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Did I cause ds' learning disabilities?

(34 Posts)
messydeskmessymind Mon 19-Sep-11 12:37:56

Was it me that caused ds' learning disabilities? I didn't know I was pregnant when at least twice during week 4 to 5 in early pregnancy I shared a bottle a wine with dh. Once I tested positive (at approx week five) I had the occassional half glass (once a week maybe).

Professionals have never asked me if I drank in pregnancy. I'm too frightened to bring it up myself but having googled foetal alcohol syndrome ds could fit the profile. he is small, has a small head and is smoothed rather than ridged between nose and lip. He has learning disabilities, asd and adhd. he is gorgeous and the love of my life.

he is under investigation with genetics team for damage to x chromosome not sure whether that makes FAS more or less likely.

I have namechanged as I feel so frightened about this - it is really eating me up inside.

Not really sure what I'm asking actually - just needed to write it down and acknowledge my fears

grumpypants Mon 19-Sep-11 12:42:01

Could you have a conversation with the doctors to say that you are having a hard time understanding why he has difficulties, and that you know it might be silly, but is there any way that level of drinking could have contributed? (BTW are you being completely honest about the level of drinking?)

It's really easy to wonder why - maybe if there is an explanation through an alternative diagnosis you could let this worry go.

pedalpants Mon 19-Sep-11 12:48:15

I would have a frank discussion with a medical professional about it, because it might put your mind at rest. the advice to mums about drinking during pregnancy has changed a lot in recent years and I think the science behind FAS is still rather unclear in terms of whether it is amount of alcohol, or the timing of when it is drunk, or something else, like a susceptible mother/fetus.

you can't be expected to know the details of this, especially if you didn't know you were pregnant.

i knew a couple of FAS kids at school and they did have distinct facial features. however, their mums were proper alcoholics so i find it hard to believe the level you are talking about could possibly have caused a problem.

signandsmile Mon 19-Sep-11 12:51:05

I may be wrong, but if you are correctly remembering the amounts you drank I don't think they are anywhere near the levels needed for FAS, (or the other one that's linked to it.) My understanding is that it is prolonged and heavy drinking...

I would encourage you to ask the medics as I think they will be able to put your mind at rest.

HTH

messydeskmessymind Mon 19-Sep-11 12:51:56

Thanks grumpy - yes it was no more than that. we were on holiday and so eating out and having nice wine. I was very careless -we had just decided to stop using contraception and because of some gynaey problems I'd convinced myself that it would be very difficult to get pregnant naturally. i was also ignorant on brain development and thought that any problems due to alcohol etc occurred much later in pregnancy.

Trying to decide whether it is better to live with the uncertainty or know for sure it was my fault.

signandsmile Mon 19-Sep-11 12:53:42

sorry cross post

MangoMonster Mon 19-Sep-11 12:59:17

There is no way that the amount of alcohol you drank could have caused foetal alcohol syndrome, speak to a medical professional to put your mind at ease.

I think most people worry that they did something to contribute, I worried (after the event) about using a laptop when pregnant and using deep heat once for excruciating back pain and about how long the final stage of birth was, but I don't really believe they contributed. I think it's normal to worry though.

messydeskmessymind Mon 19-Sep-11 13:02:15

Thanks guys

Now worried that if I raise this issue then the doc may wonder if I actually drunk loads and am lying about the quantity. In the gentlest and nicest way 2 posts have queried my recollection of the number of units so this seems to a natural response.

anybody actually had this conversation about their child with a doctor?

coff33pot Mon 19-Sep-11 13:12:06

I have not had this convo with a doctor but can tell you that when I was carrying my dd who is 10 now I used to go out 3 times a week and play darts and would drink one small glass of red wine 3 times a week only, up until she was nearly due. The doctor/midwife said that is fine and it would only be excessive drinking that could cause problems. She is NT and she is fine no features and no problems so stop worrying x

pedalpants Mon 19-Sep-11 13:16:33

no haven't had this conversation with doctor personaly.

but a doctor will be able to tell if you are an alcoholic or not whereas we can't (though you don't sound like one!)

if the doctors suspect FAS, surely they would have broached this with you already? it would be the responsible thing to do because of the risks to another child.

I think if noones ever spoken to you about it, there must be some reason why they are ruling it out.

messydeskmessymind Mon 19-Sep-11 13:31:25

Thanks guys. Pedalpants -you are right that logically they would have asked for now. and I agree with coffepot and mangomonster that I may be fixing on this for tenuous reasons but it is starting to take over my thoughts quite a bit. I've got a paed appt on friday so I will try to raise it then.

For a long time I thought ds's disabilities could be due to a complicated birth.

I partially blamed myself for any damage caused that way because I was overdue and turned down the suggestion of an elective c-section as I wanted a natural waterbirth (nct classes!). He got in distress and i had a c-section anyway.

We had the results of a MRI last month and ds has no obvious brain damage so now I need a new theory. Not sure why all my theories pinpoint me to blame!

No not an alcoholic but still like a glass or three of wine once or twice a week.

MangoMonster Mon 19-Sep-11 13:47:42

I spent a lot of time thinking about what could have caused my ds visual problem. I came up with several answers, all my fault, all cannot be proven probably ever. Truth is, with most things, the doctors don't know for certain. I certainly didn't do anything on purpose and knowing what it was won't change things, only make me feel regret and guilt. I'm probably going to be completely paranoid next pregnancy! I think it's a normal reaction to try and find a cause, but you might never know for sure and our energy is best spent focusing on our children and present/future. Just wanted to say. I know how you feel and it still makes me feel sick thinking about it.

messydeskmessymind Mon 19-Sep-11 13:51:44

Thanks mango. Glad you are up for a next pregnancy!
glad i started this thread as it does me good to get the stuff out into the light.

MangoMonster Mon 19-Sep-11 13:55:03

Writing it down does help. Well, I am up for a next pregnancy in theory but....who knows.

DeWe Mon 19-Sep-11 13:56:10

I think it is normal to think you're to blame. Lots of sn parents do, either pregnancy, difficult birth, something after birth. So if you ask the doctor about FAS then I suspect they'll have had it before from someone who's done similar/had a mouthful of champagne at a wedding/just blaming themselves, and will be able to reassure you.

At the amount you've had, even assuming you're underestimating, I don't think you're anywhere near enough.

litdog Mon 19-Sep-11 14:00:09

MDMM There is NO WAY you are to blame for your child's learning difficulties. My child also has learning difficulties and I had the odd glass of wine throughout my pregnancy, as I did with two subsequent pregnancies (which both resulted in healthy, 'normal' children). On a couple of occasions I also drank probably three glasses of wine in one night.

I asked our specialist at Great Ormond Street if I had caused the problem, and also if it was FAS. She told me in no uncertain terms that FAS is caused by consistent heavy drinking - and that what I had drunk was a million miles away from the amount you would need to cause FAS.

Our DD had the initial chromosomal tests and all came back normal. It was only when she was three that we had more extensive chromosomal testing done and her rare disorder was discovered. This put my mind at rest about having caused her problems - I was also worried as I'd had a few tuna sandwiches during pregnancy, unpasteurised goat's cheese in France, etc.

Our GOS specialist told me specificially NOT to give up drinking in future pregnancies (she knows DH and I drink a glass or two probably three nights out of seven) as she the benefits caused by me relaxing (DD can be tricky to handle!) would outweigh anything else.

PLEASE don't blame yourself - I did for three and a half years til we found out what was wrong, and it was a very unhappy (and ultimately pointless) thing to go through.

x

RogerMelly Mon 19-Sep-11 14:06:43

you don't need to be worrying about this AT ALL. You drank a couple of bottles of wine in a week and at that stage of pregnancy the baby/embryo is a free radical anyway - which sounds fine and what alot of people would have done. By your reckoning there would be loads of babies with FAS smile

I do understand aswell though as I still occasionally blame myself for my daughters learning disabilities and she is 12 for heavens sake! but not enough is known about the causes and often there isn't a cause it is just one of those things. Please stop all the self hatred though, it isn't healthy and you are a good mum

SanctiMoanyArse Mon 19-Sep-11 14:08:57

At week 4 or 5 of a pregnancy you were really only a few weeks in, period dates do not match development ones- at that stage the baby / embryo gets it's nourishment from the 'yolk sack' it came with- it's when the placenta imbeds that you start to nourish the growing baby.

So a few drinks before? nah. not at that level especially. I knwo kids with FAS but that was not a half bottle of wine early on!

But the worry is one we all sahre. I know that I 'caused' the family Sn becuase Ic arried the genes but whilst I had no idea (with the older ones anyway) I still feel some guilt.

messydeskmessymind Mon 19-Sep-11 14:44:19

i appreciate the answers - ds is nearly six and all the wondering why gets me down. If we still dont have a dx once we've finished this genetic testing round I'm going to have to try to get on it. Sick of all the appts and waiting for months in between for results.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Sep-11 14:57:22

Nope. I drank moderately thoughout both pregnancies and have one child with ASD and one NT develo

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Sep-11 14:58:12

Mentally advanced.

GossipWitch Mon 19-Sep-11 17:02:45

I didn't find out I was pregnant until I was 13 weeks gone, and I drank every Friday night, granted it was maximum four pints every Friday night,until I found out, I also fell down the stairs, took a morning after pill at 12 weeks, done the splits in a muddy puddle, and laid laminate flooring. Ds2 is fine despite all this and developing normally, and is showing no signs of SN whatsoever, I sound like an awful parent, eek. I don't think you cause his SN at all.

GossipWitch Mon 19-Sep-11 17:12:00

Also I asked every midwife and doctor that dealt with me and DS2 about the chance of FAS, and they said not unless I'm a raging alcoholic (more or less), I remember asking them to check for everything during the scan do to my twatishness accidents and what not. But he was absolutly fine, however DS1 has SN and i went by the book with his pregnancy (pfb)

Maryz Mon 19-Sep-11 17:19:21

It is very, very, very unlikely that you caused your son any harm, unless you drank an awful lot.

But if it is any consolation you are not alone in feeling you caused your sons problems. In my experience many mothers (and also fathers) feel that they are to blame in some way, whether it be diet in pregnancy, not breastfeeding, being over-protective, being under-protective, using too much or too little discipline.

It is easy to blame yourself, but it is completely pointless. I don't believe you caused it, but even it was due to pregnancy factors (say, for example that you had a fall, or ate the wrong food, or were sick), or even if you had caused it by neglect (unlikely), three really is no point whatsoever in feeling guilty.

You are where you are now, and it is much more important that you are physically and mentally prepared to deal with him NOW, and look after him NOW, rather than wasting time and stress and mental effort in thinking of "what might have been".

Unexplained SN is very difficult, because you probably feel that if you could get a diagnosis you could deal with it better. The trouble is that even if you get a diagnosis, there is more often than not no "cure" sad. So you will have to continue to be a mother to the son you have, and I'm sure you are doing that well.

Please don't blame yourself, it really is such a waste of time.

MunchkinsMumof2 Mon 19-Sep-11 19:24:00

wow, you don't know how pleased I am to have found this thread! Someone linked to the FAS on another thread and I clicked on it and have spent the last month thinking my ds's delayed development / speech and language disorder was my fault sad I found some similar symptoms and even asked my dh if he thought I drank too much (not even a glass of wine p/w) and he said no but I couldn't shake the feeling of guilt. I think I just want someone to blame and that person may as well be me. I hope you feel as reassured as I do OP and good luck with all the tests etc Munchkins x

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