I hate divulging deeply personal thoughts and feelings in such a decidedly UN-personal forum, but I also don’t want to have this conversation a thousand times either, so I need to put this out there. I’ve written on Facebook about Nathan beginning Early Intervention. A lot of people are surprised. A lot of people, I’m sure, think he doesn’t need it or that I’m being over-sensitive because of Liam’s issues. The truth is that there is a lot I have not shared about Nathan because it is too painful for me.
Over the past couple of months, Nathan has begun to regress. Although he seemed to be developing more typically than Liam did, and I thought that maybe the loss of some speech was a phase due to developments he was making in motor skills, he is not progressing. And, in fact, he has recently lost ALL of his words. He used to say hi, buh-bye, mama, dada, up, down, hat, happy, all done, ball and could answer yes or no questions. I can’t get him to say anything anymore and eye contact is diminishing as well. In addition to this, he’s been eating non-food items (a condition they call “pica”)… not natural toddler curiosity and putting things in his mouth, but really EATING truly disgusting things (charcoal, dead worms, dirt, sand, bark, POOP). He seems to have some of the sensory issues that we’ve dealt with with Liam as well.
When Liam was diagnosed with autism, there wasn’t much of a grieving process. I’d known since Liam was a baby that he was different and, in fact, told Jesse I believed Liam was autistic when he was only 8 months old (about 3 years before we got our official diagnosis). Liam never developed typically. He had trouble meeting every milestone. So with Liam, it was all struggle and fight and then celebration whenever he learned a new skill, no matter how small. Holidays are still hard for me and some other times when I think of all the fun stuff I always wanted to do with my kids that just really aren’t practical now, but for the most part, I have dealt with it.
But with Nathan, not only was he developing more typically, we described him as “The World’s Happiest Baby” (he now cries most of the day & rarely smiles) And so what is happening now feels a lot like he is disappearing before my very eyes. My son is slipping away from me. Every day I see less and less of him. I am devastated and heartbroken. Sometimes I get so sad that it feels like I may stop breathing altogether.
I love my kids. This doesn’t change that, but I am sad. And I’m having a really hard time right now. I needed to put this out there so that when little bits and pieces of it slip out into our normal conversations and you get confused because you thought everything was great, I won’t have to go into detail. Because really, I can’t do that. It’s all too fresh and tender at the moment.