Below is a Q&A with Jeni M, who suffered femoral neuropathy after the birth of her baby. Thank you Jeni for sharing your story! You are one strong mama!
What type (if you know) of nerve injury do you have?
Femoral neuropathy- right side
How was it diagnosed?
They tried to stand me up a few hours after delivery (whatever the standard time is). I dropped to the floor. They chalked it up to the epidural taking longer than usual to wear off. The following day, they tried to stand me up again, and I fell again (this time the nurse was ready and caught me). They didn’t know what was wrong. They didn’t know who to call. Anesthesiologist? OB? Physical therapist? Eventually, 2 days after delivery, they called a neurologist. She diagnosed me with femoral neuropathy based on the pattern of numbness on my leg and accompanying symptoms. I did not have an MRI or any imaging. I was referred for an EMG but they could not schedule me for it until about 7 months postpartum. It showed some evidence of FND.
What do you think caused it?
Unclear. I did have issues with my epidural. It didn’t work at all on my right side (which I know is not that uncommon). The nurse suggested that I lay on my right side to help get the meds for that side. I had a fairly long labor (22 hours) so I ended up lying like that for a long time. The right side is also the side that ended up having nerve damage. I have no idea if that has anything to do with it. Perhaps since I was laying on that side my son’s head could have been putting pressure on the nerve. No idea. The doctors told me their best guess is that it is just my anatomy – that my nerve may be closer to the surface than others. Something like that.
I did deliver vaginally, but I only pushed for about 45 minutes, so I wasn’t in the pushing position for a very long time.
How long did it take you to recover (if you have)?
I am 2 years postpartum now and my right leg is still about 15% weaker than my left side. I have been at my current functioning since about 12 weeks postpartum. I’ve accepted this is probably as good as its going to get.
I was walking normally by the 6 week mark, but still had trouble with steps and wearing high heels until about 12 weeks.
How did it affect you postpartum?
I used a walker for about 7 days, then I had a crutch, then a knee brace.
I could not hold my own baby while standing up until he was over a week old. It was VERY difficult, emotionally. He would cry, and every instinct in your body as a new mother is to go help them. I was also not producing enough breast milk, and I will never forget the night I just sobbed on the phone with my friend/lactation consultant because I felt like I just couldn’t do anything for my new baby! I couldnt change his diaper, couldn’t feed him right, couldn’t bounce him while walking to calm him down while crying. I felt useless and it was very difficult.
I was lucky that my mother-in-law was able to come stay with us for about 6 weeks. I needed someone here for that long because I could not carry my son up and down the stairs. At that point I started using my baby carrier if I had to take the stairs while home alone with the baby.