Pregnant Mom Wakes Up with Right Half of Face Paralyzed


Having a child is a big deal. But with all the excitement comes the physical changes of being pregnant, as well as the lifestyle changes.

A health situation on top of that can just make things worse. And if it is unexpected to boot you are double unprepared.

This is what Jocelyn York went through when she was 38 weeks pregnant and awaiting the arrival of her daughter, Ida. She was eating dinner one night before bed and felt she was having some difficulty chewing.

“It was weird, but I didn’t think that much of it. I just went to bed, thinking I was just exhausted because I was 38 weeks pregnant,” she said.

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When she woke up the next morning she expected things to have improved.

Instead, things had gotten drastically worse. When she looked in the mirror, she realized the right side of her face was frozen.

She was afraid, she was terrified, but what she really was was paralyzed in her face. The doctors later identified her as having Bell’s Palsy caused by shingles and began treating her.

But, they warned her, it was possible her face would stay that way. As a mother-to-be, she began to worry – what if her child could never see her express an emotion? Could never see her smile?

“Ida came out perfectly fine and healthy. It was the happiest day, but it was hard because my face wasn’t working,” she said.

Her daughter was born Aug. 14 and by October, York was beginning to see some improvement.

York and her partner were excited by the arrival of their daughter. York was worried her condition would make things difficult for her around town as a new mother: “I live in a small place and I worried that people thought I was being rude in the street, when I couldn’t smile back at them.”

“I’ve worked up to a point now, five months after it first happened I can finally smile with my mouth closed,” York said.

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Three months after it happened, she began to feel itchy in her face, a sign that her muscles where beginning to regain control.

In addition to the treatments from her doctors, she began doing acupuncture twice a week. “It was such a frightening experience at the time but I’m glad to have started to come out the other side of it and to be able to smile back at my beautiful baby,” York said.

To all the moms and moms-to-be out there, please take care of yourself. If you are worried about anything medical don’t hesitate, go straight to the doctor.

York had a support system through her partner. If you are pregnant, a new mom or just struggling, please get help.

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