Take the journey down Autism Road

Paving the road to where we are today has been one difficult journey to navigate. It all comes down to an adventure centered around finding a village for my family.

Since my youngest son was born a little over 4 years ago, a lot has happened. When I started down this road, I had no idea that we had been placed there. Since so much has happened, I’ll start at the beginning.

My pregnancy was very eventful. I was not one of those women who takes pregnancy like the addition of a designer jacket or purse does to a wardrobe as some women do. My body reacted as though I had a severe illness. I was considered high risk, and trips to my doctor were frequent. There was talk from early on in my pregnancy of not being able to carry until term, and chances were that I’d end up delivering my 3rd baby boy via c-section.

We didn’t pick J’s birthday, he just decided one day, after months of trying to keep him put, that it was time.

I went for a check-up and my doctor sent me to the hospital because I was still having contractions. I was 35 weeks along, and this was not the first time I had been admitted for testing. Once I got settled in my husband left to take care of our two older kiddos. We figured it would be hours before we heard from the doctor on whether they were going to admit me for observation or let me go home. Not five minutes after he left, the doctor came in and said, it’s time, we cannot wait any longer. My heart sank to my feet. It was February 1st and I was about to meet my baby boy.

Once they told me it was time to go, they meant it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen doctors move so fast. Their quickness sent me into panic mode. The nurse was trying to help me along as they coaxed me to drink some toxic concoction.

My husband was called. He rushed back to the hospital just as soon as he could, barely making it.

They took me back into a sterile, cold, and bright operating room where I met the anesthesiologist. I had an epidural with my second son, so I knew what to expect, accept this time, it was much different.

As soon as he placed the epideral I knew something was not right. He was rough, gruff, and he rushed the process. When I layed down on the table and the doctor started poking my stomach, I could feel everything and it hurt! The anethesiologist did not believe me, so the poked more, which made it hurt more.

I started to get very upset at him, and my OB could tell of my frustrations, so they asked him to leave and called in a replacement by the name of Dr. Love. Since they couldn’t get my epideral to work, my husband was not allowed back into the operating room.

I felt very scared, alone, and I was shaking like a child getting out of the pool on a chilly day. I asked for my husband repeatedly and they told me he was just on the other side of the door, but they couldn’t let him in just yet. The nurse held my hand and reassured me that it was going to be okay.

Dr. Love was right at my head, and he told me, “Honey, everything is going to be ok. You are in great hands and we will get you through this, but we need to put you to sleep for a little while to get this baby out. All I need you to do is pick a dream, and count to ten. Before you know it, it will be all over.” I took comfort in those words as I drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up I was in recovery, no husband, no baby. Just unfamiliar faces moving around me. I was confused, scared, and in so much pain. The nurse immediatley tried to comfort me as foggy questions and requests were being thrown from my mouth.

I demanded to see my husband and my baby. They were both down the hall in the NICU. It was a requirement of the hospital for him to go there immediatley following the birth because of all the complications…. and in the moment, I felt that everything was wrong. Something horrible happened, I just knew it. And I began to panic. 

Mr. M, came to see me quickly. He had his camera in his hand, and on that camera were photos of our third born son, J. I couldn’t ask quick enough if he was okay? What happened? Where were you? Did you know what was happening? Is the baby ok??? As I looked at the pictures, I burst into tears. Button nose, round little head. Cupid lips. Beyond perfect. A little bundle of joy, just as I had pictured him in my dreams.

Autism Road - Thistle Hill

I had to hold him but the nurse had me meet a goal first… it was something concerning oxygen. I was ready to get up out off that hospital bed just to hold him in my arms and I could care less what goal she needed me to meet first. I. HAD. TO. GO! Knowing he was just down the hall. It was torture.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, they wheeled me down in my hospital bed to the NICU to see my baby. As soon as I saw him I couldn’t believe this was my baby boy! Right then I saw my two oldest boys peering through the windows trying to catch a glimpse of this perfect little baby brother. I never expected them to be so overwhelmed and excited to see this blessing. They were absolutely beaming with just a glance!

Overwhelmed with joy, relief, love… it was so much to take in, and I found it felt like I was on cloud 9. Praying and thanking God for the outcome he gave me and my little boy. After every scare, every contraction (premature labor started at week 23!), every needle poke, 1000’s of finger pricks, hospital visits, hospital stays, lab work, bloodwork, scans, ultra sounds, check-ups, doctors, nurses, and urine tests… we had our little boy. And he was perfect <3

After a six hour NICU stay he was given a clean bill of health and he could be in my hospital room with me. He nursed immediatley, which I was really worried that he wouldn’t because I wasn’t awake to bond with him when he was born. When he latched on, I melted. I had many struggles with my older boys at the beginning with nursing, but not with baby J bird. He was a storybook nurser from that moment on. 

The picture below was taken at the hospital when he was not even 24 hours old. Perfection. His little bum propped up by his legs that couldn’t help but tuck themselves in. It was the same poisition he would take on my chest when he’d hunker down for a snuggle.

Autism Road - Thistle Hill

Two days later we were released from the hospital and sent home on Super Bowl Sunday. We were home and healthy. I was in a huge amount of pain, but I had this little man to hold, and that made it all worth it.