Monday, September 9, 2013

My Son Has Autism

My phone rang at 9 o'clock this morning. I put the call into voicemail because the house was its usual form of pandemonium and the house phone was simultaneously ringing. As it turns out, the call was from the developmental pediatrician that Ryan was scheduled to see next June. As in June 2014, which was the earliest appointment I could get him. I asked to be placed on a cancellation list, and today there was a last-minute cancellation. I quickly called the office back and got him in for an 11 a.m. appointment. Thank god the au pair is here now and I was able to do that.

Since my brain is a scrambled mess right now, I am not going to try to recap the appointment yet. The end result is that Ryan was diagnosed with autism. My son has autism.

I think I knew this was coming. I mean, I know I knew it was coming. But hearing it wasn't any easier.

The doctor said that Ryan was misdiagnosed at 15 months, that his evaluation team should have caught it then. Hearing that makes me feel guilty -- that I didn't know better, that I didn't fight harder, that I didn't trust my gut more. But more than that it makes me angry, to think that my son could have been receiving services and getting help for the last year and a half.

He also told me that incidents of autism are higher for twins, boys especially. And I couldn't help but wonder if I had not been so desperate to have a child, if I had stuck to single embryo transfers, could I have spared my son this hardship.

Since anger, sadness and guilt aren't useful emotions, since they have no place in determining a solution or making progress, I am going to allow myself to feel these things just for today. And then I am going to put those feelings away and move forward.

But today I am angry. Today I am devastated. Today I burdened with guilt. The sadness that I have with this diagnosis feels almost insurmountable. I am thankful for his health. Please understand I am thankful for that.

But, my son has autism.

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