I found out about mother’s intuition pretty early on.
My oldest son was born with heart defects. We didn’t know about it during the pregnancy so you can imagine the shock when during delivery his heart rate dropped and the happy hospital room suddenly became an emergency nightmare.
He had to be forcibly removed from the birth canal. The nurses strategically blocked me from seeing my son who was quickly whisked from my room . I remember not hearing him cry. The worry in my mother’s eyes gave it all away. She later told me he was blue and lifeless. I later learned he was given an Apgar score of a one, his barely there heartbeat got him that one measly point.
Five days later we were released with a quiet, sleepy, but content little boy. We were told he had heart defects but they weren’t pressing in the world of heart defects. He would thrive, we were to check in in two weeks, he may need surgery but in all likeliness the hole would heal on it’s own.
Four days later I knew something was wrong. He couldn’t get through a feeding without passing out in exhaustion. When he was awake he was cranky and inconsolable. I googled signs of heart distress because the doctor was so sure in Corbin’s good prognosis he hadn’t given me signs to watch for. I was 20 years old. I argued with myself. I told myself that babies were meant to be cranky at times and I had just been lucky up to this day that he was so easy to care for. I called our family doctor and the nurse laughed politely as she gently welcomed me to motherhood.
An hour after calling I looked at him sleeping and knew his breathing was off. I put him in his car seat and sped to the medical center. I stormed in, demanding them to see my son. An eye roll and 15 minutes later and he was on the table.
The doctor who had known me since I was 10 smiled and laughed as he undressed my son, placating me with a quick evaluation. His demeanor quickly changed when literally two minutes later my son turned blue.
At nine days old my son was in congestive heart failure.
I still shudder to this day when I think what would have happened if I hadn’t listened to my gut. If I had still been sitting at home letting him sleep the day away when he turned blue.
You hear a lot about mother’s intuition if you spend any time with moms of children on the spectrum. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the tale of a mother telling the pediatrician that something was wrong. And the pediatrician looking back at them and telling them that all children develop differently and to stop worrying. That’s also my tale.
Or the tale of a Mom whose child just screamed for days after a vaccination and she called the clinic asking what was wrong to be told that it was just a normal reaction. Then for her child to regress. That’s also my tale.
Where did this train of though come from? With kids on the spectrum, no matter how long we’ve been in this game, no matter how far our kids come, we still come to crossroads where we have to choose our gut over what professionals say.
Sometimes we start to feel a bit lost, still in that effin’ mindset that they are doctors or teachers or what-have-you, and we must listen to them because they had more formal education in this particular area. I call bullshit. No one knows their children like mothers do. And when our kids are nonverbal we have to listen to their behaviors, to their nonverbal communication, and to our guts.
I was stuck for a little bit this summer on how to move forward. Then I stopped listening to everyone and started listening to my son again and I knew what to do. And he’s happy and thriving and reading and talking and laughing. And that’s what matters.