I gave birth to the most perfect and beautiful baby ever. She came out looking just like my husband and was everything I had always imagined. We named her Ella Bree! She was ours, all ours.
Before a newborn is discharged from the hospital, their pediatrician needs to give the okay for them to leave. All was going well until the doctor put her legs together, pushed her knees up and the spread them apart. Her hips were completely displaced. There wasn’t even a real click, they just easily came out of socket and her legs practically fell to each side. Of course we had never heard of hip dysplasia, so we asked a lot of questions. It is most common in first born girls because of the conflicting hormones of baby and mom (don’t ask because I’m not exactly sure why). They said she would have to wear a harness that goes on the outside of her diaper for probably 2 weeks. HEARTBREAKING. My perfect babe had to wear a Pavlik harness just four days after she was born. I had so many thoughts going through my head– “people are going to think there is something seriously wrong with my baby”, “I’m going to have to explain this to everyone”, “why me and us”. Here is what her Pavlik harness looked like:
She was so tiny, only 6 lbs when she got the harness! Oh man, the day she got the brace, my hormones were raging. I cried over anything and everything and I was so sore from having a csection. This just added so much more fuel to the fire. Life has to go on and you live with each challenge. Well two weeks with her in the brace, turned into a long six. Seemed like the longest six weeks of my life, but they were over! She was checked out and ready to live the nonbrace life!
She went for her three and six month check-up at her pediatrician, no hip clicking. Thank God! Then, we went for her nine month well visit. The doctor felt a click in her hip. Brian and I were so devastated. I think I cried for four straight hours. How could this be happening again? She was already mobile and pulling up– she would have been walking in no time. I called her pediatric orthopedist (Dr. McHale located in Annandale, VA) and was able to get an appointment the next day. Dr. McHale said Ella could have the surgery where she had to wear a body cast for six weeks, but she felt like she needed to go back into harness to see if that would help and then move into another brace called the hip abduction brace. What?! The harness that covers her whole body. How would she crawl? Well, she learned and adapted fast:
This was just a couple of days after she was put back into the brace. Meanwhile, the doctor ordered Ella to have an MRI. If you know much about MRIs, you have to be completely still = baby needs to be put under. So, my poor sweet 11 month old at the time, had to have anesthesia to get an MRI. Thankfully, the MRI came out to show that she did have cartilage there, it would just take a while to turn into bone. This means she needs to wear the hip abduction brace (which Dr. McHale found from Germany) for a while. Here is what the hip abduction brace looks like:
Of course Ella’s issue is so small compared to so many other children, but I still had meltdowns every so often seeing that my baby wasn’t “normal”. She went to the doctor every month to six weeks and got x-rays. We got the same response every time “she’s winning and I really don’t think she will need the surgery” and “I wish I had a magic ball to tell you how long she would need the brace”. Thankfully, Ella did not need the surgery AND she learned to walk in the brace. She walked at one year and one day. Check out the video. It will seriously melt your heart.
Pretty sweet huh?
She started wearing the brace at night only when she turned two. Ella still goes back to the doctor every 3 months and still has to wear the brace at night. She said Ella will have to wear it at night until she’s three. My husband said we are taking everyone cake in the orthopedist office when she has her last hoorah at age three. They have all been so sweet. They know Ella every time we go in there. They even tell other patients all about her and how she’s been there since birth. Even the doctor, who is SO busy (seriously the busiest doctor’s office I’ve ever seen) knows her and said she wanted to publish an article about her case. I could seriously rant and rave forever on Dr. McHale’s office. They have all been so awesome.
Lastly, here’s my girl now in her brace:
This girl doesn’t skip a beat. She is one of the most energetic and outgoing kids I know. Kids do adapt to everything. I’ve learned to seriously count my blessings. Now, she even asks for her brace at night. She’s used to sleeping in it. I do thank God everyday that she was able to be fixed without surgery and long term side effects.
Please ask if you have any questions. I love talking with other people about it!
About Dana Patterson
I'm an energetic SAHM of two fun little girls! It's never a dull moment with kids 21 months apart. I love life and enjoy cooking, working out and just hanging with my family.