Corynn Kelly had a difficult entry into this world. Her collarbone was broken, and her brachial plexus nerves were damaged. The injury left Corynn without movement in her right shoulder, and she couldn't bend her elbow.
"I had a perfect pregnancy," says Audra Kelly, Corynn's mother. "To have that happen during birth — we were scared; we didn't know what to do. We didn't know if it would be permanent, if she would be handicapped."
Audra and her husband, John, decided to have Corynn evaluated at Mayo Clinic, one of the country's leading centers for treatment of brachial plexus injuries, including Erb's palsy, which is usually caused by trauma during birth.
When she was 6 weeks old, Corynn was evaluated by Mayo's Erb's palsy team. Because many babies who have Erb's palsy heal naturally, the team recommended bringing Corynn back six weeks later. But at 3 months, Corynn still had nerve damage. The Mayo specialists recommended surgery.
"I asked a lot of questions and wanted to know specifics about surgery and recovery," says Audra. "Everyone at Mayo was so comforting and patient and took whatever time I needed to make me feel OK." The couple decided to proceed with surgery.
During a seven-hour operation, a piece of nerve from Corynn's right leg was used to bridge the damaged segment of nerves connecting her spinal cord and shoulder and arm nerves. In addition, a nerve was transferred from one portion of her shoulder to another.
Corynn wore a shoulder immobilizer for three weeks. About three months after surgery, she started lifting her arm. She crawled at nine months, as most babies do. Today, she keeps pace with her older sisters, Mckynna and Kwynn.
"We hope other babies with brachial plexus injuries have the opportunity to get the help Corynn did," says Audra.