Claire was born on Monday, April 14th, at 12:38 pm. She weighed 6 pounds, 9 oz and was 20.5 inches long. Everything about her is perfect – all fingers and toes accounted for, apgar score of 9, passed the hearing tests with flying colors. She's basically a prodigy.
At her first pediatrician appointment, which was Tuesday, she was diagnosed with hip dysplacia. The doctor came in and told me- Russell was in the shower. I really didn't think too much about it. I actually said, “My dog had hip dysplacia when we got her from the shelter but it resolved once she stopped sleeping in a cage and started sleeping in the bed. So....I guess the cage is out for Claire.” I didn't really get that this was a serious thing :)
On Thursday, we were discharged from the hospital and sent immediately to Knoxville Orthapedic Clinic for evaluation. We knew that she might have to wear a harness, but that's it. We were so unprepared.
The doctor at KOC evaluted Claire and confirmed the diagnosis: bilateral hip dysplacia. He told us treatment would be cheap, painless, and incredibly inconvenient: she'd wear a Pavlik Harness for 6 weeks, 24/7, and then for 6 additional weeks (if all was well at her 6 week appointment) for varying amounts of time. 24/7 means we can't take it off for diaper changes, baths, or skin-to-skin contact. He told us a nurse would be in to fit her for her harness. When the nurse came in, she asked if we had a onesie and socks, which we didn't. She gave us a generic pair and said they saved these for people who didn't bring their own. I think that's when I realized that she was putting this harness on my 3 day old baby and it wasn't coming off for 6 weeks, at least. That's when I started crying and didn't stop for 3 days – usually, I'm not an overly emotional person. I can get my act together. But between recovering from a c-section and postpartum hormones, I was a mess.
Claire was such a trooper. The harness doesn't faze her at all. She looks like a little frog with her legs up in a “M” position. But the harness makes everything 10000x harder. I'd just gotten the hang of breastfeeding, but the harness gets in the way now, so I had to start all over with a new position. In the hospital, Russell was swaddling her like a pro, but now the harness gets in the way of any swaddle. When we left the hospital, we felt pretty confident about this newborn thing, but now everything we knew had changed. It was awful.
|She held my finger the whole way home from KOC|
It's also hard because on one hand, it's not “serious”. My sweet baby is healthy and there is a very good chance that this stupid harness will resolve all of her hip issues and we'll be harness free in 12 weeks. There are plenty of moms out there who would kill to have this problem instead of what their newborn is facing. But on the other hand, this is our first baby and you have dreams and hopes of what that means – this harness was not part of those dreams. I have a drawer full of newborn clothing that she can't wear. I can't just give her a bath – we have to sponge bathe her, which she hates. I can't cradle her in my arms, because it pushes her legs together. She has to wear these socks that go up to her thighs and can't be removed (by us at least). I can't see her sweet tiny toes anymore. It feels like the death of one tiny dream after another.
The first few days were really, really hard. I couldn't speak without crying. And let me tell you, sobbing and a c-section scar do not go hand in hand. Ouch. If this doesn't work, the next step is an even worse harness, followed by a spica cast (google it, it's awful), followed by surgery and another horrific cast. It's not a pretty road and we are fervently praying that we don't have to go down it. But as I type this, Claire is a week old, and things are feeling better. On Saturday, we had a very positive pediatrician appointment where he told us he could already feel the hip starting to heal. Yesterday was Easter, and I was able to put Claire in her Easter dress, harness be damned. I'm getting a handle on breastfeeding and although we've not figured out sleeping yet, I have hope that we will.
I also wanted to say that, on Friday, we shared our struggle on facebook and asked for prayer, which is a bit out of my comfort zone. I'm happy to ask for “good thoughts” or “positive juju”, but prayer seems personal and I don't want to force that. But I'm also a huge believer in the power of prayer and I knew it's what we needed. The responses were so overwhelmingly kind. I was reminded of that scripture from Galatians, “Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Y'all really bore my burden. My status received tons of positive comments that really helped me through these last days. I also got a handful of private messages – some from people I don't even know – offering encouragement, advice, and help. I can't tell you how much these meant to me. You all really helped lift me out of a very sad place and I am so, so grateful.
And now, enough of the serious blog posts! We're ready to move forward and be positive about these next 11 weeks with our frog legged baby.