Hip Hip Hooray!
We recently had our much anticipated 3 month post-spica x-ray and appointment with our orthopedic surgeon. I was cautiously hopeful, but also steeling myself for the possibility of bad news. My eyes met Kyle’s with surprised, happy tears when our surgeon brought up Londyn’s x-ray on the computer and announced, “her hips look perfect!” He showed us the progression of her x-rays, from the first one she had at 4 months old to now, at 15 months. What a spectacular difference! Even our surgeon said, “Looking at her x-ray today, you wouldn’t even know she had anything wrong with her hips.” He told us we are free until she’s two years old, at which time we’ll need to have another x-ray. We have already weaned her off of the rhino brace for naps, and in a week or so, we can discontinue it at night! We left that appointment with such a lightness in our hearts and true gratefulness. What a journey it’s been. And it may not be over, but that’s okay. (DDH is a condition that can often reoccur, and especially once Londyn begins to bear weight and walk, we will need to get her checked throughout her childhood.) At least we get 9 months of freedom which is basically a lifetime for us!
I’ve been thinking a lot about this tumultuous experience of parenting a child with hip dysplasia. I was re-reading some of my previous blog posts with a knot in my stomach remembering well the feelings of fear, sadness, disappointment, and dread. I came to this post where I had tearfully told Kyle how I feel DDH has robbed so much from us- baths I never got to give Londyn, her milestones, her babyhood. And although now, months later looking back, I remember absolutely feeling that way, I wouldn’t say that now. I wouldn’t say DDH has robbed us of anything. I would say DDH has actually given to us.
This battle against DDH has solidified, as trials often do, the bond between my husband and I, my children and us, and my family. It has shown me that I can do very hard things. It has shown me that even when one day life seems like the suffocating weight of a thousand pounds on my chest, it isn’t going to feel like that everyday. And though each step I take may be fragile and fearful, it is a step forward. DDH has illuminated the network of family and friends around us, that we may not have otherwise seen for what they are. It brings me to tears thinking about the truly selfless, prayerful, compassionate people who have chosen to love my daughter and pray for her. DDH has given me such a deep compassion as a mother for other moms who parent children with special needs or illnesses. For every mother who has to walk into a children’s hospital and feel that sickening pit in her stomach, and fight against every fiber of her being that’s telling her to turn and run away, yet keeps walking forward, for the good of the child in her arms. For every father who holds his suffering child and thinks about what he would give if he could just trade places with his baby.
DDH has sparked Kyle and I to create our website, Spica Life, which has already helped a ton of new spica parents. Our surgeon promised us that anytime he puts a child in a spica cast, he directs them to our website! Every single time I receive a message from a new spica parent thanking us for our website, I am so truly humbled and grateful that we were able to use our experience to help others. And hopefully the influence of Spica Life is just beginning! Kyle and I have big plans up our sleeves.
DDH has also given me the deepest appreciation for the little miracles that make up my daughter’s life. When she crawls, when she twists and dances, when she wrestles with her big brother, when she rolls in her rhino brace, I see them all for the miracles that they truly are. DDH has shown me a strength and spunk in my daughter, her fierce will to overcome, her joy despite difficulty, her grace and light. She is an inspiration to me and those around her.
In other news, we have been enjoying a beautiful fall season here in WI. The leaves are showing off with their gorgeous hues of red, orange, and yellow. We’ve squeezed in quite a few visits to our local and adorable pumpkin patch. We are gearing up for the cold and stocking up on our hats, fleeces, and boots. Londyn has just decided to talk more, and will imitate almost anything I say. She has two brand new teeth and plenty more on the way. She is crawling normally and has found out how to roll in her rhino brace for bedtime. She sleeps on her stomach all night long now that she can roll. She is starting to show signs of wanting to stand and seeming frustrated when she cannot reach something she wants. We bought an activity table that she will stand and play with for very short periods of time, with us putting her in the standing position. I am excited to watch Londyn continue to grow and explore, especially knowing she is in the clear for her hips right now!