Photo by Layna Hendrich of PhotographyLayn

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Being a Wheeling Momma (Part 1)

With Addison's third birthday quickly approaching, I thought I would visit the topic of Motherhood; specifically what it's like to be a Mom in a wheelchair.

I always wanted to be a Mom, so when my accident happened, one of my first thoughts was that I might not ever get that opportunity. Or if I did, how in the world would I take care of a baby? Luckily, I have an amazing team of doctors who believe in the perfect blend of honesty, reality, and doing everything they can to help their patients live the life they want to live in a safe and healthy way.

When Russ and I were married in 2006, we said we would wait two years before having a baby. But when two years came around, we realized that we weren't quite ready. So we ended up waiting another two years before we started the process. When my accident happened, nothing internally was damaged that would prevent me from getting pregnant, but we had no idea how my body would react to carrying a baby, or delivering a baby. To make matters even more interesting, I was on a blood-thinner from a previous series of blood clots that would be dangerous to the baby.

Our first step was to meet with our local OB-GYN to make sure we were good to go to start trying to have a baby. We went armed with a list of questions, and we were pleased with the answers we received. We even met with a high-risk doctor in Billings, MT (a bigger city about two hours away), to make sure we were covering all of our bases. We found out several things:
  • We shouldn't have any trouble conceiving
  • I would need to discontinue my current medication and start daily Lovenox shots
  • If I made it to 35 weeks, I could deliver in my local hospital
  • We would attempt a vaginal delivery, but be prepared for a C-section if needed
Armed with the positive encouragement that this was something we could do, we started the fun part- trying! :) Four months later (and Russ takes full responsibility for the awesomeness of a speedy conception), we found out we were expecting on January 1, 2010. What a way to start the new year! We had great ultrasounds, amazing baby showers, fun times decorating the nursery and preparing for the birth of our daughter. I had some extra swelling in my feet and back pain, and I kept losing weight instead of gaining it (more on this later), but for the most past, the pregnancy was fairly normal. Around 34 weeks, I noticed some UTI-like symptoms that were getting increasingly worse. Fortunately, I was working at the local Care Center attached to my hospital, so I was able to roll right down to the OB department and get checked out. Once I was hooked up to the monitors, we realized I was having contractions about every 3-5 minutes. Fluids and medication stopped the contractions, and I was able to head home.

We did this "trial run" a few more times just to keep things interesting, and we started weekly check-ups. Addison continued to pass her stress tests, and although she was measuring a little small, everything looked like it was developing normally. At my 37-week checkup, Addison passed the stress test, but I failed my amniotic fluid test. It was decided then that I would check in to the hospital that night to be induced the following morning. This was a bit of a relief to us, as I had always been a little nervous that I would go into labor and not know it. The induction would be in a controlled, familiar environment surrounded by the doctors and nurses I knew and trusted. What could go wrong?

If you know me well, you know that I can't seem to do things the easy way. And I am quickly learning that my daughter is just like me. :) I went to sleep around 10:30 p.m. that evening, and was awakened by the nurse around 1:00 a.m. Addison’s heart rate was decelerating at times, and we needed to change positions frequently to keep pressure off of her umbilical cord. While moving me, we realized that my water had broken. I already had low amniotic fluid, and losing that additional cushion wasn’t helping her at all. After she continued to decelerate, the doctor was called in to check things out. He decided to do a procedure called amnio-transfusion, which replenishes some of the fluid lost when your water breaks.

This seemed to work for a while, but then Addison had a 6-minute stretch where her rate was in the 60’s, so it was decided that we needed to do a C-section to relieve the pressure on the cord and her stress. I was only dilated to 2 cm, so it was obvious she couldn’t keep things up long enough for a full labor and delivery. I called Russ and let him know he needed to come in as we were delivering now and not later in the day as planned.

As we were preparing for the C-section, the nurse checked me one last time and found that the umbilical cord had prolapsed. She jumped up on the bed between my legs, reached inside, and held Addison’s head off of the cord while we rushed to the OR. The last thing I remember is the nurse anesthetist telling me “this is going to burn,” and I was out. Addison was delivered in less than 3 minutes at 4:02 a.m. on Wednesday, September 1st. She weighed 5 lbs 1 oz and measured 17 ¼ inches long. Russ was able to hold her in the nursery while the doctors finished with me. She was about 1 ½ hours old when I was able to hold her after coming to.

I don’t want to get too dramatic, but we know that the situation was serious and we could have easily lost our daughter. To put things in perspective, the following is a medical definition of what happened. “Umbilical cord prolapse is an obstetric emergency during pregnancy or labor that imminently endangers the life of the fetus. Cord prolapse is rare. Statistics on cord prolapse vary, but the range is between 0.14% and 0.62% of all births in most studies. It happens when the umbilical cord precedes the fetus' exit from the uterus. Cord prolapse is often concurrent with the rupture of the amniotic sac. After this happens the fetus moves downward into the pelvis and puts pressure on the cord. As a result, oxygen and blood supplies to the fetus are diminished or cut-off and the baby must be delivered quickly.”

We are so thankful to the doctors, nurses, and operating room staff for their quickness and calmness during the whole ordeal. Three years later, Addison is doing great, and you would never know that she had such a rough beginning. We know without a doubt that God has special plans for her, and we can’t wait to see what He has in store!

One of her newborn pictures

I will blog more over the next few weeks about the days and months following her birth, with lessons and tips I learned along the way for Moms in chairs. More to come!

1 comment:

  1. I was impressed with your skills as a mom on Wednesday. Your disability did not hold you back in any way that I saw with your skill as a mom. It was pleasure to hangout and see that you in action.