As each of her children grew inside her womb, Joni Vanderwoude felt nothing — not the fluttering first kicks in the beginning, not the bulging of her belly as it stretched to the size of a basketball, not the piercing contractions of labor that usually signal it’s time.
A car accident 16 years ago left Vanderwoude paralyzed from the neck down, unable to walk, cough or even scratch her own nose without someone to do what her own body could not. But Vanderwoude, of DeMotte, Ind., has never dwelled on the limitations of being a person with quadriplegia. Two years after the accident, she married her high school sweetheart. Four years after that they began trying to have children — a medical possibility for most women who suffer from spinal cord injury, despite what people might assume. Continue Reading »