Brody’s new cast

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An update is long overdue…

We have moved on to the second cast after six weeks in the first one. Time both flies by and drags on. It’s interesting how time works that way. It feels like Brody has been in a cast forever, we are so used to it. I hardly remember what his legs look like. For the most part we have adjusted to it quite well. He has adjusted to it remarkably. He is an amazing little guy, he loves to laugh and smile and play, just like before the cast. He is learning to get around in the cast, he scoots everywhere! I know after the removal he will be crawling and walking in no time! He even turned himself over the other day, it was very exciting. He has only done it once, but it’s amazing that he is able to move around so well in such a bulky heavy cast. He gives me strength, knowing he isn’t phased by this small setback makes my heart smile. I still miss cuddling him without a cast, playing with his legs, watching him grab his feet and dressing him in pants. I get sad sometimes, but I know it will be over soon and he will have healthy hips.

The application of the second cast went so smoothly, it was amazing. The entire process took so little time, we were in and out of the hospital and back home in no time. He woke up from surgery and started playing within five minutes. He was the smiling happy boy so quickly you would never have known he just had surgery. This cast is a bit smaller and a little more light weight than the first. But other than that not much has changed. The next surgery should be even easier and quicker. The doctor says his hips look awesome, and his skin looks awesome under the cast. In fact, he said Brody’s skin is the best he’s ever seen under a baby’s cast after six weeks! This meant a lot to Casey and I, we have worked so hard to keep Brody dry and clean, it’s difficult but worth it. It just validates us, we are doing a good job and it will pay off. The next surgery will be shorter because the doctor won’t do another arthogram (injecting dye into his hips) he says it won’t be necessary. Also, the next cast will be completely waterproof and only come to his knees. I’m ready for bath time and him kicking those legs! That surgery is scheduled for March 1st, and we are counting down the days. After that, it’s only four more weeks in a cast. I know Casey is concerned for the six months Brody will be wearing a brace at night, but I think it will be so much easier than the cast.

I get teary eyed thinking about this whole process. I wonder if my wishing away four months of my sons life is okay. I feel terrible for just wanting this time to fly by, I feel like I am missing important time with my baby because I want it to be over. I still hug him, cuddle him, play with him, read with him, etc etc…but I am constantly wishing for tomorrow so we can be one day closer to no more cast. I assume that is normal in my position, but it still feels like I’m losing precious time that Brody is growing and changing. That being said, I’m ready for this to be over! It has become routine, it has become normal, but it doesn’t get easier emotionally.

He will be eight months old in a few days, wow! Crazy how fast time goes by. I am finally becoming more open to leaving him with a babysitter for a few hours, Casey and I have had a couple wonderful nights out. That helps me feel more like “me” again, instead of “mom me.” Plus, we have amazing family that love him so much, it’s good to know he is in good hands with people who are capable and love him (almost) as much as we do! ūüôā

We are also trying not to think about the huge expense this is becoming. Despite having insurance, we are looking at medical bills over 15,000 dollars. It’s crazy, but we have no other choice. We will find a way to pay the bills, even if it is small payments over the next ten years (ha! and aah!). It’s hard not to stress about the money part, even if it’s not the most important aspect. But knowing that Brody will be happy and healthy, I would pay anything for that.

Having a baby changes every aspect of your life, people tell you that, but it’s hard to understand until you are living it. I never could have imagined the amount of love I have for Brody and I can’t begin to describe the overwhelming desire to give him the world. But when I think of the last few months, I know the decisions Casey and I have had to make are just the first of many hard ones we will be making for the rest of our lives in order to give Brody everything…and seeing his little face light up with the biggest smile you have ever seen makes it all worth it (and a little easier).

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time for an update

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We went to the hospital on Thursday morning for Brody’s surgery, it was a hard day but everything went really well. We did have to stay the night at the hospital because the closed procedure was not an option when the doctor saw that there were blockages preventing Brody’s right hip from going back into place.

We have our follow up appointment tomorrow morning, he will change the bandage on Brody’s incision and make sure he is doing well in the cast.

From my perspective, Brody is doing awesome. He is the exact same baby as he was before the surgery. His strength amazes me. The ability for him to adapt to a huge cast is remarkable. I feel so much stronger because he is doing so well. To see his face still as smiley and happy as ever lightens the negativity I have towards the situation. Being positive about Brody’s hips, knowing we made the right decision, and knowing that we are overcoming these hardships makes me feel powerful. Going through this as a family is making us stronger, I know we can get through anything together.

I can’t lie, diapering is hard. Not being able to cuddle him as¬†well is hard. Not being able to carry him around because he is so heavy is hard. Not bathing him is hard. But…through all the hard, I have this little light that is so bright and so amazing! It has not even been a week and I feel that everyday is getting easier. I know it’s a cliche that you can’t know happy if you’ve never known sad, but I think all the sadness we feel about his cast will allow us to know more happiness in the future. We will never take for granted the fact that he will be able to painlessly run, play sports and be a normal kid. And, I don’t want to fast forward, but the next four months can go by as fast as they would like!

Before we know it he will be walking around and getting into everything! So, today I am positive and looking forward to this getting easier. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Merry Christmas!

Trip to Dallas/Decision

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So we went to Dallas for our second opinion. The trip was nice, it was nice to get away for a couple days and just relax a little. We made it fun, made lots of stops and a four hour trip took us seven hours! The appointment was also incredibly pleasant. The Scottish Rite Hospital is an amazing place. Everyone was so nice, helpful and friendly. The hospital itself was so kid friendly and really made us feel comfortable. The whole reason we took him there was because we had been told that this hospital had the best doctors for hip dysplasia in the country. Casey and I both felt as though the trip was a complete success. Despite the fact that they told us the same thing the doctor here did. However, that is what I had anticipated, I just needed to get a second opinion to know we were making the right decision.

So…dun dun dun…our decision stands that we will be going with the surgery on December 8th. We have our consultation on November 30 to make sure Brody is in good health and ready for the surgery. He will be¬†in a series of three¬†Spica casts for four months (minimum). And…I am kinda freaking out. I am¬† not as bad as when we first were told that the harness isn’t working and we would have to move on to the more invasive procedure, but I am still really scared, nervous, sad, etc etc etc…

I know Brody will be fine. I know he will adjust well. I know that Casey and I will do great because we love each other and Brody so much. But I know that it will be hard. It will be a challenge. It will be learning to entertain a 6 month old like he is a new baby. I know that these last five months have gone by so fast but the next four will drag on and on and on. I know that I will be sad, because I already am. I know that I will cry…because I already do that too. But I think I am ready, as ready as you can be anyway. I am done wishing this wasn’t happening. I am done being scared of what will happen soon. I want to face this situation with strength and courage. I want to show Brody that this is just something we have to face together, as a family, and get through.

When I started writing this blog I felt a loss. I felt as though I had been let down by doctors and lied to. I felt that the harness was so terrible and I hated it and I hated that he had to wear it. Now, I feel silly for hating that situation so much. The last thing I want to hear right now is “he looks fine to me” or “it could be worse”. But the truth is, he does look fine, hip dysplasia isn’t something that shows itself to the common eye as being troublesome. And yes, it could be worse, but I’m tired of hearing that…I have no clever remark on why I’m tired of it or why it sucks right now…I’m just tired of hearing it.

I think this is a less well written blog then most of my other ones because I am finally facing the reality that November does not exist, this month is gone and it is pretty¬†much time to do this damn thing…so lets do it. Next time I write I hope it’s all about how the cast isn’t so bad, we don’t hate it and Brody is doing great…fingers crossed.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving ūüôā

sorry it took so long!

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So, I am a slacker when it comes to updating lately!

Our consultation with Brody’s doctor went really well. I feel as though I like him more and more as we get to know him better. He explained that he was not trying to rush us into any decisions, he just knows a lot of parents who want to just “get it over with.” Casey and I are not those parents, we are¬†cautious (to a fault maybe) and need to know as much about the situation before jumping into anything. The doctor made me feel as though he was more concerned with the outcome of the experience rather than just making money off a terrible situation. That was one thing that had me worried, I felt as though he might be rushing us into the surgery because his financial benefit would outweigh the emotional burden on us. However, he was very understanding about us wanting to wait and about us seeking a second opinion. I orginally wanted to go to a doctor that he did not refer us to just to make sure we are getting the right information. WE have decided instead to go with his referral because they are “the best in the country” with children and hip dysplasia.

That being said, the process is moving along rather quickly, we have an appointment set up in Dallas next week, October 27. We are excited about going to Dallas. We will be seen by the Scottish Rite Hospital, and from the paperwork we have received in the mail, it looks like a really welcoming environment that has Brody’s best interest in mind. Plus, the doctors who work there not only trained our doctor, but also write books about hip dysplasia in infants. I am certain they will tell us the same things we have already heard, but it is important to me to seek out all the advice we can get to make sure we are making the right decisions. I think the more doctors who tell me that this is what needs to happen (the Spica cast) the more I will feel “right.” Nothing any doctor can tell me is going to make this easier, because my son still has to be in a full body cast. But knowing that everyone agrees it is necessary will ease my mind a bit. I say that now, but we will see how I feel after Dallas.

I don’t really have much more to update on, Brody is still the cutest thing in the world. He is still the love of my life and I can’t imagine having a more beautiful, wonderful child.

 

As it stands, we have the surgery set for December 8th. I don’t foresee that changing, but we might go a different route after speaking with the doctors in Dallas. Whatever the case may be, I know that it’s never going to be a “good” time to put Brody in the cast. I know I’m never going to be ready for it, and I am learning to accept that. I want this all to go away, but it’s not going to and I have to suck it up and be strong for my little baby. I feel like I have to be okay with whatever decision we make, because the only way it could be the wrong decision is if we do nothing for him. And we all know that is not going to happen!

Hook'Em Horns!

consultation tomorrow…

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So it has been almost one month since I last wrote, partly because I haven’t had time and partly because I haven’t made time to think about all of this. It’s hard to completely block out the situation, but I have been trying. I know this is probably not the best thing to do, but it has helped me to just be able to enjoy my baby for a month instead of worrying constantly.

Not too much has happened with his hip dysplasia in this time. We did go see a chiropractor who gave us some helpful advice. He thinks we should wait on putting Brody in a cast or doing any kind of surgery. He basically reminded me of the major concerns I have with development and how the cast could delay important milestones (crawling, sitting up, etc.). We also made the decision to seek a second opinion, although we have not followed through with this yet, we will. Tomorrow is the consultation for the surgery and cast. We know going into this appointment that we are not going to keep the October 7th surgery appointment, we want to wait, we just are not sure how long yet.

I am really wavering in my decisions right now, I can’t decide if we should wait a while on the cast to allow Brody to learn to crawl, or if we should put it on and delay this. I know I want him to be in the cast during the winter, this winter…still not sure on that. It is just too hot to have him in a full body cast during the summer months. I think the consultation tomorrow will help us make clearer decisions, but maybe not, maybe the second opinion will do the trick. I try not to put too much stock in horoscopes, but sometimes they really hit home. My horoscope today (September 28):

“You have been waiting for a revelation when it comes to making a decision. You are probably hoping that the signs will be obvious, or that someone else will make the decision for you. But why the sudden lack of confidence? Why are you feeling so shaky about something that you wouldn’t ordinarily think twice about? It’s probably just the anxious state you’re in, caused by a rather volatile celestial pattern that is dramatically affecting your sign. But that will only last for another day, and then your thinking¬†and your decision-making skills will be much clearer.”

Reading this really made me feel like it is okay that I haven’t been able to¬† make a decision while giving me hope that tomorrow will help clear things up. There just seem to be so many factors in this equation. I also feel like wanting to wait is more for selfish reasons…I really hate that he will be in a cast. I just want a cuddly infant that we don’t have to worry about developmental delays or how to diaper him in the cast. I have been researching hip dysplasia and one thing¬†a website¬†talked about¬†was the resentment some parents feel. I can really identify with this, I resent the fact that my baby has to have surgery, that I won’t be able to cuddle him and that everything is going to be a little harder after the cast is put on. I also resent other mothers who do not have to deal with this. But knowing that these feelings are normal and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it really helps me come to terms with these emotions.

Hopefully tomorrow helps answer questions we have and possibly we can make some decisions…but if not, we are not going to rush into anything and we want to feel completely comfortable with any decision we make. I will update again soon!

back to square one

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So, we had another appointment today to check on Brody’s hips. This time we did an ultrasound so we could really see what is happening. Sadly it looks like the harness is not working on the right hip, it’s still loose, pops out and looks like there may be some blockage preventing it from staying in properly.

The problem with this news is that leaving the harness on could make matters worse.¬† We don’t want things to get worse or for him to get too much older before this issue is corrected. So…our next step is a cast. In my head, this sounds reasonable enough. However, when I think about my baby in a two leg-go around the waist cast, I freak. We are back to no bathing and diaper changing issues…

Thankfully, this does not happen tomorrow or anything very soon. We have almost an entire month before we have a consultation with the doctor (September 28) and over a month before the actual cast is put on (October 7).

Putting on the cast is yet another issue. To do this, he has to be put under, dye injected into his hips so they can make sure they are aligned properly, and then the cast put on. If for some reason the blockage is too much and the hip will not go in the way it is supposed to, the doctor has to make an incision into his leg and remove the blockage.

This is the scariest thing I have ever experienced. I know these surgeries are routine, but to think of my little Brody going through all of this really frightens me. And the application of the cast is just the beginning. After that, he wears it for 6 weeks. Then it is removed and another cast is put on for another 6 weeks. Then it is removed and another cast is put on for 4 weeks. That is a grand total of four months he has to wear a cast! By the time he gets it off, half of his life will have been spent in a cast.

I know he won’t remember any of it and the doctor says they aren’t even really affected by it. I know it is harder on me and Casey than it is on him. Rationally, I know everything is going to be okay. Irrationally, I am crying again…I want this to all be over with. I want to be able to take pictures of my son without a harness or cast or hip problems. I want to hold him and cuddle him without these things screwing up the process.

Overall, I know this is what needs to be done and I know that he needs me to be strong for him. I am so thankful that I am able to stay home with him because having him in a daycare or a babysitter dealing with casts and whatnot seems impossible. We are so lucky that he is a strong healthy baby. This will be over soon, it just seems so devastating because he is so young and he is so perfect and new, in 2 years this will be a thing of the past, in 4 years we will hardly remember these sad days and in 10 years it will be nothing…until then, it’s hard and sad and scary.

I really appreciate all of the love and support from Casey, he knows me so well and knows what to say (and what not to say). I’m not sure how I would get through this without him and also all the love and support from our families. I really feel like you are only given what life knows you can handle, and we can handle so much more because we have so much love.¬† So I know we will be strong through all of this, today is just another rough day.

Encouraging news :)

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Beautiful Boy

An update is long overdue. I am so incredibly happy about how Brody’s last doctor appointment turned out! It was last Wednesday, and after seven days of wearing the harness twenty four seven, we were finally able to take it off! WOOHOO!

The doctor checked his hips and seemed genuinely surprised at how much progress was made, yippee! However, Brody’s leg was not kicking as much as he should have been, possibly caused by a pinched nerve. The doctor explained it as a similar feeling to your foot falling asleep. He had us leave it off for twenty four hours, then come in for a follow-up. On Thursday we went back to check on his leg, and although he was kicking more, the doctor wanted to be safe and instructed me not to put the harness back on until Saturday. This was totally fine by me! I love cuddling my little man without the harness on.

Now we only have to wear it at night, YAY!! No more skipping baths or worrying about getting the WHITE harness dirty! His leg is kicking normal and we wore the brace last night to bed. It is so much easier now than it was in the beginning. I had grown accustomed to the harness for that week, but I sure am glad we only have to put it on him at night now.

In two weeks we go in for an ultrasound. This will determine if the harness is working or if we need to seek more invasive measures. I am confident that the harness is working and we won’t need to go to a cast or to surgery, but that fear is still there. We are not quite in the clear, but I am at least more optimistic about the situation.

After the orthopedic appointment on Wednesday we had the two month pediatrician appointment. With all of the hip problems and over planning for that, I completely forgot about two month shots!!!! Brody did so great, he only cried for a second and the rest of the day was spent a little fussy, but mostly sleeping. I did okay too, haha, I didn’t even cry! It’s so hard to see him in pain, but I know it’s what is best for him.

His voice is now really hoarse sounding, I researched this online and it seems that a few people have noticed their babies throat sounding scratchy after vaccines so I’m hoping that is all it is. If it doesn’t clear up in a few days I will call the doctor. Man, people aren’t lying when they say kids are expensive and you will take them to the doctor a hundred times in the first year. Thank goodness we have insurance, I feel very lucky that we can give him what he needs and not think twice about making sure he is taken care of.

I have pretty much been on cloud nine since the appointment, I feel like we are doing the right thing for our son and it is paying off. I look forward to seeing on an ultrasound what is happening, then I will be able to (hopefully) breathe a sigh of relief!