No one warns you when you are pregnant that you may have to raise a special needs child. You hear the occasional story of a family having to deal with the possible diagnosis of Autism, but before dealing with my sons diagnosis I hadn’t heard many friends, doctors, or articles mention other possible developmental delays that could be possible. While you are pregnant they test for so many illnesses but no one prepares you for the possibility of a child with developmental needs. Autism was something on my radar, but not something I was familiar with.
As a first time mother we often convince ourselves subconsciously to believe, “that is not gonna happen to me.” Until it does happen to you. During the last four years of my sons life I have stayed awake worrying and crying for the piece of my heart that is living outside of my body.
Looking back now I should have known immediately that something was off with Naz. Being a first time parent, I had no idea what to look for or what was considered “normal” behavior. I had babysat children all through my teenage years, but when you are dealing with your own blood you have some serious rose-colored glasses on. From the moment my eldest was born he cried all night… and I am not exaggerating; I MEAN ALL FUCKING NIGHT. I was with him at 3 a.m. after having a very active day (giving labor is kind of exhausting) with ZERO breaks. He was not sleeping and that meant neither was I. The only way the crying would stop was if he was swaddled and held in our arms, and we all know that you cannot sleep while safely holding your own child. The moment I would put him down in the hospital bassinet he would scream and cry as if someone was attempting to kill him. I had the choice to either let him cry or have him sleep peacefully while holding him in my arms. I had to make this decision with no sleep and no energy. I remember being drugged up, hungry, and exhausted thinking that all I want is a few minutes of sleep and can someone please help! Unfortunately I was too afraid to ask for help, or think that the screaming was because my son has sensory issues/special needs. None of the nurses seemed concerned even though I did ask, “Is he supposed to cry this much?”
A New Beginning
Two days after having a baby and being surrounded by the safety net of medical professionals we were discharged with another human being who is dependent on us for everything. I was told that those mom instincts we hear so much about will kick in immediately. They don’t always, and it’s terrifying as fuck. My son cried a majority of the way home. He hated being restrained in the car seat, and by the time we arrived home I was beyond frazzled. Being sleep deprived and in pain I just didn’t know what to do to help him. My answer was to hold him constantly. It was the only way to keep my sanity.
Our second night home from the hospital my body had enough and I passed out while waiting for my son to fall asleep in the crib. The next thing I remember is being awoken by my panicked baby daddy (aka the fiancé). He was holding Naz who was crying so hard, and asked if I was OK? He knew I was trying to put the baby to sleep, but when the crying continued he finally came in to help. What greeted my fiance was a howling baby and me totally unconscious on the bed.
I had zero recollection of this and only remember rocking him to sleep, and then being awoken by my fiancé, Manny. I didn’t hear the screaming. Manny took the baby and let me sleep a few hours because, as breastfeeding mamas know, we can’t go too far or sleep to long. My son was all about the boob juice and would eat every two hours like clock work. My first time parent experience with my eldest is a subject that is hard for me to speak on. I don’t think the wounds I have received on my journey will ever truly heal. We learn to protect them so they don’t bleed, but there are triggers that reopen those wounds.
It would take me 18 months to get some semblance of a diagnosis for my son…
To be continued…
Author: Lauren Diaz
Lauren is mom to two happy healthy boys, and the Director of Development for Sixx Cool Moms.