People - mostly expectant mothers and new moms - often ask me what I think caused JT's autism.
The truth is I can't be sure. But, looking back, there is a single memory that I strongly believe is related to it.
I have to tell the backstory to get to that point, though.
When I was pregnant with JT, I was put on bed rest at 21 weeks due to contractions. I had a year-old child (Audrey, of course) and she had needs, too. I wasn't as 'good' as I was supposed to be at following the doctor's orders.
I continued on, and around 32 weeks, JT's movement significantly slowed. In office, they had to use the buzzer to get him to move on the kick count machine. At that point, I had to start tracking his kicks, ensuring he met a minimum count or I was to report immediately to the hospital. Nothing appeared to be wrong on the ultrasound, he was just a big baby and I had a ton of fluid (twice the normal amount).
At 36 weeks, he didn't make his count.
I reported to the hospital, where they also found I was dilated to 4cm.
The labor was okay until they broke my water. JT's heart rate would slow to the point it was dangerous with every contraction. Luckily, I hit 10cm shortly, they were calling down to the OR for a c-section otherwise.
He came out with a double neuchal cord. In other words, it was wrapped not once, but twice. The only thing that saved my little guy was he had managed to work a tiny hand under the cord.
A single memory haunts me:
After delivery, before JT was taken to the special needs nursery (his sugar was messed up, he had fluid that had to be pumped from his tiny belly and he was grunting when he breathed), I looked at the delivering OB/GYN and asked, "Will he be okay? Is he going to have any problems from this?"
She looked at me before walking out and said, "Only time will tell."
That response has stuck to me from day 1 of my sweet little guy's life.