Facial Palsy and what it is like to live with facial paralysis

Facial Palsy at Birth - March 1969

Face Presentation Birth

I was a Face Presentation Birth, apparently this happens for an average of 1 in 500 births. My mum should have had a caesarean, not because a facial presentation dictates this, but because she had experienced a very difficult previous birth. Unfortunately the hospital lost my mum's notes so this wasn't picked up. The 1960's weren't the "sue-happy" days that we have today, wasn't life a lot simpler back then?

Being born with Facial Palsy

So when I arrived into the world in a somewhat difficult fashion, I had facial palsy, cranial nerve damage = paralysis in my face.  What a difficult time for any mother, it was such an unusual situation, having a baby with facial paralysis, that the lack of information at that time must have made it incredibly difficult to deal with.

The extent of the Facial Paralysis

Born with Facial PalsyIn May 2006 my mum showed me a negative which she had been hiding away since I was born in 1969 because she thought it might upset me.  When I was just a few weeks old she had to take me to hospital and make me cry so that the specialists could see the full extent of my facial paralysis.  She said she was very upset because they kept her waiting a long time and I was very hungry and very miserable!  She had kept this picture hidden from me for 37 years but because she now knows I want to help others by showing that things can improve, she has finally shown it to me.  I only have the slide for now so I have scanned that in order to get something up on my website, later I hope to add a better copy of this picture.  I do wonder why they went through this whole "make her scream" thing to check how bad my facial paralysis was, it wasn't as if there was a lot they could do about it, as my mother was to find out!

I get so many parents emailing me about their children born with Facial Palsy and it means a great deal to me to have helped them and perhaps shown them that even though things can start out bad, it doesn't mean it is going to ruin a child's life.