Lots of women have been pregnant while paralyzed, but it can be a challenge to find useful information about the process and get a sense of different women’s experiences. Patty Kunze, also known as “the Rollin’ RN”, is a registered nurse and wheelchair user who talked to three mothers about their pregnancy stories. She brings her passion to sharing these women’s experiences. Each story is different, each woman had her own highs and lows, but the end is the same- they’re all mothers of beautiful children.
“As a Labor and Delivery nurse in my past life, I relish everything about pregnancies and babies."
Andrea, Quadriplegic mom:
Andrea conceived naturally after 6 years of trying. Along the way, she had to manage autonomic dysreflexia, high blood pressure, urinary accidents and urinary tract infections that led to a difficult third trimester. She now has a healthy baby girl, but experienced complications that were managed by an obstetrician trained in high risk pregnancy. “At 32 weeks gestation, I experienced extreme AD which triggered preterm labor..my physician was able to control the AD and stop my labor,” she shares. “I remained hospitalized with constant monitoring until 35 weeks and discharged home on bed rest until 38 weeks.” She had a date to be induced for labor, but due to complications with her daughter’s heart rate, she was born by emergency caesarean section.
Katie, Paraplegic mom:
Katie found out she was pregnant after being rushed to the hospital after being paralyzed in a car accident. A high risk pregnancy, she had frequent doctor visits while monitoring her growing baby. She felt her progress was similar to her pre-paralysis pregnancy until 28 weeks, when doctors felt her baby wasn’t the size she should be. “After the third day of hospitalization, I woke up feeling like something was not ‘right’. I quickly called the nurses to let them know that my body was telling me that something was different,” Katie shared. Turns out Katie was 3 cm dilated. In the next few hours, it got more serious. Her daughter had been born and she didn’t know. “There between my legs was my daughter. Bruised. Bloody. Not breathing. All 1lb 12oz of her. They immediately cut the cord and rushed her to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to resuscitate her.” Katie was in shock. Her situation was incredible unique being that she was so new to paralysis and pregnant without experience how to understand her body. The best part of this story? Her daughter is now a healthy, happy girl who was almost 12 years old when Patty did the interview.
Priscilla, Paraplegic mom:
All of Priscilla’s boys were born after being paralyzed. She didn’t know anyone else like her, but “the entire pregnancy was amazing and uneventful.” When it came time to consider delivery, she opted for a medically necessary cesarean. “I had titanium rods and couldn’t bear down while lying down. I had huge concerns that I would try pushing and not be able to deliver vaginally.” The epidural didn’t work on her. She shared, “I have just enough feeling in my lower abdomen that we would have to use general anesthesia.” Everything else went smoothly. “My husband had to wait outside the door. They handed him the baby within minutes and I was nursing less than 30 minutes later.” Priscilla had two more pregnancies, however a placental abruption (which was not related to being paralyzed) in the second one led to having her as a high risk pregnancy during her third. However, all of her children were born healthily and in her words, “all 3 pregnancies were incredibly normal.”
Don’t miss Patty Kunze's information on adoption and surrogacy.