When my firstborn son was injured during birth and his entire right arm was paralyzed, I spent hours on the internet trying to research anything about his injury. It's known as a Brachial Plexus Injury or Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy. Also Erb's Palsy. The only site I could find was a mother that had a daughter who suffered from the same thing. Her website was very helpful but there was no way to email her or get in touch with her to ask questions. You see, my son's injury is known as a "rare disability", which means there are very few doctors or physical therapists that deal with this type of issue. We were sent to a physical therapist in Tulsa that did specialize in Brachial Plexus when Tyler was a mere 4 days old. I wasn't even sure what was going on, I was in such shock. At that first therapist appointment, it was the first time I heard anyone refer to the injury as life-long. Life-long? Doesn't that mean you never recover? Doesn't that mean it lasts forever? To be honest, I spent every night, all night on the internet and found very little information to help me. It was the loneliest time of my life. Period. I had a husband who chose to deal with it by ignoring it. He would just tell me it would be alright and that I was overreacting. I knew that it was much more. I knew I had to be proactive and figure out a plan. I eventually found one other Mom through our therapist that had a son with a Brachial Plexus injury. We had each other to talk to and that helped so much. But, this was late 1998 and the internet just wasn't what it is today. Very few people considered the internet the place to look for information and bonding.
I was so moved watching Kelly Stamps @ Kellyskornerblog.com receive so much encouragement and support from the blog world when her daughter was born with pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. I honestly think that the kindness of strangers had to be so moving for the Stamps family as they spent 3 weeks in the NICU here at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa.
I takes me back to the many lonely nights I spent terrified that my child would never move his arm. I didn't know what doctors to contact or what plan of action was the best. If the blog world had been around, I truly believe that all of the kind mothers out there would have made our journey a lot less scary and empty feeling.
It's now 10 years after my son was born and he is doing so well. He has close to 90% movement in his arm and loves all sports. I think the sacrifice of researching many days and nights has paid off, but it would have been so much more comforting to take my blog friends along for the ride.
The miracle of my son will be told in an upcoming post. Get ready to experience some goosebumps. And here's a hint.....prayer does work!