My Journey to Becoming A Mom in a Wheelchair: Part 1
Finding the right doctor.
As a little 4-year-old girl, I used to pretend I was pregnant. I would stuff a pillow up my shirt, tell my mom to place her hand on my belly and “feel it kick” as I forced my tummy to push out.
The desire to become a mother
The desire to become a mother has always been within me. But as a little girl, I didn’t bother to think of logistics. I never truly considered the reality of what that would look like for someone living with SMA.
As I grew into my teenage years, I still hadn’t thought it through. Because let’s be honest--what 15-year-old does? But as I approached the high school years, my focus on boys was strong.
One boy, in particular, caught my attention. We met at 15. We spent all of our days together! We graduated high school at 18 and married at 22. The next step in our ever-progressing relationship was to build our family.
Starting a family
We settled in our hearts that we were okay with whatever the process would look like. Adoption, surrogacy--whatever it needed to be, the end goal was family. But deep down, my desire was to carry my own child.
My husband and I decided to make an appointment with a high-risk OBGYN. We had done some research in this area, but I wanted to meet the doctor in person to explain my situation in-depth.
This doctor never previously had a patient with SMA. But in our appointment, she asked me many questions and left us with “Let me do some research and let’s set a follow-up appointment.” To me, this was a wonderful step in the right direction.
She didn’t write me off due to my situation, or her own fears. She listened, had a plan to do some research, and find out what would be best for me and my potential future baby. Really not much more I could have asked for!
The green light for pregnancy with SMA
A few weeks later, she called us back. She said, “Well I did some research, spoke with some other colleagues and there are a couple of things I would want to keep a close eye on. But I think it’s safe and doable! Let’s give it a go!”
I honestly remember feeling like I had just experienced a Christmas miracle. Music to my ears!
I’ve had my fair share of experiences with doctors who have no idea what to do with a patient like me. I’ve seen doctors filled with fear when they read my pulmonary numbers and I have to reassure them they are “my normal.”
Finding an OBGYN who wasn’t intimidated by my situation, but actually encouraged me, was key to my confidence. Mine and my baby’s health were going to be prioritized.
Exploring different options
I encourage any woman who is looking into pregnancy--do some research. Meet with various doctors, and find someone who will evaluate the situation and conduct research beyond their own experience.
Pregnancy may not be for everyone, but I strongly suggest that you listen to all your options to find what will work for your body.
Which emotional aspect of SMA do you find most difficult?