myhollydays

A glimpse into the world of the handicapable.

Archive for the tag “pregnancy”

Adoption

When I was a kid, I never understood what it meant to be adopted. Meaning…I knew that I WAS adopted, I knew that I had a Korean mommy. I knew she couldn’t take care of me, but loved me very much-according to my mom. I just didn’t know what the whole process really meant.

I’m noticing that more and more of my friends, colleagues and people about my age are adopting…it is finally sinking in the reality of adoption. What it costs the birth mother emotionally. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to hand over Caiden to complete strangers and trust that they would love him as much as I do. I can’t imagine the sacrifice my mom and dad made when they decided they would take me in. How difficult it must have been to have a child that doesn’t speak their language, doesn’t look like them and have no idea of her full potential (physically, emotionally and academically). I don’t even want to get into how much the adoption itself cost!

I applaud all the moms and dads out there that have welcomed those who are considered “unadoptable” (like myself). Wow…

Now that I’m all grown up (I’m using those words loosely), I appreciate all that my parents did to make sure I felt loved. They did a great job making sure that I knew that I was hand picked and wanted. They pushed me because she knew I could do anything I set my mind to. I am here today, a wife, a mother an educated professional…and able to achieve all that and more because of this great country and my awesome parents. My parents never made a distinction between birth kids (aka the “real” kids as some would say) and the adopted kids (er…fake kids?). We were a family and there was always room for one more.

I do think of my birth mother every once in awhile. I think how hard it must have been for her, but at the same time I am a little bitter at the country that (at that time) weren’t as open minded to disabilities as the Western world.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret…my brain still thinks I’m Caucasian.

…I Was Bitten By A Radioactive Disabled Person…

Questions I had been asked these past few weeks…

“What did you do to prepare for pregnancy?”

Since my husband I decided we would like to start a family, I began researching…a lot!  There wasn’t a lot out there and I didn’t know what to expect.  I contacted other women with Spina Bifida that had children, and asked them what they did.  I also boosted my Folic Acid intake and watched my diet.  I relied on the support of my siblings and close friends (and of course my hubby) to keep me positive.  As you can tell from older posts, the pregnancy went well.  Caiden is healthy and happy.  I am healthy and happy.  I would probably recommend to anyone (regardless if you have a disability) to stay in contact with your doctor, and keep an open line of communication with your health providers.  No one will have the same outcome or the same situation.
“Weren’t you worried that Caiden would end up with SB?”

Yes.  I was worried.  However, God is in control and wouldn’t give us anything we couldn’t handle.  I know this sounds SO cliche…but it’s true.  I think I also recalled something a friend had said to me in college…”What’s the worst that can happen?  Can you live with that?”.  The worst case scenerio would have been Caiden born with Spina Bifida.  It would mean medical issues, complications, possible learning problems, possible social problems, etc.  Wait…that was my childhood…my mother’s worries for me.  Well, I think I turned out fine.  I think I would have the first hand experience to help raise a child with SB.  We would have loved whoever God gave us.

“How did you get SB?”

see title to this blog…

“What difficulties do you face now that you have Caiden?”

I think worrying about him constantly.  He is mobile AND determined…a VERY bad combination for me!  =)  I love this kid dearly…but I can’t take my eyes off of him for second or he’s into something.  As far as the wheelchair and my disability…I’m not sure.  I think adjusting to the crib height.  I also have issues with saliva…need I say more.

“Would you adopt?”

I would like to.  Maybe not in the near future…and certainly not 18,  but we like the idea of a little girl in our family.

Have a question?  Morbidly curious about something?  Send those questions my way!

What was I so worried about?

Caiden is a little over 5 months now.  He is so happy, just smiles all the time.  He is also just a laid back kid, nothing seems to faze him too much.  He is a social little bug!

Since the summer began (2 weeks ago!), I get to stay home with Caiden and just hang out with him.  I LOVE being at home with him.  I get to see him try to crawl, give me the MOST DRAMATIC frowns, and give me the happiest squeals and giggles.  I am also VERY protective of him.

I think the reasoning is that, well, first off, I’m a mommy.  Secondly, I feared (okay, I admit, I still fear) what others would say or think of him having a mommy in a wheelchair.  I get the vibe at times that some people are not too pleased that I made a conscious choice to get pregnant.  I could have “spread” my disability to him, or made his life harder than it needs to be.  WELL…to be honest…who’s life is NOT hard?  Seriously…!

However, the thought still stays in my head.  I keep thinking…well, I grew up like this (you know…not walking) and I’m used to the stares, the nervous smiles and the “OH @#*&$ how am I supposed to handle this situation” looks.  Chris (the hubby) married me knowing he would have to deal with the above types of people.  He is used to it.   I am quite in awe of how brave and self-confident he is about the whole situation.  It never bothered him, even when others were worried for him.

BUT…I brought a baby into the equation.  Caiden wasn’t really born into it (not really), and he didn’t choose this lifestyle or his mommy.  So, I fretted (as any normal mommy would do) about how others would treat him, what other people would say to him, or how others would treat me when he’s around.  I know I can do anything I set my mind to.  If you give me a challenge, or just tell me I can’t…well, I will do anything in my power to prove you wrong…and then some.  Still, you have people out there who do not know me well, and will still try to limit me.  Not really on purpose, but trying to be the good Samaritan, or trying to “help”.  It’s condescending.  Plain and simple.  I do not need to be taken care of and I usually don’t need assistance…unless I specifically ask.  =)  I don’t want Caiden exposed to that type of mindset.

Yesterday, for the first time ever…Caiden and I went out to a place that wasn’t with my husband or family members.  I took Caiden to the store.  Just me and Caiden.  I was so nervous and scared.  I wasn’t nervous because of the transferring in and out of the car, or being able to carry him around, that’s EASY PEASY!  It was how I thought people were going to react.  I thought people might stare at me or at Caiden and judge us. I thought people would be rude, or disrespectful.

I got out of my car, put Caiden in his front carrier and we rolled in to the store.  This is the store that Chris, Caiden and I usually go to every week.  It was so intimidating at first.  But everyone cooed and smiled and played with Caiden and greeted me in such a respectful manner.  The employees were so nice and friendly.  The customers were hilarious.  Chris was right…they weren’t judging, they weren’t disgusted.  They wanted to help.  They wanted to see what they could do to make things easier.  Why was I so worried?  I forgot, most of this world is actually…good.  =)

God knew what he was doing when he gave me Caiden.  We are a perfect match.

So, that’s one fear confronted….so many more to go.  But you know what?  I’ve got time.  =0)

Adaptability

Today was a good day. School is almost at an end, and summer vacation is fast approaching. It also means that Caiden is getting older…and more mobile.
Yesterday, I sat him in his pack and play and watched as he rolled from back to tummy and back again. He sits on my lap and we ride. He also nurses with his feet on my wheels. It’s amazing how adaptable babies are. Caiden somehow knows what I can and can’t do, and seems perfectly fine adapting to me.
I can’t wait to see what he will be like when he’s a little older (although parts of me want him to stay a baby!).
Ok…time for bed!

I’m back!

Caiden on our first family vacation!

It’s still hard to believe…my baby boy is almost 5 months old. He gabs, rolls, laughs and grabs. He is a bouncy baby boy, and he is ACTIVE! He loves to jump (with help from his mommy and daddy) and dance, sing and play. It’s amazing how much this little Zoomie has grown.

I think what amazes me so much is the fact that he was in my body 5 months ago! Now that he’s older, he is able to bear weight on his legs and stand on my lap and he TOWERS over me. He is tall!

Everyone asks “What’s been the hardest part of being a mommy and being in a wheelchair at the same time?”. Well, to be honest…being a mommy has been easy. Being a mommy in a wheelchair…well, that part is easy too. After all, it’s basically the same thing…only, I’m faster down a hill.

I think I had a few concerns before Caiden was born. However, I figured it out with time and thanks to my wonderful, supportive and amazing husband. Here are a few things that I had on my mind before his birth:
1. How on earth do I carry him?
Easy peasy! When he was a bit younger (AND A LOT SMALLER), I could fit him in the crook of my arm and then push my chair by gliding along a wall or whatever free standing furniture was close by. I still do that, but not as much since Caiden is able to sit in my lap. I also use a carrying pouch. As long as Caiden is facing out, he is happy. He is definitely a great rider!
2. How do I travel with Caiden?
Again…easier than I thought. I carry him to my car with my pouch. I am fairly (and unnaturally) strong, and so putting him in the car seat was very easy. Then I load myself in the car…and voila! Off we go!
3. How would others view me? Meaning…how would other people (strangers and acquaintances) react to me with a baby on my lap?)
I’ve taken Caiden to the store, mall, park, etc. many times now. I usually get positive (or puzzled) reactions, but never anything negative (knock on wood). I can let my imagination go wild some times and it never bodes well for anyone. =)

Actually, when I post on Facebook (granted everyone on my FB account is someone I know personally), I get pretty positive responses. I am usually greeted with supportive comments and friendly well-wishers. I had noticed that a group that I belonged to hadn’t had much to say to me during and after the pregnancy. I know that there are people out there that did not want me to get pregnant in fear that I would give my SB to my son. I don’t think people realize how hard the decision was for me to become pregnant. I did worry about my health…about my mobility…about my job. I worried about finances…I worried about money…about my ability to be a mom…about…well, everything…I’m human. I worried so much about what my in-laws would think or say or react to my ability to handle pregnancy and being a mom. I worried about my family…how would they react, say or think.

But now that I have him, none of that matters. Of course…my worrying didn’t help, hinder or solve a thing. In fact…it was a waste of energy!

My sisters, bless EACH of them, would listen patiently to my worries. It was endless hours of me worrying and countering each with a sweet and loving reassurance.

But now…he’s here. He’s in my arms and made his way to my heart. I couldn’t imagine life without this little boy. I couldn’t imagine life with out my strong and loving husband. There is a reason why marriages either get stronger or break when a baby is introduced into the family. There are so many things that we have to communicate to each other. There are so many compromises and teamwork. I feel like I’ve met a whole new part of Chris. I love watching the two together, it makes me feel so complete.

My boys!

I married a “walkee”…

Say it with me...COMMUNICATION...it's not a bad word...or is it?

Communication is so vital in a relationship. When a person says one thing, the other would read between lines that don’t exist. For instance…
“Oh, you look nice today.”
“What are you saying?! Do I NOT look nice all the time?”
Or they really don’t mean what they say.
“Oh…my favorite sword…you broke it. It’s alright.”
REALLY…he’s thinking…YOU BROKE MY SWORD…HOW COULD YOU? IT WAS ON PURPOSE! ADMIT IT…YOU WERE JEALOUS BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T HAVE A SWORD! NOW WE BOTH DON’T HAVE SWORDS.
(This conversation never took place. All events, words, conversations were completely fictional and the work of Holly’s imagination. Any events similar to this conversation is purely coincidental.)
What happens next? If you’ve been married or in a relationship before…well, you know what happens. Hurt feelings…yelling…gnashing of teeth…yadda yadda yadda…

My point…

Having a disability is one thing, but being married to someone with a disability is completely different…especially if you don’t know anything about disabilities in general (except things that are told to you by a friend of a friend). When Chris and I first dated, I don’t think it crossed his mind that dating me would be any different than dating an able-bodied girl. I never stopped to think about his perspective because he made our relationship seem so easy.

March 14, 2009

There are many compromises, give and take and reliability in our marriage…we are not perfect by any means (we argue and fight…who doesn’t?). But when it comes to getting things done…say, for example: I may not be able to do something (taking out the trash…putting up dishes, etc.) instead, I’ll find things that I can do so things won’t always have to fall on him (for instance; load the dishes into the dishwasher, cook, clean, clean out the stupid lint trap from the dryer even though it’s sticky and messy and I hate doing it, but I’ll do it anyways because I love him…oh…right…focus!). It doesn’t apply to house chores only…but in everything we do. We just make it work, because we want us to work.

I was very fortunate to have dated and married a guy who states exactly what he wants (or what he’s thinking at any particular moment). He tells me what he needs, or what he’s sick of…or what he likes. Sometimes what he shares has hurt my feelings. I know he is not trying to hurt me, so I try not to take it personally.
He is just being honest with me and wants me to be aware of how he feels. There are times when he is just thinking out loud; he’s concerned about me, or us, or the baby. I’m grateful (most of the time) because I know what to do to help, and sometimes that means he doesn’t want help, he wants me to listen, but at least I know what’s going on in his head.

I’ve also learned that I can’t hold him back from what he wants to do. If he wants to climb Mt. Everest…so be it. I will just sit back at the cabin at the foot of the mountain and wish him luck! But I won’t tell him he can’t because I am not able to.

In college, as our relationship became more serious, he worried about our future together. What would it be like? What would be required to take care of me? What are some things about me that he would have to learn?

Questions often plagued him, and as each one popped up, he would always come to me and we would talk about it. People would tell him things they heard about people in wheelchairs, and Chris would discuss it with me and we would confirm or deny the “rumors” (seriously…I’m so grateful for the internet other times I could just strangle the person that posts an opinion but call it a fact!).

I don’t know everything (you’ll never hear that from me again!). There were times when he would come up to me and say “I heard that people in wheelchairs (insert the hearsay), is that true?”. Well, I’d be stumped and have no idea. I know, I know…shock and awe…right? You would think having a disability would lend you the expertise and knowledge of that disability and automatically you become an expert. NOPE! I’m still learning as I go.

It was a long process in our dating life to get to a point where he was at ease with the level of care he would have to provide (which at this case is minimal).

He still loads my wheelchair in and out of the car (depending on who’s driving), and carry me up/down stairs at the movie theaters/concerts/etc. if we didn’t have handicap seating. This is the level of care he provides. I am completely independent and do not want his help. (So, if you notice he isn’t pushing me up a hill, or loading my chair into MY car don’t give him a dirty look. I’ve already told him I want to do it myself…again…dignity and pride! Actually, the real reason is so that I can keep up my upper body strength. Plus, I really don’t need the help.). =)

Getting ready for the nursery

NO GIRLS ALLOWED!

Chris and I are now attempting to clean out his office and move it into my office (or…”our” office). I never realized how much stuff we both own.
It wasn’t that long ago that we were both newlyweds sharing a 400 sq. ft. loft without doors. Neither one of us had a whole lot of stuff when we got married, and we weren’t worried about it either. Now, we have a three-bedroom house and already we are outgrowing our home! This isn’t a bad thing at all! I think it will be great, because we will once again have our sense of closeness (…ok…I’m trying to find the silver lining in the clouds).

The move has been a bit stressful. Where do we put his desk and computer? Where should I put the filing cabinet. Where will Zoomie sleep? What color should the nursery be (NOT THE YELLOW!!)?

In a few months, this will be a nursery!


At the same time, Chris and I have been spending more time together than we have in a long time. It’s been nice hanging out with him and just talking (for more than 10 minutes before I’m rushing out the door for another job).

To be honest…the baby is bringing us together in a way I didn’t think was possible. I thought I already had this close relationship with Chris. I mean, I do, but it’s morphing into so much more. Now we are office buddies! YAAY! (Can you hear him cheering yet?) There is more to life than work, social activities and friends. I always took for granted the relationship I had at home. Chris is great though…he helps me find that balance. Zoomie will do the same. =)

Pride cometh before the fall…what comes after that?

I remember a conversation I had with my husband one night.
“Why is it so hard to ask for help???”

Maybe it’s a pride thing, or the fact that I think I can do it. It’s not until I try and realize that I may or may not need assistance. I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying first…or is that being stubborn?

I’m still pondering this thought. I thought being independent was a good thing. Can you be too independent? I know it’s alright to ask for help, and believe me… I will when I absolutely have to. I just think there is a difference between perseverance and pride.

Perhaps this story can shed some light on what I am trying to say…it happened a few months ago.

I went to the “house” (this is what we-my family and I-call my parent’s home) and parked across the street from the house. I park across the street because it is more level and my wheelchair doesn’t roll away (escape)…now THAT’S a story for another day. I had just picked up some fast food and was gathering my backpack, shoes, bag of sonic and my drink (a much needed dose of caffeine and sugar) out my car to bring to the house. There is a small curb (well, it used to be a small…until my pregnancy) before you get to the ramp. I’m an expert curb jumper. I take pride in my skills to jump any curb. That day, was just not my day. I had my hands and lap full and my sister was outside timing me (well, she was just probably waiting on me to come in from the heat). She had offered to help…and as usual, I declined. I actually did need help and I don’t know why my mouth just says “no” automatically (again…pride?). I dropped my drink…thought a few choice words (I probably said it too…but can’t remember past the blind rage, frustration and embarrassment…).

My sister, Ash, has a way of helping me without making me feel vulnerable or helpless. She just knows how to help me without making a big deal, and most of the time I’m unaware that she’s helping me, after all… she IS my baby sis and knows me inside and out. She just takes the stuff out of my hands AND my lap AND the street and chats with me while she carries my stuff inside. There’s no hint of condescension, nor is she doing it “to be nice”. She’s just doing what she does…giving me my dignity. She’s an intuitive little thing.

I guess that’s what all people with disabilities really want. I suppose that’s really what I want, too. It’s not about pride, being stubborn, or anything related to that. It’s not about people helping me or not. Ash, my siblings, my husband…even my closest friends recognize that need to feel human.

“Wait a minute!” You may be thinking right now…”I sense a contradiction in your story…remember Disability Manners 102?”.

Well, there isn’t one, I assure you…Can you see the difference between the incident that occurred at the house compared to what happened at TWU?

Spina Bifida

This is NOT my research. I found this on the internet, and found it interesting. Here are some websites I’ve found if you want to learn more about Neural Tube Defects.

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/birthdefects/spinabifida.html
http://www.marchofdimes.com/birthdefects_spinabifida.html

Happy News!

I don’t really know what I was going to expect when I found out I was pregnant. I always thought that it would be this complicated process that would require months of preparation. I also thought that there would be more health related issues. Instead, my specialists schedule to see me in a few months to check on my progress since there doesn’t seem to be much they can do since there isn’t anything wrong at this time.
Today, I got the results to my blood tests. I had been anxiously awaiting the results to see if our baby had a chance of having Down syndrome or a Neural Tube Defect. It seems that I am not at risk. We will go to the doctors in two weeks to check on the spine and we will be confirmed. After my last post, I do feel better about my baby. One way or the other, I will love my son. =)
I am started to get really excited about my little boy. I CAN’T wait to meet him. I went with my sister to look at baby things and it got me all riled up! She has the affect on me, which is why I love her.
This means that my poor husband, Chris, will lose his office. (BUT he’ll gain a son!). He is being a great sport about this, and I can’t wait to start decorating (yes, I’ve used the singular…”I”)! I think I shall throw a painting party. All are invited! I figured if I attach “party” to whatever manual labor that needs to be done, more people will come…however, FRIENDS have dispelled this theory and my last “clean the house party” wasn’t as successful as hoped. No worries…I will have a great time delegating responsibilities regardless of how many people come. =)

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