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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What causes autism?

I have no idea.

Neither do any of the doctors, therapists, and professionals Dovi and I have seen over the years.
I will tell you his entire medical history though and wonder which of these things contributed.

1) Dovi is a result of assisted reproduction.

I will not reveal exactly what infertility treatment we did to conceive him. But for a long time I suspected that there is a connection between the two, because a shocking amount of my fellow IF survivors have children on the spectrum. None of the doctors I asked have been able to corroborate my theory. No link has been found between the two.

2) I had a TON of ultrasounds during the pregnancy.

Because of my preterm delivery with Chaim, I had an ultrasound every 2 weeks with Dovi, and used a home doppler several times a week for my own peace of mind. But again - no doctor has ever linked the two.

3) When Dovi was 2 weeks old, I contracted a terrible infection.

Chaim was a C section; Dovi was a VBAC. When he was 2 weeks old I was in terrible pain and went to the ER. Turns out I had a 9" pelvic abscess. I was hospitalized for a week and had the infection drained. I was on Augmentin 875 2X a day for six weeks. And through it all, I continued nursing Dovi. I had been unable to nurse Chaim due to his prematurity and was determined to do it with Dovi. I successfully nursed him for 2 years.

...and that may have been our downfall. There have been studies linked recently to the overuse of antibiotics and autism. It's too bad though. I don't feel guilty. I could have died without the antibiotics. And I did the best thing for my baby: I nursed him. I don't care what caused the autism. It was meant to be. I'm just listing every possible health thing that Dovi ever had, just to see if the dots can be connected somehow.

4) Dovi had 5 back to back ear infections as a baby.

When Dovi was 10 weeks old I took him for a well visit. I STUPIDLY let myself be roped into giving him his first set of shots. (With Chaim I waited until he was four months old). Two weeks later he developed a terrible cough - almost pertussis-like. Which is odd, considering he had gotten the DPT vaccine which was supposed to prevent pertussis. That was accompanied by an ear infection. His first ear infection, at 3 months.

He had another ear infection at 4 months. And one at 5. and 6. and 7.

The first time they prescribed Amoxicillin. The second time, Omnicef. The third, fourth, and fifth time, Augmentin.

I tried to heal the ear infection naturally but it only resulted in more pain and more infection. I took him to a chiropractor and the infections finally cleared up, just as spring came. So I don't know anymore which of the two it was.

He had only one more ear infection the next winter. That was it.

So who knows if it was the medicine? Who knows?

4) Dovi had two 'fainting spells' at 10 and 11 months old.

He was prone to terrible tantrums, especially if I left the room, and on two occasions he cried so hard he stopped breathing and went rigid in my arms. I blew on his face until he started breathing again. Was this a type of seizure? Was he having them at night when I don't know? Autism and seizures are sometimes interconnected. We never did an EEG with him, and you'll find out why in a future post So who knows?

5) I don't care what you say, I don't think it was caused by the MMR shot.

Dovi got his MMR shot at 13 months, and he had a language explosion AFTER the shot, which lasted for five or six months. So you may argue all you want about 'late onset regression' bla bla bla, but I ain't buyin' it. And I'm still planning to vaccinate any kids I may still have, although maybe not at 13 months. Mumps was going around then and the doctor was urging me to give it.

6) Dovi's lead levels keep fluctuating.

WIC requires a lead blood test at a year old. His level was shockingly high; 13. it's not the end-of-the-world high, but still higher than normal. Our apartment was tested and lead was found in the doorframe of the house and the cast-iron radiators. Our landlord kept pushing off abating the lead because "it's so expensive", and by the time they finally got around to doing it four months later, Dovi was already showing signs of autism, which worsened significantly right after it was abated (I refused to move out for the day and we were 'sealed in' instead.) Since then, his levels keep going up and down, sometimes it's 10.5, sometimes 9, sometimes 7, sometimes 6. All the doctors I consulted dont know how to lower it. I tried iron drops. I researched chelation and it sounds very, very scary. I know of one other mother who did chelation, but her kids' levels were in their 40s!!! 10 is not terrible. But who knows if has lead poisoning and not autism? I don't know. In any case the educational protocols are probably the same anyway.

I truly and honestly can't pinpoint a 'single cause' for Dovi's autism. All I know is that it was Divinely Ordained for whatever reason to test our patience, perseverance, and our faith. And I kinda think we're passing the test with flying colors. Or so I hope.

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