My second pregnancy was uncomfortable. I spent most nights on the sofa as I couldn’t sleep. I spent most evenings on a bean bag as I struggled to sit properly. Toward the end I was very breathless – not just “ooh I’m tired” sort of breathless, but I struggled to take a deep breath.

At my last appointment, my midwife said my son was head down and between 7-8lb. A week later my waters broke. When I got to hospital I was examined and then all hell broke loose.

My son was in fact breach. A footling breach.

I was prepped for an emergency section and out popped a 9lb boy. A boy with a squidged head as he’d been stuck under my ribs and fighting with my lung for space. He was as angry as you could possibly imagine. That evening I had a severe PPH and regained consciousness with a crash team at the foot of my bed. That’s a story for another time tho…

My little boy remained angry. He also didn’t like cuddles. If I fed him in bed he would finish up and move away from me, even at a few weeks old. As he got older everything was difficult. He didn’t interact. He didn’t eat properly. I raised this with my health visitor but she said I was just comparing him to his older, outgoing, laid back brother.

Then 20 months later I had my third son. He was laid back, happy and outgoing. He started hitting milestones before his brother.

Eventually my health visitor agreed to make a home visit and that was when she could see there was a problem and referred us to children’s services. We were lucky enough to get a cancellation and were seen within a month. The doctor was amazing, she did tests and chatted to me about my son. By the end of that first hour session she informed me that my almost 4 year old was on the autistic spectrum. She needed further tests but was convinced he had Aspergers Syndrome.

I was floored.

I had a poor support network and no one to turn to. I felt that we had been given a life sentence. I felt that I had let my son down, that somehow this was my fault. And I felt scared of what the future held.

I can’t lie. It hasn’t been easy. He’s struggled with anger, with language, with the obvious social skills, with food, with temperature. School has proved to be a challenge at times. I’ve been badly bitten, scratched, kicked. I’ve had teachers peel him from me at the classroom. I’ve had to call the police after he ran away. I’ve hid in my bedroom and wept.

But he’s 13 now. He is as bright as a button. He’s developed a fantastic sense of humour. He’s interesting and kind and thoughtful. He has an amazing group of friends and is popular. He’s conquered things and I’m so very proud of him.

He still has several issues – dysgraphia and personality clashes with teachers being the daily struggles – and obviously will continue to, but things have got easier as time has passed.

I wish that when we had the diagnosis I could’ve seen how things would pan out. That my fears were unfounded. That my little boy would become the amazing superstar that he is today.

That a label is just a word – and that word doesn’t define anyone…

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