I started thinking about it months ago when I read this post by Kyra on This Mom, and found out that Fluffy was conceived via in-vitro fertilization after a long struggle with infertility.
I continued to think about it as I considered the explosion in the rate of autism diagnoses in recent years. Clearly, I thought, exposure to mercury via immunizations is one thing that has changed in that time; what else has changed that perhaps I should consider?
I thought about it months later when Astryngia posted these thoughts about stressful pregnancies.
I thought about it most recently when I read Gretchen's post about Henry's difficult entry into the world.
It's still an incomplete thought, but it goes like this: how many of the children who are currently diagnosed with autism would not have made it, say, twenty years earlier? How many would never have been conceived? How many would have miscarried early? How many of them (how many of us?) would have died in childbirth? Without the tremendous medical advances that have been made in infertility treatment, perinatology and the maintenance of high-risk pregnancies, neonatal intensive care, etc., how many of our children would not have survived the first hours, the first days, the first weeks, the first months of life? How many would not have been success stories in Darwin's survival of the fittest?
There are a lot of us out here in the blogosphere posting about our children and our current struggles, victories, advances and setbacks with autism spectrum disorders. But not many of us have posted about the path that led us to where we are. It makes me wonder:
How many of us struggled with infertility? (I did.)
How many of us lost other pregnancies? (I did.)
How many of us had high-risk pregnancies with our ASD babies? (I did.)
How many of us had complicated or troubled deliveries? (I did.)
How many of our children had to remain in the hospital longer than the "typical" newborn? (Mine did.)
Maybe it's all a coincidence. But I'd be interested to know if anyone else has had a similar experience.