Ten years ago, I became a mother for the first time. Being a mother had always been my dream and goal ever since I was five years old. To me, cerebral palsy wasn’t a factor in my decision. I knew I had love and knowledge so everything else would fall into place.
Before my husband and I decided to have a baby, I did do my research. Unfortunately, ten years ago, pregnancy with a disability wasn’t known to happen. I asked my doctor and she told me that she knew my body could handle it, but she didn’t tell me anything else because she simply didn’t know.
My husband and I decided we both wanted a child so we put the ultimate decision in God’s hands and took whatever challenges as they came.
Little did we realize that the challenges would begin during the first month of pregnancy. It was the first Saturday in February when my husband talked me into taking a pregnancy test. I felt reluctance because we’d been trying for a while and I was so sick of seeing negative tests. But I finally agreed. And, to my surprise, the test was positive!!! The next step was to find an OB to eventually deliver the baby. That’s when the fun began.
For my very first appointment, the staff treated me as if I was a mentally challenged victim. No one seemed happy for me even though I felt over the moon when I saw her tiny self on the ultrasound for the first time. Most of the appointment was doom and gloom. I had a difficult time imagining what they (the clinicians) would be like when it came time to deliver the baby!
A few days after the appointment, I received a jolting telephone call. It was from Children and Youth Services saying that they heard that I was pregnant and if they could visit me! My pulse raced with fear and anger. No one had the right to come to judge my ability to be a good mother based on having cerebral palsy. I found out that the OB’s office are the ones that gave them permission without my knowledge or consent. When I asked them about it, they responded that they do that to all of the new mothers. I knew that wasn’t true.
My search for a new doctor was emotionally draining. No one seemed to want me due to a potential malpractice case. Finally, I went with a recommended OB and made an appointment. He was very open and honest with us. He said that even though he never had a woman with cerebral palsy give birth before, he was willing to have me as a patient. I felt at ease.
Along with my OB, I also had a high risk pregnancy doctor on my side. The good part about that was being able to see my baby on ultrasound more often. I never knew such love until I saw her moving all around inside me. She was amazing to watch, and it is amazing knowing that she’s mine.
It is difficult to tell people if cerebral palsy affected my pregnancy or vice versa. Since I’ve had cerebral palsy all of my life, comparing is impossible. I can say that I was nauseous and had difficulty gaining weight. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I experienced horrible pain in my right arm that immediately went away when I delivered.
On September 20, I thought my water was breaking and all day I felt twinges of pain. My due date was a few weeks off but she was ready! When at the hospital, the nurses said my contractions were very close together. But they didn’t really bother me. I planned on not having a C-section, but we all decided that due to my spasticity, a C-section would be a better option. The doctor also said that I would see my daughter a lot quicker!
So, at 2:58am on September 21, I met my daughter face to face for the first time. She was absolutely perfect at 5 pounds, 8 ounces and 19-inches long. I can’t believe it has been ten years since, and she still amazes me.
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