April is Autism awareness month! Here’s the first part of our journey.
I dreamed of having children from a young age but at 15 I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian disease so I always knew that getting pregnant would be a challenge. I found fertility treatment very challenging emotionally! It is not an easy road. It’s like psychological warfare! It is most definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!
During treatment, I remember standing out on the oval in Quilpie watching the kids playing. There was a little boy with high needs that I was looking after and he was just gorgeous … a doll! I remember thinking as I watched this little boy play that I would love any child that I was given. And that even maybe, the fertility treatment was a way of preparing me for the road ahead. I’ll never forget that day!
After a few years of fertility treatment and operations and stress … we finally conceived … and it was amazing! I loved being pregnant!
It was a healthy and easy pregnancy. At around 20 weeks they identified us as being at a high risk for neural tube defect. We were devastated. This then involved regular scans until around 36 weeks but to our relief, everything looked fine!
The pregnancy progressed beautifully with no other problems. James was in the breech position for the last stages of the pregnancy – basically he was upright. So we were booked in for a C-Section. Chris and I were so excited to finally be meeting this dear little boy that we had waited so long for!
I feel that our road to pregnancy taught us many things that prepared us for the road ahead. It changed us both forever and brought us together too! Stay tuned …
So I mentioned yesterday that it was a happy and healthy pregnancy, and it was. But there were a few things that were a little unusual.
I felt movements with James really early – around 14-15 weeks. From about 6 months, when I would do things like twist ice cubes into the ice tray or if there were random loud noises, he would jump, just like he was already in the room and he’d been surprised by the noise. When the shower water directly hit my stomach, he would initially jump and then wriggle. At the time I thought this was usual foetal behaviour, but now I know this was quite unusual.
Apparently, if a foetus is affected by autism, its little brain is already developing differently around the 4 month mark. To this day, James is still super sensitive to loud noises and especially to surprise noise. He often has his hands over his ears. In James’ case, I think these subtle differences are probably an indication that he was developing differently even before his birth.
So finally the day of James’ birth arrived. December 29th, 2005. We walked into the operating theatre which was filled with lots of very highly skilled and special people – Dr Anthony Cerqui, Dr Jeff Prebble and Dr Rhonda Greensill to name just a few! Also there was my Dad, bless him – and it’s not simply because he’s a doctor, and an outstanding one at that! Dad is always a sea of calm amidst chaos for me and was a great support! And Chris of course was there with his pacing in full swing! God love him!