Saturday, April 23, 2005

A resource for women with spina bifida

When my husband and I started thinking about getting pregnant, our first order of business was research. We went to bookstores and searched the web for anything we could find on women with spina bifida having children. Think we found a ton of information? Think again. I found lots and lots of information on being the parent of a child with the defect, but not a thing on the parent having spina bifida. This was bewildering, to say the least. I though, 'what, am I the only woman with spina bifida ever to want to concieve a child?" I did find resources for the disabled parent, but not for spina bifida specifically. I vowed right then and there that I would do what I could to help other women in my situation (or who aspired to be in my situation). This blog acts as that resource.

We visited my gynecologist, neurologist and chiropractor. Even they seemed a bit in the woods about what a pregnancy would do to my body. They all encouraged us to go forward, though, and vowed to work with me so that I had the healthiest, best pregnancy and delivery I could. But none of them knew for sure just what my experience would be. Would I end up in a wheelchair for my last trimester? Would I have to have a C-section? We'd have to wait to find out.

Doctors could tell me the likelihood of having a child with a birth defect - about 1 - 2% (as best as I can recall), as opposed to a healthy woman's .1% chances. We figured those odds weren't too bad, all in all. I did need to take a daily folic acid suppliment of 4 mg per day, continuing throughout my pregnancy. I had already been taking this amount for at least 2 years anyway, in case of pregnancy. So, with this little bit of knowledge, we went forward and, after about 1 year's worth of attempts (on and off) we found out on May 1st 1999 that our baby was on its way. We were ecstatic!

Along with my own story, I have links to some great sites that can help to answer many questions. My parents were members of the Spina Bifida Association as I was growing up. I also acted as a poster child for both The March of Dimes and Easter Seals when I was a little girls. All three organizations have been very beneficial to me, my parents and many, many others with all different sorts of disabilities. Check them all out today!

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