May, the month we celebrate mothers, launches our fourth annual MICA Month. Standing Up for Those Who Can’t is our theme to advocate and to educate globally regarding maternal nerve injury from childbirth birth awareness.
I never imagined in 2016, when I was flying to Seattle, Washington for the birth of my first grandchild, that God would use my daughter Molly’s nerve injury to launch this global advocacy. I can see so clearly now the steppingstones that God had already placed in our future to develop this outreach that has helped thousands of moms globally. For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ( Jeremiah 29:11)
In 2016, during her period of recovery from peroneal nerve damage (foot drop), Molly discovered the Facebook support group Moms with Femoral, Peroneal, Sciatic Nerve Damage from Labor and Delivery. Molly attributed not only her physical, but emotional recovery to the support from this group. The group was founded in 2004 by Paula Drage Wroble with eight members and currently has close to 2,000 members from 38 different countries. In 2017, Reagan Smutny launched the website www.nervedamagefromchildbirth.com and in 2020 added the Zazzle store which carries a variety of advocacy t-shirts as well as momma bling and baby attire. The website is an incredible resource that we share with every new member of the Facebook group as it provides education, as well as resources that the group members can utilize immediately for their best outcome in nerve injury recovery.
In 2018, Molly had happily recovered from her peroneal nerve damage and we both had a strong sense of wanting to help other moms who suffered from nerve injury. God placed two incredible volunteers in place to assist us as our idea for an advocacy month developed. Those volunteers were Jodi Manny and Samia Sami, founder of our advocacy partner Unhindered Steps. With the blessing of Paula, and the support of the website that Reagan had created, we debuted our global first MICA Month in 2018. Since the start of MICA Month, the website’s traffic has increased to 11,000 views annually, the MICA Month FB page has grown to over 650 followers and the FB support group has tripled in size with an average of 30 new members a month.
2019 was another answered prayer with the addition of our medical team lead by Jennifer Gibson Webb RN, BSN and CCRN, Martha Sleutel, PhD, RN, CNS, C-EFM and Barbara True, MN, CNS, RNC-OB, C-EFM. Since 2019 this team has been presenting protocols for prevention of LENI (lower extremity nerve injury) at national medical conferences in the United States. THE BIG NEWS FOR 2021 are these new protocols are being endorsed by AWHONN (The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses) and were recently published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing.
Additional good news for 2021 is that Allard USA, a manufacturer of Orthotic and Prosthetic devices will be partnering with us to share the MICA message. Please follow them on Facebook and Instagram @Allard USA and look for their MICA Month posts and stories about our moms. Our partnerships continue to include Unhindered Steps as well National Foot Drop Awareness Day. Our 2021 advocacy topics will include: Birth Trauma: Baby #2 and Healing; Talking to your Nib (Nerve Injury Baby) about Your Injury; Protocols for Nerve Injury Prevention and Celebrating our Many Births with No Repeat Damage.
A huge thank you to my MICA Team who gives so selflessly of their time to help so many moms to navigate through nerve injury recovery. So, please join us to advocate and to educate globally for MICA Month by following us on our Facebook page MICA- Maternal Nerve Injury from Childbirth Awareness month and on Instagram @micamonth where we will be posting weekly advocacy tips for you to share the MICA Message with your community as we continue to be Standing Up for Those Who Can’t.
About the Author: Martha Valentine Tutrani is a proud grandmother of two, including a precious Nib (nerve injury baby) and a Pleni (protected lower extremity nerve injury) baby. Her daughter Molly suffered nerve injury from labor and delivery in 2016. The tremendous challenges the family faced while pursuing diagnosis and treatment for Molly inspired her family to start the first MICA Month in 2018. Martha holds an M.Ed. in Dance Education and feels that her background as a classical ballet and Pilates instructor, as well as leadership roles in arts administration, equipped her perfectly for her new role as MICA advocate. She can be reached at email@example.com.