“This is autism.”
The doctor said it so nonchalantly, as if she had held up the pen in her hand and said “This is a pen.” or pointed to the chair she was seated in and said “This is a chair.”
My mother in law and I looked at each other in disbelief, not at the diagnosis because we had been expecting that, but at the doctor’s casual demeaner.
“Do you have any questions?”
Well, yes. Of course we did. So many questions but, at that moment, we were too stunned and overwelmed by all of the thoughts in our minds to ask them. We tried our best, more so my amazing mother in law than me, but in the end we ended up walking away from that doctor’s office frustrated and feeling a bit let down.
See, we had waited months for an appointment to come up with a developmental specialist and we were feeling a bit defeated leaving with little more than an “official diagnosis” and some genetic testing, but little other information about my son’s condition. No plan of action, that we were aware of, and no real idea what this would mean for him.
A little background on my family: My husband and I were highschool sweethearts and have been together for nearly 10 years now, 4 of those married. We graduated high school together and started college together, graduating a year apart from one another, and having a child along the way. Our first child: John.
We had been married around 10 months when we discovered that we were expecting John. It was a wonderful surprise to us and we were exciting and nervous to see where the future would take us. I still had a year and a half of school and Dillan was about to complete his degree in just a couple of months. We had been pregnant once before but that pregnancy ended quite traumatically in emergency surgery for me, as it turned out to be ectopic and my tue burst. We had worried whether we’d have trouble conceiving again after that incident, but apparently had no issues with only one fallopian tube left. John was my amazing miracle rainbow baby.
I had the easiest pregnancy ever with John. No real sickness, a little foot swelling near the end, and I worked up to the day I went into labor. On October 24th, 2014, we welcome our beautiful firstborn boy into the world at 3:33am. He was so perfect! (To us at least, but we aren’t biased at all! haha)
Later that day, after tons and tons of visitors, the nurses noticed that his skin had taken on a yellow hue. John had to be put on the bilirubin lights and we were uncertain if he’d be able to come home on the same day that I would be going home. I remember crying because I just wanted to hold my new baby and was only allowed to at feeding times. Fortunately, we were able to bring him home with the use of a rented “bili-bed” that he had to use at home for his first few days of life. We were so thankful when we got the go ahead to take him off of it and were able to hold and cuddle him as much as we wanted!
From that day on, everything seemed well and we did everything we thought we should as new parents. I started out breastfeeding, until it came time for my student teaching and 3months in, I could no longer keep up with the pumping, so we switched to formula. It broke my heart but at the same time I believe “fed is best.” You do what you have to do! Life went on, with our amazing family and friends caring for him, as I finished my music education degree. John kept growing and hit all of his milestones. Sitting up by 6 months old. Walking by 11 months. First tooth at 11 months. (And I was worried he’d never get any by that point haha!)
Then his one year checkup came and his doctor asked all of the usual questions including “How many words does he say?” At the time, we were able to tell her that he said “dada” (Not realizing this was not an actual “word” to him yet. Just a sound.” and she told us he was a little behind and should have 3 words by now, but that it was not a big deal at the moment. He’d catch up. As of this point, a year and a half later, he has not “caught up.”
I am going to stop there for the night because there is just so much more to tell about our story and it is getting late here. I will come back another time and fill in the spaces between his first birthday and his diagnosis. Thank you for those who have read my first post. I hope this blog will help me to express my thoughts and feelings alogn this journey. As a stay at home mom to 2 children, currently, I do not get to discuss things as fully as need to. I came up with the idea for this blog months ago, but my husband was initially opposed to it, as he is wary of putting information out on the internet. I simply explained to him that this will be a way for me to express myself and connect with others, whether they are going through similar things or would like more information on our progress with John. So, on that note, I end my first post! Thank you all.