"The doctor gave me the results, I had developed Bell's Palsy"
Keshia tells of how the birth of her little girl led to her developing Bell's Palsy.

I was due on the 3rd September 2011. I had a healthy pregnancy and was carrying a big baby. At my check up mid August my baby was about 3.5kg, I asked my gynae if it was possible to be induced before my due date, he gave us some options and we chose to have our baby on the 26th August 2011.

On the eve of 25th August I booked in at Cape Town Medi Clinic after having a lovely supper with my husband to celebrate this huge life changing event. The nurse on duty helped me settle in; I was so excited and very calm. I always imagined myself crying and being very nervous but now that the time has come it all seemed to be different, especially as it was my first time in hospital.

They induced me at 10pm and gave me a tablet to assist with sleeping as they knew I wouldn’t sleep due to the excitement. Hubby was instructed to be at hospital at 6am as I could be in labour by then which was definitely not the case, by 6am I was awake and had a machine attached to my huge belly watching for any contractions which I did not have, at 8am they took me to the labour ward where my mid wife took great care of me and made me very comfy.

I laid comfortably in bed while watching tv as I still had no contractions or at least I couldn’t feel it at the time.  The midwife came to check up on me all the time and checked if I was dilated but still nothing. At 10am while hubby was out to get a snack the midwife came and said its time to break my water, low and behold I didn’t know what I was in for.

Some utensil was used which looked scary and I felt immense pain and discomfort, I had tears in my eyes as my husband walked in. I was so upset that he wasn’t there to hold my hand but that passed as soon as I felt some contractions. My contractions felt more irritating than painful. I would say it felt like period pains but that wasn’t going to make me change my mind with regard to the epidural.

At about 11am the anaesthetist arrived, jolly but also very good at what he does apparently. I sat on the side of the bed with my feet on a chair holding a pillow and my husband holding me. This was a bit scary as I knew what can go wrong in this process, as I was in this position, a gush of water leaked out onto my hubby’s feet and my slippers on the side of the bed, we all burst out laughing which broke my anxiety a bit.

After that I became numb really quickly, the contractions increased but I wasn’t dilating as I was supposed to. My Gynae told me that he will come back at lunch time to check on me and if I wasn’t dilated I would have to have a c-section, this put me into a sad state as I did not want to give birth this way. I dosed in and out of sleep during this time, by then we received hundreds of calls and sms’s asking if I gave birth yet. I was in total hope that something was going to happen as I really wanted to give birth naturally. Lunch time arrived and gynae was there and wasn’t happy with how I was dilating. He spoke to me again about having a c-section and then told me that he would give me a little bit more time.

As time ticked on, I started getting impatient, I wanted to meet this little baby already and I was starting to get tired of just laying in bed with a machine strapped to my belly. I told the midwife that we have decided that the c-section will have to be it. It was almost 5pm when my gynae arrived for my c-section; he checked me out and said “get ready for theatre”.

I started getting very nervous as this was now a different ball game that I did not prepare myself for, this was an operation that was going to be done. They topped me up on my epidural and was taken to theatre. They put me on the operating table and I started shivering, it was like I was freezing, they checked if I could feel anything on my feet and I couldn’t feel a thing. As they started to cut I started shaking uncontrollably, I could feel as they pulled my baby out of my tummy, there was nothing they could do at that point as they were in the middle of taking my baby out.

I think I screamed out some words but don’t remember what it was because soon they were holding my precious baby in front of me. My baby girl was born at 17:55 at 4.06kg, I started crying immediately due to happiness, as they cleaned my baby I heard my hubby shout at me “it’s a boy” and then he screamed at me again “It’s a girl” I just couldn’t stop the tears as I knew that this little girl meant the world not only to me but also to her daddy as he was hoping for a little girl. They continued working on me while I was still crying; the paediatrician told me that I didn’t need to cry as I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

They wheeled me into post op ward where they did more tests, at this time I was in immense pain that I could not hold my baby. Everyone ran to help me as I started shaking again, I felt extremely cold.  Nurses and doctors hovered around me.

Eventually I started feeling a bit better and was taken to the maternity ward where I had family waiting to see my baby girl who was laying on my chest, as she met her family she peed on me which was such a happy moment for myself and hubby, I know it sounds weird but it was our little girl, our little creation.

I was feeling extremely tired , my family left to let me rest, nurses was in and out of my room as they needed to do tests, I had lost a lot of blood during labour, I had to lay with my feet up. I fell asleep almost immediately after they took my baby back to the nursery. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling terrible; I couldn’t see properly and felt extremely light headed due to the loss of blood. They then brought baby in to drink which she seemed to love doing.

Saturday morning I had a blood transfusion, 2 bags of blood. I was not able to get out of bed even though my body felt very sore. By the Sunday I just couldn’t anymore, I needed to get out of bed. They first did tests and they said I was good enough to get out of bed which the nurses assisted me to do. I was now able to walk around and see to my own baby, this made me very happy. Monday morning arrived and I was very excited to go home, I patiently waited for the doctors to come check me out and also to check baby and I was ready to go.

I settled in nicely at home with my little baby girl with some very excited family members around assisting me as I had some pain due to the c-section. By the Thursday I started feeling a bit funny, my tongue started feeling a bit weird, I could not taste much and my left side of my face was feeling a bit numb.

I went to my GP who then referred me to Cape Town Medi Clinic as this could be an after affect due to the birth. I was taken to the emergency ward where the doctor became very worried as my blood pressure was shooting through the roof. I was feeling very upset and sad as I had to leave my baby with family and I just did not want to be admitted.

After about an hour and a long heart to heart chat with the nurse, my blood pressure came down a bit. The doctor then gave me my results; I had developed Bell’s palsy. My face muscles were pulling tight and my tongue had become very numb. The cause of my bell’s palsy was due to my long labour and also the weight of my baby.

I suffered with this for weeks with very little medication as it was up to my body to heal itself, this made me very conscious about how I looked and also a bit depressed. My family did a great job at helping me through this ordeal; they assisted with my baby which was amazing as I was still not able to be up and about due to my cut.

Even though I had this bad birth experience, I was still very happy with my little baby girl, she made me forget about all the bad that came with this happy time in our lives.  She is now almost 15 months and I couldn’t imagine life without her.  

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