I didn’t always want kids, but when I fell in love with my husband, something changed. I wanted to make a little human one day with him and have a family. When the accident happened, the first thing I asked laying on the side of that pool to the EMTs is if I could still have kids. I remember one answering and saying yes. It was a small comfort even in the midst of a traumatic moment.
I lost the use of my fingers, triceps and everything from the chest down. I wondered what I’d be able to do on my own with a little one. Well, we found a surrogate because of the meds I was on and in 2015, we had a beautiful baby girl named Kaylee Rae.
I practiced putting on diapers by using my wrist to move the diaper around and my teeth to pull the closures off and put them on. I practiced holding her bottle and I’d say feeding was by far the easiest task. I was responsible for feeding and holding her in the middle of the night. I couldn’t get up and grab her but my husband or mom would get her, make a bottle and bring her to me. That way everyone could sleep while I stayed awake putting her back to sleep.
But as she got older, things just got easier and easier. She could reach out to me in her crib to get her out and she started to climb onto my lap from the floor too. I can finally dress her because she can step into her pants and find the arm holes. She even learned to walk holding onto the back of my wheelchair.
Another thing that’s super important is being able to read her and communicate better than anyone else can. I understand her wants, needs, worries and fears. I used to call her “friends” Mickey Minnie mouse and daisy and tell her that they wanted her to eat her dinner. Of course it totally worked. I know how to de-escalate her tantrums and can deal with her yelling. My husband is the best dad in the world but it’s a little stressful for him when she loses it. I am able to step in and let him take a breather. Every night I put her to bed and I tell her stories about princess Sophia which is actually her and it’s about her day. We sing our favorite Beatles songs (and a few others) and I rub her back to sleep.
are there limitations? Absolutely. The limitations in her care often lie with me not being able to use my hands and not with the fact I’m in a wheelchair. When she wasn’t walking, I couldn’t be left alone with her for long. She was crawling all over the place and I couldn’t snatch her up. She wiggled too much for diaper changes and I had a hard time unscrewing bottles. But we had a system..Things each of us was responsible for. As soon as she started walking, our world changed, and even more so now that she’s potty trained. I can stay with her alone all day. I can drive but can’t go out with her alone until she can undo the chest strap clip on her car seat. She is easy to be alone with in the store because she doesn’t leave my side. But of course I’m sad I can’t help her in a mommy and me gymnastics class, or teach her how to swim. I can’t do her hair or open her new toys with pesky packaging for her. There is far more I can do for her and she isn’t missing out on anything.
Now here’s why it pisses me off more than anything that people would say I am selfish for having a child. First of all They do not know what I am and what I’m not capable of. Secondly, this was not just my decision but a decision made by my entire family and my entire support system. It baffles my mind because what if Chris was a single parent and had a child. Would it be impossible for him to care for that child by himself or would he be selfish for it? So how does adding me make it a selfish situation? That literally makes no sense
Ask any single parent in this country if they would like to have someone who could watch the baby while they showered, feed them, play with them do all the laundry in the house and clean. Someone who could stay with the baby while they were having a tantrum so that they could walk away and do their own thing. Any single parent would say that would make life a hell of a lot easier. So if a single parent can physically do it then having me added on only makes things so much better.
I love that girl more than life itself and I can’t explain to you the bond we have. She is one lucky girl and I know she knows it. She is smart, beautiful, super active and loves going to school.
So any naysayers can lay off, get educated and maybe worry about their own family.