Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To Have or Have Not

The Boy fresh out the womb - 2006
This is one of my very favorite pictures - it's the first one of me and The Boy. Maybe it's the fact that I was coming off the drugs, but there's a look on my face that I've never seen in any other picture. Holding The Boy in my arms for the first time after feeling him grow inside over 39 weeks, was a defining moment.  I felt content, at peace, a feeling of love that I had never experienced.  Instant gratification to the umpteenth degree!   

On the day that The Boy was diagnosed,  the doctor asked if we were planning to have more children.  And while we weren't trying at the time, we knew we wanted more.  Until the doctor said, "You should consider genetic testing, if you want more children because you're more likely to have another child on the spectrum."  And it was two dreams shattering at once.

Everyone suggested we have another child.  My parents, family, friends, therapists - The Husband.  Everyone was asking when the 2nd one was coming.  Honestly, the thought of having another child with autism scared me - it still does. How will a second child impact The Boy?  What if I have a "typical" child who resents the responsibility of caring for The Boy?  I know parents do it every day with multiple children on the spectrum.  But could we do it? Not only emotionally or physically.  But financially. 

Then last year, at around this time, I decided I was ready. To take my chances.  Because I thought - what if, I was depriving The Boy of a potentially amazing sibling relationship.  I wanted another baby - autism or not.  I didn't care.  I knew in that moment, two and half years after The Boy's initial diagnosis that I had accepted autism.  The next month, we were pregnant.  And while I was nervous, I was so excited.  The baby's due date was to be on The Boy's birthday.  And I thought to myself - it's a sign.

But when I went in for my 16 week visit, my doctor couldn't hear the heartbeat.  And when we did a sonogram - we were able to see my baby whose heart had stopped.  My baby had died and I didn't even know. I'll spare you the details, but it's a loss I am still mourning.

There are days when I really want another baby. Especially when I see a pregnant woman or a newborn baby. And I am surrounded by pregnant women - at work, at Norrin's school, among our friends and family. I have days when our lives feel unbalanced and I can't help but think a baby would even us out.  Because I think The Boy would really be a great big brother. And then I have days that I'm content with The Boy because the thought of second loss would be devastating. And for a few minutes every month for the last six months, I am hopeful, only to be disappointed by the glaring pink line of negative pregnancy test. 

So while I absolutely love my first picture with The Boy, it makes me a little sad.  Because I wonder if I'll ever have a moment like that again.

(originally posted on April 14, 2011)  


  1. Sorry for your loss but don't give up hope sometimes blessings come our way when we least expect it.

  2. Sweetie, to say I'm sorry seems insufficient. Losing a child is devastating and it's a pain I wish was not inflicted on you. You are an incredible mother to a beautiful boy. Take comfort in that. While I can't say I know what it's like losing a child, I know what it's like to want more. Good luck to you and your family; and hang in there! http://speakingonthespectrum.blogspot.com/2011/04/back-to-reality.html

  3. So sad. So beautifully written, but my heart broke for you. ((hugs))

    That said, after I had(my)The Boy and his diagnosis came, I felt, and still sometimes do, feel the same things. "What if I had a typical child? Would I love them more? Less? Pay them enough attention? What if I had another child with autism? Could I handle it? Could I stand it?"
    Here is what I know now. I wish I had another child. "What ifs" be dammed. It would have given my Boy a partner in life for so many of lifes hurdles and successes, big or small. Together from cradle to grave, and it would have been hard either way, but it would have been a precious gift for us all.

    If the opportunity presents itself again, take the chance. There will be room in your heart for both. Good Luck!

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you, truly. So sad.

    Autism runs in my family. I have a sibling who has a son with PDD-NOS and her other two children are typical. I have a son with PDD-NOS and his sister is typical too. I believe my son has done so much better (development wise) having his younger sister around, but with speech and socially.

    I wish for you only the best and one day I think you will have another picture to look at that will capture your new bundle of love. All the best!

  5. Beautifully written! So sorry for your loss.

  6. Sorry to hear that! You should have another baby. We had another son and he is 2 and so far a regular chatter box and he pushes our autistic son further and makes him interact with him and they are slowly beginning to like each other.
    Have a great weekend

  7. Thank you all for your kind words. They really do mean so much.

    Not sure if anyone watches Parenthood - but the season finale really struck me. Julia saying she's content with a family of three and then after holding a baby she realizes she's "not done yet." I was sobbing! I know I'm not done yet either. :)

  8. I am so very sorry and I'm also touched that you are sharing. Sending you love and support.


AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.