I've only just come across this, so hopefully your DS is much better by now!
DS was 4.6kg and ended up with erb's palsy. I know how lucky we were that the ob managed to get him out and 'all' he suffered was a the loss of use of his arm for a few months... If he was 200g bigger I don't think he would've fitted... I'm forever grateful to the ob that delivered him (forceps)...
I think he may have had finger use, but I really can't remember. We were told to keep his arm wrapped tightly beside him.
He was lying there one day at 6 weeks old unwrapped, when all of a sudden he swung his arm across his body so hard that he rolled onto his side. We'd previously not seen it even twitch, so this was a huge surprise! This ended up being his new party trick and that was the end of him lying on his back! He also managed to roll over the other way so he was rolling quite early, but he couldn't roll himself back over (leading to many frustrated tears!)
He hated tummy time because his arm was too weak to support him, so he needed to build up his strength. We were told to put a rolled up towel under his chest to help support him, but I'm assuming you would've been told that.
He crawled earlier than other babies, maybe because he was rolling earlier than them? It didn't affect him walking at all. Because it was his right arm he's ended up left handed because that's what he favoured early on. I'm also left handed, so that may have had something to do with it, however when he's done grip strength tests at Scienceworks he's actually stronger with his right.
He's seen the chiro since he was a baby, and she can tell that there's a slight difference. When he was younger his reflexes weren't as good on his right arm, but now they're ok. She can notice that he seems a bit tighter on the right shoulder though, but that may too disappear as he gets older.
When he gets tired at swimming his left arm goes straight back when he's doing backstroke but his right arm goes back bent. I'm assuming that's residual, but it may just be coincidental.
He's at the stage now that a 'normal' person can't tell, and he's been like that for ages. It's only the chiro that can tell and his swimming teacher made mention how his right arm seems lazy when he's tired and he finds it easier to breathe from one side. It might be coincidental, or it might be the erbs palsy. Even if it is, we're very lucky that he's recovered so well.
We were also given no indication how long things would take or what they'd consider doing etc. it was basically just make an appointment and wait.
A friend from mother's group DH has erb's palsy, but his arm is shorter and has limited use. He's at the other end of the scale, so it's a reminder of how lucky DS is...
I just wanted to share DS's story with you as he's one of the lucky ones. And also so you're prepared the day he works out how to move his arm! I hated leaving him in his cot after that because he kept rolling over!
With this baby they're testing me early and also later for GD. I didn't have it with DS, so just in case it was undiagnosed. They're also going to do growth scans later on to check on her because they know how worried I am about her also being huge. At this stage she's measuring 4 days behind, so I'm hoping she stays there!
Are you able to update how he's going? Just because I'm interested...
Thank you for sharing your story. I am so pleased to hear your DS has recovered so well.
It looks like we could be the lucky one's also. At 3mths our DS started slightly moving his arm, small movements but they were movements! He is now 5mths old and has done so so well, he has brilliant range of this arm and if you didn't know he had erbs you would certainly not guess. As his Mother I can barely tell, although he does still favour his other arm. We are still seeing the physio regularly but our next big check up is when he is 6mths with our Paed. We are hoping that given his progress he won't see the need to refer us to the surgeon. It was a tough 3mths not knowing if our son will ever gain full use of his arm but each week has improved and we are hoping that improvement will continue. He is reaching his milestones which was one of our concerns, is rolling and is even trying to crawl!
Hopefully by now bub is doing well and there is no adverse affects left.
DD12 developed shoulder dystocia and had to be resuscitate but with no adverse affects. DD7 wasn's so lucky she had a fractured collar bone and did not move her arm until she was 4mths old, when she managed to bend her elbow for the 1st time. That started more problems as then she could not fully straighten her arm and developed contractures in the elbow. She also developed a waiters tip where the hand turns the wrong way. We have been in physio since she was 2 wks old.
At 9mth her arm could not be straightened beyond 90 degrees. She could not crawl and the public health told us to get used to it, that is how it is. Luckily we had a private physio that they did not know about and with intensive physio we got the contracture down to 10 degrees. She started crawling at 14 mths and we rearranged the house to prevent her from walking as much as we could to try to keep her weight bearing on the arm.
At two she could finally supinate (turn her palm up) most of the way. No Dr, of public health wanted to deal with her as it was not a significant injury. But our fantastic physio sees us every 3 months. Even her teacher does not notice any issues except in sports. She has learnt to use her right hand for everything which has created another basket of issues.
Over the past year we notices that her scapula started winging (instead of sitting flat against her back), she has shoulder droop and cannot dress/undress herself in tight clothes. She cannot use a knife and fork as she doesn't use her left hand. As she grows the contractures start again so we have to keep working on them. The only muscle from the shoulder down that works properly is the deltoid. We are noticing ossification (wasting) of her forearm. She has full use of her hand (thankfully) but she does not feel heat, cold or sharp pain in half of her arm. Even at 4 degrees she did not feel cold and we had to demand she put a jacket on.
I have just started an occupational therapy degree so I am seeing so much more of what she cannot do. Most people to look at her wouldn't even notice. So I booked her into our GP (we changed about 2 yrs ago) and he has referred us straight to an OT. The OT doesn't have the facilities she needs so we are going back to the public system this week - I am dreading it. We also have to work on her bilateral skills (using both hand) and her usual physio that addresses whatever issues arise. I am also pushing for a neurologist referral to get her nerve function tested so we can see how bad it is.
The most important thing, public or private is that you have professionals that you trust and will listen to you. If they don't find new ones. You know your own child even if they know the injury better. Don't let them fob you off. My new GP could not believe that they didn't test her when she was a baby and if we had that we could see what recovery she has made.
I know there is a brachial plexus clinic at the public hospitals in both Brisbane and Melbourne so I would definitely seek this out if this is available in your area. Even if bub appears to make a full recovery, there could be a little weakness in some muscle areas or reduced feeling. It is just keeping on top of it if there is issues.
The only other thing I can suggest is be carefully reading american sites. They are so oriented on suing the doctors for malpractice and in some cases this may be appropriate but in a lot, the Dr has just done the best they could with a really bad situation. Also if you are looking to have further children in the future please do research on the risk of subsequent shoulder dystocia even in small babies. My 3rd child was 9'1 after DD who was 8'8, there was no way he would have come out naturally in one piece (and more than likely brain damaged or dead) and I am very thankful I listened to my OB over my pride to have a CS. The determining factor for me was I could not guarantee that it would not happen again, but I could guarantee that I could not live with myself if I broke or killed my baby as a result of my pride. This made the decision for me a simple one.
Everyday I look at my daughter and it kills me to see how much she struggles to do simple task, even though she is a trooper and pushes herself so much. She has even started doing her own stretches throughout the day so she can straighten her arm one day. I will be pushing for splinting again at the next OT appointment which hopefully will improve it.
Sorry for the war and piece, but the sign of recovery at an early age is really good and hopefully this doomsday post will be irrelevant to you.
Thank you for your sharing. I am sorry for the struggle your daughter has had with her erb's, what a rollercoaster you have been on and seem to still be on. I wish you and your daughter good health for the future.
You are right about the US jumping on the suing the doctors! I came across that as well and couldnt believe it. Like you I am just thankful they got my son out and erb's palsy was his only health issue. As you said it could have been so much worse.
I too will seriously be considering a CS next time, even IF they think it won't happen again I think my fear will be too great to take the risk.
I have updated above
Kiwi mum, I realise this thread is from a few months back and I hope your child has recovered well from his SD and Erbs palsy.
my son was born 7 years ago and in addition to a severe brain injury at birth resulting in quad cp, he also had right erbs palsy which actually resolved itself by about 6 months of age. he has no affects from the erbs palsy now but maybe that also has to do with the fact that his CP is very pronounced.
hope things have settled down xx
Thank you for sharing also. I am so sorry that your DS suffered such a severe injury at birth. I wish you and your family well x