Dani Izzie, a C5-C6 quadriplegic, is about to experience motherhood as she is pregnant with twins. Dani writes about her life on her blog, Dani Izzie. She sat down with AbleThrive to chat about her pregnancy experience.
“I am equipped for this crazy twin pregnancy because of, not in spite of my disability.”
What has your pregnancy journey been like thus far? Do you think it has been easier/harder because of your SCI?
My pregnancy journey has been for the most part comparable to an uncomplicated twin pregnancy for an able bodied woman. I had horrible morning sickness the first trimester (common for twin pregnancies due to increased hormones.) The second trimester was pretty smooth besides some low blood pressure and faintness due to autonomic dysfunction, which is part of my SCI at level C5/6. And during this third trimester, I’m doing well, but need more assistance positioning in bed at night and transferring due to the big belly! Bladder care is a little trickier as well due to limited space. I have the Mitrofanoff to manage catheterizing and have not had any problems using it so far, unless you count some added “leakiness.” SCI doesn’t make pregnancy easier, unless you count the convenience of the wheelchair, but in no way is it impossible or out of the ordinary. My biggest fear is labor and delivery as the risks are more serious due to potential for autonomic dysreflexia, which can cause stroke or seizure. I have confidence the anesthesiologists will manage this through an epidural, which will eliminate that response. It is not clear yet whether I will be having a vaginal or Caesarian birth.
What was your reaction when you found out you were having twins?
I was totally stunned. My husband saw the blobs on the ultrasound screen first and said, “Why are there two?” The ultrasound tech looked at me with a half grin and said, “Because there are.” I told the ultrasound technician, “stop it, stop it, you be quiet,” in disbelief! It hadn’t crossed my mind that there could be multiples. I had to reframe my expectations for how I had planned to manage just one baby as a quad. Now I’ve given in to the fact that we will absolutely be needing additional childcare everyday through a mother’s assistant and the occasional help from family.
What advice do you have for other women with disabilities who are pregnant or thinking about pregnancy?
My advice is first to make sure you are happy with your OB and your care. If not, switch to a high risk doctor who has had disabled patient before. Try to get a consultation in with one before trying to get pregnant if you are planning it. My second word of advice is to trust. Trust that your body is built to handle this despite disability, you’ll be amazed by its potential.
“The best advice has come from the true experts: other disabled moms.”
Have you faced doubts from other people (or yourself) about being a mom who uses a wheelchair?
Yes, from people online who don’t know me. One woman asked me why I would want to have twins if I can’t take care of myself. Such a stupid comment that it was easy to ignore. Don’t let naysayers have any power over your confidence. I haven’t doubted myself because I’ve been mentored by so many other women with disabilities.
“My body has exceeded even my own expectations.”
What are some characteristics you hope to pass on to your children?
Strength, compassion, adventure, joy. Respect and non judgement. Self reliance. Independence of mind. Thirst for knowledge, love of reading and nature, enthusiasm for life, and tough skins to get through the trials, but a soft and empathetic hearts to share with others.
Thanks to Dani for the awesome interview! We wish her good health and happiness as she awaits the arrival of her twins.
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