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Unwavering Quadriplegic Becomes a Mom

Published: March 14, 2006  |  Source: health.discovery.com  | Spinal Cord Injury:

120305swspotlightAs with many women, Michelle Carston of Westfield always knew she wanted to be a mom. After a 1993 diving accident, when doctors told her that she would never walk again, she took solace in knowing the injury would not prevent her from fulfilling her maternal instincts.

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005, at Florida Hospital, Michelle delivered a 5-pound, 13-ounce, healthy baby boy named Pierce.

“I couldn’t wait to become a new mom,” she said. “This is the first and the last, I believe.”

Low blood pressure kept Michelle, a 35-year-old quadriplegic, flat in bed for the entire pregnancy. Every time she sat up, she passed out. She delivered naturally at 37 weeks and allowed the Discovery Health Channel to film her delivery.

“I initiated that and thought it was a great way to educate people,” Michelle said. “It was a textbook-perfect delivery. I pushed three pushes, and he was out within 10 minutes after the contractions.”

When nurses placed Pierce on her chest, she looked down at him and his full head of brown hair and “saw perfection.”

Michelle Carston of Westfield enjoys a quiet moment with her new son, Pierce.

Michelle and her husband, Peter, met through an online dating service and married in March 2004. They discussed parenthood before tying the knot. Once wed and ready to start a family, they began tracking Michelle’s fertility cycles, and three months later, learned Pierce was on the way. Both sets of grandparents have been helping out.

A former writer, Michelle helped people as a health-club fitness instructor in 1995, something she considers the most fun she ever had. She will soon begin working to raise awareness for the IKAN Sports Foundation of Brandon. The foundation promotes physical activity through the use of assistive technologies.

Michelle maintains a positive can-do attitude, loves life, and does not let other people’s doubts dissuade her from living every day to the fullest. She plans to instill in her son that same realistic optimism.

“Anything is possible,” Michelle said. “Where there’s a ‘wheel,’ there’s a way. That is my motto. Your attitude is governed by you, and it’s a daily, minute-by-minute choice.”

Discovery Health Channel have been documenting her pregnancy and birth. A clip from a full-hour show about her experience will air tonight (3/14/2006) and the full show will air sometime in June. Check it out tonight at 9PM Eastern time.

by Debra Wood

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Comments:

22 Comments to “Unwavering Quadriplegic Becomes a Mom”
  1. Dorothy says:

    I was paralyzed after my stroke and I thought this was very informative especially since I really want to have a child!

  2. amparo says:

    My name is Amparo. I had my spinal cord injury when I was 10 years old in 1988. I am now 31. I am attempting to stay pregnant. This year 2008, I had a miscarrige. That was very painful. My injury is c-5. I got pregnant again, but might be loosing this baby too! I want to know if any Doctors or any one that might have vital information why I might be having miscarriges. Is it because of my injury or something else. Plese help!

  3. Jackie Ellenberger says:

    God Bless your family for sharing such an awesome but private story. I have a cousin that is also a quadriplegic and he shares some of your same challenges in caring for his young son. It would be awesome to see some updated news about how things are going.

  4. Bianca says:

    Hello Ms. Lady! What an inspiration you are and your baby boy is beautiful! May God bless your lovely family!

  5. Bette says:

    I think it is wonderful that ya’ll had the courage to face pregnancy. I believe in Florida Hospital and know that the Christian staff there believes in God and that He is with them at all times. Surely He was with you both during the pregancy and delivery. Bless your family and that little guy. May God’s love be close to you and give you health and happiness!!

  6. unknown says:

    What a fabulous lady and an inspiration to all

  7. JACINTA M says:

    I was so happy for Michelle’s dream to come true. What a suprise

  8. Lisa James says:

    Ok, this pisses me off!!! Granted, Mom & Baby didn’t die, but they COULD have… I’m a parapilegic, 37, married, and have been warned by every doctor in 3 states NEVER to take a chance like this. She not only disreguarded her own health & life, but that of her baby & her huband’s future. And the care givers are there for HER, not to play nanny to the baby… what if they aren’t around & there is an emergency, nurses aren’t there, Daddy’s's either asleep or at work, and Mommy can’t help the baby?! This woman is selfish & her doctors must be INSANE to have let her go through with it… for God’s sake, they should have, at the very least, ORDERED her to have a C-Section!!!

  9. Michelle Carston) says:

    Thank you all who were rooting for me in Paralyzed & Pregnant, Discovery Health’s documentary about the birth of my son, Pierce! We just celebrated his first birthday this past Saturday. He is absolutely precious!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I just saw this on Discovery. I think Michelle and her family are an inspiration. I smiled when I saw Pierce. What a gorgeous baby!
    I wish them all the best.

  11. Stella Carsten) says:

    Happy Birthday! Well a little late, but I am so very happy for all three of you.

  12. Rachel says:

    I have watched Michelle’s story several times. She is such a brave woman. I am so happy for her family and the love that they share. I have been so worried about Michelle’s current condition ever since I saw the documentary. Does anyone know if the passing out, etc. subsided? Is she able to lead a more “normal” life now? I certainly hope so. Pierce is such a beautiful little guy. They are a perfect family!

  13. Dee Ann Long says:

    Michelle: What wonderful blessings God has given you! A healthy, beautiful son and a loving husband who obviously loves you unconditionally.Your son and my mother share the same birthday! I stayed up till after midnight watching the touching story of you and your family. I was wondering how you are all doing now! “Happy Birthday Pierce!” What strength you have! I’d love to hear from you via e-mail to let me know how you are all doing. God Bless You! Dee Long, Cumberland,MD

  14. liz tucker says:

    Congratulations! I just noticed your article. I wonder if you could use a Permobil Chairman 2K Stander Wheelchair. It has a head array designed for quadriplegics and will stand you up, lay you down flat and of course sit you down. The chair was bought for over $30,000.00 but my mom died from a doctor’s error the day before the wheelchair delivery. I am interested in selling it to you for a reduced price. Please contact me at edoctuc2004@aol.com ASAP. Again, congratulations on your beautiful baby!
    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth Tucker

  15. Jackie Ellenberger says:

    God Bless your family for sharing such an awesome but private story. I have a cousin that is also a quadriplegic and he shares some of your same challenges in caring for his young son. It would be awesome to see some updated news about how things are going.

  16. Sharon Richards says:

    I’ve seen the show about Michelle, Peter and Pierce several times,the first time being when it was first aired. I’d love to find out how both Michelle and Pierce have been doing in the past 2 years, and I’d especially like to have my email address passed on to Michelle if possible. Here’s hoping all’s well in the Carston household this holiday season! With very best regards, Sharon

  17. liz tucker says:

    Congratulations! I just noticed your article. I wonder if you could use a Permobil Chairman 2K Stander Wheelchair. It has a head array designed for quadriplegics and will stand you up, lay you down flat and of course sit you down. The chair was bought for over $30,000.00 but my mom died from a doctor’s error the day before the wheelchair delivery. I am interested in selling it to you for a reduced price. Please contact me at edoctuc2004@aol.com ASAP. Again, congratulations on your beautiful baby!
    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth Tucker

  18. amparo says:

    Hello,
    My name is Amparo. I had my spinal cord injury when I was 10 years old in 1988. I am now 31. I am attempting to stay pregnant. This year 2008, I had a miscarrige. That was very painful. My injury is c-5. I got pregnant again, but might be loosing this baby too! I want to know if any Doctors or any one that might have vital information why I might be having miscarriges. Is it because of my injury or something else. Plese help!

    Amparo

  19. Jackie Merrill says:

    This is a message for Michelle Carston, I watched you a few years back when you had your son and I watched your new show last night. You are so inspirational to every woman with or without an illness. Have you written a book yet on your life? If not I think you should and call it “I might be down but I’m not dead” or ‘Do your Best! You don’t have to be the best”.
    To me it’s not so much your illness, but your motivation of never giving up. I have a grandaughter who has Asperger Disorder its very slight, she is 14 and just now asking question about why she is different. I believe that you writing a book could and will others thinking wait a minute if she can do that, I should be able to do want I want.Would love to meet you or be email friends. I don’t have computer at home but I can email you at work. Thank You for your time. Jackie

  20. shawna says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I have started following your story when it 1st appeared on tlc as they followed you through out your pregnacy. I have also watched the follow up 4 years later with your daily struggle as a single disabled mom. Your son is very beautiful.

    My illness is a liver disease which may lead to a liver transplant in the near future. I am reaching 40 and I deal with major depression which is on a daily basis. Watching your documentaries have inspired and touched me so, I had to write to u. I now appreciate and cherish life knowing how fragile life is. Thank you Michelle. Your determination made me a stronger person.

  21. Marci Surfas says:

    Hi Michelle,
    My sister is a C4 Quad and is newly pregnant. She’s 35 and lives in LA. We’re looking for an OB in Southern Ca. that might have some experience with this situation. Did you ever come across anyone here that might be able to help us? We’re obviously all really nervous and want to be sure that everything goes well for mom and baby :).
    Thank you for sharing your story with the world–it’s fantastic.
    Best,
    Marci

  22. paulette says:

    I am a walking quadriplegic who was incomplete from c5 down. Almost 8 years later I am pregnant with our 4th child.It is miraculous what God has revealed to me.Complications can arise even in healthy people. It is neither here nor there a baby is born whether healthy or disabled. There is incredible science that has been plagerized from the lost Book of Enoch. Our human bodies are incredibly resiliant if our soul can manufacture faith. We live in a faithless world propogated by select elites. I believe that God is purposeful and we are always trying to fight negative battles. We need to give hope, love to anyone. I give anyone hope today.Here is the positive-Do not ever give up!!!!!

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