilts of motherhood.
However, his lack of sleep was likely the first sign of something being “different” still to me he was perfect. So perfect, we worshiped each other, as mother and child should.
Angelic and sweet, my boy never had tantrums, he rarely spoke at all. I was assured my his doctor, that it was due to him having a very attentive mother and a very talkative sister. This relived some of my fears, but inside I knew he was different.
There was nothing wrong with him, he was just different.
At the are of two my boy who hardly spoke, could read! He could read words on the T.V. toy boxes, and signs. Not a lot of words, but enough to comfort my fears of an intellectual disability.
Years later, my bright boy was having a lot of trouble in school. He had almost daily tantrums and was such a distraction to the other students. We had him take some speech therapy which helped a lot, but also aidined in him talking NON-STOP about his obsessions. (Great for home, not for school) He was still a strong reader, and in 1st grade he was the strongest reader in his grade, his teacher talked about having him move up a grade for language arts. Nothing came of it though.
After fighting with the school over his behaviors for years. It finally occurred to me, the suspicions I had when he was a “different” little baby were true. He was autistic. I cried, I was angry, I was angry at at everyone, and, I was very angry with myself for not fighting for what I knew was true years ago. I cried a lot, privately, and every time I got in my car alone, the tears rolled down my face. I reached out for help from my family, my mother, my in-laws, but they just denied the truth.
Our community is small, and finding a doctor to help get a diagnoses was so difficult. We have one doctor in our area who can do this kind diagnoses. We called them daily and got the run around each time. The only place we could find to help us was a 3 hour drive away. But, that gave us a little hope. Eventually, we found some help from someone who had worked with the local doctor in the past. He called them for us, explained how desperate we were, and he got us an appointment. I’m very thankful for that.