The Harness

Adeline had an appointment with her pediatric orthopedic surgeon the week after she was born. At 9 days old Adeline was put into a Pavlik Harness. Seeing her be placed in that harness broke my heart. I cried uncontrollably. I prepared weeks and months for my baby’s arrival, but nothing prepared me for this journey. During my pregnancy I dreamed about holding my baby but never in my wildest dreams pictured her with a harness. She was so tiny with Velcro wrapped all around her. It tore me up inside. Hip Dysplasia is usually genetic, but this was not something that Greg nor I had as an infant. Hip Dysplasia does, however, carry other risk factors. And Adeline met all three other high-risk factors – firstborn, female and breech.

Adeline was required to wear the harness 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We figured out our new “normal.” We learned to change diapers, feed, bathe, and dress her with the harness on all with the expectation she would be in it for about 12 weeks and would be free, healed and in the clear.



In mid-July, after about two weeks in the harness, we went in for our first ultrasound at Scottish Rite so that our doctor could get a better understanding of what was happening. What we found out was not the news we were hoping for. Our doctor called us that afternoon to confirm our worst fears…Adeline had mild dysplasia of her right hip (it was partially dislocated) and severe dysplasia of her left hip. Her left hip was completely dislocated. We were devastated to receive this report, but still hopeful the harness would improve the angle of both hips and deepen the socket over the course of the next several weeks.

A week passed by and in late July we had a follow up visit to assess her condition. 4 weeks had gone by in the harness at this point. As the doctor did his thorough assessment of her hip angles and movement, he determined the hips were not showing the improvement they should with the harness. It was actually causing more harm than good to her left hip. He had us remove the harness for the time being and schedule a follow-up visit for two weeks out. The idea was to allow Adeline to regain the movement in her legs to loosen up the hips so that they could be manipulated back in. Something was in the way of the left hip from moving into the socket, and the more she could kick her legs, the better the chance of her movement shaving down the blockage (whether it was fat tissue or cartilage) and popping back in.

We went back to the doctor in early August to check up on the progress of her hips without the harness. The right hip showed great improvement, but the left was still dislocated. With our doctor’s recommendation, we decided the best path forward was to “wait and see” and leave the harness off for another short while in hopes it may correct itself. We were to return in September to follow-up with our doctor on the status.

The waiting game was hard, but we learned to be thankful for the harness-free snuggles, enjoy bath-times even more, pray harder, love deeper and trust that the Lord had Adeline in the palm of His hands, He would take care of her and be with her and Greg and I every step of the way.


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