September 20, 2010 § 10 Comments
Three years ago today, at 11 a.m., this:
turned into this:
(If you want to read the birth story, you can check out my husband’s blog post. Yes, he blogged my entire labor and delivery.)
For a while there, I was doubtful that we’d have a baby. Once we were married in 2004, we didn’t prevent pregnancy. When 2006 rolled around, I started to contemplate adoption. I felt that fertility treatments just weren’t for me.
In October 2006, I woke up one morning with tingling feet. It felt like they were asleep, but walking around and massaging them didn’t wake them up. As the days went by, they became more painful and I had some difficulty walking. I felt like my brain had short circuited and was not able to communicate with my feet. Or like it started speaking in the tongue clicking language of Xhosa and my English-speaking feet were like “Excuuuse me?” It got so bad that I felt like if I had to run away from, like, a rabid squirrel or something, I wouldn’t be able to get my feet running. My brain just couldn’t tell them to get going.
After innumerable tests, in November 2006 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I decided to hold off on drug therapy. Instead I began acupuncture treatments, hoping they would alleviate my symptoms. As any good acupuncturist would do, mine took down my entire health history. As part of that history I mentioned the difficulty I was having becoming pregnant.
Rather than treating just my MS symptoms, my acupuncturist treated my whole body. In doing that, he kick-started something. I have no idea what, but I remember feeling a deep sensation, for lack of a better word, in my lower belly during a few treatments.*
One night in mid-January 2007, I was talking to my mother. (I don’t know about your mother, but mine has an annoying tendency to be right about everything. Growing up, I usually did the opposite of what she advised. Only in retrospect did I see that I should have listened to her.) But, anyway, we were just talking, and all of a sudden she got very serious and said “Amy, you probably shouldn’t get pregnant now that you’ve been diagnosed with MS. How will you care for a child when you’re in a wheelchair?”
My heart sank. She didn’t know that my period was extraordinarily late. The next day at work I took a pregnancy test, already knowing what I was going to see:
Of course. The opposite of what my mother advised.
*(I later joked that my acupuncturist got me pregnant. I thought it was funny! But my husband, uh, not so much, considering that my acupuncturist was a young, good-looking guy.) _______________________________________________________________________
So, here we are today. Luckily, thankfully, my symptoms have been stable for the past three years. My feet are still tingly, but they aren’t painful and I feel like my brain is back to speaking English and in control of the situation. I’m still not on medication. I no longer go to acupuncture (I would like to, but simply cannot afford it. I wish insurance companies would get with the program and see that acupuncture is a valid health care option.)
My passion for health and wellness is due in large part to my illness. I know that if I take care of myself–by eating well, exercising, and staying happy–I’ll increase my chances of staying relatively symptom-free. I can live with tingling feet, provided they can get me away from a rabid squirrel. And, right now, they can. I’m even in the process of advancing from fast walking to jogging. That’s huge! I rarely jogged before I was diagnosed.
Although I wish I had nothing to do with this crappy disease, I can’t help but think that if I never woke up that morning with tingling feet, I never would have gone to acupuncture. And if I never went to acupuncture, well, I may never have become a mother. It’s true that something good can come out of something bad.
I need to stay healthy for myself, my husband, and my now three-year-old son, who is quite honestly the most amazing person I’ve ever met. Being with him every day is a blessing and a joy and I pray that I can continue to run around and play with him for many years to come.
Now, nearly four years later, I can say for the first time in my life that my mother was wrong: I most definitely should have gotten pregnant. And I bet she’d readily admit it.
Happy Birthday, buddy. Mommy loves you xoxo~