Episode 62: Coping With Loss While Raising a Special Needs Child With Guest LaTanya Sothern
In this episode, we discuss navigating loss, while also raising a child with special needs. LaTanya Sothern's oldest son, Tre, was born with autism and a musculoskeletal disorder that required numerous surgeries. LaTanya discusses that she had 2 first trimester miscarriages before she gave birth to her oldest son. She got pregnant again when Tre was 3 years old. At that time, Tre always had numerous therapies and had to go to the hospital for appointments frequently. He was also receiving services through Infants and Toddlers. During LaTanya's second trimester, the perinatologist began noticing fetal anomalies in the babies. The baby was later diagnosed with Friends Syndrome. He had a diaphragmatic hernia and a cyst on the back of his head, both of which could be fatal. At 6 months gestation, LaTanya was given the option of terminating the birth, or having a traditional birth or a C-section. She chose not to terminate the pregnancy and switched obstetricians to a doctor who was across the street from the NICU hospital. She went into birth at 37 weeks. After Jay Raphael was born, he went straight to the NICU hospital. The hospital tried to keep his oxygen levels up, but he was only able to breathe with someone manually pumping air into his lungs, so the family decided it didn't make sense to continue rescue efforts. Due to having just had a c-section, LaTanya was not allowed to leave the hospital right after surgery. However, the other hospital allowed her husband to check the baby out of the hospital so he could bring the baby to her. She was able to hold her baby for a few minutes before he passed.
During her time with her son, she was still under the influence of medications, so it didn't hit her that she had lost her baby until late that night. Having a strong faith-based community of support really helped her to cope. At first, she felt like she lost herself. However, right before she had her loss, Tre had a prolonged hospital stay due to RSV and was in the ICU for 2 weeks. Then, her grandmother passed away. Then a month later, Tre needed major back surgery. So LaTanya had to focus heavily on Tre. She also had to return to work pretty quickly. This all gave her space to not dwell too much on her loss as much as she could have.
Additionally, Tre had lots of therapies and recovery time. Tre was making so many strides, that LaTanya spent all of her focus on Tre. Faith helped LaTanya a lot in coping with her loss. Tre also had a lot of help and people looking out for him. However, she still felt isolated, as there weren't a lot of resources for her at the time. She did a lot of questioning of her body. She later got together with friends and wrote a book about their losses. This helped her to realize that everyone processes loss differently.
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Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple
Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.
Copyright 2020 Jessica and Lewis Temple
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