Katelyn Treichel, braving the ups and downs of pregnancy with scoliosis, speaks on her struggles, inspirations, and real advice for others.
Katelyn Treichel is 9-months pregnant and waiting for the birth of her baby! “It has been the scariest, most exciting, beautiful journey of my life,” she said. As a mum myself, I quite get it. However, Katelyn’s isn’t the case of a regular mum going through a regular pregnancy. This time she is expecting a rainbow baby. AND, she has scoliosis.
“When I was 12, I had a bad fall sending me to the emergency room. While under treatment for that fall, one of my X-rays showed a curve in my spine. I was diagnosed with scoliosis,” recalls Katelyn Treichel of Michigan. A pharmacy technician at an in-patient pharmacy at a local hospital, she adds, “I underwent two spinal fusion surgeries when I turned 18, and was fused with two rods, two hooks, and 19 screws from T-2 to L-3.”
Katelyn and her fiance Anthony Pierson had lost their first baby to miscarriage and it left the couple devastated. Now, pregnant with their rainbow baby, the parents-to-be are over the moon. So, is there a point in wondering if it was a normal pregnancy? Surprisingly, it has been smooth… until recently. “I am just anxious and excited for the D-day! I have had a pretty uneventful pregnancy up until the pre-eclampsia diagnosis. It was sort of random and just caught up to me out of the blue. At 38-weeks pregnant, I can’t complain. I only have a week to be on bed rest and if that means a healthy baby, then I’m all for it!
When asked whether, considering Katelyn’s condition, the couple thought of consulting with their doctor, before trying to get pregnant, quite nonchalantly Katelyn says, “No, we didn’t really consult much with my doctor about trying to have a baby. She knew we were trying again after the loss, but she didn’t say anything until we finally conceived again.”
It may not shock many to know that there were quite a few naysayers, including some medical professionals, who were apprehensive of this. “My doctor (general practitioner) was one of the people who had originally told me not to get my hopes up… that my hCG levels were starting out extremely low and that since I’d miscarried before, the chances were higher that it’d happen again. My fiancé and I were told “congratulations”, but that it’d be best if “we kept it between just the two of us for a while.” Hearing that from my doctor was devastating. We were over the moon to be expecting again! How could my doctor tell me I shouldn’t get too excited just yet?” states Katelyn.
Despite this, Katelyn Treichel didn’t feel the need to go for a second opinion before making up her mind about going for the rainbow baby. She had faith, “We just went for it. Though at times I did have my doubts and fears, my faith was much stronger. I knew my rainbow baby was more than possible. I just had to stay positive.”
But of course, in the beginning, the so-called well-wishers and naysayers did get to her. She had lost her first baby at just 6-weeks of pregnancy and she had co-workers blame her back and her spinal fusion. “I couldn’t believe people had the nerve to tell me “not to get my hopes up” and that “carrying a baby was a lot on my body.” I never viewed my body as anything less than the woman next to me,” says the spunky mum-to-be.
But not all were trying to pull her down. Katelyn and her fiance had solid support system in the form of their family and friends. “They were supportive, but also afraid to get excited in the beginning. It felt like I had a lot of doubt surrounding me and at times it was hard to ignore, but I honestly had full faith that things would be okay,” asserts Katelyn.
With a scheduled C-section for the 19th of this month, Katelyn has quite some simple tricks to deal with pregnancy related backaches. She takes time to stretch it out or sit down and rest for a while now and then. As she nears the due date, there aren’t any major concerns that get her in knots. However, she did wish she could opt for a vaginal delivery. “I was disappointed that I couldn’t push and then I realised I was being selfish. How blessed am I to be able to have carried this sweet girl to full term! She’s perfect and she’s healthy. Who cares how she’s delivered as long as it’s safe and she’s healthy!” beams Katelyn.
Natural birth was not an option for Katelyn as her body couldn’t bend to get into the birthing position opening the birthing canal. “I had an appointment with the anaesthesia team to discuss my options for the caesarean delivery. They agreed to try a spinal block before opting to put me under general anaesthesia,” explains Katelyn.
For this gorgeous mum-to-be, the struggles were more mental than anything. “A lot of people would look at my back and my X-rays and have a lot to say about it. Some good things and some bad. Yes, my back physically hurt, but it never compared to the mental pain of worry and doubt,” she states. But then, with a ‘very supportive’ fiance who would give her pep talks about her strength and how it didn’t matter what other people thought, Katelyn is in a better place now. “Their doubts were going to eat me alive if I didn’t have faith in myself and my body,” she admits.
Her only piece of advice for other mums and mums-to-be, going through a similar situation in life, is to ignore opinions of people who don’t matter. “Have faith in your body and what you are capable of as a woman. You are no less than the woman next to you,” signs off Katelyn.