Becoming a Mom with MS
I’ve known since I was very young, that I truly wanted one thing in life-to be a momma. So, of course, after being diagnosed with MS at such a young age, my first fear and question was, “Will I still be able to have children one day??” Thankfully my neurologist reassured me that most people with MS can and do lead normal lives and that most women with MS have amazing pregnancies! That was like music to my ears, however, the fear and anxiety of not being able to conceive was always in the back of my mind.
After getting married, my husband and I both knew early on that we wanted to have babies. I began weaning myself off of all of my MS medication only a month after marriage thinking that it could take a long while for my body to adjust and be prepared for pregnancy. To our surprise, three short months later I was expecting! I think we were both in shock, because neither of us expected to have a baby so soon, but we were also thrilled to be parents! With the excitement came more fear on my end. So many anxieties ran through my head, the first one being-“Will my body be healthy enough to carry this baby?” and the biggest fear of all-“Will my baby have MS one day like me?” I figured out early on that I couldn’t think those kinds of things. I had to put all of my fears and anxieties in God’s hands and worry about being the healthiest I could be for myself, my family, and this sweet baby we were going to have.
I had the most wonderful pregnancy. I am blessed to say I did not suffer from any sickness or any other issues. My MS was also almost completely unseen the entire time. The only issue I found that I had was a bad full body tremor towards the end. I loved being pregnant! I loved knowing I was growing a sweet little life, and I loved the constant flutters and kicks reassuring me that my baby was healthy and well. During my pregnancy I had 2 doctor’s appointments each month-one with the OB and one with my specialist. I almost felt happy to have MS while I was pregnant, because having to go to the specialist meant getting to see my baby more often than most! So, as you’ve probably guessed I looked forward to every appointment, because I knew I was going to get to see my baby boy’s sweet face (that is, when he wasn’t being too stubborn). Around 34 weeks I began going to my weekly appointments because the specialist noticed my amniotic fluid was low. To this day, we still are not sure why, but it fluctuated between high and low until it was so low that I had to be induced. The day I had my 36 week appointment my parents were due to arrive in town that weekend. After my appointment I came home and it did not take long before I realized I was cramping a little bit. When my mom and dad got there, my mom told me it was not just cramping I was feeling, but I was definitely having contractions. It was just shortly after that, that the contractions were extremely close together and we were headed to the hospital! My OB checked my fluid again while there and informed me I would need to be induced bright and early the next morning! You can imagine the excitement and anxiety my husband and I had then! We were expecting to have our boy grow in my womb another entire month, and here we were being told that we would be parents the next day!!!
Going into labor and delivery, I did not have any certain birth plans per say, but I knew that I wanted an epidural. I was induced after a night of little to no sleep at 5 AM on Friday, August 14th. The contractions began almost immediately and within a couple of hours they were coming strong! I told my nurse I was ready for the epidural pretty quickly after true labor began. It seemed like it took her hours to get back to me with the anesthesiologist-the contractions were rocking through my entire body pretty powerfully at this point. When, I looked at the anesthesiologist’s face I could tell he did not have good news, and that he hated to tell me what he was about to say. He began to inform me that yes, I could get an epidural, but he highly recommend that I not. He explained that as a patient with MS, the epidural could leave me paralyzed or worse after birth. He told me there could even be a chance that I would not be able to hold my newborn baby. Ya’ll-as soon as he left the room I just started BAWLING. I was in so much pain, and I had in no way mentally prepared myself for a natural birth! But, I knew what I needed to do. My body was telling me to get the darn epidural (I was beyond miserable at this point), but my mind and heart were telling me I was just going to have to prepare myself as quickly as I could, and have this baby without any medication. Natural birth is most certainly something you need to be not just physically prepared for, but mentally and emotionally as well! It is, by far, the hardest, and the most painful thing I have ever experienced. If it was not for my sweet nurses, my husband, and mom I would not have made it. They continually reminded me to breathe, fed me ice chips, and cheered me on-bless their souls!! After what seemed like hours on end of excruciating pain, my beautiful baby boy was placed on my chest. That was the sweetest thing I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It is amazing how the human body can go through something that, at the time, feels so extremely brutal and horrifying, to something so peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful in just a matter of moments.
They placed Waylan Joseph Wyatt-6 pounds, 7 ounces of squishy, sweet life) on my chest at 11:52 AM. I remember vividly feeling his sweet, fresh skin pressed so delicately against mine. It seemed like I was able to hold him for only a few seconds before the nurse took him from me to be weighed, and then came back to tell me they would have to take him down to the NICU for a minute. I was in shock. He was just crying and laying on me, how in the world could something be wrong with my perfect baby?! A little while later my husband and I were able to walk down and see our baby. He was lying in an incubator covered with tubes and cords. The NICU nurses and doctors soon explained to us, that our tiny boy was extremely sick. His lungs were filled with fluid and he was fighting to live. He could not breathe or eat on his own. The next two weeks we watched our little warrior fight to survive. We watched him be poked and prodded, and watched them move him from bilirubin lights to cpap machines and even a ventilator. My first memory of truly holding my boy for the first time was 6 incredibly long and emotional days after he was born—it is in the sterile walls of the NICU with machines and cords falling from his tiny body, machines loudly beeping. But, that first memory is the most precious. Those two weeks were the longest weeks of our lives-filled with every emotion from extreme hopelessness and despair to hope and joy. It’s true; joy does come in the morning. Fourteen crazy days later, we were able to take our boy home! He was a fighter from the beginning and we knew it!
Today, Waylan is an extremely healthy and active little boy. You would never in a million years know that he went through so much in the beginning. Being diagnosed with MS so young, I had to become a fighter. I had to be stubborn and strong-I knew I had to persevere through whatever life threw me so that I could accomplish all of my goals and dreams. I like to think, maybe just maybe, Waylan got some of that stubbornness, strength and perseverance from me and that’s how he made it through. He got a little of that from his daddy too, of course! 😉 It is with tears in my eyes that I am able to write this birth story. To know what all we went through, and to see how far we have come since then is such a blessing. We have the most beautiful, rambunctious little boy, and it is with complete honesty that we can say, we merely thought we loved him then. 365 days-one incredible year later, we are all one big happy family, and our boy is our world-little does he know how much he has taught us, and how his story has touched other’s lives.
If you are an MS momma or even daddy, know that being a parent is such a precious gift. Having a baby and becoming a parent changed me in the best of ways. It made me realize how much I have to take care of myself so that I can be my best for my son and my husband. No, I may not be like everyone else, but I am strong, and being a mom is my greatest accomplishment thus far! I vow to show him that even though I have an incurable disease that does not mean my life has ended. It means that I have even more reason to truly relish in all of the little things-to live life and love to the absolute fullest.