New Mom Focuses on Joys of Motherhood, Not Risks of MS

C-section, MS flare-up behind her — now the fun begins
Anthoni and baby

There was a little scare during Dion W.’s delivery of her first child, in June.

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Her baby’s heart rate became elevated, leading to a cesarean section for Dion and some time for the baby in the neonatal intensive care unit at Hillcrest Hospital. But Dion’s multiple sclerosis was not a factor during delivery.

And little Kailynne has been healthy and mostly happy since she came home.

“She’s growing by the minute,” says her mom, of Northeast Ohio. “She’s awesome; she’s just a blessing to my husband and me.”

The Daddy Chronicles

Father Anthoni has taken to sharing the daily ups and downs with their daughter in what he calls the “Daddy Chronicles,” posted frequently on Facebook.

For example, to describe her determination, he invented the acronym C.U.S.H. — Cry Until Something Happens. “That something is usually mommy,” he wrote.

In another post, he discussed the first time Kailynne was dropped off at the sitter’s. “Was I emotional? No. The end. The wife on the other hand … well that’s another status.”

All in the family?

Aside from a multiple sclerosis flare-up a couple weeks postpartum, Dion reports doing fine as well. The 35-year-old was diagnosed with MS when she was 19.

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There’s always the concern in the back of her mind that she might pass on the illness to her daughter. Studies of families indicate that relatives of those with MS have an increased risk of developing the disease.

Experts estimate that about 15 percent of those with MS have one or more family members or relatives who also have it. But even identical twins, whose DNA is exactly the same, have only a 1 in 3 chance of both having the disease, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports.

However, many people with MS have no close family members with it. That is the case with Dion.

Her neurologist, Lael Stone, MD, says genetics plays a limited role. She accentuates the upside of the statistics.

“There’s a 98 percent chance that the son of a woman with multiple sclerosis will not have MS,” Dr. Stone says. “For a daughter, it’s a 95 percent chance that she won’t have it. By the time you get to grandkids, it’s what we call back to population risk.”

That means they’re no more susceptible to MS than anyone else and other factors would have to be at work for the disease to present itself, Dr. Stone says.

Research indicates that MS is more common among women, Caucasians, people who live in temperate regions of the globe and smokers, to name a few risk factors.

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While you can’t change your race and may not be looking to move to the tropics, there are a few things MS sufferers can do to give their offspring the best odds, Dr. Stone says:

  • Keep them away from smoking and smokers.
  • Send them out in the sun.
  • Supplement with vitamin D.

Personality plus

Dion and her husband enjoy seeing which of the various traits their daughter appears to have inherited from each of them so far.

Dion admits she usually takes credit for the good and blames any of Kailynne’s fussy tendencies on Anthoni — in gest, of course.

“I see a lot of him in her,” she says. “Even the way she goes to sleep, it’s like him.”


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