My body hated pregnancy; I, however, loved it. I loved the feeling of my baby kicking and dancing about inside of me, I used to watch and film my tummy jiggling about for hours. I would know exactly where and how they were lying. I am that person who has about 20 photos of the same image, just in case I missed it on the first shot.
I loved the Unknown, not knowing the sex of the baby, and if I could have just paused that moment in pregnancy I would have! The excitement of the surprise was consuming. I had my boy already, and he was perfect in every way; such a little charmer, a polite little boy and he was so clever. He amazes me every day. He grew into a little man way too quickly for my liking but he was my absolute best friend in the whole world. That was about to change and it took us all by surprise. When I finally went into labour four very long days after my due date – and I say finally because I was having contractions stop-start for two weeks (and before you think it, NO it categorically was not Braxton hicks) – she was born within a few hours and so quickly that we were all in shock. She was distressed somewhat and had swallowed some meconium. She had to be slapped a few times on the back so that she could catch her first breath and after a few seconds, which felt like hours, she let out such little squeak of a noise it sounded like a little mouse. If only it had stayed this way!
She slept like the proverbial baby from 12 am until 6 am. I was so tired so I let her sleep and no one came to my room to tell me otherwise. She was coughing through the night and in the morning there was some yellow bile on the sheets but the midwife wasn’t too worried and we were sent home where we had lots of visitors – it was fun!! I say that sarcastically because after just giving birth to something that should not logically be able to fit out of ‘there’, the last thing you feel like doing is hosting guests!! So off goes Kenny out for a while and leaves me with a house full of people; I mean, I can barely move, I can barely sit, I don’t really know what to do with myself, but I get through it.
She was perfect, my 5lb 15oz of perfection. My little lolly pop, my princess, I was in love with her. From the moment she was born I felt this crazy amount of emotion for her. The bond was absolutely immediate. I adore newborn babies and I could have ten of them, the way they smell (when they haven’t got a dirty nappy for the tenth time that day, obviously) The way they look when they sleep, their total innocence. The fact they are completely and utterly dependent upon me. I wasn’t great at sharing my babies. I’m not going to lie I found having visitors really hard with her. Maybe it was baby blues, but I just wanted to be left in my little bubble and snuggle her all to my self. I did share her though – it was only fair because she was just too beautiful to hide away. I look at pictures now of her when she was a newborn and I feel a pang, like a little rip in my heart because we were blissfully unaware of the struggles we were all about to face. Everything was fine, she was healthy, she was my little Lolly and I can still feel that feeling I got when I used to hold her in my arms and put my nose to her hair (what little bit she had) and smell that incredible smell that makes your heart skip a beat! Then I bring my self back to reality and I look at the gorgeous 5-year old that has had all these struggles in such a short space of time, and that little rip in my heart immediately heals. She’s still my dolly, she is still that bundle of perfection that was placed in my arms, which I had such immediate, unconditional love for.
It wasn’t long until her lungs opened up! – That little mousy squeak didn’t last very long – I breastfed her, then part breastfed until I couldn’t take her constant clinging anymore, I had no support from professionals, and I mean it was day and night and night and day and I was utterly exhausted. She would not leave me alone, When my mum used to pop round she always used to joke, “do you ever put that baby down?” Well, actually, no. I couldn’t – she wouldn’t let me – she was glued to my hip. My poor little boy was missing out, I had no time for him; my best friend was lonely and fed up.
I’m not normally concerned for my own well being.
At that point, I knew I had to give up breastfeeding and not just for my own sanity, but for him too, it just wasn’t fair on him; he needed me. After switching from breastfeeding to the bottle full-time, she started screaming, all day and all night, quite literally until she was sick. I didn’t know what was wrong and we used Infacol and gripe water until finally, I took her to the doctors who prescribed her some Gaviscon. She was so bad that she would literally cry until she was sick and then once she was sick she was fine. That is until she was fed again and then the cycle started all over! It didn’t stop at the sickness though she used to choke and sometimes just on bile but she would go blue and floppy and stop breathing and it was awful.
There was this one time when we went to Wales to visit Kenny’s dad, she was 6 weeks old and so tiny and we were in the middle of nowhere, I mean properly like out in the country on a farm miles away from anywhere. She was inconsolable, so I gave her some gripe water…
… She choked, and couldn’t catch her breath. I handed her to Kenny as I got so scared I couldn’t watch; she was practically grey and all I could think of was that she wasn’t going to make it, no ambulance would make it here they’d have to send a helicopter… All that was running through my brain, whilst I shouted at Kenny to help her. And then I finally heard her scream again; I’ve never been so relieved to hear her cry. It was up there with one of the most terrifying things I have ever been through with my babies.
I was distraught for the whole weekend. It shook us all up. You’re probably thinking what’s this got to do with autism, but you’ll see – just bare with me. So, for the next few months, we trundled along with a screamer until eventually, I had had enough of pulling my car over in the most dangerous of places, rushing round to my baby and dragging her out choking on vomit and going floppy! We were referred to a paediatrician who diagnosed her with reflux and put her on some special milk. My baby girl was fixed. Or was she?
Will YOU be a part of the project that hopes to change autistic lives for the future? We have already published Book 1 – Playing with Bourbon Badger in the Autism with Lola children’s book series and for the Autism with Love Publishing® team to be able to continue helping the next generation understand and accept differences in neurology a kickstarter campaign has been created and is ready to launch on 24th February.