As I was stuck in neutral that first week, my perspective was all over the map. Yes, I had a son who was autistic. Yes, I didn’t know what to make of it. Yes, I had zero ability to articulate my thoughts and feelings at the time as I prepared to help my family understand the life of raising a child with special needs. What had been repressed in my mind, was what we went with our middle child, Cobe years prior that was my saving grace.
Cobe came into the world like a lightning rod. It foreshadowed his zest for speed and larger than life persona. He was the first Rubin boy born since myself in 1977. He was the successsor to the family name as my niece and daughter were the only children in the family.
During Cobe’s delivery, his shoulder got stuck, which was later described as Shoulder dystocia. All I remember that morning was mass panic in the delivery room and a lot of blood. Kellie was in pain and thought she was leaving me with two children. Another opportunity for me to understand the significance of what was happening but I was too focused on telling myself that everything would be fine.
However, that’s who I was as I refused to let any moment get to me. I can only remember that the clock read 7:43 in the morning. It wasn’t pretty but he had arrived. Our family of three became four. With the size of Cobe’s blue eyes, which he had to grow into, we were madly in love with him.
The dilemma with Cobe was that it was always something. He had pneumonia as an 6 months He pushed through it. He was diagnosed with asthma at 10 months. He dealt with it though he hated treatments. He fell down a flight a stairs at 14 months old. He didn’t break a bone and popped up sucking on his pacifier. That’s who he was.
However, he just wasn’t growing from months 9-18. This is when our pediatrician was very concerned. She recommended that he should be tested for Cystic fibrosis. We were absolutely floored.
Our soon to be 2 year old could be possibly sick off and on for his entire life? The life expectancy of someone with CF was south of 30 years old and it scared us to our core. How could this even happen? It was something that I never believed would happen to him.
As we sat in our pediatrician’s office, we were determined to know Cobe’s fate. As Kellie’s tears ran down her face, my heart pounded anticipating a life changing moment. Whatever it would be, we’d be in it together. Cobe didn’t have CF. We breathed a collective sigh of relief. We would just be able to continue to monitor his failure to thrive, as his extra 300 calories of fat and protein,which was a two year climb to crank up his BMI. This led him to not need to see his GI Specialist anymore.
It was a world without autism. It was a time that I was just Cobe’s dad too. It was also a reminder that I was a bit stronger than I thought I was.