I know you know there was a time before I had kids. I won’t tell you about my teen years.. trust me, it was not something I want to relive. However. I am the mom to 5 boys, 4 of which I gave birth to.This is the story of how we ended up with so many kids.
I have not always been an autism mom, or for that matter a stay at home mom, I held a few jobs before my 1st son was born (into a very bad relationship). After I held a couple more but ended up leaving not just the jobs but the relationship when I figured out he was not just punishing me for being not who he wanted but he was starting to hurt our son. For his safety and mine I left, we couch surfed for a bit before ending up at home with my parents, then he assaulted me and took my son. I ended up in a secret shelter to regain custody after children’s services removed him from his dad’s care.
Let’s just say it was a bad time for all of us. After things were settled in court I took job after job trying to find my way in life while still be stalked by my ex and attempting to raise my son with my parents help. When I met my current husband and fell in love I married him and moved in with him. For the next few years I tried to get pregnant, we both wanted a big family, and I was unsuccessful. Until one day about 2 months after we had given up I missed a period. Up to this point, I held various jobs everything from a grocery store clerk, to selling ads for a small paper. I even worked in a law office, a pharmacy, a doctors office, and did even did tech support. You name it I have probably done it and all of it before I turned 30. I never really found where I wanted to be until I got pregnant with my second child and had to stop working.
You see he was a complicated pregnancy. I miscarried twice before he decided to make his appearance. Also, he made me really, really sick, massive anti nausea meds and iv’s kind of sick. On top of that I had breakthrough bleeding, so I spent months on bed rest with daily meds and iv’s. After this, the thought of going back to work was scary. I was worried what had changed at work, even if I did return would I still have a job to go back to?
Hubby who was just short of finishing his Ph.D decided to work on his thesis part time and find a job. I loved being at home with the kids and found I didn’t miss work at all so we decided to see if we could make it so I could stay home.
After very little searching he found a job, not doing what he was getting his degree in but doing something he loved, with an old friends company. The catch? it was 6 hours away from “home” not the home he and I had built, but the family and support system I had grown up with.
The money was really good. Good enough that we would easily be able to move, and buy a home pretty much right away. So we took the plunge and moved. Right away we knew it was the right thing to do; it was wonderful. We had a house twice the size we were living in. The area was beautiful, the people were friendly and even though the baby was sick a lot (food allergies) we still were doing great!
After a couple of months I got pregnant again, this pregnancy was nothing like the previous. It was EASY. He decide to arrive the day before baby 2’s 1st birthday. So I stayed in the hospital for that night and went home on his brothers birthday. (gee kid, here have a little brother.. happy birthday.. I don’t think he will ever forgive me for that one.. )
Now I had no time to miss working, between the demands of taking care of 2 kids under 2 and helping at the older boys school I barely had time to take a shower much less miss working.
Baby 4 came, Zach, he was not too bad a pregnancy, everything went pretty well his only issue was 2 months of false labor every single day.. that was tiring. When he was finally born and he was a handful from the 1st day. He hated to be held or rocked, he rejected food from the 1st day, nothing I did helped. Finally I found the trick to get him to eat.
One day, not long after he was born. I was dealing with the two toddlers getting into everything in sight, I laid Zach down, propped a bottle in his mouth and ran after them. Normally I would sit with him and watch what he ate and keep pushing him to take more.
Not this time, with in a few minutes, he had finished the bottle and was a smiling happy boy.
Now that I think back on it I realize this was just one more sign he had autism. One more thing I didn’t even know to look for. When I asked his doctors about him, and his odd behaviors I would always get, every baby is different; he is just different. I never like the answer but they made me feel like I was just being paranoid. I still to this day wish I had pushed harder, it would have been so much easier for him to get help before he was 5. When he was supposed to be developing language if I had push more… this has to be one of the biggest regrets of my life.
Things went well for a while, hubby’s company moved from one office to the next and he ended up in a work from home position.
Not too long after that I had a friend who’s son needed help. His wife was no able to help him and they were going through a divorce. His son being 15 had chosen to stay with his dad. He had just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was having violent outburst and unexplained seizures. We moved back “home” because hubby’s job being a work from home position so it no longer mattered where we lived. After much running back and forth trying to help the friend got a new job, the problem was this job was 90% travel. Staying with his mom was not an option, she just couldn’t handle him (and it turned out not long after she was also diagnosed bipolar also) So we moved into my friends home while looking for something bigger in the area.
After being in a way too small house for a few months we sold our old home and found a “new” home, where we live now. We made room for our friends son and for our friend too. We simply made them family. After a short time the friend had to move out of country to take his next job. We decided at that point to keep his son with us and adopted him as part of our family. He already lived with us, he acted like a big brother to the other kids and he was happy and much better adjusted here so why change things? It was easily one of the best decisions we have made as a family. I am so lucky to get to be his mom. He is an amazing kid.
There is one thing from my younger days you should hear. One I had forgotten about until a few months ago. Growing up we had these amazing neighbors, my parents worked a lot but the neighbors were often home. Their kids were grown or almost grown when we moved in. They were like a second set of parents to my brother and I. The wife a sweet woman named Sue, treated me like the daughter she never had, she taught me so much about needle point and hand work on sewing that I have taught my boys and will hopefully teach my grandchildren. The husband Don, he was the sweetest man he would let us play the video games in his “man cave” he even taught me the basics of pool. (which I still suck at) She died years ago, when I was living hours away. I never had the chance to say good bye. However just days before Don left to join his wife in the after life I had a chance to visit with him, he reminded me that when I was little I would always say “When I grow up I want 12 kids and I want to stay home with them and just be the mom.” It turns out I decided 12 might be a few more than I need but 5, that is an awesome number.
In fact I am pretty darn sure I have everything I need, except a cure to the cold I have.. darn cold.