Caitlin Conner, a marketing executive, had to make the ultimate sacrifice after learning about her pregnancy at the hospital.
A 29-year-old woman from Texas was faced with an impossible choice after learning she was pregnant while being treated for an urgent condition. Caitlin Conner, a marketing executive, got into a horrific motorcycle accident in 2014 with her then-husband, now ex, Jaylon, 32. She suffered broken bones in her feet and distal tibia, a severed artery, and friction burns on impact. Paramedics had to be airlifted her to the hospital where she was shocked to learn that she was pregnant. "The last question I remember before passing out on the way to surgery was if I was pregnant, to which I replied, ‘I don't know, we've been trying but the tests have said no,’ then lights out," recalled Conner according to The Sun.
"I woke up during the night with my family beside me, trying to comprehend how much time had passed. My left leg was in an external fixator. The nurse walked in and said ‘oh good, you're awake. We want to tell you that you are pregnant,'" she added. Now, the expecting mother required six reconstructive surgeries to save her leg, however, her pregnancy required minimal usage of anesthesia and pain medication. In order to fill the hole left in her left ankle, it required additional surgery to replace it with the bones from her hip. Now, the surgeries involved high-risks which could have proven fatal for her unborn child. So, instead of proceeding with the surgery, Conner made the ultimate sacrifice of amputating her left leg from below the knee.
"As soon as I learned I was pregnant, I had someone else to take care of, so I didn't focus on myself. Everything was about the baby. My leg didn't define me as a person, but the baby would in a way," said the mother. Determined to walk again before her child arrived, she learned how to walk with prosthetics and eventually discovered a new found love for para-sports, such as para-cycling, running and swimming. Recalling the tragic accident that cost her a leg, she said, "It was a nice evening and the weather was kind, so Jaylon and I decided to hop on the motorcycle to go to his parents’ house."
"The light turned green and we got into the left lane of a two-lane road. There was a young woman driving a white car who was angled across the entire lane in a way that made it seem like she was turning into the left lane. She didn't see us on the bike which we later learned was because she was texting while driving. She started coming out into the left lane and we saw her about to hit us," she added reliving the day of the accident. "She was trying to gun it to get across and we never stood a chance against whatever was more important on her phone" she revealed. "I flew off the back of the bike, Jaylon went with the bike. I remember rolling and skidding to a halt. I sat up and looked at my leg and my left ankle was turned inward."
On February 13, 2015, Conner welcomed a beautiful baby girl whom she named Tinley. Thankfully, the fire of determination in her did not extinguish there. "After that, I started walking 5K while pushing Tinley in a pushchair. I hated how I looked, and I felt weak," she confessed. Then she joined CrossFit to improve her weakened frame and " I found a love for triathlons, swimming, cycling, skiing, figure skating and boxing." The inspiring mother of one also added, "Recovery was a long road as I had to learn how to walk four times." After becoming a competitive para-athlete, Conner founded a non-profit called Be More Adaptive, that aims at making "the world more adaptive, accessible, and profoundly knowledgeable about the adaptive community. the world more adaptive, accessible, and profoundly knowledgeable about the adaptive community."
"By pooling resources within the community, we can eliminate a lot of the problems the adaptive community has. Whether it be lack of funding, volunteers, participants, or even locations for events, if we come together and join forces, those once daunting problems can become problems of the past. We envision the adaptive community as not only one that works cohesively, but one that is productive and impactful. Educating the adaptive community is just as important as educating the general public. We hope to not only share our resources and knowledge to those in need, but also educate on the needs of the community to those who haven’t yet been made aware. Together we can build an accessible world for all," reads the Vision section of Conner's non-profit that she is presiding over.