Carry Me Through

Just a word of warning: this post was very difficult for me to write and perhaps difficult for others to read. I almost didn't post it but I wanted to be truthful in what I went through and maybe even bring some awareness to my situation. Also, I think I needed to post it for acceptance- of myself.

I was blessed with a very healthy pregnancy. I thought the toughest part about having a baby would be getting the baby out. Honestly, labor was not the most physically difficult thing I have dealt with before. I wouldn't say it was a walk in the park, but it was much more tolerable than I had expected. However, I never expected postpartum recovery to be so difficult. Before explaining my pp complications, I would first like to point out how THANKFUL I am that Briggs was born such a healthy boy. He has adjusted at home like a champ. So that was my first priority. So now it was time to get his mommy healthy.

The first few days of recovery were fairly normal. I was in some pain, but the meds helped and I was just physically exhausted...which was to be expected. Then on Day 4 of postpartum, water started tasting a little funny to me. Water shouldn't have a taste, right? I didn't think much of it. I just assumed it was a side effect from my medicine. So that evening, I took a nap while Briggs was napping. When I woke up about an hour later, I experienced one of the scariest moments of my life. My sister and Ryan had ordered us sushi. When I went to take a bite, I couldn't taste anything on the left side of my tongue. Then I realized my face felt funny. So I ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I was horrified to discover that the entire left side of my face was paralyzed. I could still feel it, but I couldn't move it. I thought I had had a stroke. I immediately called the OB on-call. I was hysterical. She told me it was most likely postpartum bells palsy. It was not a stroke. And MOST LIKELY I would get function of my face back. Wonderful. She prescribed some steroids and referred me to an ENT.

Sunday Night
Tuesday Night

The next two weeks were emotionally very confusing. On one hand, it was the happiest time of my life but on the other hand I was humiliated to show any kind of emotion in my face because that would only enhance the appearance of my paralysis. It was difficult to eat. I slurred when I talked. I could only drink through a straw. I was so ashamed for Ryan to even look at me. I had an MRI done just to rule out a tumor. Luckily, no tumor. I have been in and out of doctors appointments to monitor progress and to make sure it actually was bells. Praise the Lord, I am happy to say that I almost symptom free now after 2.5 weeks. I still have weakness on my left side, but most people probably wouldn't be able to tell. The worst symptom now is that my left eye is so dry still, I have to wear glasses all the time. (I'm afraid Briggs won't recognize me once I can wear contacts again.)

Why did I get this? The ENT doctor told me it was a freak thing. The pregnancy related bells is more common in women who are in their third trimester. Then there is a very tiny percentage who get it postpartum.  She said it could be due to stress and inflammation. The way to fight it is by taking steroids (sorry Briggsy boy if you become a meat head in your teenage years) and...time. I know it may sound like I am being completely vain, and I have realized that perhaps I need to reevaluate this weakness in my life. However, it was so difficult to wonder if Briggs would ever see me smile, or if Ryan would ever be able to look at the woman he married ever again. Would I ever be able to invite my friends over and hang out without feeling ashamed or trying to hide my face?

I sent up so many prayers trying to accept whatever fate God had in store for me. Finally, as I lifted my troubles to Him, my face slowly began to heal. Now I am able to go out in public again (besides doctor appointments). Briggs and I took our first trip to the gym this week. We were able to walk a mile around the indoor track. I also went out to lunch with Briggs and my real estate team for one of their birthdays. I am starting to feel like myself again. For the few of you who knew, thank you for your prayers. For the majority of you who did not know, I'm sorry I didn't say anything. I wasn't ready to face the truth about my condition. I know that you all would have accepted me and loved me with open arms...I just had to figure out how to do that for myself. I am blessed beyond measure for my friends, family and my Lord for carrying me through.

This is how He helped carry me through:


  1. First off, I just discovered your blog (from a watermark on a Facebook photo) and in the last 20 minutes I've become addicted! Although I'm not quite ready to have kids of my own yet, I enjoy all the advice and insight you've provided in this blog! I've always thought you and your sister were gorgeous but the glow you have now, as a mother, has made you even more beautiful. I want to thank you for sharing this particular story....Many women tell stories about their pregnancy but few share the realities of postpartum. Stories like this help empower women and I wish more had the courage to share! I wish you and your beautiful family the best! --Ashley Kikendall (Becker)

    1. Thank you for such kind words, Ashley! It has been a while since I posted this. Reading it back again, reminded me of how vulnerable I felt exposing my story to the public. However, now I feel like I have more courage and am proud to think that my story could possibly be empowering others during their postpartum complications. It's so important for women to understand and support one another. Your words of encouragement mean a lot to me!