After Giving Birth, Mom Becomes Completely Paralyzed
Holly’s dream of becoming a mother came true at 26, when she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Casey. But just two weeks later, she felt an odd tingling in her fingertips. A few days later, she was completely paralyzed. At times, Holly wanted to give up. But her baby girl gave her the motivation to keep fighting, and Holly’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle!
Holly Gerlach was a happy, healthy young woman when she gave birth to her daughter, Casey. Overjoyed at being a new mom, she was sent home with her newborn.
All was going well until Holly started getting an odd tingling sensation in her fingertips a few weeks later. Her legs felt week as well, so she went to the doctor. A pinched nerve was blamed for the discomfort, and the doctor sent Holly home.
But later that night, Holly got up to feed Casey and collapsed. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital, where doctors discovered the young mom was completely paralyzed from the neck down. She couldn’t even breathe on her own!
The Reason Mom Was Completely Paralyzed
It turns out she suffered from Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare condition where the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, causing paralysis. Doctors believe childbirth triggered Holly’s condition.
Holly went from being an overjoyed new mom, to a prisoner in her own body. Her days of cuddling her baby girl were over.
“Casey is my only child and I’d been so excited to be a mum,” she said. “In the hospital, all I could think about was her. I missed her so much. I thought I was going to die, or that even if I did recover, I’d be in a wheelchair.”
The hospital put Holly in the Intensive Care Unit. She required a machine for breathing, and the tube down her throat kept her from talking. She was forced to use a letter board in order to communicate with family, who brought Casey to see her mom every day.
A Special Bond
When Casey came to visit, they would put her on Holly’s chest so the two could feel close. It left Holly with a mixture of feelings.
“It was very hard seeing her and not being able to properly cuddle her or talk to her,” she said. “I became extremely depressed. Sometimes I’d rather she didn’t have to see me like this because I couldn’t be the mother she needed me to be.”
Though it was difficult not being able to care for Casey as she would have liked, the time spent with her baby girl did help keep Holly from giving up. But things got worse before God finally sent a miracle.
Coming Through The Storm
In an attempt to help Holly, doctors performed two different types of blood-cleansing treatments. But the second one went horribly wrong.
When one of the tubes was inserted to start the treatment, it ruptured an artery.
“I was rushed down for emergency surgery, which took around five hours,” Holly recalled. “Doctors told my family that I probably wouldn’t make it through the night.”
But miraculously, Holly survived. And after spending six weeks completely paralyzed, she suddenly found she could move her fingertips. She continued to grow strong, starting to regain movement across her body. She even started breathing on her own!
The doctors moved Holly out of the ICU into the stroke ward. She spent six more weeks working on motor skills and strengthening her muscles.
WATCH: Holly’s Transformation Through Physical Therapy
After intense physical therapy, she was able to get out of her wheelchair and use a walker.
A Miraculous Recovery
Her miraculous progress continued, and 126 days after she’d entered the hospital, Holly went home. She could now walk with just the assistance of a cane.
Three weeks later, the cane was gone and Holly was walking all on her own — something she never thought she’d be able to do again!
“I got stronger every day,” she said. “It was amazing to be back home with Casey. At first, I struggled a little as I was still very weak. I couldn’t lift her up or do a lot around the house. It took some time before I felt normal again.”
But after a while, Holly was able to be the mother to Casey she’d always wanted to be. It was what kept her going through the entire horrific ordeal.
WATCH: Holly’s Recovery Journey From Being Completely Paralyzed
To this day, Holly remains completely recovered. She spends her time being the best mom she can be, and living life to the fullest. She uses her story to inspire and motivate others, and she’s very active in the GBS community.
In fact, one patient with severe GBS was in the process of organizing an assisted suicide. But then he came across Holly’s story. It inspired him to keep fighting.
It’s amazing to see how God is using Holly’s traumatic experience to change and save lives. What a testament to our awesome God! Holly’s story is a powerful reminder to never give up, even when things seem their darkest.