A woman had complications at birth causing a spinal cord injury that forever weakened the left side of her body. As she has been wheelchair-bound throughout her life, she thought she may never have a baby of her own.
However, falling pregnant at the age of 30 was an unexpected joy, sending Alyssa Higgins, from Rockland County, New York, on a brand-new life journey.
As a baby, Alyssa’s spinal cord injury prevented her from moving or breathing on her own. Placed in an incubator in the NICU, it took Alyssa 18 months to move her fingers.
Her injury was at the top of her spine, at the cervical level of her vertebrae.
However, despite being unable to move by herself, she grew strong and resolute with the loving support of family and neighbors. “My parents treated me like I didn’t even have a disability,” Alyssa told Good Morning America.
At the age of 23, she joined a dating site, where she met the love of her life, Jimmy.
Jimmy, who wasn’t aware of Alyssa’s disability until the first date, was unfazed by Alyssa’s differently abled lifestyle, and the pair fell in love, marrying in 2019. “I liked her for just the conversation we had while getting to know each other,” said Jimmy.
The couple wanted a family but were unsure of their chances to conceive.
“I didn’t even know if I could get pregnant with a spinal cord injury, but also because I have one ovary,” Alyssa explained. “The ovary thing made it get into my head more when I thought I couldn’t get pregnant. But it was always a possible thing.”
“I don’t have any fears in general,” she added. “I’ve been through so much that it’s like, ‘Let’s bring it.’”
Hanging on to a thread of hope, and with their doctor’s suggestion, the couple started trying for a baby, and their wish was granted.
In moving footage shared on Alyssa’s Instagram page, @wheel.life.in.the.wheel.world, the mom-to-be staged a surprise reveal for her husband in October 2020. She printed, “Surprise! You’re going to be a dad in spring 2021,” on a board, holding it up for Jimmy to read beside her positive pregnancy test.
Jimmy, overjoyed, could not keep his jaw from hitting the floor.
Alyssa then began to share her pregnancy journey on Instagram, imploring others never to say “Never.” The mom-to-be also uses her page to advocate and raise visibility for people in wheelchairs.
“Don’t ever judge someone by their cover,” she stated. “Don’t look at the wheelchair, look at the person.”
The couple’s baby, a boy they have affectionately nicknamed “Baby H,” is due to be born in the spring. In an Instagram post from Jan. 22, 2021, Alyssa updated her 57,800 followers on his progress.
“[H]e started kicking more the other day and now I feel him all the time,” she said. “Jimmy can feel it too, and I can see his kicks!”
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