Announcing the first annual MICA Month-Maternal Nerve Injury from Childbirth Awareness Month
by Molly Ann Carey & Martha Valentine Tutrani
I am excited to announce the launch of the first annual MICA month. May, the month of celebrating mothers, is the perfect time of year to bring awareness to femoral, peroneal, and sciatic nerve damage from labor and delivery. The goal of MICA is to bring attention to this rare, but highly preventable outcome from labor and delivery.
Our family had never heard of maternal nerve injury from childbirth prior to the birth of my grandson in March of 2016. I anticipated fond memories of sharing the joy of the birth experience with Molly and her husband Chris, and cherishing the first moments of Noah’s life as a proud grandmother. My recollections of that event are quite different. Molly turning to me in the final hours of labor and saying- Mom -my leg hurts. Returning to the hospital the next day and Molly saying Mom- I can’t walk and they don’t know why. The medical team, including a neurologist, saying they had no idea what was wrong. HUH?? My Mama Bear instincts kicked in-equipped with skills as a dance and Pilates teacher and high tech research ability that involved typing “nerve injury” into Google on my iPhone, I found an obscure post in a community forum on babycenter.com about a mom with nerve damage after childbirth just like Molly’s- BINGO!
Molly was released from the hospital with no protocol. Not one caregiver asked her how she would care for a newborn at home with the inability to walk and safely hold Noah. Neither physical therapy nor a foot brace was provided at the hospital. How was she to manage a baby at home if she COULDN’T WALK?? Probably Molly’s worse moment was when a nurse, the morning after Noah’s birth, told her to hop to the bathroom when she had told her specifically that she had no feeling in her right leg, foot drop, and had just given birth about 6 hours earlier…it was appalling.
Molly and Chris headed home with beautiful, healthy Noah facing the usual demands of first time parents, as well as the immense challenges of Molly’s peroneal nerve damage. Conflicting answers from doctors, no clear protocol for this injury or projected prognosis left Molly in the dark.
In the end, our family story had a happy ending. Due to Molly fully managing her recovery by making appointments with orthopedic doctors, physical therapists, and being fitted for a foot brace, six months after Noah’s birth she had recovered. Two years later, we now can laugh as a family about Noah’s early weeks, and how we all coped during that time. Molly has healed emotionally thanks to the amazing support from the Facebook group, “Moms with Femoral/Peroneal/Sciatic Nerve Damage from Labor/Delivery”. My daughter recently said to me, “Mom, if anyone in the medical team had said to me, ‘Molly, it’s going to be ok.’ and had provided me with a protocol for recovery, I would have felt more at ease and confident that I would heal. I would have been in a much better place emotionally and physically for recovery and motherhood.”
The goal of MICA is to bring awareness to maternal nerve injuries, so no one has to undergo the trauma of what our family experienced two years ago. We hope to educate mothers to become aware of this rare but debilitating injury that impacts 40,000 women annually in the United States alone. We also hope to change the protocol in the medical community for screening for indicators that predispose moms to nerve injury, as well as to establish a clear protocol for recovery for those injured.
We celebrate mothers this month with the launch of MICA. Be sure to Like and Share our FB page, “MICA- Maternal Nerve Injury from Childbirth Awareness Month” where we will post advocacy and action tips through out the month to help spread awareness. Wishing everyone a blessed Mother’s Day!