Moms Who Inspire: Meet Jennifer

May 21, 2017 0 comments

Moms Who Inspire: Meet Jennifer

I was 18 years old when a snowboarding accident changed my life forever. In December of 2003, during a ski trip with friends, another rider crashed into me, sending me toppling down the hill unconscious. When I came to, I was in excruciating pain; a pain as so intense I could barely speak to the ski patrollers, EMTs, and nurses helping me. I suddenly realized that something was very wrong: I couldn't move my right arm.

After weeks of appointments, x-rays, EMGs, and MRIs, doctors determined that two of the five nerves controlling the motor and sensory functions of my right arm were ripped from my spinal cord. My once strong arm—the same arm that had allowed me to paddle into ocean waves on my surfboard, hurl lacrosse balls down the field as the captain of my high school's team, hoist myself up the rock wall at my local climbing gym, and strap my snowboard boot into its binding—was now paralyzed. I was devastated.

Luckily, I had an amazing support system after my accident. My friends, family and doctors encouraged me to continue to pursue my passions, and I quickly learned new ways to participate and succeed in the activities I loved. However, I couldn't help but think about how my life would look in the future, particularly if that future included a family. Like many teenage girls, I often spent evenings and weekends babysitting, and I knew how physically demanding raising a child was. While I hoped that I would be able to start a family someday, I was terrified about how I, and more importantly, my baby would fare.

Thirteen years passed. I went to college, graduated, met my husband, traveled, and got married. In July of 2016, we learned that we were pregnant! I was simultaneously ecstatic and terrified. The moment of truth had come.

I had long ago decided that a carrier would be an essential piece of baby gear for me. So as my belly began to swell with a growing baby boy, I began researching carriers and wraps for us. I hoped I would find something that could be used with just one arm. I watched dozens of videos featuring women strapping and wrapping various pieces of fabric around their bodies and deftly sliding a newborn baby into a safe and cozy position. None of them looked like they would work for me. I tried some on in store using a baby doll as a place holder for my own child, and my fears were confirmed.

Then I discovered the Nesting Days carrier. There were no buckles to snap, no fabric to wrap and most importantly, it looked like I could slide baby in using just one arm! I felt almost immediate relief. But one problem remained. The pocket that I would need to slide in was on the left side, and I needed it to be on the right.

So I took a chance and contacted Nesting Days. I explained my situation, and to my surprise (and elation), they were able to create a custom "flipped" carrier for me! A weight was immediately lifted from my shoulders. Throughout the rest of my pregnancy I was able to imagine myself being able to hold baby close to me while drinking a glass of water, making a snack, wiping up a spill, grabbing a burp cloth or completing any of the other essential day-to-day tasks (and snapping plenty of 'baby and me' selfies).

Now that my baby is here (and somehow almost two months old. eek!), the Nesting Days carrier has been even more of a blessing than I ever could have imagined. Not only has it helped me get through my days as a new mom with a disability, but I believe it saved our breastfeeding relationship. When my son was only three days old, a tongue tie issue forced us to take a break from breastfeeding in order for me to heal. Our skin-to-skin time in the carrier helped him to move away from the bottle and return to my breast.

My son and I love our Nesting Days carrier! I cannot thank Nesting Days enough for their support of moms of all abilities.  

Jennifer