Today’s blog post features the tenacity of Farrah W, a mama who suffered from foot drop after the delivery of her child. Thank you, Farrah, for sharing your story. We wish you continued healing and success.
I joined this page (Moms with Femoral/Peroneal/Sciatic Nerve Damage from Labor and Delivery Facebook Group) years ago after having my first son in England on the Mildenhall Air Force base. I was a new and young mom; I was scared and had only the support of my son’s father. All of my family lived in the United States in Louisiana.
Toward the end of my pregnancy, I was experiencing nerve pain and a lot of health issues, so I was induced two weeks early. I didn’t really have a birth plan – I just had a good attitude/feeling about my birthing experience. I really thought it was going to be so magical and smooth. Everything started fine and I received an epidural with no problems.
As soon as it was time to push, I was extremely tired and felt like I just didn’t have the right amount of energy to keep going. The nurses around me started to get agitated and to raise their voices because I was hyperventilating and the baby’s heartbeat was out of the norm. Despite the exhaustion and the yelling, I ended up pushing for 4 and a half hours. They finally decided we needed to use forceps and the baby came out.
I then had to keep my legs in stirrups for a long time to be stitched. While the doctor was stitching me, my legs were jerking back and I was crying saying how badly they hurt. I begged her to let my legs down but I had over bled and they lost a tool in my blood, so they said they couldn’t yet. I was given a shot to stop the blood but it was a real mess. After they let my legs down I felt really weird and like my legs were in high amounts of pain.
Fast forward to the medical staff trying to get me my out of my bed and walking: I couldn’t. I just fell to the ground. I told them I couldn’t use my legs. And they thought I was being dramatic. I wasn’t. I did my own research only to figure out I probably had nerve damage and drop foot. I told the medical staff my findings; they just said they didn’t know. I received a boot (AFO), but that was the extent of help from my labor and delivery medical team. They were constantly very frustrated with me. I would cry a lot for help and they just really thought I wanted to be dramatic and lazy. I would just pee on myself because I couldn’t get up and no one at the facility would help me walk. At the time I was only 20; I was really scared. Nobody supported me except my son’s father.
Once discharged (still with no answers and no help) I started googling how to help myself. I began doing exercises for my feet and legs on my own. I would crawl around the house to get places. Eventually, a new doctor agreed to see me. This doctor confirmed that I most likely had foot drop, however, they hadn’t seen anything like my injury so didn’t have a lot of advice. They thought I would have trouble for about two years and may or may not recover. Outside of that supposed guidance, all they did for me was give me an outrageous amount of pain meds. I ended up moving home with my mom and pursued physical therapy myself.
Over time I began to heal. Now, four years later, I’m fully recovered. It took two whole years, but I can walk, run, hop, jump and do everything I did before the birth of my son. I went through so many ups and downs. At times I honestly thought life wasn’t worth living with the struggles and pains I went through. Having doctors scoff at me crying for help was particularly difficult. But I did not give up. I am now fully capable of any physical activity. I am getting a waiver to join the USAF and hoping to take the knowledge I know to help others. I am doing everything I thought I couldn’t when I was helpless with no leg movement in my right leg.
I hope the moral of my story is to not give up! Keep pushing, keep exercising, keep hope. You have this. It can be done. It does not define who you are.