Aside from the obvious social challenges that lie ahead for my family, another often-overlooked challenge lies before us: Sifting through the search results from real doctors and Dr. Google.
I’m sure every parent’s first reaction is to google “autism” and hope there’s some magical cure out there. I don’t kid myself. I know there isn’t. I took the woo-woo train for one stop when I was pregnant with little bear and I have no desire to reboard now that he’s being diagnosed.
See, his brother was breech presentation. My OB at the time suggested I try the Webster technique to make him move. 80% success rate, she claimed. And stand on my head in a pool or against a wall and put frozen peas on my stomach. The baby will move down. Yes, a woman with a medical degree from an actual university told me to do this. And, because I trust doctors from actual medical schools with university degrees, I believed her. She really pushed me away from doing ECV, which was actually my best option for having big bear turn, I found out two years later.
At 36 weeks, he was still butt down. I asked to plan a c-section. She said to wait another week. I waited another week and requested again. She said, “Let’s wait until you go into labor. Sometimes babies flip at labor.” I said, “Let’s not. I don’t want to go into labor if he’s head down. I’m already terrified of the needle going into my spine, so having that happen while I’m having a contraction is not appealing to me. I want a c-section.”
At my 38 week appointment, she finally granted my desire. I was scheduled to deliver at 39 weeks. I had an uneventful planned c-section.
The internet told me that was wrong. That was bad. I needed to have a vaginal birth and it was possible and safer. Basically, I wasn’t a mother unless I had a vaginal birth. Oh, and I had to go into labor on my own. None of that induction stuff.
I switched OBs. I was told around 37 weeks that I should start thinking of a c-section, since I hadn’t dilated. I asked not to see that CNM again. I went to 40 weeks and still nothing. At 41 weeks, they told me to go in for a BPP. I did. Everything was as perfect as perfect can be. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The CNM wouldn’t discharge me, though. I felt like I had been “trapped.” She insisted on inducing me at that moment. My anxiety started to kick in because I was starving and my 18 month old was there and I didn’t want my husband to leave me.
I was induced for 12 hours until my regular OB was on call. We had a long talk about pros and cons, risks of both decisions. He said he would give me 3 days. If I wasn’t in labor on my own, I had to come back and be induced or have a c-section. My choice. I agreed. I was back the time/date that he decided and I was induced. 33 hours later, I was holding my son in my arms.
I breastfed him, just like I was supposed to. For a full ten months. I even got into full-on fights with people in stores who told me to be more modest or that you were too old to be breastfeeding.
According to Dr. Google, I did it all right. Vaginal birth. Never a drop of formula.
Shortly after you were born, I found a group on Facebook that really opened my eyes to the pseudoscience that surrounds birth and how even educated women accept it as fact. It made me skeptical about everything and it taught me to really question sources when it comes to childbirth.
Now I’m facing life raising an autistic child and I’m looking at websites and I’m not sure who’s Dr. Google and who’s a real doctor. It’s like starting all over again from nothing. And really… all I want is a list of evidence-based exercises I can do to expand my son’s vocabulary.