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Mothering › Groups › May 2012 Birth Club › Discussions › brachial plexus injury AND a broken arm* updated

brachial plexus injury AND a broken arm* updated

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I had shared my birth story last week, about how my little guy's birth was a bit more dramatic than planned, and at the hospital after all.


We knew that he had a brachial plexus injury, and Ikept going back and forth between just feeling grateful that they got him out ASAP and frustrated that maybe it could have still been prevented. But mostly, I was grateful that since we were at the hospital, we wouldn't wonder if we had caused it.


BUT I cannot stand how dismissive the pediatricians were. The midwives were great, though y husband now really questions the lead midwife's decision to let the student step in for the birth ( and not to take over when the compound presentation was obvious).


We kept saying that it seemed like the arm was hurting him, and they kept telling us that no, a nerve injury couldn't be hurting.


Well, they finally consented to x-ray him, and surprise, a break just above the elbow. Apparently, this is very common in children extremely rare in newborns. Rare enough that they were trying to make sure it wasn't the result of a genetic defect of some sort that would have caused his bones to be broken too easily. It is nearly healed already. and my Mister had the good sense for us to stop doing the pt exercises with it and start swaddling it to him. exactly what they would have had us do all along. The only concern is that it could affect his growth plate.


The good news though is that while we won't be apprised of anything that happens, it sounds like the pediatric orthopedic surgeon will be having a chat with the whole birth team. That's all I am asking for- to know that they have had to sit back, look at everything that happened, and wonder if there was something they should have done differently ( and if so...do it)....the way I have been having to do.


The funny/cute part, is my 9 year old son is now quite the home birth advocate. He was fine with it last time, but now he is down  right insistent that if we have any more babies ( mostly likely we won't), they be born at home, where " someone loves them and is gentle with them."



IN the last several days, it has been like I have a totally different baby. I can't understand or explain how handling him with his little arm totally limp felt so different than handling my other babies, and how amazingy it feels tobe watching his little arm "wake up." The movement in his arm is so drastically improved over the last several days that even my 3 year old keeps saying " Mama, look he is moving his arm !"

We had a follow up with orthopedics yesterday as well as our first physical therapy appointment. He is doing so well !!!

Babies are such amazing healers.

The doctor showed me the new x-ray yesterday and you can see new bone over the entire end section of his humerus now. The frist x-ray I sw, you could only see it on the inside part of the bone, so I thought that the break was vertical, up the bone, when i asked about the new bone over the whole thing, the doctor explained that they think his humerus was actually broken "clean through." No wonder they werre trying to figure out if he might have a genetic problem.....how in the world do you break a newborn's arm like that ? It's making me think that it did happen during the birth afterall ( as opposed to with the pediatricians during resuscitation) but we will never know I guess.


The physical therapist is amazing. I just can't say enough about her. I couldn't figure out where I was supposed to be in the hospital after the ortho appointment...and she actually called me and walked me through how to get to her office. She is very, very pleased with how he is doing ( and just as suprised as we are to see a baby that was such a perfectly average birthweight with such an injury...).

She said we don't have to swaddle anymore, but that we still can if he needs it at night to fall asleep ( we have to be careful not to limit his range of motion for the most part.) She told me to mostly let him move it for himself, as he is starting to do, but to do little things, like help him to put his hand in his mouth, encourage him to gras our fingers with that hand, etc. She said it is like it is "waking up" and it shouldn't be so much painful as annoying at this point- like pins and needles, explaining why he gets agitated when we touch it. I'm very grateful that he is doing so well and that we finally found some providers ( in the same military hospital as the pediatricians who ignored us....) that are not only thorough but compassionate.

Thanks for the positive thoughts.

Edited by lovingthis - 5/23/12 at 7:50am
post #2 of 7

I just read your birth story, and I'm glad you were able to have a safe birth, relatively speaking. I hope he doesn't have any long term problems and I can't believe how they blew you off like that! Besides, the idea that a nerve injury can't hurt...are they living in the stone age? You know, back when they did surgery on newborns without anesthesia, because "they won't remember it anyway"? That was all of, like, 20 years ago, and I'm guessing your peds were trained by those docs, if they think nerve damage is painless. They shouldn't have said that, even if they did think that was all it was.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

The first few days were rough. He fussed a lot, and I was having a hard time- moving my neck to look at him, let alone to think clearly enough to figure out what was wrong and how to help.


I was really nervous that Baby number 4 was going to be a serious fusser...when I have these other 3. Baby number one was a fusser...but it was just him and me, and if what he needed from me all day was to be carried around and around...well, I didn't have any other family obligations ( Hubby was deployed).


Thank goodness, it looks like he is actually a calm little fellow. Not a fusser, just hurt.


I am in typical post-partum hormone mode, and I kno that, but it doesn't make the highs and lows any less painful. I realize that even without the trauma and the injury, my hormones would be finding things on which to prey. Trying to keep that in mind, but struggling.


My first son's birth was drastically different than I had envisioned too, but I guess I didn't struggle as much with it, initially, because I didn't have any contrary experience- didn't know how much better it really could be, had only imagined it. and of course, I had a totally healthy baby from second 1...none of the scariness involved with this little guy's arrival.


I am seriously going to have to mind myself not to be smothering, over protective Mama with this one :D

post #4 of 7

Oh Lovingthis! I'm so sorry to hear about the little break! How scary and emotional. And the hormones are crazy. I can't imagine dealing with those hormones AND something like an injury to my babe. It sounds like you are doing a great job!


Have fun enjoying your little one and take care of yourself!

post #5 of 7

This sounds incredibly hard! Being brushed off like that would make me furious. Your poor little man :( I'm glad your husband started strapping his arm down- there's parental instinct at work!

post #6 of 7

take care, mama! hope the little guy is all better, soon. ugh, to hormones. I know what you mean by even knowing the hormones are part of the feelings doesn't make them less of feelings! Its still part of the emotional landscape.

post #7 of 7

I'm so sorry it's been so rough!  Hopefully he's on the mend now, and everything will start leveling out!

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