A woman caught in a horrific motorbike was faced with a choice no one should have to make – saving herself or her unborn child.
Caitlin Conner, 29, from Texas was shocked to discover that she was four weeks pregnant while being urgently treated.
The marketing executive was told that she’d need extensive surgeries to save her leg but the multiple high-risk procedures would put her baby at risk.
The surprise pregnancy meant that Caitlin had to have minimal anaesthesia during the six reconstructive surgeries she endured to try and save her leg, as well as limited pain medication.
In the end, she decided to have her leg amputated than to go through any more risks.
After the accident – which happened while she was enjoying a nice summer’s ride with her boyfriend Jaylon – Caitlin didn’t know whether her partner was okay.
While he recovered at a separate hospital that he was flown to, Caitlin called him to say she was alive and that she was pregnant.
During her pregnancy, Caitlin was determined to learn to walk again before welcoming her daughter.
She learned how to walk with a prosthetic and Caitlin also found a passion for parasports, such as para-cycling, running and swimming.
Explaining the accident, which happened on 12 June 2014, 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.
‘There was a young woman driving who 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 was trying to gun it to get across and we never stood a chance against whatever was more important on her phone.
‘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.’
Cailin was then airlifted to hospital where they asked her if she was pregnant. The last thing she remembers is saying that she wasn’t but they’d been trying for a baby.
The mum-to-be had broken bones in her left foot and distal tibia, a severed artery and a major road rash.
As a result, she had six reconstructive surgeries to take the bone out of her hip to fill a golf ball-sized hole in her ankle.
She added: ‘After two weeks and six surgeries, I decided not to keep trying to save my leg. I knew the moment I saw it at the scene that it was gone.
‘I had to do everything with minimal pain medicine, anaesthesia, and antibiotics to make sure the baby stayed safe which was dangerous and painful. I knew I had to be as calm as possible to keep the baby from being affected by stress.
‘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.’
Caitlin went on to walk and started CrossFit, before discovering her passion for parasports, such as paracycling, running and swimming.
‘After that, I started walking 5K while pushing Tinley in a pushchair. I hated how I looked, and I felt weak.
‘Then I started doing CrossFit because I needed to build muscle. I started doing as many sports as possible just to see what I could do and I found a love for triathlons, swimming, cycling, skiing, figure skating and boxing.
‘The best thing you can do in life is try! I was so complacent in life before and it shouldn’t have taken the losses it did to start living life.’
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