My daughter Autumn was born on September 17, 1999. It was an emotional pregnancy. I was in therapy for 6 out of the 9 months. I cried a lot. I was anxious about the birth and the moments immediately following the birth. During my pregnancy I was afraid. I had feelings of hate, rage, sorrow, and uncertainty.
My labor started exactly how I wanted it to, on a Friday, after my older daughter went to school. I called my sisters to make the commute down, I was going to have this baby. We got to the hospital at around 2pm. Autumn Grace was born at 8:30pm with no complications. Jill was there holding my hand, 3 pushes and she was out. Hilary unfortunately missed it (that's another blog!). My midwife put her on my chest, I still remember her bright brown eyes looking at me. Hilary arrived minutes after the birth. My two sisters were there to support me yet they had no idea how I was feeling (probably still don't until they read this blog). It was a busy night at the hospital so I was left alone with my newborn for 2 hours before they took her to the nursery, it was wonderful. When I finally got into my room Autumn met me there. I was alone at last with her and we had a very serious conversation. I told her I loved her, in fact I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. I apologized for the feelings of anxiety, hate, and uncertainty I had before she arrived. I told her we were going to do this together. She agreed.
Autumn's first 2 years were pretty typical. She was such a joy. Then around 2 (prime vaccine time . . . hmmmmm???) I noticed her stubborn streak. I was not the typical "terrible 2's" I experienced with Rayne it was different. When Autumn would get frustrated or if she was disciplined she would put her whole hand in her mouth. If she was eating something or food was around the minute she felt threatened or uncomfortable she would shove her hand in her mouth and make a mess. At 22 months she only said 3 words. She liked her space and if any playmate tried to get near her she would freak out. Between 2 and 3 is when I noticed her hypersensitivity to sound. If she was with me at work and the fax machine went off she would cover her ears. It seemed she her senses were on hyper drive. If anything came near her face her eyes would flutter really fast. She was very cautious when playing outside. When driving in the car I noticed she would not look outside the window. If we tried to point things out like, "Look at that dog in that truck", she had no clue how to even find what we would talk about.
At age 3 she went into pre-school at the Early Childhood Center in Neptune. I repeatedly asked her teacher about having Autumn seen by the speech therapist but she always told me, "I didn't talk until I was 3, Autumn will be fine". I was not as strong of an advocate as I am now so I let it go. By the end of the year her teacher reported to me that Autumn would "shut down" at times and not talk to them at all. If she was confronted or tried to engage in an activity she would refuse. At age 4 she went to the same pre-school, she had a different teacher who thankfully worked with me. She noticed her stubborn side and documented her "shutting down". By the end of the year I requested Autumn be seen by the Child Study Team. We had a meeting to which the social worker stated there was nothing wrong with Autumn. She said, "Aren't you glad we are telling you there is nothing wrong?" I replied, crying,"NO, because I know my child and there is something wrong!" If only I could track her down today! Her principal who I respect to this day mentioned to me that Attention Deficit Disorder sometimes comes out as anger . . . I brushed it off because I didn't think Autumn displayed enough characteristics to have ADD, little did I know 2 years later she would be diagnosed with ADHD. This principal also gave me the book to read, The Out of Sync Child which is about children with hypersensitivity to their senses. It's an excellent book.
Kindergarten 2004-2005 rolled around, this is when it got ugly and scary. This was the year I put ALL my faith in GOD and renewed my belief in the power of prayer. Stay tuned for Part 2