My husband and I lived in North Carolina for 5 years. We got married in August 2004. I got pregnant and had a pretty much event free pregnancy. We had our little girl on August 19th of 2005. After 36 hours of labor… I gave birth to her in a small town hospital located right in between Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC.
When our little girl was born she was 7lbs 9oz and 19 and 1/2 inches long. She was given a very high Apgar score. She was not premature. As she grew she seemed to be developing just exactly where she was supposed to be. She smiled, laughed, cooed, crawled, walked, and even talked within the expected guide lines of “typical” child development. She even was counting in Spanish before she was two. Everything seemed to be going pretty good.
We moved to VT for a business opportunity that my husband had. We were glad to be closer to home now that we had a child. My husband fell and broke his leg at the home we were getting ready to buy there and was forced to lay out of work for a year. We were forced to sell our home in VT move again and found ourselves back here.
Once we got back here we noticed that our little girl was developing quite well except for one thing….She was scared to death of other kids. I don’t mean that she would just stand holding our hands and hide behind our legs. She would cry, scream, and meltdown anytime other kids her own age were around or we went somewhere that other kids were around. The minute we took her out of the situation…the meltdown was over. We always chalked it up to not living in Maine where she had her family, or the fact that we moved her 4 times in the first two years of her life. She was never around other little kids when we lived away. We always had an excuse for her behavior. We were in denial that there was something “different” about our beautiful little girl. Family members started beating around the bush and telling us that they noticed that our girl was “different” than the other kids. We didn’t want to hear it. Finally one night after a Halloween meltdown outside a home where our girl could just hear the kids voices inside….We knew we had to do something…
We started by contacting CDS (Child Development Services). in November of 2008. She had an evaluation and it was decided that she did qualify for services. She was showing some developmental delays. We started with Speech Therapy and OT. We got a referral through her pediatricians office to the developmental clinic in Bangor. On April 6, 2009 our daughter received a diagnosis of Autism. Our little boy was already one month old at this time.
Our little man came along on February 25th, 2009. He weighed 7lbs 14oz and was 21 and 1/2 inches long. I also had an event free pregnancy with him. I had a long labor of about 32 hours and had him in Machias. He was born two weeks before his due date. One thing that does stick in my head after he was born was that it did seem to take him a little while to start crying. There was no Apgar score given for him but no resuscitation was needed.
He did seem to develop on track. He also smiled, laughed, made great eye contact, sat up, crawled, walked, and I can even remember him singing the alphabet song to me when he was in the tub. We had our eyes wide open with him. We knew what signs to look for. We agreed that he was not showing any of the signs of Autism at first. That changed over time. I am not sure if he regressed or just stopped progressing. Either way…the red flags were starting to pop up.
We contacted CDS again. It was like reuniting with old friends. CDS has done awesome work with our family over the years and I am very thankful that we have had them to rely on. They came to our home. Did an evaluation on little man, and started services. We got a referral from the pediatrician to the developmental clinic. On December 7, 2011 our little man was diagnosed with Autism.
I will never forget talking to the Dr. that day. She said “You guys seem to be handling this OK. We get so many families that get very upset when given the diagnosis of Autism.” My husband and I replied “We can’t change it.” That is it! We can’t change it. We have 2 beautiful children with Autism. I can’t lie to you and say that we have never wondered why, or how, or had a good cry now and again. Does it make us feel better? A little bit yes and a little bit no. We also count our blessings and thank god every day that they do not have terminal illnesses.
Sometimes my heart does shead a tear or two when I wonder what our kids would be like without the Autism. Would our girl WANT to travel to where she was born so we could show her the beach we used to walk when she was in my belly? What funny things would our boy have to say? Would our girl WANT to go have a pizza party with her friends and Mommy and Daddy could socialize too? Would our little boy WANT to sit and color or play matchbox cars with us? We will never know. Then I have to wipe the tears and not wonder what might have been. We have two beautiful kids right now who are growing up in front of us. We try make the best out of everything we can. It may not be a “typical” life, but it is our life. We just keep on rolling and try to find the things that THEY enjoy and do those things as often as we can…. I think we have done pretty good… so far.