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Thread: My pregnancy experience

  1. #1

    My pregnancy experience

    I was in a motor vehicle accident in 2001 at the age of 19, which resulted in quadriplegia at the C 7/8 level. After rehab I returned to university the following fall of 2002 only to accidentally become pregnant in October of 2002. I have to admit I was terrified when that second blue line showed up on the pregnancy test. Here I was, injured for only 14 months, trying to get my life back together, in a new relationship AND pregnant. I didn't know what I was going to do.
    Of course I knew I could still get pregnant but I had no idea how I was going to physically or emotionally handle the pregnancy and the baby. I wasn't even sure if the father, who I had only been dating for 2 months, would support me or leave. Thankfully he did stay, and we are still together.
    My OBGYN had no experience with spinal cord injuries let alone pregnant quadriplegic women but she seemed willing to learn so I researched what little information I could find and began to relax. My OBGYN found a perinatologist with some experience with SCI and pregnancy and met with him as well as my physiatrist and urologist.
    I was fortunate to have a relatively uncomplicated pregnancy. I had all the usual pregnancy complaints; they were all just magnified. Most pregnant women experience swelling increased urination, difficulty breathing and moving and so did I. I'll break my physical experience down into sections.
    SKIN: The only skin breakdown I experienced was in my groin area from the additional secretions and urine leakage. It was managed with barrier creams and baby powder but didn't completely heal until my daughter was a few months old. I experienced a lot of swelling after about 7 months.
    MOBILITY: I began using my power chair exclusively around 4 months and required assistance with a hoyer lift (I had previously used a sliding board) after about 6 months.
    BOWELS: I didn't have any bowel changes until about 9 months when the pressure of my uterus caused accidents.
    BLADDER: I use an indwelling catheter and have chronically colonized urine which I normally don't treat but because UTI's can cause preterm labour we began treating them at 23 weeks with IV drugs because the oral drugs weren't safe during pregnancy. My catheter also clogged more frequently so it was changed weekly.
    AUTONOMIC DYSREFLEXIA: I experienced mild AD often during my pregnancy, which we attributed to the babies movements or Braxton-Hicks Contractions. In my 8th month I was hospitalized for two nights due to AD from a UTI.
    LABOUR: I was scheduled to be induced on July 8th because I was already 4 cm dilated but I became anxious the evening of the 7th and went to the hospital. I was admitted and monitored until about 2 AM when they wanted to give me pictocin to strengthen my contractions but because they were worried about AD I was given an epidural before they started the pictocin. Then they broke my water and I lay in bed until 7 AM when my OBGYN checked my progress and much to her surprise I was fully dilated and the baby was all the way down. She left the room and came back with about 10 people! They readministered drugs to my epidural, performed an episistomy and used forceps to deliver our daughter. She was perfectly healthy and weighed 7lbs9oz. I left the hospital the next afternoon!

    Emotionally the pregnancy was quite draining. I was extremely hormonal, we were worried about the pregnancy and delivery, I had extra ultrasounds and procedures and I felt like my life was very out on control. I had had all these other plans for my life when in the space of 2 years I became a quad, met my fiance, got pregnant, bought a house and had a baby. It was pretty overwhelming and I felt like I was on a roller coaster.
    Our daughter Violet is 6 months old now and things are becoming more 'normal'. I've learned to care for my daughter almost independently and settled in to our little family. I don't know if I would have chosen to get pregnant, and certainly not when I did, but I'm glad it happened. Violet brings direction and purpose back to my life and renews my faith in the future. If my SCI happened for a reason, to bring my life to this point then it's worth it.

    "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow"
    ~ Anon

  2. #2

    I think a first hand account like this of your pregnancy experience is priceless. I am so glad you are on this forum!

    C5/6 incomplete, injured Aug. 2000

  3. #3
    Senior Member amanda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Arkansas, USA
    Emi- It is strange that you posted such a detailed discription of your pregnancy. I have noticed your posts about yor baby, and then realized your level of injury is the same as mine. I am not planning on having a baby anytime soon. But, certainly do plan on doing so in the future. I was going to ask you about the experience. Thank you for sharing you info!! Congrats and I hope your baby girl is doing great.

    The heart seems to have its reasons which even reason cannot understand.

  4. #4
    Thank you for posting, Emi.

    "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." - Oscar Wilde

  5. #5
    Hey, no problem girls! I hope it helps you guys, I couldn't find much information when I first got pregnant and the fear of the unknown was absolutely terrifying. Like I said, I don't know if I would have ever been brave enough to plan a pregnancy but I am so glad it happened the way it did. I don't think I want to do it again but I hope my experience causes other quad women to have the guts to get pregnant.

    "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow"
    ~ Anon

  6. #6
    There is a new video from Spain Rehab on pregnancy and delivery for women with SCI. It is mainly a moderated panel discussion. Ami Jackson, MD is the moderator. She is one of the leading authorities in this area. You can purchase it for $15, but check with your local rehab/SCI center to see if they have already purchased it to see if you can view it there:

    Reproductive Health for Women with Spinal Cord Injury


  7. #7
    Senior Member Erin81079's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Bryant, Ar.,USA
    Well Emi, that really freaked me out, but I'm so glad you shared because I really needed it. I might have to enlist your guidance and support the next 7 months or so, I hope you don't mind . Thanks so much for posting such an honest and detailed account of the pregnancy.

  8. #8
    Originally posted by Erin:

    Well Emi, that really freaked me out, but I'm so glad you shared because I really needed it. I might have to enlist your guidance and support the next 7 months or so, I hope you don't mind . Thanks so much for posting such an honest and detailed account of the pregnancy.

    Email me anytime! I'll help however I can, if I remember right you are a para so you should have an easier time of it.

    "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow"
    ~ Anon

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