Central PA SCI Networking

Kelly McKee C-6

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Sexuality, Pregnancy, and Parenting

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.

Proverbs 3, 5-6


My Injury
My accident happened on September 9, 1996.  It was dusk and my husband and I went outside the house to talk.  We were separated at the time, in fact, we had signed divorce papers.  He was at my house to visit our son.  After going outside, I jumped up on a ledge to sit.  The ledge wasn’t high.  However, I fell backward off the ledge, landing on my head.  Thinking the ledge wasn’t that high, my husband grabbed me up into his arms, not realizing my sixth vertebrae had fractured.  The fractured bone poked into my spinal cord and that is how I was paralyzed.  I have a C-6 spinal cord injury.  I was diagnosed as a complete injury at Hershey Med.  However, in March of 1998, I underwent another surgery called an untethering procedure in Englewood, CO, at Craig Hospital.  After that surgery, I was re-diagnosed as an incomplete injury, as I regained sensation throughout my body, although, I have yet to regain my ability to walk.  After my accident, my husband and I reconciled.  We remained married and in December of 1997 I gave birth to twin girls.    


The Twins!  The Twins!
Yes, the twins!  They are a miracle.  They are a gift from God.  My pregnancy with the twins was not bad.  I had already give birth to my son, so I knew what to expect in general.  The interesting thing was that most people who did not know me thought I was using a wheelchair because I was pregnant.  That was different because I was treated differently from one circumstance to another.  Anyway, I moved around, pretty much as normal until my eighth month.  I went to weekly exams.  However, by the end of November, one twin began to take more food.  The Dr.’s decided December 4 would be the date for the C-section.  The surgery went well and the girls spent about two weeks in the NICU at Harrisburg, Hospital. 
     I do have to say that my husband helped with transferring and weigh shifts during the latter half of my pregnancy.  He even lifted me in and out of the tub!
The Birth
     As discussed above, the birth went well.  I must admit that I feel there has been divine intervention in my life.  I was not a Christian prior to my accident.  Shortly after being injured, I had a personal experience in which Jesus promised to care for me, if I chose to trust in him.  I have trusted in him since.  One great concern of mine after suffering such a serious, life-changing injury so young was my ability to have children.  It was here that God answered my prayers first.  I became pregnant and me and my perfect little girls were kept save and health.
Advice for future SCI mommies... 
 A hint I would like to share with future mommies is to simply be yourself, be a mommy, despite how others might treat you differently or react to your disability.  I would like to tell all future moms who live with any type of physical challenge that they can do it and to follow their instincts and take charge.  I loved sharing the care of my girls with others.  Many peopled helped me and I was grateful for the help.  However, sometimes I needed help being the mommy, not for someone to take over and do my job.  There is a fine line and disabled moms need to be assertive.   

Also, I was lucky to have my son.  He was a great helper and a great distraction.  During down times we played games, cuddled, and watched movies.  At seventeen, he is still a great source of support and pure love.
Raising a Family
My husband has done the cooking and cleaning, leaving the kids to me.  This has been a great burden off me, as cooking and cleaning take a lot of physical energy.  Many times, although I’m low on physical energy, my mental energy level is high and I’m able to play games with the kids, do homework, and generally just give them the time and attention they need.  I do a lot of parenting from the couch.  I’ve learned that that is o.k.  The kids are happy with my time and attention wherever we are situated.  My son Tyler adjusted well.  Kayce and Rachael, my girls know me no different.  I raise my family with lots of love and with the guidance of our ever present Lord.

Returning to school...a career... 

 My girls were born in December 1997 and I started working on my Bachelor’s degree in the spring of 1998.  I graduated from Penn State in May 2005.  Other than my kids, I feel my educational achievements are my greatest accomplishments.  At present I have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences, as well as Certificates in Youth Development and Family Studies and Writing Social Commentary.  In December of this year, I will graduate from Capella University with a Master of Science degree with a specialization in Clinical Psychology.  I hope to obtain my doctorate degree and become licensed in the Commonwealth of PA as a clinical psychologist.  Ultimately, I hope to counsel or teach in a rehabilitative setting.

In five years...
In five years, I hope to see my son graduate from college.  He deserves the best!  My girls will be in high school (WOW).  Hopefully, I will be working, counseling or educating others in the psychological aspects of traumatic injury.  I am prayerful that we will all be health and leading happy, peaceful lives.

Overcoming Obstacles

The obstacle that was greatest up until now was my practicum.  I had to be at work at 8:00 and I was there until 4:00 three to four days per week.  I could not cath and thus I was often dehydrated.  After work, I still had all my obligations at home.  I had home obligations such as, the kid’s homework, projects, extra-curricular activities, and my coursework for Capella.  It was six months of pure hell.  However, I overcame the challenges, focused on my abilities and allowed the great people at the Holy Spirit Hospital to help me.     

I love to read and hope to write some day.
A Typical Day
 Get the kids off to school at 7:40 a.m.  Do grocery shopping, if needed.  I have found it best to go early.  After any other errands, I come home and do my coursework for Capella.  If I am preparing a crockpot meal for dinner, I do that around noon.  I typically eat a light lunch, if anything.  After lunch, I do any person work or housework I can do, laundry, dusting, redding-up.  Between 2:00 and 3:00, I get down and rest until the kids get home around 4:00.  After dinner, I get back up in my chair and spend time with my kids.  By 8:00 I’m usually back down to rest before riding the ERGYS or doing the Program at 9:00 pm.

 I dream of peace and happiness for my family.  I dream I will walk again someday. The sooner I walk the better!

"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly, motivates me.

Advice to Newbies
 Hang in there.  God has his reasons.  Try to make the most of your situation.  Mainly, do anything to hang in there!

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

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