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Paralyzed and 45 - and pregnant!

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, August 05, 2010 | 0 comments

When 45 year old old Judy Owen was suddenly paralyzed from the neck down, she faced the most traumatic yet ultimately happiest year of her life…

“Oh, maybe you’re pregnant!” Jackie had said, and we laughed about how ridiculous that would be. John and I had always had a que sera sera attitude towards having children. Ever since a health scare in my 20s, I had known that it would be difficult to conceive, as I had a high cervix and a tilted womb. And indeed, it had never happened, though John and I never used any contraception. Later, in my early 40's, I had been diagnosed as pre-menopausal, so I was very much resigned to the fact that I was never going to become a parent. We counted our blessings: numerous children around us to spoil; good jobs, a great house, three cats and each other. The very idea that I could be pregnant seemed so unlikely. However, I sent John to the nearest chemist to buy a pregnancy test, fully expecting it to turn out negative.

In the meantime, I picked up my best friend, Manda, from the station. “Wow, you look great!” she exclaimed. “You’ll never guess what? I had the strangest dream about you last night. You said you were pregnant.” I looked at her and could hardly believe what she’d just said.

On the way back home I explained what had happened and, when we arrived, I did the test, which actually showed positive. I couldn’t believe my eyes and assumed it was faulty. All sorts of jumbled thoughts were going through my mind, but mostly I was thinking, “This is awful!” Part of me still didn’t really believe it, but we joked along the lines of “How could John take advantage of a disabled woman!”

The following day, I tried another pregnancy test, with the same astonishing result. I made an appointment to see my GP, Martin Harris, who confirmed that not only was I pregnant, but very pregnant. “I can’t believe what is happening to your family!” he said.

I was dispatched straight away to the local hospital for a scan that confirmed I was about 28 weeks pregnant. I was terrified and thrilled at the same time. I remember the sonographer laughing and saying: “I can’t believe you didn’t realize you were pregnant.” In my emotional state, I wasn’t in the mood for joviality, and replied: “Well, have you ever been paralyzed from the neck down?”

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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