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It's funny what can happen when you close your eyes and mentally will a miracle to happen, but forget to be specific about the miracle that you are looking for. If there is one thing that I have learned over the years, it's to be very specific in what you ask for because you never know what you might get otherwise! My life has been full of miracles medically, but the miracle that I experienced in 2009 was the BIGGEST surprise that totally changed my life forever.
Loving a child-free life with my partner
After marrying the Hippy Hubby, we enjoyed 9 months of newlywed bliss before I ended up needing to have another surgery. Thankfully, this one wasn't for my spinal cord. In the winter of 2008, I was diagnosed with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis, and a retroverted uterus. In short, I was told that I most likely would never be able to have a child. I was given a lower chance you have of getting pregnant when using a condom. I have been a free-spirited person my entire life. I loved reading to children at the library, Barnes & Noble, and Half Price Books. I loved babysitting and nannying. I simply never thought that I wanted to be a mother myself, and that's totally OK by the way! The years of trauma on my back and pain in my legs had made me a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal. I thought that the last thing I needed was a baby to hold me back. When Andy and I got married, we were pretty sure that we wanted to live our lives without children, and both of us agreed that having a baby was not what we wanted. When I was told that I wouldn't be able to conceive a child, we both looked at each other and said, “Meh, no loss there. We never wanted to try anyway.”
One surgery…after another
In November of 2008, I had a laparoscopic surgery for my endometriosis and it was pretty much the easiest surgery that I have ever experienced. After a short recovery period, I was able to go back to working in the children's section at Half Price Books. Things seemed to be falling back into place for me, only I was starting notice signs that maybe I needed to have another visit with my neurosurgeon, Dr. Moody. I had been putting off visiting Dr. Moody for my regular checkups, and it was now 6 years since I had last seen him. I was afraid if I visited him, I would find out that I needed to have yet ANOTHER surgery. My nerve pains had been getting worse and the numbness in my feet had begun to creep up my legs. I knew by January 2009 that I needed to see Dr. Moody again. I was so terrified that I would be correct in my assumptions, that I was even having dreams about it. I learned a LONG time ago to listen whenever my dreams get involved.
I couldn't dodge the bullet forever
When we went to see Dr. Moody to figure out what was going on, I had to take 4 hours worth of MRI's just so we could really get to the root of the issue. Right before our one year wedding anniversary with the Hippy Hubby, Dr. Moody told us that my spinal cord was in fact tethered again and that another surgery was definitely needed. This time, there was a catch; I had had so many surgeries on my spinal cord that the added trauma that the surgery would bring, might leave me without some functioning body parts. He gravely told me that my chances were very great that I would lose the use of my legs as well control over my bowel and bladder functions. At 25 years old, it was a lot to take in. I had gone this long miraculously dodging the wheelchair bullet, but it seemed that this time, I was going to get hit. We scheduled my surgery for the first week of April 2009 and started preparing ourselves mentally for what may lay ahead.
My rock in a world that seems to be ever changing
Having heard this same fear with each subsequent spinal cord surgery, I felt like I was mentally prepared to deal with a wheelchair at this point. For some reason, I had this strength inside of me that told me I was capable of ANYTHING that I wanted. I had not yet let a disability impair my life; nor would I ever let it disable me. I wasn't prepared for how other people deal with impending life-changing moments like these. Quite a few of the people that I love the most, chose to either ignore me or ignore the situation. At the time, I was put out by this, though those people would never know it because I never told them. From everyone else, I had to constantly answer questions about how I was doing and receive those pitiful looks that I despised so much. It's like people thought that I was going to break down or that I couldn't handle this, but I felt like they were all the ones that couldn't handle it. I am pretty sure that I was very frustrated by this because I KNOW that I have only ever been given the lessons that I could handle. All I wanted was someone who could talk about it like these changes were normal and help the planner in me plan out the lifestyle changes that I would soon be making. The Hippy Hubby was that person that I needed. He never let on exactly how worried he was for me. He stood strong and joked with me like no one else ever would. He never pitied me, nor did he ease up on me just for the sake of my “disability.” We talked about the consequences that this paralysis could have on our marriage and he still told me that it didn't matter, he would stand by my side and help me go wherever I wanted to go. He truly was and still is my rock in a world that seems to be ever-changing.
When it comes to miracles, be careful what you wish for
I had started to plan out and think of the things that we needed to change, to accommodate the changes that were coming. We switched apartments from a second story apartment to a bottom floor one. My grandpa and dad built me a ramp to go over the one stair by our front door. My dad went down to my grandparent's house and picked up one of those awesome electric scooter-chairs. You know that commercial where the very jubilant looking old woman is riding around in circles, with one hand in the air, on her scooter-chair. Yeah, it was like one of those. I laugh just thinking of that commercial!
I was beginning to adjust to the idea that my whole world was going to be different, but I was still absolutely terrified of how much that change would be. At 25 I couldn't imagine losing control of my bowels and bladder. It may be superficial of me, but I just wasn't ready to deal with the gross aftermath that goes into taking care of someone, not able to function in that way. I was terrified that if I did lose that much, the Hippy Hubby might change his mind and want to bolt out of there as fast as he could. It's never ever been the case, but sometimes a woman gets a little panicky in a situation like that. I had been dealing with the darker emotions that go along with these type of adjustments in life, all by myself. I have always been the type of person to suffer in my head and smile to the world. A couple weeks after all of this began, I found myself alone at home and in need of a good crying. I had been bottling up the fear and shoving it away while I prepared, but I hadn't really dealt with how I was feeling about the entire situation. I sat there on the bathtub floor, crying my eyes out over my own misfortune. In a moment of sheer desperate hope, I started to pray for a miracle. I prayed for ANY miracle that could be thrown my way, from anyone that might be listening. I was very careless in my miracle asking skills because a miracle was given to me, just not the miracle that I thought I would be getting.
Four days before I was scheduled to go in for this fated surgery, I decided to cover all of my bases. I wanted to make sure that there was absolutely no reason that I could unexpectedly lose too much blood on that operating table. Clearly, I had watched one too many episodes of House. I was starting to get freaked out being so close to the surgery date that I thought, “why not take a pregnancy test?” I didn't tell the Hippy Hubby that I was freaking out so much so that I was willing to do something so silly as to take a pregnancy test. I was terrified that something really rare could be going on with me and no one would know it, and then I would lose a lot of blood on the table and there you go. Our roommate was home with me that day. I went to the bathroom to pee on the stick, not even telling him what I was doing. I really didn't think that anything was going to come of this, I just wanted a little bit of relief and control over this situation. Taking a pregnancy test and seeing it is negative is a GREAT way to get relief when you aren't trying to get pregnant. I had no reason to even think that I was pregnant, I wasn't even SUPPOSED to be able to get pregnant for goodness sake, but that little stick told me that I was, in fact, pregnant. I screamed out of pure shock.
The miracle I had asked for
I had asked for a miracle…but this one was definitely not what I had in mind. How on earth was I going to tell the Hippy Hubby about this? I really had no clue except that, where I had no choice before, I now was able to choose. I already had my mind made up. I knew that no matter what anyone said I needed to do for my health, I was going to have that baby. What woman wouldn't, when she had been told that she wouldn't be able to have a baby? I would be a mother, but I didn't know what this meant for my body and my surgeries. Would I have to raise a child from a wheelchair, or worse would the child have to take care of me? I had no clue, but I knew that somehow my prayer had been answered. It was clear that this little baby would be my miracle, I just didn't know how much.