I should start by saying that I was raised Catholic. The concepts of reconciliation and absolution are completely ingrained in me. I grew up going to confession at a beautiful monastery where Father Francis, an elderly monk, held my hand as we walked the grounds, and I asked for forgiveness for my transgressions. I always felt great relief and unconditional love after our time together. Unfortunately, Father Francis passed away years ago, and I haven’t been to confession since. My spiritual beliefs have evolved and changed over the years, but the idea of forgiveness is still critical to how I walk through life. There are things I have done for which I know God forgives me. However, I’m pretty sure that I will never forgive myself, for my transgressions are embodied in a beautiful seven-year-old who tells me daily that I am “the best Mom in the universe.” I know the truth. And someday, so will he. All of these “unforgivable” actions were done with the best of intentions, but we all know what they say about “good intentions” and “the road to hell.” I am admitting here for all the world to see: I gave my son Autism. I did it. Me. And no one can ever take that away.
So … how did I give my son autism? I wish I could say it was one thing—one thing that I could take back that would make things neat and easy, but it wasn’t. It was mistake after mistake, assault after assault. The following are the biggest mistakes I made to which I attribute my son’s descent into autism. I’m going to provide links that are easily readable and understandable that contain links to the research rather than providing links to the research itself. A simple Google search about any one of these topics will provide more information than you could ever want. Here goes . . .
1) Ultrasounds: I had at least five while I was pregnant. I was assured that they were completely safe. Heck, you can get them in malls, so I assumed they were pretty benign. Wrong! While I didn’t get ultrasounds in malls, I didn’t research them either. Ultrasounds have, in fact, been implicated in autism among other neurological disorders. While there is no definitive “causal link,” enough has been found to warrant further research and precautionary measures. According to this article, “Research shows populations exposed to ultrasound have a quadrupled perinatal death rate, increased rates of brain damage, nerve cell demylienation, dyslexia, speech delays, epilepsy and learning difficulty.” Sound familiar?
2) High-fructose corn syrup: I drank Coca Cola every single day while I was pregnant. I was so incredibly nauseous and it made my stomach feel better. Fast forward a few years and Coca Cola Classic was found to have one of the highest levels of mercury due to HFCS of any product tested. I didn’t eat one bite of fish during my pregnancy for fear of mercury. While I didn’t know there was mercury in the Coke, I have to be honest and admit that of course I knew that eating and drinking junk wasn’t good for my baby.
3) Lortab/Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) while pregnant: I have Fibromyalgia. It is painful normally, but it was practically unbearable while I was pregnant. My OB prescribed Lortab telling me that it didn’t cross the placenta and was perfectly safe. I was in so much pain that I wasn’t about to look into this further. I trusted my OB thoroughly and needed to feel better.
Again, did I honestly think that this was good for the baby? Of course not. Lortab is a Category C drug which basically means that not enough human testing has been done to qualify it as safe, but based on animal studies, there is reason to believe that it could be dangerous or problematic. I couldn’t find any specific links between Lortab and Autism, but common sense dictates that this was not good.
4) Pitocin: Two of the ultrasounds I received at the end of my pregnancy revealed that my water was getting dangerously low, so my OB felt we should induce labor. After several hours of not making progress on the Pitocin drip at low levels, the hospital encouraged me to sign a waiver allowing them to increase the Pitocin to illegal levels. Now, I know this seems absurd, but at the time, I was in incredible pain and was told by hospital staff that it was perfectly safe and was used at these levels all over the country. According to them, Montana just has a very low cap on the highest level allowed. I had Pitocin for 36 hours. Here is an explanation from an excellent article on that explains the potential risks associated with Pitocin:
In either induced or enhanced use of Pitocin, the blood supply, and therefore the oxygen source to the uterus, is greatly reduced. With naturally-paced contractions, there is a time interval between contractions allowing for the baby to be fully oxygenated before the next contraction. In induced or enhanced labor, the contractions are closer together and last for a longer time, thus shortening the interval where the baby receives the oxygen supply. Reduced oxygen to the baby in labor has life-long consequences on the baby’s brain function.
5) C-Section: George Malcolm Morley, OB/GYN has done extensive research regarding C-Sections and autism and has concluded that, “A baby born by C-section is 3-4 times more likely to have autism.” His theory is that it is probably due to ICC (immediate cord clamping) and there are really good reasons to think he may be right. There are so many different elements that play a part in C-sections, however, that it is really hard to determine exactly which specific aspect is problematic: anesthesia, maternal immobility, labor trauma, cord clamping, post-op drugs or lack of friendly bacteria due to bypassing the vaginal canal are all suspect individually. It is easy to see how a combination of all of the above could have a negative impact.
Because I had made the bad decisions about the ultrasounds that led to the bad decision about the Pitocin that led to labor trauma, I ultimately had to have an emergency C-section. I can’t believe that there are so many women who choose to deliver via C-section for cosmetic reasons – I won’t elaborate on this one. Ick. I’ll be honest; I am still a little bitter about this. I really wanted a natural childbirth. My husband and I took the classes; we practiced at home. Thirty-six hours of drug-induced hell, and I still ended up with a C-section. And not just a regular C-section: it was such an emergency that I had to be anesthetized via general anesthesia, even though I had an epidural in place.
6) Antibiotics: Oh boy. Where to begin? I have so many mixed feelings about antibiotics. Here is what I know: My son was exposed to antibiotics while he was in distress during labor. He was then exposed for the first two weeks of his life via breast milk. He then received five courses of antibiotics before he was a year old for chronic ear infections. While this is bad cumulatively, the one event that stands out for me, and literally makes me feel sick, was a single dose of Augmentin when he was six months old. At his six-month “well” visit, he was diagnosed with his second ear infection. He received vaccinations for seven different diseases despite being ill, and we left with a prescription for Amoxicillin. Six days later, he had developed an upper respiratory infection and the ear infection was worse. Because the Amoxicillin hadn’t worked, the pediatrician prescribed a course of Augmentin. After one dose of this drug and within 24 hours, my six-month-old baby had 35 acidic, liquid bowel movements. The skin literally peeled off of his bottom in sheets. I had never seen anything like it at that time, and I haven’t since. The pain that he was in was beyond description. I called the doctor and she changed the antibiotic to yet a different kind. So he had three different types of antibiotics in his system within eight days. This episode was the biggie. His gut was never the same after that. Nothing was.
Here is what everyone should know about Augmentin: Augmentin has been implicated in autism. It is comprised of Amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium. When it is manufactured, the clavulanic acid is fermented which involves large amounts of urea/ammonia. Even a small amount of ingested ammonia can potentially cause gut and brain inflammation. I strongly urge you to do your homework before using this drug.
If you will notice in this link, this study was released in January of 2005. My son was prescribed Augmentin in January of 2006. This was never mentioned when I was handed the prescription. However, if I had been a Thinker back then, I could have quickly Googled “Augmentin and autism,” and I would have made a very different decision.
7) Vaccines: I really don’t even know what to say about vaccines other than to say that if I had it to do over again, my children wouldn’t have received a single one. Of everything I did wrong, if I could have my pick of one thing to take back, it would be the shots. No question. Shortly after my son turned three, we left the idiot pediatrician that led me down this trail of terror. The new MD looked at my son’s blood work and heavy metals testing and informed me unequivocally that my son was vaccine injured and that he had never been a candidate for immunization. She said that because of my fibromyalgia and the fact that autoimmune disease and digestive disorders are pervasive across both sides of our family, he never should have been vaccinated. Add in the birth history and the fact that he had severe jaundice and a cephalohematoma that took more than six months to resolve, plus rashes, severe reflux, chronic rhinitis and ear infections along with eczema, it should have been very apparent that his immune system was not functioning properly. Vaccination REQUIRES a properly functioning immune system to work, which may explain why he has ZERO titers to the diseases he was immunized against. According to the CDC and the vaccine inserts, children should not be vaccinated if they are sick or on antibiotics. My son was sick and/or on antibiotics for almost every single round of vaccinations. People, I know what happened to my kid. I KNOW. I watched it. Ginger Taylor has been compiling studies for years that link vaccines to autism. That list has now reached over 60 studies.
Another word—Don’t bother making comments arguing about vaccines. I won’t post them. I am fully aware that there are children with autism who weren’t vaccinated. I am not suggesting that vaccines are solely responsible for every child’s autism. I know, however, that they caused irreparable damage to my son’s immune system, which ultimately led to his autism. There. Done.
8) Acetaminophen/Paracetamol: My baby received an incredible amount of this red, liquid death. Acetaminophen shuts down the production of glutathione, the body’s #1 antioxidant. Glutathione is absolutely critical in the body’s ability to rid itself of toxins. So basically, one of the absolute worst things you can do is to give a baby acetaminophen when they get vaccinations or when their body is trying to fight an infection. The nurse at my son’s pediatrician’s office literally dosed him with acetaminophen at the exact moment she stuck in the needle. When the ear infections and stomach pain and fevers started as a result of the vaccine damage, I gave him acetaminophen to alleviate his pain. Are you starting to see how all of these horrors interlace? One problem requires a solution that creates another problem that requires a solution that creates another problem, etc. For more information regarding acetaminophen and its link to autism, click here.
9) Fluoride: Fluoride probably pisses me off more than anything else on this list, because I am convinced that the fluoride program is one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated on a population in the history of mankind. If you ever have some time and enjoy history, Google “the history of fluoride.” It reads like a Dan Brown novel and would be completely entertaining, if it weren’t for the fact that children are being brain-damaged by the very water they drink. I’ll let you do your own research for the nitty-gritty, but here are the basics: Fluoride contains fluorine. Fluorine is only slightly less toxic than arsenic and is more toxic than lead. It is also a carrier molecule. It loves to combine with other materials and create even more toxic situations. It also can cross the blood/brain barrier. So if there is circulating aluminum in the body from say, oh, I don’t know, vaccine adjuvants for instance, or if there is lead in the joints of water pipes, the fluoride can attach itself to these toxins and escort them right across the blood/brain barrier and into the brain. According to the National Research Council, 36 studies have linked fluoride with reduced IQ in children. Here are some great links to fluoride information:
Here’s the kicker. This is the part where I bang my head on the table, pull my hair and yell, “Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!” like Chris Farley on SNL. We didn’t even have fluoridated water. I actually purchased it and gave it to my son on purpose. My pediatrician told me that he needed it because our water wasn’t fluoridated. I bought “nursery water” that came in cute little plastic bottles with pictures of Bert and Ernie and Cookie Monster on them. I also gave him prescription vitamins—Poly Vi Flor—that contained fluoride. After all of this, we still ended up with over $4,000 worth of dental work by the time he was five. This dental work required general anesthesia that contained—yep, you guessed it—fluoride. Fluoride is also in many pharmaceuticals, including the antibiotic Cipro–drops used for ear infections—and Diflucan—the yeast killer we used off and on for years. How in the hell could I make sure that I didn’t give him toothpaste that had fluoride in it because it was poisonous, but give him fluoridated water? If you want a good scare, read the label on a tube of fluoridated toothpaste sometime. Ingestion of only half a tube of that candy-flavored fluoridated toothpaste could be fatal to a child, and yet we fluoridate our water supply. It is criminal in my opinion.
I can think of many more things I did wrong that I am sure contributed to my son’s health crisis. I will mention diet, toxic cookware, benzocaine teething gel and toxic building materials but won’t elaborate because at this point, common sense should dictate. I am writing this to try to hit the biggies that people really need to research to make better decisions than I did.
I am already anticipating three different responses to this post:
Response 1) There will be people who read this and think, “Good grief, woman. How stupid can you be? What you did borders on child abuse. Of course your child has Autism.” And to that, I have no argument. You are absolutely right. And good for you for knowing better than I did.
Response 2) Some of you will read this and know exactly how I feel because your story is very similar. To all of you, you have my deepest, heartfelt sympathy. While we will always have our mistakes to live with, the best thing we can do now is to share our truth and our story to help others.
Response 3) There will be people who feel pity for me because I have not been able to make peace with myself for my role in my son’s health crisis. You will feel compelled to reach out to me with kind messages imploring me to forgive myself. Please … don’t. It won’t do any good. I am not fishing for forgiveness, and while I know you mean well, it won’t help me. If you really, really want to help, take five minutes and send this blog to everyone you know—especially those who are pregnant or have babies. Implore them to read this blog. No child should have to endure what mine has endured. No mother should ever have to experience the kind of torturous guilt I live with every day.
The mistakes I made were, by and large, recommended by healthcare professionals. That is no excuse. My son’s health was my responsibility. I could choose to follow the recommendations or not. Even a small bit of research would have changed the outcome for my son. There are women, as we speak, who are on the way to the doctor for their second or third ultrasound. There are mothers dosing their babies with acetaminophen before their shots. There are expectant moms being hooked up to Pitocin drips. Some moms are administering unnecessary antibiotics for yet another ear infection and haven’t made the connection that their baby’s immune system is failing. There are also many, many mothers who are hearing the following words for the first time, “Your child has autism.” Help them.
I truly believe that my son’s autism was preventable. Think. Research. At this point, you can’t afford not to.
~ Mountain Mama