When "High-Risk" Hits Close to Home

editor interview:

Kristi Corley editor in chief

Kristi Corley
editor in chief

During a content planning session, the Babyourself editorial team discovered high-risk and high-stress topics resonated deep within Babyourself owner, Kristi Corley. When we began brainstorming our featured articles for the Winter issue, Kristi could immediately relate to many of the topics.

“Some of my stories are health related, and A LOT are emotionally related.” Kristi shared. “I’ve always known there would be an opportunity to tell my story, I just didn’t know when.” So we decided that, in lieu of a traditional “Letter from the Editor,” we would give you a glimpse into the conversation of our planning meeting – since this has been the inspiration for everything you’ll find in this issue of Babyourself Magazine.

BY Team: Let’s start from the beginning. When were you first labeled “High-Risk”?

Placenta previa occurs when the placenta either partially or totally covers the cervix. It can sometimes occur as early as the first trimester, but is usually found during the second or third. It can cause severe bleeding before or during delivery and presents a serious complication during birth. However, it is possible for the placenta to move during pregnancy, so being diagnosed with placenta previa early in your pregnancy does not mean it will stay that way.

Kristi: Oh my! That goes back 15 years, when I was 13 weeks pregnant with Alexandria. One day I had a lot of bleeding, and I immediately feared I had miscarried. During the ultrasound, I discovered that I hadn’t miscarried but instead had placenta previa. I was given instructions not to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds and to “take it easy.” The placenta eventually did “migrate” to a normal position, and I delivered naturally. However, for unknown reasons, I went into labor nearly six weeks early.

BY Team: Were there any complications?

Kristi: No, no health issues related to Alex coming early. Thankfully, we went home only two days later with my petite little 5 pound girl! She did, however, have an unrelated deformity with her fingers. The middle two fingers on each hand were webbed together. But it had nothing to do with my pre-term labor. Alex had surgery when she was seven months old to separate her fingers, and she’s had many “scar release” surgeries since then to try and straighten her fingers. We were advised to wait until her hands were fully grown before doing cosmetic surgery to straighten the bones, so we will be looking into that within the next year or two.

BY Team: How about your other pregnancies? Did you have more health issues?

Kristi: My second pregnancy was fairly easy, other than the fact that we literally moved across the country, from Nebraska to Florida, within the WEEK after Drew’s birth. Talk about crazy!

My third pregnancy with Kaitlyn was tough. I had multiple gallbladder attacks throughout my pregnancy. They were awful. Then, just six days after she was born, I had surgery to remove my gallbladder. I couldn’t nurse her for 24+ hours, but thank God for my trusty breast pump!

BY Team: How about other health issues your family has had to face?

Kristi: When my firstborn, Alex was a year old, it became evident that she had epilepsy. It started with one seizure, and then a couple weeks later, she had another. We found a good neurologist and eventually figured out what medication would help her. But when she was three years old, her seizures took a serious turn for the worse, and we found ourselves in the hospital with a grim diagnosis. The doctors couldn’t find any anti-seizure medications to control her seizures, which had escalated to more than 40 per day! That was definitely a low point for me – leaving the hospital without any answers, and hearing the news that there was a less than a 10 percent chance that any medicine would help her.

BY Team: So what happened next?

Kristi: Well, I am a Christian, and I love sharing that God can work with a 10 percent diagnosis! In fact, the very first medication that we tried worked! It became our “liquid gold,” as we called it. Since then, she has had plenty of ups and downs – an occasional seizure in school and frequent seizures when she sleeps. But about three years ago, she had major surgery to remove a mass in her brain, which was discovered to be at the location where her seizures were originating. The surgery was successful in eliminating her seizures, but it left her unable to speak – and her right side was “stroke-like” and almost paralyzed. Talk about stress! We immediately started intense in-patient therapy. And thankfully – after more than five weeks – she regained a lot of her mobility and speech, although it has not completely returned to “normal.” That’s the hardest part for me as a mom. Every mom wants their child to be “normal.” To be able to run, play, have friends – to not be bullied.

In the middle of everything, I felt I needed an escape from it all. That was right at the dawn of online games and social media, where I could hide behind my computer and pretend that “everything was okay.” I pulled away from my husband. Wait. That’s an understatement. There became a canyon emotionally between me and my husband. Gradually, I couldn’t find anything that I liked about him. The grass not only looked greener on the other side, it was like an irresistible MUST-HAVE pasture of heaven. (Sacrilegious, I know!) I eventually asked for a divorce, but instead agreed to a guided separation. I went to a counselor to talk through all of the issues going on in my marriage, and why I couldn’t see myself staying. The separation lasted a year. It was hard. I lost A LOT of friends (because they didn’t think they could be friends with someone who was having marriage problems). It was tough on me, tough on my kids and it seemed impossible. There was little hope. It was kind of like that 10 percent chance that my daughter faced. At the time, I insisted that God had nothing to do with the grim chance of us getting back together. In fact, I was keeping God at arm’s length. But looking at it all now, I can see how He was with me all the while. We DID get back together. My marriage isn’t society’s “normal,” but like my daughter, we are looking better every day.

I’ve grown a lot as a mom and as an individual over the last 15 years. Raising kids is hard. Maintaining friendships is hard. Being a good wife is hard. Sometimes we fall into the category of “high-risk.” Sometimes our struggles are kept hidden and sometimes they are a flashing neon sign. I personally know that every day I need to try and do the right thing – try to be a good mom, try to love my man, try to understand that my high-risk life is an opportunity to live with high hopes that something great can happen, even in the face of grim 10-percent chances.

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Kristi Corley
editor in chief
kristi@babyourself.com

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