So where to begin? I guess at the beginning! My name is Courtney, early into high school i started having some really bad health problems. For years and years and years I would suffer through mass amounts of pain and no doctor could give me an answer as to the cause. Suddenly one day I lost sight in my left eye instantly, they told me that I had a bout of optic neuritis (that’s where my optic nerves swelled) and I lost vision, they told me that it could be early onset of multiple sclerosis but at that time I had no evidence of the disease. I went to countless doctor appointments and everyone told me you’re too young! You can’t have m.s! That’s an adults disease! At the age of 18, I lost vision in my right eye… finally I got into the right doctor and got a diagnosis ,but at that point in time I felt like my life was over …what was I to do now? I’m sick and I’m completely blind… after having 18 years of virtually perfect sight I felt as if my life was over!
My family let me be sad for about two weeks, then it was get out of bed and do something about it! We did some research and found a residential school in Branford for the blind called W.Ross Mcdonald, and I soon applied and went for a trial week. The school was great! We lived there during the week and they taught us everything from life skills to cooking to normal high school courses. I was accepted and then attended for two years. During that time I met the love of my life Dylan. We hit it off right off the bat, it was as if we were meant for each other and I know that sounds like such a cliché, but really it’s true. I couldn’t believe it, I had found someone who loved me even though I was disabled, but I guess Dylan didn’t really see it that way. He was able to see through or see past the things that I thought I couldn’t get past and he helped me get through it. On my darkest and most miserable days, Dylan was there to get me out of bed and to give me honestly… something to live for.
Soon after graduation we moved to Ottawa and begin our life together. We both attended school, got jobs and just enjoyed life. Soon Dylan proposed and year later we were married. Life was amazing but even something like a wedding was very rough for me. How could you be happy planning your wedding when you can’t even see what you’re doing? Little thing like this you really wouldn’t think of but honestly that’s something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life you know? From table settings, to napkins colours ,invitations and flowers… Now what am I supposed to do? These things are supposed to make you happy, but just ended up making me so sad. But then… there’s my family and my future hubby there by my side helping me through it, describing things helping me get through these dark times. I had an absolutely beautiful wedding. Even though I couldn’t see one bit of it I could feel it! Not physically but just feel it in my heart, it was perfect and honestly I wouldn’t have changed anything!
Now I’m going to backtrack a little. During the process of being diagnosed for MS it has been mentioned to me that I may have problems conceiving a child, just because of all the medications that I had to go on. I was on anti-inflammatories, pain medications and I have to inject myself with needles every single day to try to treat the MS . So before we were married ,I was told that if I wanted to attempt to try to have a baby, I would have to be off all of my medication for six months. Dylan and I thought about this for a long time . We sat down and talked and came to the conclusion that it would probably be best that I try to go off my medication now while we weren’t planning to have a child, to see if I could actually do it, because we felt that if we waited until we were ready to have a baby and then I found I couldn’t be off my medication for long enough…that would just be too devastating. So I went off my medication and then we were married and then three weeks after the wedding we found out… I’m pregnant!!!! I couldn’t believe that! I honestly couldn’t believe that I was so lucky to get pregnant so fast and I was so happy, but even something as happy as a baby also gave me a small bout of sadness and fear.
I’m never going to know what it looks like… and how am I supposed to feed it? How am i supposed to clean a diaper? Like I know there are tons of blind people and other disabled people in the world and they have children and get through it perfectly normal, but i was so scared. Like everything else, my husband and family reassured me that we’d all get through it together and I realized that id just have to take it day by day like everything else in life. I was sent to the high risk centre due to my MS so I went for a lot of check ups and ultrasounds to make sure our little one was doing AOK. I also felt so sick during my pregnancy, I had morning sickness all nine months and swelled up huge! I honestly gained over 100 pounds!( 50% of it was just water weight, thank god, but still can you imagine!) This was supposed to be such a happy and exciting time… but honestly I hated it. I was so happy I was having a baby and it was amazing feeling him kick and grow, but come on who wouldn’t be miserable when your being sick everyday for 9 months! I felt like a massive hippo crossed with the waddle of a penguin, and I’m sure I got lots of stares when I was out and about. “watch out people ! Blind preggo lady with the guide dog waddling across the street!” I’m sure it was a sight to see.
At 36 weeks I went into preterm labour but 24 hours later it stopped. I was furious! Marshall was already 7 pounds and I had dilated 3.5cm and they told me to just go home it was too early… REALLY? To early? I’m almost half way there…but I knew it was best for him to keep him in as long as possible. The next two weeks were hell. I was so big and swollen and sore, I almost couldn’t take it. FINALLY at 39 weeks the ultrasound showed he was approx 8.7lbs the doctor agreed that was nice and big and put me on the list to be induced. On september 7th I went in and had my water broke. They told me I would gradually get stronger and stronger contractions… they lied! I went from one small one to massive! I almost couldn’t even walk back to bed with my husband, poor guy I think I almost snapped his wrist! After having a lovely magical epidural, I was nice and happy! My doctor and I opted for an epidural because we were worried the stress of labour would stress my MS out and then I would have a flare up shortly after birth, which as you can imagine wouldn’t have been good.
Looking back on it now, I wish I hadn’t due to reoccurring back pain from the “magic juice” but at the time it was just what I needed. At one point during my labour Marshalls heart rate dropped, so the nurse told me, and I kid you not! To get on my hands and knees like a dog, in the bed. I laughed and said you must be kidding, but oh boy was she not! After massive amounts of laughing from my husband… sister… and mother… there I sit, stand, lay? Like a dog in bed. I had to do this for 30 minutes because Marshall had turned sunny side up, and it worked like a charm! Not only did he turn over, but I went from 3.5cm to 9.5 in 30 minutes! The nurses said that was a new record! I pushed for about 30 minutes and at 1:32 am on September 8th 2012 our beautiful boy was born. Then the real fun came… I started to hemorrhage. After the reassurance that Marshall was ok, the room went silent. Now my mother is a nurse, and when she goes quiet, you know things are bad. My husband took Marshall and had to sit for fear of loosing me almost mad him pass out. My sister had to take my guide dog away,( oh ya did I forget to mention I have a guide dog! A beauty of a black lab named Gailanne. She was there the whole time, but left for the pushing part) because she was starting to cry, I think she could sense something was gravely wrong. I had about 4 doctors working on me, and I just kept trying to stay awake… I got the courage to ask if I would make it, and they calmly reassured me I would be fine. The worst part about it was one of the resident had to pound my abdomen like she was pounding dough to manual contract my uterus. That was worse pain I have felt then anything in my life. After about 15 minutes, they got the bleeding under control …but I had lost about a liter and a half of blood. I received a transfusion and was virtually back to normal.
Marshall was weighed at a whopping 9.1lbs. What a big boy! And a few days later we were home. I’ve had so many wonderful, exciting, sad, and scary experiences and I think that’s why I decided I would try to blog. I think its nice to have someone to talk to and share these stories with, so we don’t all feel alone, or can find humor and strength and reassurance that what we’ve been through or decide to do is right for us. In my blog, I plan to talk about everything I go through day-to-day, and I will try to bring some light into what sometimes seems like a very dark world.
Well it was a pleasure talking to you!
Untill next time!