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Samantha's Story

My daughter Samantha Artemiza, is two years old now and is improving every day. She goes to physical therapy every three months and we do exercises at home. Up until about two weeks ago, I did not even know the name of the injury my daughter has. When she was born, the doctors made it seem like no big deal. After they took x-rays and made sure nothing was broken, they told me that she would have “normal” use of her left arm as she grew and used it more. Which to some extent is true, she can raise her arm to about a 90-degree angle now.

We play ball and fun games to make her exercise her arm more, she is enrolled in park and recreation classes with children her own age, to encourage her to use both hands and arms to achieve things. She can now climb up ladders and slides. Sometimes my husband and I feel that a lot of the problem is psychological because when she is not paying attention she uses her arm to do things. She raises it above her head when she really wants to reach something bad enough.

When I read all the stories of braces, surgeries, and everything, it made me somewhat angry that my daughter’s doctor has been playing this injury down so much since her birth. The only thing that the doctor asks during her regular check-ups is “How is she doing with her arm?” I reply “well she seems to be using it more every day” and that is about the extent of her concern. I thought this was just a freak accident of some sort that happened to my daughter during delivery, obviously I was very wrong and mislead. My daughter weighed 9 lbs 1/2 oz and was 21 inches long at birth. I was in labor 24 hours exactly. In the end, she was delivered using vacuum-suction. After her birth I saw a documentary on the vacuum-suction procedure and was horrified at all the terrible things that could have gone wrong and did not. Then come to find out she has this “real” thing wrong with her called “Birth Brachial Plexus Injury,” now I am scared for her all over again. Asking myself all the questions, I should have been asking the doctors from the start. My heart goes out to all the parents whose children are affected much worse then Samantha is by this terrible disability. Thank you so much for letting me tell Samantha’s story; and mine and letting me vent just a little.

Samantha’s Mommy (Dawn)
Lakewood, CA

Email Dawn here.

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