When Annette Ross went into labor for the second time, she understood her life was about to change. However, when her delivery left her unable to walk, she knew only to well something had gone drastically wrong. Then she recalled the pain she’d felt during her epidural.
From the outside, Annette Ross and her husband Bill appeared to have the perfect life. They had previously lived in Chicago, Illinois. However, they moved to New Canaan, Connecticut – where Bill had grown up – to start a family.
Annette admitted that the move was a big step for her. But eventually she warmed to her husband’s hometown. “I never thought that I would fall in love with New Canaan the way I did, only because I loved Chicago so much I thought it was home,” she explained to the New Canaanite website in 2016.
“I saw those tall trees and I felt this ominous feeling,” she added. “All the houses were spaced out, and I felt like I was lost again. But then after a little bit of living there with Bill, I literally fell in love with it. Every rock wall, every tall pine tree. I used to look up at the sky on a cold, starry night and say, ‘I can’t imagine a more magical place than this.’”
Now that they’d found their perfect setting, Annette and Bill soon moved into the home of their dreams. They were so enamored with the property that they lovingly referred to it as “The Pines.” All they needed now, in fact, was a family to fill it.
And shortly after their move, the couple welcomed their first child into the world. Annette and Bill were delighted to welcome a baby girl, who they called Natalie. However, they weren’t ready to call it a day on the family-building just yet
So in 2000, the couple were no doubt delighted at the prospect of welcoming their second child to their family. However, when Annette went into labor in January that year, her life changed forever. And it certainly wasn’t in the way she’d been expecting.
Following the birth of her second daughter, Anna, Annette found herself unable to stand. “My water broke,” the mom recalled in an interview with good news website HooplaHa. “I remember going into the shower, saying a prayer about the birth and delivery to the Blessed Mother, and that was my last time standing.”
During her labor, nurses had given Annette an epidural. However, it seems the procedure didn’t go to plan. Instead, it left her with a catastrophic spinal injury and relying on a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
“I had a really striking pain at the top of my legs when [the nurse] injected the chemical into my back. It wasn’t an experience I’d had with Natalie so to me it was something really off the charts,” Annette later revealed. “I knew right away it wasn’t right.”
Shockingly, the young mother was now facing up to life as a paraplegic. For her, this meant that things she had taken for granted before were now practically impossible to do on her own. Simple tasks such as going to the bathroom or getting out of bed were now a big deal.
Adjusting to her new life was going to be a challenge for Annette. However, luckily for her, she had a positive outlook on life. “I have always been resilient, and I strongly believe in love,” she explained to the Wings For Life World Run website in 2016. “Love helps me maintain a broader perspective.”
And Bill’s love for Annette was so strong that he of course never for a moment considered abandoning her, no matter how tough times got. However, this didn’t stop others from being amazed by him sticking with her. This made things a little awkward between the couple and some of their friends, and as a result, their friendship group slowly began to shrink.
“Sometimes I felt guilty,” Annette admitted in her interview with HooplaHa. “Like he would have had a better life without me, but at that time he was amazing. He has never looked at me as anything but his bride.”
Under the hardest of circumstances, Annette and Bill became closer than ever before. With the strength they gave each other, they managed to maintain a normal family life. And before long, their brood began to grow even more.
Eventually, Annette and Bill became parents to five girls. As well as Natalie and Anna, they welcomed Ingrid and Mia. And their youngest, Georgia, was born in 2013. It was this family unit that Annette later credited with helping her accept her situation.
“The world can be a harsh place, but Bill and the girls are constant reminders that I have worth and purpose,” Annette explained to Wings For Life World Run. “It is not only that they are helpful, or that I believe the girls have witnessed an important aspect of human life – they know that love and sacrifice can indeed save a person. Their response to me as a woman and mother is not diminished by my limitations.”
Following the birth of Georgia, the Rosses relocated to California. It was there that Annette began thinking about the major events in her life. That’s when she had the idea to write a book. Hopefully, she thought, it would help others in a similar situation to her own.
“I just thought, ‘I really have to let all this go in some way,” Annette explained to New Canaanite. “I thought about all the books I read in the hospital and the books that helped me the most were the ones where people were going through hard times. It made me feel like I was less alone.”
So Annette released her book, Where Fairy Tales Go, in September 2016. It chronicles the beautiful memories she has with her husband and family, as well as her own personal journey. However, deep down, hers is a love story in which deep devotion can heal even the most painful of wounds.