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I am often the mom-friend that reminds you that it’s okay to do the minimum. It’s okay if the kids had cereal for dinner, they ate something. It’s okay if the kids watch TV, Daniel Tiger teaches social stories. It’s okay to take a break sometimes, your body cannot go at 100% all of the time.

For myself, though? I tend to have much less grace. Sure, my kids watch Daniel Tiger and eat a few way too many chicken nuggets, but I always feel really guilty and like I’m failing at this whole mom thing. I think that I can do things that I can’t, and I’m constantly being reminded (usually by Chris) that I can’t do as much as I used to now that I’m getting farther along in pregnancy.

Do I always listen? Not in the slightest. Especially when it comes to doing things for A-Man and Baby M’s special needs. I’m a special needs mom, I don’t have time to listen to my body, I’m too busy listening to theirs! Unfortunately, this time, not listening to my body’s limits lead to a hospital trip.

Special Needs Moms Can’t Do Everything

How ignoring my body's limits because I'm a special needs mom lead to a trip to the ER for this pregnant mama. Don't follow in my footsteps!

It started as a normal Monday. Well, as normal as our Mondays tend to be. It’s our earliest day, so Chris helps get the boys dressed and eating cereal before he leaves for work. I take Mr. C and Baby M to my mom’s while I bring A-Man into therapy. Two 45 minute sessions, back to back, and then the bigger boys start their visitation with their biological dad. I get two days with just baby M (and all of my work at home stuff to do) each week.

This week, however, I was going to drop them off with my mother-in-law after therapy because I had an OB appointment and their biological dad had to work. Of course, that change in routine added stress to my day, but I was more concerned about the stress it would add to A-Man’s day when he realized his Daddy B didn’t come pick him up from therapy. Then? The baby demanded to bring his brand new soccer ball into the car and take it to Nima’s. Fine, except that he dropped it before making it to the car where it rolled down our very long downhill driveway and even further down our down hill street. And then of course, the buckles weren’t working in the van, so I had to climb back there (climbing into a van while pregnant is not fun, in case you were curious) to get all the kids buckled safely for our trip. And of course, had to pull the car over to retrieve the lost soccer ball when it was spotted a block and a half down the road.

Friends, I’m telling you, I should have known my limits. I should have known that this was not a day to push anything, and that I should do the bare minimum to get through the day until I could get a nice big hot cocoa and a nap. I didn’t listen.

We finally got to the therapy clinic (which happens to be at a hospital) and A-Man decided he didn’t want to move. So I had to climb back into the van and “help” him out of the car. He still wouldn’t move. He didn’t want to go to therapy today, he just wanted to stand right where he was by the van. Well, with 5 minutes to therapy (which was across the large parking lot and up one floor in the building) that just wasn’t an option. However, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to negotiate with a child who has an expressive/receptive language delay and autism, but it doesn’t tend to go well. Once their minds are made up, their minds are made up. So I picked up my four year old and carried him inside.

I should have listened to my limits.

Across the large parking lot, waiting for the elevator, and around the corner into the therapy office, I carried my almost 40 lb four year old. I was a bit out of breath, but doing alright. When his therapist came out, she started asking about how the pregnancy is going. She knows that I am high risk, so she asked about any labor issues or if the progesterone shots I’ve been taking have helped. We chatted simply about how A-Man’s week went and how well he handled Baby M’s birthday party, even being gentle with his brand new baby cousin.

We went into the sensory room to let A-Man crash in the crash pads and calm down from the transition into the clinic, and we continued to chat.

Then I started to get a bit dizzy. Whatever, I’m pregnant and pregnancy does all sorts of weird things. So I sat down, but it didn’t really get better, and my legs were kind of tingling. I figured it was a circulation issue (being huge and pregnant blocks all your veins, you know) so I stood up again thinking I just needed to move. The whole time these observations were in the back of my mind as I was paying attention to what was really important, A-Man’s therapy session.

Then I started to get even more dizzy, and I thought I might fall so I sat down. I started realizing that I really wasn’t doing so hot, when A-Man’s therapist noticed the same thing. She told me that my color wasn’t good and that I should get some water. I agreed, mainly because A-Man is comfortable with her and I knew he’d be okay. But by the time I stood up again, it became very clear to his therapist that I wasn’t going to walk anywhere for anything.

She had me sit down and she went to grab some water for me and she also grabbed a blood pressure reader. By this point I was fairly out of it and just kept apologizing for being so silly. She took my blood pressure and it was 73/31 (really, really low). Since we were in a hospital, and she was fully aware of my high risk pregnancies, we headed down to the ER. A-Man’s speech therapist didn’t have anyone scheduled before him or after, so she brought him into her room while his occupational therapist wheeled me down. I called Chris to come pick me up, and my mother-in-law to come pick up A-Man. The ER sent me up to Labor and Delivery, where I got hooked up to tons of monitors and they waited for my blood pressure to come back up to normal.

So what in the world happened?

I carried my almost 40 lb four year old across a long parking lot and up a floor into therapy.

Apparently, while pregnant, that can cause a response in the body where all of your blood drops into your legs, and your blood pressure can drop dangerously low.

I didn’t listen to my body.

I didn’t listen when the doctor said “nothing over 25 lbs”.

Because, what does he know? I doubt the doctor has two children under the age of five with special needs. I doubt he had to purchase a carrier for his preschooler because walking long distances overstimulates and exhausts him. I doubt that he understands what it’s like being a special needs mom.

But I am a aspecial needs mom, and I’m telling you. Listen to your body. Listen to your doctors. I know that we’re constantly trying to put our kids first, but sometimes we need to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we can put it on our kids. Because if mama stops breathing, everyone stops breathing.

Baby and I are both safe and fine now, and I’m on strict orders to not pick up A-Man under any circumstances. If he refuses to walk to therapy next week, they’ll send a nurse down to help me. Like I should have thought of the first time. Oh well, you live and you learn, right?

Has something like this ever happened to you?