Amanda Bernier, the Connecticut woman who was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) while pregnant, has given birth to a healthy baby girl. Amanda learned she had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, just weeks after finding out she and her husband Chris were having their first child.
Amanda knew that she might not live long after her daughter was born but was determined to carry her baby to term and give birth. Both she and her husband are volunteer firefighters so they know a thing or two about bravery.
Their baby girl, Arabella Grace, was born on November 4, election day, weighing 6 ½ pounds. While Amanda can no longer walk and has lost more than 50% of her lung capacity, she is thrilled to become a mom. Chris wrote on the family website:
Amanda and I are very appreciative and grateful for all the prayers, positive thoughts and well wishes that we have received. We are taking it all in and enjoying this special moment with our little bundle of joy.
Over the last few months, volunteers have been working to build a more accessible home for the Bernier family since their old home didn’t have enough room for Amanda to maneuver her wheelchair. The $350,000 project was funded through donations and support from area businesses.
While pregnancy can make the impact of ALS worse, Amanda is still fighting. At some point she will lose her ability to talk, swallow, and eventually breathe. But for now, she is enjoying every moment she can with her baby girl.