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Pregnancy Left Me Paralyzed!

Pregnancy left me paralyzed! Well, just my face and thank goodness it was temporary. Here is my story.

It’s been almost three years and I am finally ready to share my postpartum experience. I was not one of the lucky ones who had a shiny-happy pregnancy experience. It was actually pretty awful! I know there are other SMB Moms out there that can relate, and that is why I wanted to share my story.

Pregnancy was great for the first few months. Despite the fact I gained a whopping 65 lbs and couldn’t wear anything in my closet besides spandex pants and t-shirts, it was great! I worked my entire pregnancy up until two weeks before the due date, even during the hot Arizona months. I had a great pregnancy.

On November 20th 2009, I waddled my 65 lb heavier body into the hospital and let the contractions begin! After a very long 17 hours of labor, I hear those amazing words, “You are 10 cm, time to push!”

Well, what the heck happened around this time is beyond me.  As I started to push, I got some sort of pinched nerve in my upper back. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I would have done 17 hours of labor 10 times over again instead of the pain that was coming from my back. No one really understood why I was in so much pain, but they continued to ask me to push….push…push…for THREE MORE hours! The pain was so excruciating! Suddenly, my daughter started to distress…OMG! It was all a blur. All I remember is my doctor grabbing scrubs at one point, throwing them across the room to my husband, and yelling “O.R., STAT!”

In the O.R., I was sitting up and screaming in pain as the anesthesiologist asked me if I wanted to take the pain medicine for my nerve pain (finally!) but making that choice would send my unborn child to the NICU. What a horrible question to ask an expecting mom about to give birth to her baby! What was I supposed to say, “Yes, please, drug my baby up. I would love to send her to the NICU”?

At that time, I could not physically lay down because the nerve pain was so unbearable. I felt I had no other choice but to get the pain medicine so I could lay on the bed to start the surgery. I will never forget the moment when they simultaneously injected the pain drug into me as I laid back on the table to cut my baby out.  It was so crazy.

A few minutes later, my beautiful daughter was born at 8lbs 6oz and 21.5 inches. She did go to the NICU but only for about an hour, and she was as perfect as can be!

The next couple days was bliss as I got to know my beautiful daughter in the hospital. The nerve pain and awful delivery was a distant memory.

A few days later at home, I decided to take my first shower since being home. As I walked into my shower I felt a huge drainage occur in my ear, almost as if I had a sinus infection and fluids were shifting in my ear canal. I didn’t think much about it until I was standing in the shower and noticed water running in my eye although I thought I was closing my eyes.

I jumped out of the shower, stood in front of the mirror and half my face was completely paralyzed. My eye wouldn’t close, I couldn’t smile, nothing moved on one side of my face. I threw on a t-shirt and shorts, hustled my 4-day-old daughter and husband in the car and we ran to ER. The whole time screaming, “I am paralyzed!”, “I am having a stroke!”

At the ER, I could only go back alone, they wouldn’t allow my daughter because of the diseases and asked for my husband to take her home. There I was, alone and very scared. My mother showed up in time to help me breast pump one ounce of milk for my daughter so she could transport the precious milk back to the house. It was awful.

Several tests later, they informed me I had Bell’s Palsy. Bell’s Palsy? What is Bell’s Palsy? I had never heard of it before! I was sent home with some steroids and was told that my face would slowly get better.

Well, they were not kidding about the slow part! It took me almost three full months to get my face operating normal again. I didn’t leave the house for those three months, as I was too embarrassed to show my face. At night I had to use medical tape to tape my eye shut so I could sleep and use a straw to eat or drink. Brushing my teeth was the worst. I couldn’t swish the water in my mouth because half my mouth wouldn’t close. The water would just fall out of my mouth. It was so difficult to do many things in my life that I normally took for granted.

I learned that Bell’s Palsy can occur during a stressful event. Considering my delivery story, that would probalby be the stressful event that could have caused it. There is no real treatment; I had to wait till the nerves started working again in my face. The doctors I talked to said there could have been a link between the nerve pain I experienced in delivery and the Bell’s Palsy, but no one could ever tell me for sure. I learned in some cases the face doens’t go back to normal. I am so unbelievably grateful that my face went back to close to normal and the whole experience is over.

This experience changed me in so many ways. I have to say, to look up in the mirror at the reflexion you thought you were, but to see someone different is an experience I don’t wish on anyone. I am grateful I have my life, and my family and that is all that matters.

I am blessed to have my daughter and would do it all over again if it meant to bring her in this life again!

Did you have a difficult pregnancy or labor/delivery? How did that experience change your life? Are you a better person from that experience?

To learn more about Bell’s Palsy click here

Other stories from pregnant moms who had Bells Palsy: BabyCenter.com

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5 Responses to Pregnancy Left Me Paralyzed!

  1. Sarah October 19, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Wow, Jenn. Thanks for sharing this. I knew a guy in my twenties who had Bell’s Palsy – the doctors thought his was triggered by a bad virus, but it sounds like there are still many mysteries around the causes and triggers. So thankful you could share this story with other moms. Thank you!

  2. Lindsey October 19, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Applause for you for being so brave, Jenn, and for handling this so gracefully through the first few years of your daughter’s life. You’re a wonder-woman.

  3. Jessica Williams October 19, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Wow Jenn!! Thank you for haring your story! What courage! You are beautiful and I know your story will help so many women!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tracy October 19, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    Amazing vulnerability, Jenn. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s often through our willingness to share that we invite others to feel safe. Bravo.

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