Guest post: Pregnant in a wheelchair

Thank you to Meg Johnson, C-7 quadriplegic, for sharing her blog post about her experience being pregnant with SPINALpedia!

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What’s it like to be pregnant in a wheelchair?

No one has ever asked me this question, but maybe it has crossed your mind. I know that if I was able-bodied and met someone pregnant in a wheelchair, I’d want to ask. So I will answer the unasked question!
Being pregnant in a wheelchair:

No one ever asks me if I am pregnant. No one. I guess the sitting look is odd enough and the big belly just looks like, well, maybe a big belly.

If I offer the info and share that I am pregnant with someone I don’t know (met in grocery store, temple worker, etc.), the response is often a silent combination of confusion and disbelief.

I get light-headed a lot. I often have to stop moving and lean over my legs as much as my round belly will allow. I did black out twice during a speech once. I didn’t pass out and I could still hear myself speaking into the microphone so I just kept talking. No one knew!I have diminished lung capacity anyway so when the baby shoves her feet into my soft, squishy lungs she can take the breath right out of me. I can’t ‘stand up’ or move around a lot to try to get her to move so I’m left panicking and gasping for air. This has been the cause of several emergency pull-overs off the freeway.My doctors keep asking if I need a bigger wheelchair because of the weight they expected me to gain. So far, so good…The baby’s movement can toss me around. When she moves inside me, it feels like someone has kicked my wheelchair. Once when I was sitting on the couch, she moved and I fell sideways onto my brother-in-law and his food.

Shoulder pain. I guess other moms get it in their hips and back.

The baby grows every day and so I change enough every day to not know exactly how to do a car/couch/bed transfer.

I can’t reach stuff off the floor.

I can’t close the dishwasher.

The dog sits on my pregnant belly, wondering, I’m sure, why “his” lap space is shrinking.

I guess that’s about it. All in all it’s been a pretty low-key, event-less experience. I once watched “Paralyzed and Pregnant,” a documentary on a pregnant paralyzed lady and she had tons of problems and was in the hospital a lot. So I expected to be a little more challenged. Definitely counting my blessings!

Well, actually I totally didn’t count any blessings in this post, I just listed the stuff that was harder. Hmm. So to make up for it, here’s a quick list:

1. My husband goes to every single doctor’s appointment with me. Best husband ever award.
2. He will let me decorate the baby’s room any way I want!
3. I have an awesome crib.
4. I haven’t had any horrific pains that have sent me to the ER.
5. The baby is growing normally!
6. I can still do most household chores.
7. I have many wonderful friends who’ve been loving and supportive.
8. I haven’t had to purchase a single outfit. I’ve been given lots and lots of cute baby clothes!
9. “Nesting” has been fun with my husband. He works harder and faster than 4 regular people, it’s crazy.
10. My husband likes my round tummy, which helps me feel less plump.

Adapted from www.megjohnsonspeaks.com:

Meg Johnson is a motivational speaker, author, artist, teacher, non-profit founder, and extreme tuna fish eater. She always wanted to be a motivational speaker but after taking a few courses in college she dropped out because she simply “wasn’t passionate enough about anything” to speak about it. Fast forward a few years, Meg found herself at the bottom of a 40 foot cliff in St. George, Utah. Meg’s broken neck rendered her a C-7 quadriplegic. Though Meg lost most of her abilities, she found her passion as she struggles to keep moving forward despite her inability to walk. Meg now speaks on her motto, which, she says, is applicable for people of all abilities: When life gets too hard to stand, just keep on rollin’!

Blog reprinted with permission from: http://www.megjohnsonspeaks.com/1/post/2013/09/whats-it-like-to-be-pregnant-in-a-wheelchair.html

 

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