A 2ft 10in woman warned by doctors that having a baby could ‘crush her from the inside out’ has defied the odds to welcome a son with her 6ft 1in husband.
Trisha Taylor, 31, from Boise, Idaho, was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), as a baby, after being born with 150 fractured bones.
The condition, caused by a genetic mutation that affects the production of collagen, means bones are brittle and easily breakable.
But Trisha has refused to be held back, working tirelessly to build her strength so that she could move her wheelchair and get out of bed independently.
In time, she met and married her truck driver husband Michael, 31, but because her bones are so fragile that a simple cough or sneeze can fracture them, she was warned against having a child.
But incredibly, after two heartbreaking miscarriages, she managed to carry her son Maven to 32 weeks – before he was delivered via a C-section – and is now a healthy, thriving four-year-old, who does not have OI.
2ft 10in Trisha Taylor, from Idaho, was warned by doctors that having a baby could ‘crush her’ but defied the odds to welcome a son, Maven (pictured), with her 6ft 1in husband
Trisha, seen left with husband Michael, 31, and right with their son, was born with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), which makes her bones so fragile, a simple cough can fracture them
Adding that she has recently launched her own blog called ‘And She Did’ to inspire others, full-time mother Trisha said: ‘When I told my doctor I’d come off birth control, he sat me down and warned me against falling pregnant.
‘I remember the word “could” was thrown around a lot – ”You could die, the baby could die”…’
‘But I don’t have time for “could” and after a lot of hard work, I welcomed my perfect baby boy.
‘To this day people still can’t believe I gave birth to him. They ask if Maven’s my baby and I always tell them – very proudly – “Yes, he grew in my belly.”‘
Born on August 3, 1989, weighing 6lbs – with bowed arms and legs – an X-ray when she was just hours old revealed that she had fractured 150 of her bones.
Shortly after that she was diagnosed with OI via a blood test designed to detect the specific genetic mutations associated with the condition.
The primary feature of the condition is that it causes bones to fracture with minimal impact, but other symptoms include hypermobile joints, shortened height, problems with teeth formation, joint pain and hearing issues.
Because her bones are too weak to support her frame, Trisha has been using a wheelchair since she was two-and-a-half.
What is Osteogenesis Imperfecta disorder?
Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is also known as OI or brittle bones disease, is a lifelong genetic condition that is very rare – occurring in between 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 50,000 births.
The disorder disrupts the body’s ability to form strong connective tissue and to grow new bone tissue.
It occurs where there is a lack of high-quality collagen, the protein which forms the framework for the bones.
As a result, the bones as well as other features including the teeth and cartilage can lack flexibility and strength making them more susceptible to fracture.
Collagen also shows up in the sclera, the white portion of the eye and a lack of the protein can give people with OI a blue hue in their eyes.
Children with OI can also get severe scoliosis which is a spinal curvature and may have hearing and heart problems.
While there are drugs used to try to help make the bones stronger, there’s no treatment to alleviate the condition itself.
After two miscarriages, Trisha managed to carry her son Maven to 32 weeks – before he was safely delivered via C-section
Trisha, pictured with son Maven, was born on August 3, 1989, weighing 6lbs – with bowed arms and legs. An X-ray then revealed that she had fractured 150 of her bones during birth
But she has always been resolute that OI – also known as brittle bone disease – would not set her apart from her peers.
She said: ‘I’ve never known anything else, so for me being in a wheelchair is completely normal.
‘Growing up in a small town, I had pretty much the same classmates throughout junior and secondary school, so it was completely normal for them too.
‘I wasn’t raised as disabled and no one in my school saw me as disabled.
‘If a new kid started, sometimes they would try to pick on me, but my peers looked out for me.’
Although she was never treated differently by her friends or family, Trisha’s everyday life involved huge challenges.
Sustaining a fracture at least once a month, her bones were so brittle that even breathing put too much of a strain on her rib cage, meaning that, from birth, she had to be hooked up to an oxygen machine 24 hours a day.
The primary feature of the condition is that it causes bones to fracture with minimal impact, but other symptoms include hypermobile joints, shortened height, problems with teeth formation, joint pain and hearing issues. Trisha uses a wheelchair, she is pictured with son Maven
As her bones are too weak to support her frame, Trisha has been using a wheelchair since she was two-and-a-half. But she has always been resolute that OI – also known as brittle bone disease – would not set her apart from her peers and refuses to be treated as disabled
Trisha said: ‘My lungs couldn’t physically breathe in and out on their own.
‘With every cough or sneeze, I risked fracturing a bone. Just lying down in the wrong position could cause a break.’
Aged 12, Trisha began a new treatment which saw her go to hospital for three days every three months, where she was administered pamidronate – a drug that reduces bone breakdown.
She added: ‘It was a relatively new treatment at the time and my mother was offered the chance to put me on it.’
As her bones are too weak to support her frame, Trisha has been using a wheelchair since she was two-and-a-half. She is pictured with her husband
Describing how the treatment – which was spread over five years – transformed her life, she explained that, once again, her loved ones played a significant role.
She said: ‘It was amazing feeling the strength start to build in my bones.
‘After six months I started being able to lift myself up unassisted.
‘When I was 13, I asked my parents if I could try getting out of bed on my own, but I think they were too scared. They didn’t want me to rush.
‘Instead, I got a couple of my friends to come round and help. We locked ourselves in the bedroom and they helped me get out of bed on my own.
‘We kept practising and practising until I was able to do it – it must have taken half a day.
‘I remember showing my parents the next morning. They were shocked, but proud.’
The treatment also meant that, aged 15, Trisha became strong enough to breathe on her own, and now only uses her oxygen tank while sleeping.
And by the time she was 17, she was able to perform a whole host of tasks – including going to the toilet and manoeuvring an electric wheelchair – which enabled her to live independently.
Although she was never treated differently by her friends or family, Trisha’s everyday life involved huge challenges. Sustaining a fracture at least once a month, her bones were so brittle that even breathing put too much of a strain on her ribcage, meaning that, from birth, she had to be hooked up to an oxygen machine 24 hours a day. She is pictured now with son Maven
Aged 12, Trisha began a new treatment which saw her go to hospital for three days every three months, where she was administered pamidronate – a drug that reduces bone breakdown which transformed her life. She is pictured now as an adult with her son Maven
A year later, in 2007, she landed a place at the College of South Idaho, studying social work.
And it was there, during her first year, that she met her future husband, Michael, who was studying teaching.
She recalled: ‘Michael and I lived in the same student halls, and for months my friend kept pointing him out.
‘She was forever whispering in my ear telling me how great and cute he was.
‘We started hanging out as a three, but he seemed to want to hang out just us two.
‘We almost became a couple by accident, spending a lot of time on our own and visiting each other’s family.
‘Six months in, I decided enough was enough, so I texted him and said, “Look are we dating or not?”.
‘I knew he was interested in me, but I wasn’t going to start treating him like a boyfriend unless he made it official – so he did.
‘He was my first serious boyfriend. I’d tried dating men in the past but they were uncomfortable with my condition.
‘They would make assumptions about me – that we couldn’t get married or have kids.
‘Michael was completely different though. We talked about having children and he said that wasn’t a deal breaker for him.’
By the time she was 17, Trisha was able to perform a whole host of tasks – including going to the toilet and manoeuvring an electric wheelchair – which enabled her to live independently. A year later, in 2007, she landed a place at the College of South Idaho, studying social work. And it was there, during her first year, that she met her future husband, Michael, who was studying teaching. She is pictured now with her husband and son
From there, the pair became an official item in June 2008, moving in together just three months later.
‘Technically we were already living together in halls when we met,’ Trisha laughed. ‘It didn’t seem that big a deal getting our own place.’
Their relationship going from strength to strength, in May 2009, the sweethearts got engaged during their final year.
In May 2009, Trisha and Micheal got engaged during their final year of University. They welcomed their son (pictured on the day he was born) in 2016
‘Michael took me out on a horse and carriage,’ Trisha recalled. ‘It was very romantic, but more than anything, it was a surprise.
‘It took so long to get him to make it official, I thought we’d never get married.
‘But less than a year of dating, and he’d put a ring on it.’
After tying the knot in a country garden, on June 18, 2011, Trisha and Michael soon settled into married life.
Explaining how other people react to their relationship, she continued: ‘No one has ever intentionally been rude about us, but people – be it strangers or friends – will ask personal questions about us.
‘They’re mainly interested in our sex life and how it works. Just because I’m disabled it doesn’t mean I have to answer that question – it’s rude.
‘People will do a double take, but I’m not afraid to call them out and engage in a conversation with them.
‘I’m all about educating people and raising awareness. Either you’re on my team or I don’t care what you think.’
In 2014, after three years of marriage, Trisha made the decision to stop taking birth control and begin trying for a baby. However, she was warned by doctors that pregnancy could be dangerous, due to the extreme pressure a growing foetus would put on her bones, but she welcomed a healthy son in 2016 (they are pictured together)
After suffering two heartbreaking miscarriages, Trisha eventually welcomes Maven in May 2016
In 2014, after three years of marriage, Trisha made the decision to stop taking birth control and begin trying for a baby.
However, she was warned by doctors that pregnancy could be dangerous, due to the extreme pressure a growing fetus would put on her bones.
Having OI can pose increased risks to both mother and baby, including hemorrhaging from the birth canal and placental abruption.
Trisha said: ‘My doctor warned me that by baby could physically break my bones as he grew – crushing me from the inside out.
‘I told him I wanted specific examples and what he thinks would happen, not what could.’
‘In the end, nothing was guaranteed either way so I went home and started trying.
‘I wanted to be a mother bad enough that nothing else factored in.
‘It was my decision and no one was going to stop me – not even Michael.’
In May 2014, Trisha was overjoyed to discover she was expecting.
She recalled: ‘I was late for my period and suffering with nausea.
‘I was in the bathroom and when I saw the test was positive, I started crying, I was so excited.
‘I told Michael and he gave me a hug but was very quiet. I could tell he was worried about me, but two days later he was talking baby names.’
Sadly, just three weeks later, Trisha miscarried.
Explaining how other people react to their relationship, Trisha explained people mostly want to know about her sex life. She is pictured with her husband and son
‘I started bleeding heavily, and knew what it was,’ she recalled.
‘We went to our local hospital and they confirmed I’d lost the baby.’
In April 2015, 11 months later, Trisha was cautiously optimistic when she fell pregnant for a second time.
After discovering she was expecting for a third time in August 2016, Trisha was given a scan every two weeks, for the first two trimesters, to monitor her progress. She is pictured while pregnant
But once again, her joy was short-lived as, at 12 weeks, history repeated itself and she miscarried.
‘I’m not sure if it was related to my OI – doctors never did any testing,’ she continued. ‘They said if I miscarried for a third time, they’d look into it further.’
After discovering she was expecting for a third time in August 2016, Trisha was given a scan every two weeks, for the first two trimesters, to monitor her progress.
And to her relief, her pregnancy progressed well.
‘The consultant throughout the pregnancy was much more supportive than the initial doctor,’ Trisha said.
‘We took each day as it came and no special measures were put in place.
‘Something felt different this time. I was a lot calmer.
‘Doctors told me I would have a caesarean to deliver the baby.
‘There was no way my body could take a natural birth. But apart from that, it was like any other pregnancy.’
On March 29, 2016, Trisha delivered Marven, who weighed 3lb 13oz and was perfectly healthy.
Trisha explained she ‘took each day as it came’ while pregnant with Maven and delivered him via C-section
Trisha was concerned her son might inherit OI, but doctors have confirmed her doesn’t have the illness
She said: ‘During the pregnancy we were concerned that Maven might inherit OI, but an ultrasound at 18 weeks revealed he was growing at a healthy rate.
‘Then when he was born, doctors confirmed he didn’t have it.’
After three weeks in hospital recovering from an infection – and thankfully with no broken bones – she was sent home to start her new life as a mother.
‘I remember the midwife saying to me before I left, ‘Whatever you have to do to look after your baby – you’ll do it’,’ Trisha said.
‘And she was completely right – you just figure out a way to do it.
‘I can’t just jump out of bed and run to Maven whenever he’s crying, and I think he learnt that pretty quickly. He’s been such an easy child and he still is.
‘Getting him in and out of the car seat was something I could never do successfully.
‘After eight months I realized I couldn’t do it myself.
‘I had to learn to ask other people. Michael would put him in the car and I’d have someone to meet me.
‘If he’s out about in the park and climbs too high, I’m not afraid to ask a stranger for help.
‘I always say it takes a village to raise a child.’
Since he does not have OI, Maven was taller than his mother by the time he was two, but Trisha is not fazed by this, and remains prouder than ever of her miracle boy.
‘For me, the height is not a big deal,’ she said. ‘If anything, I see it as a good sign – it means he’s healthy and growing well. Michael is 6ft 1in, of course I knew Maven was going to be big.’
As he does not have OI, Maven was taller than his mother by the time he was two, but Trisha is not fazed by this, and remains prouder than ever of her miracle boy. The family are pictured together
Having been documenting her journey on social media, Trisha has grown a large following, prompting her to launch her own blog, which aims to empower other women.
‘I’ve always been very cautious about sharing my experiences online,’ said Trisha.
‘I know people can be trolled and I didn’t want to get upset by cruel comments.
‘But I was getting a lot of messages from other people like me, asking about motherhood and my life.
‘I knew I wanted to help people, so I set up the blog so people could have access to the information. I hope to inspire all mothers – regardless of whether they have a disability – that they can achieve their dreams.
‘If I can do it, they can do it.’
The Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation recommends that women with OI who are considering starting a family should consult a doctor first.
A spokesperson said: ‘It may be difficult to find a doctor with experience treating women with OI, or managing pregnancies in which the fetus has OI.
‘In general, it is recommended that women with OI who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant consult an experienced obstetrician/gynecologist.
‘Patient advocacy groups like the OI Foundation (US) and Brittle Bones Society (UK) can help connect individuals with medical professionals who have experience treating OI.’