Tulare County mom became paralyzed while pregnant

September 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Earlier this year, a Tulare County mother became paralyzed, while she was pregnant with her sixth child. Mary Thompson was diagnosed with Guillean Barre Syndrome. The debilitating disorder left her without the use of her arms and legs.

Nine months ago, Mary Thompson went from being a busy mother to lying helpless in a hospital bed. Her symptoms started out with numbness in her mouth, then feet and hands. Within days, her whole body was paralyzed.

Thompson said, "The next thing I know, I'm waking up, I have a trach in me, and I can't move any part of my body."

Doctors initially thought Mary had a neurological disease like multiple sclerosis, or the onset of a stroke. She was diagnosed with Guillean Barre Syndrome, a serious disorder that occurs when the body's immune system attacks the nervous system. The disorder damages parts of nerves. It's painful and left Mary in the intensive care unit.

"I thought I was dying. I thought I wasn't going to see my kids again, I didn't know if I was still pregnant or not," Thompson said. "I had so many questions and I couldn't even communicate with anybody. All I could do at that point was blink."

Doctors didn't have many answers for Mary. She worried her baby would suffer side effects from the syndrome itself or the medications she was given to ward off constant pain. Mary spent months in Kaweah Delta's Rehabilitation Hospital. The first time her physical therapist saw her, she was unable to do anything.

"We started with basically just being able to sit up," Tara Norman said. "Once you can sit up, and you can gain trunk control, then you can actually start doing things, like assist yourself getting out of bed."

Mary worked in the aquatics center to accomplish tasks gravity wouldn't allow her to. And it not only strengthened her body, it helped her mind.

Thompson said, "At that point you have to pull yourself out of whatever depression you may be in or whatever you may be grieving and say I'm going to do this regardless of what's going on right now and she had that."

In July, right after Mary started to walk again, she gave birth to a six-pound three-ounce healthy baby girl.

Thompson said, "I couldn't put her down it was so wonderful to have her out of me and how strong she was to fight through all that too."

Mary's journey has been long, but each therapy session, she is accomplishing more.

Every time she looks at Savannah she feels their bond. They have endured so many uncertainties together. And now, so many happy moments.

Thompson said, "She's my miracle baby, that's what I call her."

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