Sunday, May 01, 2005

Work With Your Doctors, For Yourself

I've already recieved a few emails and comments on my blog, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to answer some questions.

To Jeanette - My husband and I had a fair amount of difficulty conceiving, but it didn't get to the point of having to visit a specialist. After almost 1 year of trying, I did finally resort to an ovulation prediction kit. And after about the second month with that, our daughter was conceived.

I've heard from other women with similar stories of difficulties, either with conceiving or convincing their doctors that they are able to go forward with their plans of pregnancy. I'm wondering if the level of spina bifida that a particular woman has plays a large role in these issues? I've had a "specialist" view my spine X-rays (without ever having personally met me) and say "well, she's obviously in a wheelchair, right?" I've never been in a wheelchair (except for some post-surgury recovery times). So my point is, even doctors may not always have the right answers, or they may make quick judgements based on how they think a person "should" be, not what the person is actually capable of/strong enough for. I believe only the person herself can know what kind of a experiences/challenges she is up for. (that's for you, Angela). Doctors can and should guide you along so you can make the best decisions for you, but do take the initiative to be a big part of that process.

My husband and I discussed ahead of time - between ourselves and with the doctors - what kind of difficulties and challenges we may face - whether we had a "healthy" baby or one with some form of disability. My husband also knew ahead of time that, without a doubt, he was going to have to be a very hands-on daddy. I know that discussing these issues ahead of time was very beneficial for us and our situation.

With all this being said.. the experience of pregnancy, and especially the day to day care of an infant and all the lifting that's required (especially once she gained a little weight) has done a number on my body. I have chronic lower back pain like never before and my upper left leg almost always goes numb after standing and walking on it for even short spans of time. Thankfully, I've been going to a chiropractor for about 5 or so years now, and that has really helped me. I've visited my neurologists and orthopedic doctors about these issues, but they can't find anything particularly "wrong" to fix. The best remedy I've found is a cheap drug store back brace. It doesn't completely eradicate the pain, but it does alleviate it a great deal.

So to all women with spina bifida striving for motherhood/pregnancy - know yourself. Know what you feel comfortable with. And work with your doctors to achieve your goal(s). The end result of having that adorable little bundle of joy to love and raise into a good person is what should really matter most. So whatever means by which you need to resort to get that wonderful gift, go for it with all your heart! It is SO worth it.

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