Great Expectations: Pre-mom

autism new momI married young. Well, by today’s standards 20 years old would be considered young, but in 1991, I felt like I was almost an old maid. My husband, Mike and I were still in college and not in any hurry to have kids. We knew we wanted children, but our first priority was to graduate college, have good jobs, a good home and make enough money to get us off the Ramen noodles budget.

That is the natural order of things, right? Go to college, get married, start a career, buy a house and have four kids. Okay, the four kids may just have been me, but the future of our lives was something that Mike and I really didn’t think about. We just took for granted it would happen in that cookie cutter way. Especially the “having kids” part.

After Mike and I had dated for a couple of years, we began talking about the kids we would have. I wanted four, he wanted three. Maybe we would have twins! We discussed children’s names.  How far apart in age they would be. We talked about what it would be like when they started dating. We dreamed of our family all the time. We were love struck and adorable in our innocence.

Mike’s mother, Charlotte, was so worried when we announced our engagement knowing how much I loved children. Her concern was that we would immediately have kids, quit college and have to live off Saltines and Vienna sausages for the rest of our lives!

Here comes reality. Five years later…no children. Charlotte said to me one day, “You know, it’s okay if you have children now. I’m ready to be a grandmother!” She meant well and she really had no idea how hard it was to hear that. She had no idea that Mike and I had been trying for years. Mike and I didn’t talk about it much to anyone else because we were heartbroken.

After 4 years of “not trying but not preventing” we were starting to get worried. I read everything I could read on infertility and what could help us conceive. I took my temperature, I mapped out my cycles, I asked Mike to start wearing boxer shorts. I even stood on my head after sex. God, I wish I was making that part up. You name it though and we tried it! We wanted a family and we were desperate, frustrated and emotionally crushed.

Every month would be the same story. I would be a day or two late, you know, just enough to give me hope, and then I would get my period and my heart would sink. One particular time after starting my period, I remember laying on my bed crying my eyes out for hours, wondering why God was so mad at me.

It was not long after this emotional day that Mike and I finally visited a fertility doctor. After a few more months and by the magic of science [or just that we had finally relaxed and stopped stressing so much] we became pregnant. FINALLY, our prayer had been answered!

We were so happy! We were going to have a baby!

My pregnancy was uneventful…in a good way. I gained thirty, horrible pounds and swelled to the size of the blueberry girl in Willy Wonka, but all was good. I quit smoking as soon as I found out I was pregnant, which was really early since it seemed like I took a pregnancy test every month. By today’s standards, I didn’t eat “healthy”. There were no gluten free foods or anything organic. What was that?! My cravings were Kraft Mac & Cheese, milk, cottage cheese and tuna subways from Subway. I didn’t exercise at the time but I was twenty-five and thought I would be thin forever. I worked a full-time job though with a lot of nights on over-time. It was my first job right out of college and I was not very confident with my skills. It was a pretty stressful job, as I was always afraid of making a costly mistake but I worked up until the week before Taylor was born.

Taylor came four days before his due date and everything went by the book. My labor was also uneventful. LONG, but uneventful. After sixteen hours of dry-heaving in a trash can and two epidurals later, Taylor was born. (Word of advice. If you think you are going into labor don’t eat dinner, ESPECIALLY not Hamburger Helper! Oh God!) 

autism newborn

After hours of exhaustive pushing, the doctor did have to use forceps to help with the delivery. You would never have known it though looking at Taylor. His head was beautiful! Just perfect!  All the nurses said he looked like a cesarean baby. I was confused by this until I finally realized they meant that his head was perfectly shaped with no marks from the forceps and no “cone head” from pushing.

I share all of this with you to let you know that there was nothing abnormal about my pregnancy, labor or delivery. I prayed over my baby every night from the moment I knew I was pregnant and God blessed us with an angel.

Taylor was here and our lives were forever changed…for the better.

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