Road To Diagnosis.

Our little E was recently diagnosed with Autism. I can’t say it was a total surprise. We have had our concerns and have been keeping an eye on certain areas of his development for the past few months. For a long time his symptoms were masked by his constant stream of ear infections and his pain from food allergies. As we were able to get the health problems under control, the symptoms remained. Many of them got worse. Some things that were age appropriate at one time intensified instead of being grown out of.

We had 3 main areas of concern. 1. Speech 2. Tantrums 3. Lack of engagement. It’s hard this young to ascertain whether or not these are symptoms of a strong willed child, being slightly delayed, and/ or personality. So we were quite back and forth for awhile on whether these were things to truly worry about or not.

I had E assessed in Utah before we moved to Ohio for his speech. During the assessment they mentioned that they were actually more concerned about his behavior than his speech. Until then, I had never thought his tantrums were anything to be worried about. I just thought that he had a temper.

I continued to keep an eye on him. During this time, he started to regress in speech and in his social skills. He stopped babbling. And his tantrums became more frequent with more self harm involved.

As a young baby, I was never able to get him to engage in back and forth games or even back and forth facial expressions. He would laugh when we would throw him in the air or make funny noises at him but even that came late. (He didn’t smile or laugh until around 6 months.) If it was something that required a back and forth exchange, I could never get him to engage. These were things that I wrote off to his personality.

It took 2 long assessments before we were even referred to the developmental pediatrician. He exhibited enough red flags in the first 2 assessments that we were referred. The original pediatrician that we wanted to see was booked until September. After calling around, we finally found a great pediatrician in Michigan and made an appointment. He just happened to have a cancellation and we were able to get in. As prepared as I was for the diagnosis, it was still jolt to the system to actually hear the words.

We’re very optimistic and very grateful that we were able to catch it so young. We are starting intensive therapies with him. It will be very time consuming, but we’re willing to do anything and everything to help E.


E’s Unconventional Conventional Birth

E will be 2 years old in less than a month. In honor of that, here are some details about his birth.
I always thought it would be so cool to have the whole, water-breaking going into labor, rushing to the hospital with my pre-packed bag business, but both my kids were scheduled. E was a planned c-section. I woke up that morning feeling like I was going to throw up from nerves. Two years ago, I had this painful surgery, painful recovery, and then I have to do the exact same thing again. It was terrifying driving to the hospital knowing that in t-minus 3 hours I was going to be sliced open and have my baby cut out of me.
They checked me in and told me they were running behind. I was, honestly, a little relieved about that. I felt like I needed just a little bit more mental prep time. (MP is what my family calls it. Before you go to work, you have to have an hour of MP.) My family was there with me. Like parents, siblings, daughter. They were supposed to get there when I was in surgery, but because the hospital was running behind and my family was being super impatient, they came and waited with me in the pre-op room. The nurse got me ready, and I lied about my weight. Just by a few pounds. Who doesn’t? You feel at your worst, and then they ask you how much you weigh. They should just give you a paper to write it down on. Somehow saying it out loud is so much worse.
Finally my nurse came in and said it was time to go to the operating room. I asked her where the stretcher was, and she said we would just walk to the OR, and she could hold my IV bag. It’s terrifying enough to get cut open, but at least wheel me in! Walking myself into the OR was like the walk of death. The frustrating part is that the husband can’t come in until after you are all ready to go. So, I walk in the freezing OR and they are all just talking, like this is so normal and not terrifying. I know I have used terrifying a lot in this, but that is what it was, terrifying. They told me to hop up onto the table. “Hop up.” I felt like I was a little kid at a doctors appointment. “Just hop on up and we’ll stick this giant needle in your spine.”
They got that over with, and gave me some information about what was going to happen. Who the baby’s nurse would be, etc. They also asked me if it were okay if they had a high schooler in on it. She was thinking about being a doctor. “The more the merrier,” I said. They started giving me the medicine in the spinal block and warned me that a small percentage of women have blood pressure drops with it, and if I am one of those women, they would just give me a drug to counteract it. “I guarantee you I am one of those women,” I told them. On a good day my blood pressure is 90/60. I had a doctor tell me, “You’ll live forever with blood pressure like that, but on a side note, do you pass out a lot?” The answer is yes. I blackout a lot. That is a tangent though. Back to the story. They were about to start cutting and they still hadn’t sent for Eric. I asked them if he could come and join, and they said, “Oh yeah, the husband. Someone go get him.” He finally was there and they started. My blood pressure did drop, and they did give me the drug. About 6 times. I would start to fall asleep and they would get it back up. They got Baby E out quickly, and he started to cry. After the fear surrounding the Cholestasis*, it was joy hearing my little baby cry.  It felt surreal to finally see this baby, that we spent the last month protecting. Doing ultrasounds, NST’s, watching him.

Side note: Did you know they take out some of your organs sometimes during a c-section? I had heard tales, but didn’t think there was truth to them. I started to get shoulder pain and the doctor ever so casually told me it was extra air intake due to a certain organ being on my stomach. Eric was engrossed in all of this. He had asked me previously, if this time could he not stay by my head and maybe get closer to the action. He just felt like last time he didn’t get as good of a look as he would have liked. I told him no, obviously, that his number one duty was to stay with me and keep me from being terrified.
After they whisked the Baby E away and brought him to my waiting family, they started to stitch me up. They asked me how I was doing, I told them bored. I just wanted to get out of there and go hold my baby. It takes like 3 minutes to get the baby out and then you have to sit there for 20 minutes while they stitch you up. They finished, and transferred me to the stretcher. The doctor came over and shook my hand, and said, “Congratulations” and walked out of the OR to her next waiting c-section. I’d had surgery before I had my babies, but I can’t say until that moment, that I had ever had the good fortune of a doctor shaking my hand afterward right there in the OR.
The hospital stay was good. The nurses were nice, even the one who hid the formula in a cabinet because she did not approve of my supplementing with formula. I’ve had good experiences with my c-sections. Definitely not something, I’d choose, but my babies were healthy and so was I through it all.