I never expected to have a child before I was legally able to drink. Hell, I never expected to be married before I was even in my 20's. But, when it hits you between the eyes, you really can't turn away from it. When I saw my other half in a dorm in college sitting on a bed, I knew he was it for me. That was almost 10 years ago. We didn't date that long, but what we knew was real is real even after all these years with all these challenging puzzles.
Shortly after we were married in January 2002, we found out we were expecting our first little surprise. We had left the window open to surprises after we got married, but we didn't expect someone to come through the window so quickly. All in all, my pregnancy wasn't terrible and it wasn't perfect. Our surprise made things exciting when I was about 20 weeks pregnant when I went into preterm labor. I was like most expectant moms would be - panicked. I was terrified of the medications they were giving me and the restrictions they put me on. I knew how early it was and how dangerous it would have been if they hadn't been able to stop my contractions. Thankfully with heroic doses of medications and lots and lots of fluids - they were able to stop my labor.
To this day I think that that experience prepared me for the wonderful adventure that would be the rest of my pregnancy with our first little surprise.Lots of ultrasounds and doctor visits confirmed that we were expecting a little girl who refused to assume the "traditional" position. Instead she decided that coming into the world feet first was more her style. Go figure! It wasn't much longer when we welcomed our first daughter into the world - at 36 weeks. Even my "going into labor" experience was very surprising. I went in for my 36week visit and while they were "checking" me - we found out that I was 2 centimeter's dialated with her big toe sticking out of my cervix. So, on December 30 2002 - we welcomed Riley into the world at 6lbs, 11oz via c-section.
I wasn't at all happy about having to have a c-section for my first delivery. But having a footling breech delivery wasn't possible and I was so young I didn't know that I had a choice. Hindsight is 20/20 right? Anyway - I was prepped and they wheeled me into the OR to "get the show on the road" (according to my way to eager to cut OB). The docs placed my "spinal" (to numb me up but allow me to stay awake) and they laid me back on the table - it didn't work. I could still feel the docs touch my skin and pinch and things that I shouldn't have been able to feel. And before I could say anything - they put me to sleep. My husband was there and he did fill me in on all the details that he could remember - but I don't remember my daughters first cries or what she looked like. My husband, my mother, father in law, mother in law, sister in law - all held my daughter before I did. That's not something any mother can really ever come to grips with.
That was the beginning of a very unique journey with our first puzzle.She spent the first 6 months of her life being tested for more things than I can remember. Most new mom's deal with colic, jaundice, sleepless nights, nursing and feeding problems, overbearing moms with too many suggestions and too few showers. I was dealing with pneumonia, antibiotic schedules, MRI's, CAT Scans, VCUG's and ultrasounds. Before Riley was 1, she was diagnosed with grade 2 urinary reflux w/ kidney complications. Riley's surgery was one of the most terrifying experiences in my life. At the time, my husband was in Texas in his last week of basic training for the United States Air Force. Most of my inlawed family went to Texas for his graduation and my mom stayed behind with me in North Carolina to take care of Riley while she was recovering.
We knew when Riley had her surgery that she also had some hearing complications and sensory issues. At the time, those were the least of my concerns. I was more concerned about her kidneys and the long term damage that was being done to them by the repeat infections that she was having despite the massive doses of antibiotics she was taking on a daily basis. When she started having bad reactions to the milk I transitioned her to, the doctors thought she was just reacting to the lactose, so they switched her to lactose free milk. Hindsight sucks. That old saying of "if I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently" - I hate that saying.
Flashforward a few years and 2 more baby girls and the word that strangely changed our lives - Autism.