Pushin' On: UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System Digital Newsletter Volume 35 | Number 2 - Page 3
didn’t know it at that time, but dizzy
spells happened to women without
Did you have any problems or
complications during your third
The dizzy spells continued. I had
to catheterize myself more often to
prevent leakage. I had heartburn
pretty bad. I also had to use a transfer
board and had people help me with
transfers at times. I needed help
turning in bed as well.
I had a broken leg during my
second pregnancy. Transfers and
mobility were even harder. I couldn’t
drive for months. Honestly, the
pregnancy seemed like a walk in
the park once I recovered from the
How did you plan for delivery?
I saw an SCI doctor twice during my
pregnancies, and she and my OBGYN
spoke a few times. My OBGYN
wanted me to be induced so he could
be present for the delivery. My SCI
doctor wanted me to have an epidural
to avoid Automatic Dysreflexia if
How did labor and delivery go?
Honestly, I was very surprised by
how smoothly both my deliveries
went. With my first child, I was given
medicine to ripen my cervix and was
induced. I could not believe that my
body, which seems so disconnected
from me at times, finally did exactly
as it was supposed to do. I was even
told that I helped to move the baby
down whenever I pushed, which was
surprising given my paralysis.
I was in labor for over 17 hours with
my second baby. I think it took so
long because I didn’t get the cervix
ripening drug. I dilated quickly right at
the end. When the doctor finally came
to check on me, my son’s head was
already out. I knew something was
happening, but I thought it was just
another hard contraction.
How does it feel to be a mother?
Being a parent with my husband
is the most rewarding thing in my
life. The love and immense joys
of parenting overshadows the
exhaustion and frustration that comes
with it. I look at my children and see
two miracles, and I’m so grateful that I
overcame my worries and insecurities
about becoming a mom because
I would’ve never experienced this
feeling of unconditional love and
being loved by a child.
I do sometimes struggle with
needing help with my kids or keeping
my household running smoothly. It’s
almost like I feel like I have to prove I
can do it despite the fact that every
parent needs help at times. That
feeling does fade, and I feel grateful
that I have the support I need.
I’ve had a SCI for almost 20 years,
and, in general, I’ve come to accept
my limitations. But every now and
then I get this pang of immense
sadness. It’s like being a parent
sometimes emphasizes the little
things I miss, like being able to hold
their hands as we walk down the
street or easily lay in the grass to look
at the clouds with them. On the other
hand, I know having a disability has
helped me develop strengths that
help me be a better parent.
My disability has helped my kids,
too. They’ve learned empathy and
are more accepting of differences in
others. I think my oldest did have to
grow up a little quicker than her peers
in some areas, but I see that she feels
a sense of pride at being able to help
others. She even received an award
at school for her willingness to work
with anyone and enthusiasm in help
I learn from my kids every day
about love and life and dreams. Like
most parents, I’m always working
to become a better person, a better
parent. It’s not because I have a
disability. I want to improve and grow
because I’m human.
Editor’s Note: Views and information
found in this article are not meant to
replace the advice from a medical
professional. Consult your health care
provider regarding specific medical
concerns or treatment.
Questions and Answers: Choosing to have children after SCI
What do I need to know about having children?
Most people with spinal cord injury (SCI) naturally
think about having children. There’s a lot to consider, but
everyone with SCI should start with five facts in mind
when thinking about having children.
1. You weigh the pros and cons of having children like
most others who are considering having children.
2. To make an informed choice, make sure any
information and advice you seek is from
knowledgeable people and professionals.
3. There may be problem issues, but there are solutions
to managing most problems.
4. You can and should have children if you choose - no
matter your injury level.
5. The positive aspects of having children usually
outweigh the difficulties.
Where do I get information and advice from
knowledgeable people and professionals?
It’s never too soon to start looking for information if
you want to have children. But you should be mindful
that there’s not a lot of information on having children
and parenting after SCI. And there aren’t a lot of trained
medical professionals that can give you sound advice.
Through the Looking Glass is a good place to start
learning about parenting. It has pioneered research,
training, and services for families in which a child, parent
or grandparent has a disability or medical issue.
Talk with your physical medicine and rehabilitation
doctor/physician if you want professional advice. This
might be the SCI doctor you had in rehab and still may
see each year for checkups. If you don’t know or see a
SCI specialist annually, you can find one near you here.
UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System