His Plan.

Nine years ago today, as I lay in the ICU with a fractured pelvis, broken ribs and a broken back, fading in and out of morphine sleep, trying to smile and thank all the visitors the nurses so kindly allowed in every 15 minutes for making the long drive to Sioux City to see me I wondered “What is His plan?  What am I supposed to do with this life?”

“The chances of her walking again are slim.”  said the Doctor to my family, “she could go 1 of 2 ways; depression or she’ll take it and roll with it, you need to be prepared for both.”

Depression is not my style…

Fast forward two years, I’ve settled into this life, I’ve graduated college, I live independently,  I’m running my tumbling gym, been on a few dates.  My life is pretty much where I had planned I’m just a little shorter and get great parking. 😉

However, I couldn’t help but say to myself, “What am I supposed to really be doingThe Good Lord put me here for a reason and I just haven’t figured out why yet.”  Then, thanks to my amazing Recreational Therapist, I am introduced to the wonderful world of public speaking and I fall in LOVE with it.  After only one speaking engagement with her I’m sold, this is it, this is what I’m supposed to be doing with this life.  Sharing my story with others in hopes of changing someone’s, if only one, decision to get into that car one night.  I can share my story in a way that makes people laugh and feel comfortable all while making a solid point.  I knew this was my purpose when I felt the same nervousness & excitement before speaking that I used to feel before a tumbling performance.  Tumbling has always and will always be my life so if something makes me feel as good as tumbling does then this was His plan.  Right?

Approximately six months later I’m reconnected with John Springhower “a guy I went to high school with.” (Thank you dad and Facebook), we go on a few dates this turns into two years which ends in a marriage proposal, two years of rehab and a walk down the aisle with my dad to my husband.  3,620,024 views later, a trip to Dr. Oz, articles in a few German Magazines & an unbelievable amount of kindness, prayers & love from family, friends and strangers I thought, maybe this is His plan?  Maybe, all the emails and Facebook messages I’m getting saying I’ve helped them in some small way believe in themselves, maybe this is it.  All I’ve every wanted to do was inspire and He knows that He put all the right people in my life at the right time to make this happen, this, on top of speaking, is what I’m supposed to be doing. I am sure of it!  Right?

Fast forward seven months, a missed cycle and a positive pregnancy test.  The “paralyzed bride” is expecting!  She’s terrified, tired and dry heaving all the time! Pregnancy was not nice to me, I wasn’t sick or had any of the real issues of a “normal” pregnant woman, but the weight gain was something I was not prepared for making transfers and bathroom issues a big issue.  However, on Dec. 22nd, 2015 that all disappeared faster than our OB could scream “IT’S A BOY!”  He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, my heart was taken over by this love that I never knew existed.  At that point, holding our little boy skin to skin, with my husband right next to us, that is when I knew this is it, His Plan.  LaKota is God’s plan for me.  He picked me to be his mother, He picked us to be his family, He picked us to be something special.  This has to be it.  Right?

Fast forward to tonight, me driving home from tumbling with LaKota in the back seat who had just fallen asleep to “Rescuers Down Under” and me doing what I do every year on this day.  Reflect on the past 9 years of my life and ask myself am I doing what I truly believe to be His Plan, am I doing whatever I feel is right and would make Him and my family proud?  And tonight, for the first time in 9 years I thought to myself, ya know what Gina, stop thinking so much.  Have you ever thought maybe His plan for you is to just live?  Just live your life and take advantage of the doors He opens and keep rolling by the ones that don’t, stop wondering am I doing what I’m put here to do.  I was put here to be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend I can be and personally I feel overly blessed in all of those categories.  Just live.

Live this life, His plan is for me to be happy.  God, I am so incredibly happy, thank you for giving me this life.

God Bless You & may you just live.

6 months later…

Good morning friends!

So it’s been 6 months since I’ve blogged, and believe me I’ve had every intention of doing it before now, I just got busy doing other things and put it on the back burner.  So I apologize if anyone has been looking for updates from the “paralyzed momma” before now.  But here I am!  Here to update you on motherhood from my set of wheels! 🙂

Six and a half months ago on December 22, 2015 my husband and I welcomed our beautiful 6 lb 13 oz baby boy into this world, LaKota Ray.  I woke up that Tuesday morning like every other morning only I had been feeling contractions more often than usual.  Now, when I say I was feeling contractions I’m sure it’s not to the extent that an able-bodied woman would feel, but it didn’t tickle by any means.  The only other thing that was noticeably different was I could not stop shaking.  So I took a shower thinking maybe that would help me relax or get warm therefore I’d stop shaking…no luck!  Some other things started happening (mucus plug came out, some odd bleeding) so we decided to head to the hospital just to be safe.  When we arrived and they checked me out the first thing the nurse said was “honey you’re not shaking because you’re cold…you’re 10cm +2 dilated…you’re having this baby today!”

So I’m guessing the main question everyone has but is too nervous to ask me is “were you able to push and have a normal delivery?”  The answer is YES!! 🙂  I’m still unsure how this is even possible, beings how I can’t even push to go to the bathroom…honestly every time I go to the bathroom and insert the catheter I think to myself it’s a bit ridiculous I can shove out a child but not some urine…mind boggeling actually. Anyways…as far as pain?  Again, like the contractions I felt some pain but nothing like an able-bodied person I’m sure.  I just remember being exhausted!

We ended up being in the hospital until Dec. 26th with a few complications with both LaKota and I.  He swallowed some of his stool while coming out so he was in the NICU for a few days for his breathing but he was showing improvements the evening of the 22nd (he’s a strong boy!) Then, on Christmas Eve I developed high fevers so I was unable to see him as he was still in the NICU.  This was probably the worst part of the whole thing…being able to be with him then being told I couldn’t…and on CHRISTMAS EVE! 😦  However, my husband was amazing, he brought The Night Before Christmas up to the hospital and put me on speaker phone as he read it to him that night…he was already such an amazing daddy! 🙂

Finally, everything was cleared up, LaKota was discharged out of the NICU on Christmas Day (best present EVER) and we left the following day.  I remember we got in the car, John drove and I sat in back with LaKota and told John “here we go!” and his response was “we’re on our own now!”

The first week flew by!  The first month is kind of a blur and here we are 6 months later!  He’s such a good baby, he’s slept thru the night since day one (I know many of you mom’s and dad’s out there are super jealous of that one)!  He only fusses when he’s tired or poopy & he eats anything & everything!  He is now 18 lbs, he loves to sit up and watch Henry Hugglemonster & Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Bouncing in our bouncer is one of his new favorite things!  No teeth yet but they have to be coming soon the kid drools like it’s his job & I think he may have bruised my chin & knuckle from gnawing on them so hard.  He rolls both ways but struggles a bit with belly to back, he can get up on all fours (for the most part) but hasn’t figured out how to move yet.  He loves to laugh and blow raspberries especially when he eats!  And he loves his daddy especially when he throws him up and catches him!

There were many challenges in the beginning such as giving him a bath by myself, figuring out how to get him on my lap in the chair after getting him to sleep on the couch, pumping while he slept praying he didn’t wake up but if he did figuring out how to hold the pumps and care for him (eventually we got a hands free pumping bra), getting him in and out of the car by myself, getting him in the baby bjorne once he weighed enough, going on walks without Daddy, getting him off the floor after tummy time, getting him out of the bouncer or walker the list could go on.  John was incredible and extremely patient with me during all of this and both sides of my family were so helpful when John couldn’t be around.  I could never say thank you enough to all the friends & family that brought over food & just offered a helping hand whenever we may need.  We are truly blessed!  I have been able to achieve everything in the paragraph! We go on walks 2-3 times a week he goes shopping with me & every night he comes down to tumbling!

Motherhood is by far the best thing I’ve ever experienced its made me happier than I ever thought possible!  The first time he smiled at me there was a feeling inside not only my heart but as deep down as my stomach, such love for someone is unexplainable.  The first 6 months have gone too fast and I know the next 6, or heck 20 years, will go even faster!  I’m so lucky God chose me to be LaKota’s mommy, he is truly the best thing I’ve ever been able to call mine!

He is now waking up from his nap…so duty calls!  For more photos and daily updates be sure to like my facebook page: Perfectly Imperfect.   Again, thank all of you for your continued support & for following my blog!  I promise not to wait another 6 months before writing again!  But until then, have a blessed day!  Thanks for reading!

Gina.

He loves me more than tractors & I love him more than Disney.

To the man who has been by my side for the last 5 years. To the man who has seen & done more for his wife in 5 years than some men have in 30.  To the man who holds me tight after a day where paralysis and/or pregnancy feels like too much.  To the man who can fix all my problems with just a simple kiss.  To the man I’m lucky enough to have our future child call Daddy & to the man I’m forever grateful to call my husband.

This blog is one that may not be about my pregnancy completely but yet about the man who has made the last 8 months much easier and less stressful for this mommy to be.

So many women nowadays are doing this alone, and bless those who are cause I don’t know how you do it.  Between the roller coaster of emotions, lack of sleep & simply just getting around I know how blessed I am to have someone to lean on at the end of the night when I get home from work.

My husband, John Ray, has stepped up in ways even he doesn’t understand.  Our Little One is due one month from today and the last 8 months have really done a number on this momma from the way she gets around to the way she looks & let’s just say it hasn’t always been smiles on this face.  The first 2 trimesters weren’t too bad a few minor breakdowns nearing the end of the 2nd trimester but those kinds of moments I think every pregnant woman has.  This last trimester, more specifically the last month or so, eeek!

The first major breakdown (according to me that is, my husband may say there was one before this but we’ll just say I’m right) 🙂  It was a Friday night, about Week 31 or 32, I had worked all week and usually I have Tuesday & Thursday’s off but this week that wasn’t the case.  So Monday – Friday I was leaving the house at 7:30am and getting home at 10pm…something I know many many mom’s to be do.  I had been pushing my big ol’ pregnant butt around town, transferring into my truck multiple times a day, spotting kids at tumbling, using the bathroom every hour it seemed like, and that Friday night when I got home I was exhausted.  For the first time ever since my accident 7 years ago I literally felt like I couldn’t push one more push.  So John and I are getting ready for bed, John is already in bed and I’m brushing my teeth and using the bathroom one more time.  I clumsily transfer (basically fall) onto the toilet and started undressing to use the restroom, my arms feel like they weigh 1000lbs and I just start crying.  I tried my best to keep it as quiet as I could as I didn’t want John to have to deal with his crying, tired, pregnant wife cause this is something I can handle.  I remember thinking to myself, “Come on Gina, this… THIS is what’s going to break you? You’ve been through much worse than this, pull it together.” And about 20 minutes later I did and I finished going to the bathroom, put on my PJ’s, dried the tears and clumsily transferred back into my wheelchair.  I was satisfied, John had no idea what was going on, when I wheeled into our bedroom he had already started drifting off to sleep, “Mission accomplished” I thought, “everything will be better in the morning, just get into bed Gina and we’ll start fresh tomorrow.” Literally that’s what I was telling myself as I rolled to my side of the bed.  Then as I put on my lotion for the night and locked my chair to transfer into our bed I looked to my left at our high pillow-top mattress and thought “Craaaaap” I took a deep breath and said to myself “just one last good transfer/lift for today, that’s all it’ll take.”  Five or six attempts later finally I’m sure I looked like a fat fish out of water trying to get into that stupid bed, but I got it. I sat on the edge of the bed and BAM waterworks coming out again.  This time it was one of those cries where your whole body shakes and you can’t catch your breath.  You know what I’m talking about?  And bless the heart of my husband he wakes out of his semi-sleep and asks me if I’m cold. 🙂  After he asked that I sat for a second and wondered could I pull it off and just say yes?  “No (insert pathetic crying voice here)” and his response as he instantly rolled over to me and said “whoa, whoa, whoa, what’s wrong?? What’s going on?” To which I say again in that pathetic crying voice “this is so much harder than I thought it would be, I’m just so tired…” as I’m saying this I’m picking up my legs to lay on my left side (as that’s the only way I can lay so I don’t feel nauseous) and he wraps his arms around me, squeezes tight, kisses the back of my neck and tells me how proud of me he is and how much he loves me.  And that’s all I needed, just his touch and gentleness, I ended up crying myself to sleep that night but all was okay simply because John held me close and fell asleep with me.  The next day was a new day and everything seemed a little brighter (maybe cause I slept in till  8 or 9am) but if I wouldn’t have had John there to comfort me I would have gone to bed frustrated and no one gets the sleep they need when they feel that way.

Second major breakdown was about Week 34 and this one was a little more of a paralyzed breakdown than it was pregnancy (but by this point honestly, they go hand in hand).  We finally had gotten our new car, a 2016 Dodge Durango, and this meant no more pulling myself into my truck several times a day.  This will make my life easier as the transfer wouldn’t be as difficult and as long as I figured out a way to take my chair apart it’d be perfect!  Well, our car was custom made and ready to be picked up…in Idaho. So we were going to fly out there, then drive back.  Sort of our little “Babymoon”.  We left at 6am on a Tuesday morning from the Omaha airport, our first flight was to Minneapolis, an hour flight.  Everything is going great until about half way through that flight…I’ve pooped myself and anyone who’s in a chair knows that airplane bathrooms just don’t cut it for us, heck they barley cut it for able-bodied people.  So we get to our lay over airport (we have an hour to get from one end to the other of this ginormous airport) and I rush to the bathroom and take about 30 minutes to get everything “back to good”. We make it to our next flight, which is a 4 hour flight to Seattle…peed myself on this flight.  Again our next layover is an hour so I do the same thing we did last time and we make it to our third and final flight, an hour trip to Boise.  This trip went great, for the whole hour! 🙂  So I’ve been pushing (since John is carrying all our bags), changing clothes, pulling boots on and off all day, and trying to keep emotionally stable for the majority of all life’s obstacles for the day and we finally get to our new car.  We fill out the paperwork and start heading home.  Everything going wonderful, until we’re about 10 minutes away from our first hotel stay and I’m starting to go “potty potty” (#2) again.  Long story short, again I was exhausted & crying, John had to literally carry me to the “handicap accessible shower” by the end of the night so this resulted in breakdown #2.  But who was right there by my side, never made me feel like less of a person, or embarrassed…John Ray. Just hugged and held me, helped in any way he could…even if that meant picking me up to help me put my pajama pants on (which he bought for me that day because he knew how much I hated wearing his) and kissed me goodnight and held me till we fell asleep.

There’s been a few more breakdowns but we’ll save those for another day, as this blog is already extremely long! 🙂  I guess the point I’m getting at in this blog is how incredible my husband is to me.  I know, without a doubt in my mind, that he is going to be the most caring and understanding father to our little one just by the way he is with me.  As a paralyzed wife I know John has to do more than the average husband (and I’m sure sometimes I take advantage of him and ask him to do things for me that I know I can do myself) but he never says no, he never not helps me.  I just hope he knows how much I appreciate him and how grateful I am that he chose me, out of all the other women out there, he picked me.  I’m the luckiest women in the world and our little bundle of joy will learn so much form his or her daddy.  Thank you John Ray for all that you have done, do and will do for both me and our baby.

To all my new followers, thank you so much for following my blog, after our story of our pregnancy aired a few weeks back I noticed an increase in followers, I’m so blessed to have you and hope you enjoy my entries!

To everyone, be sure to tell those you love how much you love them, make sure they know how important they are to you & that life wouldn’t be the same without them.  Until next time, Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Hello Third Trimester! ***Insert minor freak out here***

27 weeks down 13 to go….and I have not a single thing ready.  Nursery is still considered a spare bedroom without the bed, my registry list has a total of maybe five things on it, haven’t even considered what to pack in the “hospital bag”, I’m dropping everything I touch, sleeping (I’ve come close to forgetting what it’s like to sleep more than 30 minutes at a time), is minimal…however my nursery and Baby’s closest on my Pinterest account looks fabulous in my opinion! 🙂

I guess the whole clumsiness and lack of sleep is all part of the whole pregnancy thing.  I swear though if I drop one more thing today it may be the straw that breaks the camels back & the hormones may kick in with a slight breakdown.  The positive side of dropping everything = a good work out to bend over and pick it up!? And I suppose sleeping for 30 minutes then sitting up on the couch for 45 minutes is probably pretty good practice for the rest of my life…right?  There’s always a positive….sometimes we just have to look real hard!

As of our last appointment baby’s heartbeat was 150/min and doctor said everything is right on track for mama and baby!  There’s not much more a couple can ask for than a healthy baby, so I’d say John and I are getting all we pray for!

As far as mama goes…symptoms are average.  Cravings are still the same plus anything sweet really 🙂 ooo a bonus, my nails are CRAZY long and strong!  Probably not to the average person but for a person in a wheelchair who uses her hands daily and always has broken nails I’m LOVING this…bring on the manicures! One of the symptoms I’m not fond of is my shortness of breath and inability to catch my breath due to both paralysis and pregnancy.  That and the restless leg/arm syndrome I’m starting to feel more often is the main cause of my lack of sleep.  Is restless arm syndrome a thing? I have no idea but I’d rather be feeling that all night, at least I can massage that out and feel relief…the legs, not so much.

Emotionally, in my opinion anyways, I think I’m doing alright.  Again, my husband may have other thoughts but we’ll just pretend he doesn’t. 😉  Coming into the third trimester I’m starting to get really really nervous, anxious, excited, terrified, thrilled, pretty much any emotion but an angry one. Questions in my head daily, things like:  “Can I be half the mother to my future child that my mom was/is to me?” or “How am I going to pick my crying baby up off the floor safely while sitting in my chair?”  and “when my toddler wants to go play in the park in town and wants mommy to push him/her on the swing but it takes me 5 minutes just to get to the swing because of the surface at the playground…will he/she still want mommy to go to the park with them?” I could go on and on with the daily questions, and I’ve expressed my concerns to John, family and close friends and everyone keeps saying the same thing…”Your baby will get used to you and the way you do things”  My mom always says, “You’re baby could be unhappy in the arms of an able bodied woman simply because she’ll be used to the way she is held with you.” SEE…she ALWAYS has the right thing to say!! 🙂

I’d have to say, my most favorite part to date of the pregnancy journey has been the last three weeks.  Three weeks ago I was sitting at my old high school after helping the cheer leading squad with some tumbling and I was talking to an old friend who still works there.  Just catching up on everything in life and all of the sudden I felt, for the first time without my hands on my belly, a kick!! Three of them actually!!! It was the most amazing & incredible feeling I have ever felt! I had to compose myself because I feel like if I would have expressed myself on the outside like I was feeling on the inside the whole school may have called the crazy ward to take me in, but you can bet the minute I got into my truck I LOST it!  I’m sure it’s an amazing feeling when you’re able bodied just because of the miracle that it is, but when you’re paralyzed from the belly button down and haven’t felt any sensation for 7 years and the first thing you do feel below your line of sensation is your baby kicking you…words could never come close to expressing how that makes you feel.  So needless to say for the past 3 weeks and for the next 3 months I’m going to be cherishing every kick, punch, head-butt I can no matter how bad it hurts or how uncomfortable it is simply because it’s so good to feel something again!

That is pretty much what’s been happening in my life since the last blog.  Our next appointment is Oct 20th & it’s the glucose test, something I’ve heard nothing but bad things about from other moms.  However, I have been told I’m fortunate since I get options between and Orange drink and a Fruit Punch drink!  Fruit punch for sure!

Thank you all for stopping by and reading this, I would love to hear your comments and please feel free to share this wherever you feel fit!  I hope you have a blessed day and a beautiful weekend!

Gina. 🙂

22 Weeks!

20 Week Ultrasound

So hard to believe it’s already been 22 weeks!! Where does time go??  The craziest thing to me is a year ago today it was Wedding Week, I was running, excuse me rolling, around like a chicken with my head cut off just trying to make sure everything was set and ready so the day would go as perfectly as possible.  And here we are a year later 22 weeks pregnant!  Life sure has a beautiful way of unfolding new adventures!

22 weeks pregnant for me in the wheelchair I’m beginning to notice some bigger changes.  For instance, I’ve read and have been told that breathing can become harder for able-bodied women as the body prepares to grow a baby inside, well for paraplegics and quadriplegics breathing can tend to be a bit more difficult in general simply because we can’t take a deep enough breath to fill the lungs.  I’m fortunate enough to where my breathing isn’t affected too badly from paralysis but throw in bad allergies on top of the little difficulty I do have plus pregnancy = kind of a pain to breath easy all day.

Peeing….every Mom To Be’s (MTB) biggest change…and holy buckets is that a change.  It’s like every half hour!!! Geez-la-weeze! I imagine this is as annoying for an able-bodied MTB as it is a disabled MTB. I don’t think the whole going to the bathroom often is the annoyance it’s the getting dressed after using the restroom 25 times a day (when it used to be about 5 or 6) plus now you throw an extra 15 pounds of baby weight you gotta dress makes going to the bathroom your daily work out! 🙂 I really need to invest in a pair of maternity jeans that have belt loops so I could grab those and pull up my pants instead of trying to pull up pants with just a big piece of fabric on top.  (Those have been added to my fall wardrobe list of things to buy).

Mood swings…again, I’ve said this before…if you ask me I think I’m doing just fine with mood swings, ask my husband and you may get a different response. ha!

Cravings still are white cake with white frosting and sprinkles (that’s the main one), sprinkle doughnuts, and probably pickles, I never used to eat this many pickles.

Oh and really weird thing I’ve experienced just in the past week or so is something that you’re probably not going to believe is true, but it’s so true it has landed me on the couch sleeping for a few nights.  Restless leg syndrome, I know I know, “Gina in case you forgot you can’t feel your legs so that’s impossible” right?  Well, yes I thought that too but apparently my legs still get a bit restless/tight.  It’s always in my hip flexors and it feels like someone needs to grab my arms above my head and pull while pushing my thighs down flat. (picture the old taffy pulling technique minus the twisting part) 🙂 This has happened a few times pre-pregnancy but not to the extent where I can’t sleep and/or get comfortable in my own bed.  And the worst part is there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s almost like phantom pains I’ve heard amputees experience. Meaning there’s pain somewhere you can’t feel or in an amputees situation they may experience pain in the limb that’s no longer there.  You just have to work thru it and try to get your mind off of it.

Now, having said all of that, there’s nothing more I’d love to be experiencing than bathroom work outs, mood swings, cravings, weight gain and restless leg syndrome in my paralyzed legs if it means getting to hold a beautiful baby boy or girl in my arms in about 4 months. After every ultrasound we’ve had and every appointment hearing the Little One’s heart beat there’s nothing I want more than to be on this joyous journey called pregnancy.  I do believe I’ve felt a small kick here and there and my husband has also.  We’re not 100% sure that’s what we’re feeling and I can only feel it if I put my hands on my belly and wait but even if it’s not the baby I’m saying it is because it warms my heart tremendously to feel that! 🙂 After the last ultrasound we say the baby’s legs, feet, arms and hands and everything looks healthy & my doctor said mama and baby are right where they should be!

Baby Springhower's Long Legs Baby Springhower's Tiny FootBaby Springhower's Little Arms

Again, I know just how blessed we are to be given this amazing miracle of life as I just learned one of our close friends had a miscarriage and I know of many others who have also, I continue to pray for you and your healing through this rough time.

Thank you all for stopping by today to read this blog!  I hope it finds you well and rested from the long Labor Day Weekend!  Have a blessed day!

Gina.

To the Woman in the Restroom.

Dear Ma’am whom I didn’t even introduce myself to when speaking with you while waiting in the restroom Sunday at the Iowa State Fair.  You, my friend, are an amazing, inspirational women and just the confidence booster I needed. Let me fill you all in on this women.

I was waiting in the hallway to go to the restroom and I see this women rolling in with a toddler by her side and an infant strapped to her chest.  Instantly I’m amazed for more than one reason.  First, she rolling at a pretty good speed for having a little one on her & secondly, I just thought to myself…that could be me in 5 years or so.  Could I make it look that easy?  I just had to go in and talk to her.  You’re probably thinking “really Gina, do you think the restroom is the right place to have a conversation…with a stranger, who is obviously super busy with her own life at this particular point?”  I know I know…but I just had to talk to her.

She was using one of those baby carriers that look like a backpack & I’ve been wondering if paralyzed mom’s prefer the backpack type or the wrap type as far as comfort and stability.  So I simply said “may I ask you a question, I’m pregnant with our first and I’m just wondering, how do you like that carrier?” And the conversation took off from there.

She was waiting for her little girl to get done in the restroom and said I could go ahead and use the big stall since she was waiting. So I hurried along and as I was using the restroom I thought to myself…how does she do this by herself?  She can’t possibly put the infant on her chair while she’s on the toilet he’s not old enough for that yet?  Does she keep him strapped to her?  All these questions running through my head.  So…I asked.  And her response was “Well I am a single mom and she (her little girl) is a HUGE help…but for right now, actually…would you mind holding him while I go to the bathroom?” 🙂 x 100!!!!! “Not at all!!” I said.  I never got my answer but instead I was blessed with a trusting women’s 4 month old little boy for just a few minutes.  I also got to know her little girl too…she was telling me about how she just lost her tooth & the Tooth Fairy gave her $5.00 and glitter! Such a beautiful little family.

So we visited a little while longer and before we parted ways I told her thank you for the advice and answering all my questions.  I finished with you have a beautiful family and you are such an inspiration to not only myself but I’m sure many others.  She said thank you and wished my husband and I the best of luck in the future.  I left that bathroom stall feeling so lucky to have been in there at the same time as her and blessed she was so open about her injury (spinal cord injury as well) and the way she does things that I think that may have been my favorite part of the day.  I was so into asking her questions that I was extremely rude and didn’t even introduce myself or get her name.  But if she were to read this somewhere or at any time I’d like to tell her Thank You.  Thank you for showing that “we” the “disabled” can do it too! I know she’s not the first disabled women to raise kids by herself, but she’s the first one I’ve physically met & I’m so honored we both had to use the restroom at the same time. 🙂

So the next time something seems difficult for me or after our future son or daughter is born and I feel like I can’t do something I will remember her.  I will remember her ability to take a toddler and an infant to the State Fair all by herself and push herself up those big hills with an infant strapped to her chest while keep track of a toddler.   I will remember how blessed I am to have my husband John by my side to help me daily.  Lastly, I will remember the glow she had when her little girl called her Mommy & I will do everything in my power to make this life the best life for our future little one.

To the Woman in the Restroom – Thank you and God Bless.

Thank you for reading! Have a great Tuesday!

Gina.

18 Weeks Pregnant – and Paralyzed.

Hello there! I thought this week may be a good week to start sharing some of the differences I’ve felt/experienced with being pregnant.  I mainly want to share my experience because I know lots of people want to ask me different things about what it’s like to be paralyzed and pregnant but feel awkward doing so.  Therefore, I’m just going to tell ya! 🙂

18 weeks means Little One is about the size of a sweet potato & can hear the sounds of our voices (that is according to every baby app I have on my phone).  I’ve gained a total of 7 pounds since the beginning of pregnancy and according to my OB that’s right where I should be.  The crazy thing is, 7 pounds makes a big difference just pushing my butt around town and up ramps!  I got so used to pushing one weight for 7 years that adding a few extra pounds made me realize I need to hit the gym a little bit more! Especially since this is only the beginning of weight gain…what’s going to happen when I can’t see my toes when I look down?! Something all future mom’s wonder I’m sure. The only other difference I’ve really noticed as far as weight gain would be the transfers into my truck…the lift into the driver’s seat from wheelchair is getting a wee bit tougher (again just a strong realization that I need to get to the gym).

As some of you know being paralyzed also means you have limited to no control over your bladder or bowels.  I have absolutely no control whatsoever so the “urge to pee” that most pregnant women have, I don’t have it…however that doesn’t stop it from coming. 🙂  Usually, I am fortunate enough to have my doctor perform a Botox injection into my bladder to help control the muscles so I have fewer accidents (truly an amazing thing!) but that little surgery requires a light dose of anesthesia so that option is out till next year.  So needless to say there’s quite a few accidents unless I use to restroom every 30 minutes…but who has time for that? So until the Little One arrives I’ll just be wearing lots of briefs and doing lots of laundry!

Also, since I have no control over my bladder and use a catheter to drain I run a much higher risk of getting a UTI, so far I believe I’ve had only 3 so not too bad.  But along with UTI’s comes antibiotics and those things mess anyone’s system up!  Drinking plenty of water has helped me keep that to a minimum though.

Other than that…I’m still craving chocolate cake with white frosting and sprinkles along with French fries & pickles. 🙂  The baby’s heartbeat at the last ultrasound was 150/min, healthy and growing!  They say I should be able to start feeling the baby move any day now.  The only “strange” feeling I’ve had has been the butterfly feeling every once in a while.  My level of sensation stops at my belly button so I’m not sure if it’ll take a little longer for me before I start feeling movements or if that’s something that comes later on in the pregnancy.  Either way I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Every day I thank the Good Lord for this incredible blessing and hope and pray he or she comes out healthy!  Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing, I know as women we don’t always feel beautiful during pregnancy but it is truly remarkable!  And fortunately I’m lucky enough to have a husband who continually tells me how beautiful I am which always helps! 😉

Next big appointment is our 20 week appointment!  Should get a picture from the ultrasound and have much more to share!  Have a wonderful week and I will be in touch soon! Thanks for stopping by!
Gina 🙂

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Baby Springhower Due January 2016!!

Hello everyone! I must apologize for my absence lately, I’m sure you can all relate to what it’s like when life gets going and keeps you busy and the only down time you have you want to relax. 

Well, much has changed since the last time I wrote and the main thing is yes, my husband and I are expecting a little one in January 2016! 🙂 🙂  I am 16 weeks pregnant and couldn’t be happier the second trimester has taken over!  The first 3 months were a bit rough with the morning sickness & fatigue (as I’m sure some of you women can relate), hence the first paragraph where I just wanted to sit and relax…or sleep…however you’d like to say it. 🙂

We have both decided not to find out what we are having, we feel you don’t get many true surprises in life and both felt that we’d like to wait and be surprised on the day of delivery.  So that being said I have developed a habit already of calling the baby either Little One or He.  So throughout this blog please know that we don’t know if it’s a he or she but I can’t call him/her an it. 🙂

Second trimester…the “honeymoon trimester” as they call it, has been exciting!  We were finally able to tell people!  So the looks of “wow Gina, you kinda let yourself go a little bit haven’t ya??” have turned into looks of “oh Gina, this is so exciting I’m so happy for you and John, what a journey this will be for you both!”  — much better 🙂  As far as cravings, heightened sense of smell, and mood swings nothing too extreme.  Unless you ask my husband he may have a different opinion on the mood swings portion of that sentence.  And the only one craving I can think of was I really wanted some white cake w/ white frosting. 🙂 The only thing that’s really starting to make a difference in my day to day life is the little bit of a baby bump I am getting.  Transfers are a bit more difficult, not impossible, but I have to put a little bit more effort into things like getting into my truck, back into my chair from the floor & up onto our pillow-top bed.  All things I’ve been preparing for.

John and I had an ultrasound appointment last month and we were able to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time & it was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.  Seeing the little ones arms and legs was an absolutely incredible sight!  He actually had the hiccups at our last appointment and seeing his little 6 inch body move up & down every time he hiccuped was extremely adorable!  🙂  

Baby Springhower 12 weeks along

Baby Springhower 12 weeks along.

My hope is to be much better at blogging and keeping all those who read this up to date on what it’s like to be paralyzed and pregnant.  My doctor has told me that I can try to have a natural birth with the option of a C-section, just like everyone else.  We have much research and communicating to do on our end as far as what’s best for baby and mommy but it’s so nice knowing I can try to do things naturally if I so choose.

John and I can’t even begin to express how blessed we are that God has given us this little miracle to start a family.  I know there are many women out there who don’t get this miracle the way they had always hoped and for you women my heart goes out to you and I know & pray that you find happiness in whatever path you take to having your own family.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this post!  I will write soon!  Have a wonderful weekend and bless you all!.

Gina.

New Goals — Miss Georgia Grace

I am a strong believer in setting new goals for oneself in order to keep life exciting.  I believe in both short and long-term goals and also realistic and maybe not so realistic goals.  Short term goals give me confidence, long-term goals give me patience and desire, realistic goals keep my head on my shoulders and unrealistic goals give me fuel to prove whomever told me otherwise that something can’t be done.  So eventually, I make my unrealistic goals a reality and no matter the fight to get it done it’s worth every failure along the way.

In the past 7 years I’ve set more goals than I ever did in my 21 years of being able-bodied.  Goals as simple as being able to go to the bathroom without help from my parents (and trust me at 21 that was THE number 1 goal to accomplish) to goals as difficult as walking down a 65′ aisle at my wedding.  Did I have failures?  Did I get knocked down (sometimes literally)? Did people tell me “Gina, that’s a bad idea”?  Sure!  But what is more important, the harder we fall or the taller we stand (or sit) when we rise?  Is what other people tell you is a bad idea more important that what you tell yourself?  Last time I checked I was in charge of me, my successes and my failures. And I own them whether good or bad I own them.

For Valentines Day my incredible husband got me a Bay Quarter Horse whose name is Georgia Grace, she’s beautiful!  He once again fulfilled a childhood dream of mine to own a horse.  When I was a little girl however, I dreamt I’d be able to walk out to my horse at any given moment to see her, I imagined myself being able to jump right up on that saddle and ride away without anything stopping me…Paralyzed and wheelchair bound was not exactly what I had in mind.  So guess what that means?? I found my new long-term goal! 🙂  I’m going to be able to get up on Miss Georgia Grace on my own someday & her and I are going to do something special together.  I don’t know what that special thing is yet but it’s something.  There’s many paralyzed men and women out there who do AMAZING things with their horses so I know anything is possible!  It may not be easy but it’s going to be worth it.

Like I said I’m a firm believer in setting goals, even if it’s only to take 15 minutes out of your day to focus on you and your needs. I can’t tell you the amount of happiness you’ll feel afterwards.  It doesn’t take much … so what’s your next goal? Leave a comment below and we can reach them together! 🙂

Thank you so much for reading today! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

“Sometimes the Wrong Choices bring us to the Right Places”

blog-quote

I saw this quote while browsing pinterest (which I do WAY too often), and as soon as I read it I smiled from ear to ear an said “yes they sure do.”

I made the wrong choice to get into that car 7 years ago knowing full well the driver had been drinking and knowing full well that there was neither a seat nor seat belt for me, I mean honestly how many times have we all done this throughout our lives?  And that next morning the last thought I had was…this is going to bring me to the right place I just know it.  I was actually more focused on: “wait, that’s a catheter & I’m to do what with it??” and “wow, I can’t even get dressed by myself” amongst many other things.

Then a month later I was discharged and starting out-patient therapy and my old high school counselor had contacted me and had asked if I’d be interested in coming to the high school to speak to 9-12th graders about making good decisions before the prom.  I absolutely despised speaking in front of people all through high school and what I had started of college so at first I was a bit reluctant to agree but then I thought about what possible difference I could make and agreed to be there. So about a week later I rolled into my old high school gym in this wheelchair that was way too big for me, a “turtle shell brace” — not sure what’s it’s really called but it’s the brace I had to wear for 7 months until I was completely healed from surgery — gym shorts & tennis shoes.  Super attractive picture right? So the counselor introduces me and I start wheeling towards her so I can be in the middle of the whole student body, however, I’m still not so hot at pushing/steering the wheelchair so by the time I’m 4 pushes in she’s met me so I stay off to the side and ever so quickly tell my story.  I think I literally spoke for maybe 20 minutes and at the end I simply said: “Every decision you make in your life has a good and bad consequence.  We’re not guaranteed anything, there’s no guarantee what could happen to you when you walk out of this gym today.  So please this weekend at prom think about the good and bad consequences before making that final decision.  Cause at any point your whole life could change in an instant.”  And that was that, I was ready to get out of there as soon as possible cause I thought this was probably the worst speech I’ve ever given…then the clapping started & the hootin & hollerin, followed by a student walking down the bleachers towards me…he gave me a hug & took the microphone from me and said “Gina, if you didn’t reach a single student out there today please know that you got to me, you made a difference to me.”  And there it was…there’s the “Right Place” my bad decision brought me to.

Ever since then I’ve been speaking to different high schools, colleges, rehab centers, therapist, pretty much anyone who would want me. 🙂

There’s so much that has happened in my life since that accident that never would have happened if it weren’t for that bad decision I made.  I would have never reconnected with my husband, I wouldn’t have met some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and I wouldn’t have made the difference in that student’s life if it weren’t for that accident.

People ask me, How are you so positive all the time?  You really were never angry, how is that possible??  My parents raised us kids to take responsibility for our mistakes and to learn from them.  I felt that’s what needed to be done in this situation, I took responsibility for my mistake and now I’m hoping others will learn from it.  My brother and sister-in-law gave me a gift when I was still an in the hospital that read: “PERSEVERANCE…the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”  Does it get any truer than that? 🙂

If you’re reading this today and maybe you’ve made a bad choice recently that has  hindered your life plan.  It’s okay, we all make mistakes but if we dwell on the mistakes we may miss the miracles.  Maybe that wrong choice will bring you to the right place.  The road to the right place may be curvy and a bit bumpy but the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday! Until next time!

Gina