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Lauren's Story


Lauren was born on Sept 10, 1998. She weighed 8 lbs 5 oz. Contrary to most brachial plexus babies, I had a very easy delivery. There was a time during delivery when her head was out and the umbilical cord was also out and I stopped pushing. The doctor pulled some on her head to prevent the cord from being pinched. She also had a "bruise" on her left shoulder for a few days after birth so she may have gotten caught on my pelvic bone. However it happened, she developed a brachial plexus injury during birth. She was moving her hand and fingers but was not flailing her left arm like she was her right.. At first they thought she had a broken clavicle which was okay with me since I worked for an Orthopedic Surgeon and we had babies with those in the office all the time and they always got better quite quickly. When the x-rays came back negative, the rest of my family was happy but I was even more worried. They did the CT scan to rule out any brain pathology, which was quite scary. Everything came back normal. We were given exercises to do and told to pin her sleeve up to prevent any further injury. She was able to move her hand and had a good grip but didn't move her arm at all. She saw a Pediatric Neurologist at about 3 weeks old. He pretty much said just wait and see how she does. When she went back to see him in 1 month, he wanted her to have an EMG. By 2 months old she could lift her arm up off the table. I was impressed with her improvement and thought she was progressing steadily, judging by the research I had done via the web. I didn't have her have the EMG since she was improving and having the test was not going to fix anything. She had already had enough recovery to put us out of the "surgery zone". At around 2-3 months old she pretty much held her "special arm" out really straight and resisted any other movement. At about 4 months, she could raise her arm up some and bat at toys on her gym. At about 4 month, she started PT and OT through a program in Michigan called Early On. They provide free, in-home therapy through the Individuals with Disabilities Act through the Department of Education. The therapists in our area had a tough fight to get therapy through the Department of Education approved for another child in our city with Brachial Plexus Palsy. Apparently, they defend that problems in infancy could cause delays in learning down the road. So since starting therapy she has come a long way. She is almost 9 months now and uses her "special arm" quite freely. She can abduct to about 120 degrees. We still have therapy once a week. We are hoping for a full recovery. Lauren's case in comparison to many is pretty mild, but in any severity a child's disability is heartbreaking. When she was first born I was just thankful that her mind was "right" and tried to say it could be a lot worse, but then I though of all the things a person could not do with only 1 arm and that really put things in perspective for me. A lot of family members and friends never provided much support. Their first comment was, "Are you going to sue?" In my mind, the only person at fault was me and how could a person sue themselves? Anyways, we are all happy and healthy now. She's the same as any other baby; she just needs a little more attention to one area.

Contact Cindy (Lauren's Mom)here.

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