My Journey to Motherhood.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A couple months ago, I guest posted for Whitney for her Mommylogues series. With Mother's Day being this coming weekend, I thought I'd share my post here as well.

This post was first published on Work It Mommy on February 8, 2016.


My journey to motherhood started on November 19, 2011 -- the day I found out that I was pregnant with Mason. I remember it like it was yesterday (which must be why I still remember the exact date!). The day before we had met with our photographer for a "trash the dress" session at the beach. I remember thinking that my wedding dress felt a little tighter than normal, but I attributed that to the fact that it had been a year and I'm sure I gained some weight since then. We had just celebrated our first wedding anniversary on November 7th and I thought it would be fun to do a little "trash the dress" session to celebrate.

The next morning I realized just how late I was and decided to take a pregnancy test. And sure enough those two pink lines appeared! I'm pregnant! I ran into the bedroom, shook (my husband) Seth awake, and shoved the stick that I had just peed on right into his face. Romantic, I know. And then we just stared at each other in disbelief. We had been trying so it's not like it was a big surprise to us, but at the same time, it was a surprise. I mean, you never really know when it will happen!

After that, I texted my sister in law and my best friend a picture of the pregnancy test (TMI, I know, sorry girls!) to tell them the good news. Although it had been approximately 22 minutes (I'm sure) since I had taken the pregnancy test, I had to tell someone! I'm horrible at keeping secrets.

I wish I had started my blog back then so I would have my pregnancy documented (especially since I'm 99% sure that Mason will be our only one (more on that later) but I can't say 100% for sure so I have to leave the 1% open to potentially change my mind!) but I didn't end up starting it until after he was born in 2012. Instead, I documented my pregnancy with weekly bump pictures. I'd post them to Facebook so everyone could see the progress and then once I was on maternity leave, I scrapbooked them and put them into a little photo album.


Mason was born in July of 2012 (you can read his birth story here) and I was overjoyed to finally be a mom! Everything went as smooth as possible and after a few days in the hospital, we were on our way home as a family of three! I felt extremely unprepared to be in charge of this baby especially since I knew nothing about babies, but like they say, your motherly instinct takes over and you just know what to do.


The first few days at home were great. I was having some trouble with breastfeeding (more on that here) but made an appointment with the lactation consultant to discuss my concerns and figured everything would be fine. I was wrong. Long story short (long story here), I couldn't breastfeed Mason. I couldn't produce enough milk to sustain him and he wasn't getting anything. I tried pumping and would get maybe 2 oz after each 20 minute pumping session. It was torture. So, ultimately I decided that the health and wellbeing of my child was most important and we switched to formula. This didn't come without some challenges though and we later found out Mason had silent reflux.  Silent reflux is like regular reflux but instead of throwing it up, he would swallow it. So it hurt coming up and hurt going down. He would cry in pain and arch his back every time he ate. It was AWFUL. So after talking to one of my friends, I finally figured out what the problem was, spoke to Mason's pediatrician and we got him some liquid gold (aka the most expensive formula ever - Similac Alimentum) and everything went a lot more smoothly and I had my happy baby back!

The months went on and I adjusted to being back at work and we seemed to finally be in a good groove. I never thought of myself as a boy mom, but once Mason was born, I couldn't picture myself any other way. I was embracing the cars, planes, trains, and trucks, and loving every minute of it.

We celebrated Mason's first birthday, celebrated holidays, celebrated New Year's, celebrated his second birthday, celebrated holidays, and celebrated another New Year's.



By now it was 2015 and Mason was 2 1/2. We've noticed that he's not necessarily at the same stage on certain things as other kids his age, specifically talking. I didn't really think anything of it, I just thought he was a late talker. He was late to walk, so I just assumed he was late to talk too. Boys are lazy like that sometimes, right? Or so I thought.

Then came April 2015 and my whole world was turned upside down. We found out that the reason that Mason had a speech delay was because he has autism. The moment that the doctor said those words to me, my head started spinning. Not in a bad way. I never, ever, ever thought any different of my sweet and perfect boy, but I just had NO idea what this meant for him and our family. I was so overwhelmed with all the information that they gave us and didn't know what to do with it all. Thankfully I had an amazing resource to turn to or I don't know what I would have done. She helped me and educated me so much.

A month later, I wrote this letter to Mason.

An excerpt from it :
"...This diagnosis does not define you. You are still the same sweet, loving, caring, amazing little boy that we've always known. You are friendly, you are outgoing, you are fearless. You are a joy to be around. And your dad and I... we will make sure we give you every tool you need to grow, learn, and thrive. I can't wait to enroll you in kindergarten and cry my eyes out that my little boy is growing up too fast. I can't wait to see you make your first science fair project. I can't wait to see you play sports. I can't wait to see you graduate high school and to help you move into a dorm at college and then really cry my eyes out that my little boy really is ALL grown up. And furthermore, I can't wait to meet the girl you know you are going to marry and then walk you down the aisle to wait for her. One day (long, LONG from now), you will make me a Grandma and make me the happiest I've ever been to hold a baby since July 18, 2012, the day you were born.

I never thought of myself as a parent of a child with special needs. But here we are, here I am. A parent of a child with autism. And while that might be true and we might have some hurdles we need to jump over, you, your dad, and I are no different than we were on April 8. And I intend to treat you exactly the same way I did on that day from this day forward. I am constantly in awe and inspired by you. You make me want to be a better mama. I love you more with every day that passes...."





To this day, I still cry when I read the letter I wrote him. And to this day, every single word is still true. Our life is definitely a lot different today than it was on April 8, 2015 (the day before he was diagnosed), but all for the better. He has since gotten tubes in his ears and had his adenoids removed. He has started talking SO much more and I could not be more proud. He knows all his (primary) colors and can say them out loud (sound them out - bew for blue, gree for green, reh for red, etc) and identify them on paper. He knows the numbers from 1 to 10 [updated 5/2016 : numbers from 1 to 30!] forwards and backwards. He knows tons of sign language. He knows how to spell his name (Mmmm - Ahhh - Sssss - Ohhh - Nnnn). He can identify all the basic shapes. He can do the whole alphabet in sign language and can say the letters (sounding them out) from A to F but gets more letters daily [updated 5/2016 : he now knows letters A to Z and the whole ABC song]. He understands way more than he can communicate verbally. And so, so much more. He is loved by everyone at school and is a joy to be around. He has great social skills and good eye contact. He is growing and thriving and I couldn't be more proud.



Though this is definitely not how I pictured my life, I have learned so much from Mason and wouldn't change a thing. Sure it can be more challenging, more stressful, and definitely more expensive at times, but at the same time, I am learning so much just seeing life through his eyes. He lights up with joy when I ask him to help me bake cookies. He screams "YEAH!" when I ask him if he wants to go over to his best friend's house. And he is a total pain in the butt sometimes when he steals my drinks, eats the food off my plate, and tells me what to do. But he is the most loving little kid. And even though he can't use words to tell me that he loves me yet, I know he does. He shows me through sign language and through the huge, wet kisses he gives me every morning, every day when I drop him off at preschool, and every night before bed.



This is our story, my journey through motherhood, and I can't wait to see how the story continues!





17 comments:

  1. Love this so much!! I loved it when you shared it on Mommylogues and even more now. You are an amazing mom! Mason is so lucky to have you and I am still blown away that our boys are only one day apart. July is a special month. Cam is counting down the days. :)

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  2. You mamas and your sweet letters to your babes this morning! Tearing up for the 3rd time this morning! I think you are an amazing mom and I love reading your blog. Mason is so sweet and adorable!

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  3. You are such a wonderful Momma. Mason is so lucky to have you. I am lucky too. To have you as a friend!

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  4. Aaawww, I remember this post. It was such a good one friend. Mason is one very lucky little guy.

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  5. Loved this post so much sweet lady! Mason is so blessed to have such an awesome Mommy and Daddy! I can't even look at him without seeing so much joy in his sweet face. Such a sweet family!

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  6. Awww, so sweet! I love this. :)

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  7. Mason is so, so blessed to have you in his corner! I love seeing all the pictures of the two of you. There is no doubt that Mason is a thriving & happy boy!

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  8. Soo sweet. Love that piece from your letter! Amazing Mama for not letting a simple diagnosis define him :) and he is such a sweet boy!

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  9. It's a great story and you're a great mom!

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  10. I remember this post, it was so sweet. I agree with Beth, Mason is one lucky kid!

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  11. OMG! your pregnancy pictures!! short hair'd liz!!! i love this story!!

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  12. What a great story! Mason is SO adorable!!! XOXO

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  13. I LOVE LOVE your pregnancy progression pictures!! And your hair is so cute in a bob like that! (I mean, I like it long too obviously!!)

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  14. I love your story. And I love Mason, and I love his momma, too. :)

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  15. I love this post and feel so blessed you shared on The Mommylogues Series :)

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  16. I just found your blog through Sunflower State of Mind and was scrolling through. I'm a #boymom myself - my first son was born in June 2013, and my second is due in (hopefully) less than 3 weeks.... so I'm always interested in reading about other boy moms and what their daily lives entail. I happened to come across this particular post, and while my son is not autistic, your thoughts and feelings really struck a chord with me. I know you said you cry whenever you read the letter you wrote to your son, and I don't even know you, but I was crying as I read it too.... because I get it. I really, really get it! And I just wanted to tell you that everything you said is 100% correct - diagnosis or not! Thank you for putting yourself out there and being so open and honest. It's so refreshing and I wish you only the best with your perfect little Mason!

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    1. Hi E, I'm so glad you found me and congratulations on baby #2! I so wish your email was associated with your profile so I could have emailed you back. Thank you so much for the sweet words! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post -- both of them. It's such a special post for me and to this day, i still cry reading it. It's amazing to see how far we've both come since that day though. Thank you!

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