Adventures of a Child with Special Needs - The First Year
Here's the story of my friend's experience with his first born. I was touched by the unconditional love and honesty of his story and we decided we wanted to share it with all of you.
Arrival of the Baby
Under the Chinese Zodiac, a person that’s born in the year of snake is considered mysterious, attractive and talented. Kai Keet, a boy, was born in the year of Snake, November 2001. It was a difficult delivery requiring forceps that had left a permanent shallow depression on his head. As there were no major complication during the labor and both mother and son were doing fine, everyone in the family was so happy especially the grandparents because he was the first grandchild in the family. As a first time father, I was overjoyed. My boy weighted 3030 grams. A normal 36 weeks, normal baby length of 48 cm and 33 cm head circumference at birth.
During the postnatal period, although many said that breast feeding was highly recommended, the mother had little chance of doing that due to the fact that Kai Keet was having neonatal jaundice. He was re-admitted back to hospital for phototherapy without the mother.
A week later after Kai Keet was born, he shown some symptoms of cow’s milk allergy. Whenever formula milk was given to him, he would throw up.
As first timer parent, my wife and I were inexperienced, we often waited a couple of hours till signs of child shown dehydration. Keet was quickly re-admitted back to hospital for dipping or IV therapy. A lot of times, antibiotics have to be used on him even though he was still an infant.
After couple of weeks of recovery, Keet was put back for trial on formula milk as the relatives suggested that milk allergy were normal and formula milk can be mixed with soya base powder. Immediately after the trial, Keet was on his way back to the hospital again. This in fact fumed me as they had not gained any approval from the father for the trial. My family and relatives were warned not to use formula milk again. Months after the incidents, Keet was re-admitted a couple of times back to the hospital due to cheese, biscuits, cake etc. Anything that relates to cow’s product was a poison to Keet. Finally, acute cow’s milk allergy was given to Keet by the doctors. This maybe one of the reasons which developed my son illness, too much antibiotics given in an early stage of an infant.
From birth to age of 3, Kai Keet had also been missing one element of love which is me, myself. As a breadwinner in the family, my job required me to travel. Most of the time, I had to travel oversea and had to stay in Korea for a couple of months before returning back home. I had not noticed the strange behaviors in Keet till being highlighted by my wife. However, during the early stage warning sign, I had not taken it seriously as I had considered my wife having depression.
Parent's Love, Trials and Tribulations
My wife suffered from postnatal depression after giving birth to her son, Keet. During her confinement period, she undertook heavy responsibilities both taking care of her new born and all the household’s chores. The burden just fell on her as me, the husband, required traveling overseas to work.
I must admit that I was not there for her when our son was sick and was admitted to the hospital due to cows’ milk allergy. I always believed that my dad or mum would be there to take care of them and look after my family; however, I was wrong; my mum was unable to take care of them, as she still needs to take care of my sister’s son.
Whenever my wife was cooking or doing the chores, she felt stressed up once Keet cried. She will need to put down her works so as to attend to her son as his cries make her tense and nervous. She was suffering from anxiety attack. Whenever nightfall once the child asleep, she felt so helpless and lonely. She needed so much to vocalize her needs to someone at home but there was always nobody with her.
In this day and age, many young couples would move out once they got married to enjoy their privacy from the in-laws. That’s the first stage of a common married couple. However, this came as disadvantages to my wife, as I am not at home nor do my parents frequently visit her. Her life became monotonous as she was not able to express her sadness nor happiness to anyone. It’s just tediously routine tasks that she will have to fulfill for each day. As my in-laws stay quite far away, they seldom visit her as well.
As months went by, after using up all her maternal leave days, she went back to work hoping that work will offload certain stress and at least there will be some colleagues to listen to her problems, she soon realized she was wrong. Her conditions worsened due to both workloads at work and at home. She had confided to herself instead of sharing her problems with her colleagues, fearing that they might keep a distant from her. She became temperamental.
Our marriage was not going well and we often quarrel over insignificant stuff. Whenever, I am back from travel, she would want me to carry out house chores. That actually tired me out. The kind of cleanliness that she demanded was out of this world to me. I will have to mop the floor twice a day as I kept a pet dog, wash and hang the clothes, iron them, etc. Basically, she wants me to feel the same pain as what she had been through. Most of the time, I would ignore her hen pecking as soon, I will be on my way traveling oversea again.
Chasing the Rainbow
Having a child does add sweetness into our life. Each time after we quarrel, we would think of our child. The innocent smile on Keet face would melt off any anger and hatred. Whenever my oversea assignment was announced, my wife will be another different person. She will be so nice to me. Maybe reason is that she will not know when she will be able to see me again