Author Archives for Anna Zabinski

Adeline’s Upcoming Operation

I have been absent for a little while focusing all my energy and attention on Adeline and I finally have a chance to type what has been on my mind these last several weeks. As I sit here and write this, I watch my sweet baby Adeline fast asleep and a flood of emotions pours over me as I think about Friday. This Friday is our first attempt at correcting Adeline’s hips and we hope the operation proves to be successful. But I can’t help but feel like on Friday that my baby is going to change and that in some strange way I am losing a bond I have with her. If the operation goes as planned she will be in a body cast for at least 6-8 weeks followed by either a cast change at that time then a brace, or, if her hips are progressing well, she will go straight into a brace for another couple months. The cast will cover her legs down to her ankles and come up to her chest under her arms. I sure do hope it is successful, but never in a million years did I think I would be hoping my daughter would be rolled out of an operation room in a body cast. I want this to be over though and the sooner it happens the sooner we know it will be finished. The other part of me is going to long for those snuggles with her cast-free, and bath-time, her favorite time, and naps in the middle of the day with her sound asleep on my chest. I know this is all temporary, but for me, it is a lot to swallow and has just about consumed me since her diagnosis. I truly thank God this is a treatable condition and know I should be focusing on that, but it is hard to think about that in the midst of preparing for what is ahead these next 8 to 14 to 20 weeks. I know the days might feel slow, but eventually this will all be a blip on the radar and we will be celebrating her crawls and first steps in no time.

Greg and I cannot thank all of our friends and family enough for the prayers, kind words, thoughts, and support we have received. Sometimes it is times like this you really do realize all of the love that so many times seems to be absent in the world we are living in. We will be heading to Children’s Healthcare for her operation on Friday morning. If you can, please say a special prayer for Adeline, her doctor and the nurses. But we know she is in good hands because the One that holds her is bigger than all of this.

Will keep you all updated and thank you again for the love.

Anna, Greg & Adeline

Advertisements

A Quick Update

Hi there! What a busy couple weeks our family has had. From all of our October travels to life’s craziness at home (and catching up on sleep!), I have been slow to post. I am in the middle of pulling together our Washington DC trip recap, and can’t wait to share that soon, but in the meantime I wanted to tell you about some exciting news that has also kept me very busy…

Our journey with Adeline has inspired me to plan Sips for Hips Atlanta, a fundraising event for the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) to help further their efforts in research as well as educating patients, families, and physicians. While Hip Dysplasia isn’t life threatening, it has been life changing and introduced me to an international community of “hip families.” I am very excited to be able to do something to benefit this organization and all the work that they are doing!

Greg and I are in the midst of finalizing the date and time of the event. I will continue posting about it on the blog and through social media channels. I can’t wait to share further details with you, but in the meantime follow Sips for Hips Atlanta on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @SipsforHipsATL and encourage your friends and family to as well.

We appreciate all the love and support you have shown to Adeline!

XO!

Adeline Takes the Big Apple

img_7981

New York City has always been a special place for both Greg and myself for a variety of reasons. Probably spending a summer together in the big city while we were practically babies dating in college (was that really 9 years ago?!), tops the list. But what’s not to like? All the food, shopping, museums, and culture are extraordinary it is no wonder people from all over the world come to visit.

We were so excited to take Adeline on her first trip to the Big Apple, and it didn’t disappoint. From the flight to New York to the cab ride into the city, Adeline was on her best behavior. Lucky for us, a flight to NYC from Atlanta is only about 1 hour and 45 minutes, so she had a bottle as we were taking off, and as we landed we made sure she was sucking on her pacifier to avoid any pressure she might have in her ears. During the flight she was a sleeping beauty, which, lately, doesn’t happen so we were thrilled (4 month sleep regression to blame!) and actually got to watch a movie on the plane.

Although NYC has no Taxi Commission rules around car seats and it is a State exemption (basically children under the age of seven are permitted to sit on an adult’s lap), we decided it safer to bring Adeline’s car seat with. NYC driving can be a crazy! This was our first trip taking her car seat along, and it wasn’t so bad at all. Adeline rode in her car seat in the stroller through the airport and we put the car seat base in the stroller basket. We purchased a car seat bag beforehand to protect it once we checked it at the gate. We attached the car seat to the base and zipped it up and put it in the bag – that simple! When we arrived at LaGuardia and hailed our cab, Greg installed the car seat base into the taxi in less than 2 minutes, put Adeline in and we were off.

We had a spectacular stay at The Ritz-Carlton Central Park. From the beautiful property and location to the friendly staff to the room service, there was absolutely nothing to knock. Plus, when we arrived to our room Adeline has a child’s bag full of goodies waiting for her. We were so impressed to find safety outlet covers, diaper cream, baby bath soaps, and even a rubber duck for her bath time! Adeline loved it and made herself right at home…

img_7985

Many times in New York City it can be tough to find a hotel that doesn’t feel the size of a closet, plus adding a crib to the room can limit the space greatly, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, the room was spacious and quiet – two things you don’t usually find in the city that never sleeps. We also highly recommend this property when traveling with a baby. It is located across the street from Central Park, a few blocks from Columbus Circle, and around the corner from The Plaza – three places that are fun to see and easy to do and walk to with a child in a stroller.

4563690496_img_02971

4506401088_img_03112.jpg

4506451504_img_03081

We took Adeline on a walk through Central Park, stopped by the duck pond, and admired all the beauty. She loved hearing the birds, seeing dogs and horses, and soaking in the sunshine and fresh air. Our little diva did want to be held facing out the entire walk/time so she could see everything.

4506418640_img_03061

img_79941

We also spent a fair amount of time at The Plaza. She loved all of the lights and fancy chandeliers in the hotel. Plus, there is a Food Hall in the basement of The Plaza Hotel that is perfect for eating with a baby. Similar to a Food Court, there are a variety of restaurants and food options available to grab a quick meal, coffee or dessert, and all the options are delicious. We have eaten there several times and tried out multiple of the restaurants. It was easy to push the stroller around and if Adeline got fussy no one even noticed since it was a pretty lively place.

 

We walked down Fifth Avenue and Adeline’s eyes got so big!

4493652992_img_0316

All the noises, people, and lights were fascinating to her baby brain. She loved the stroller ride looking out at all the sights. This trip, we didn’t venture to Times Square, or downtown, or Tribeca, etc. We stayed fairly close to where we were staying so we could walk. This trip we did not choose to take the subway or ride in a taxi, for a few different reasons, but one being, this was a pretty quick turnaround trip and we only had 1 full day in the city.

A few of our favorite NYC spots:

  • Le Pain Quotidien – We visit this café for breakfast, lunch and dinner, basically every chance we can get. It is a Belgian restaurant with the best tartines, pastries and coffee and tea. Nice place to relax and read a book if you have the time. (Can also be found in a few other cities around the country.)
  • Sarabeth’s – There is one right next to The Ritz-Carlton at Central Park South (we have also dined in the one in Tribeca and Park Avenue South). They serve all day, but breakfast/brunch may be the specialty, and for good reason. I should go back and try it out for lunch or dinner!
  • Viet Café – Great Vietnamese cuisine! We love the noodle bowls and soups. Unfortunately we didn’t make it here on this trip, but next time. We tried another Pho place this trip, but the serving size was not very big for the price, and for that reason I am not going to add it to this list.
  • Dean & Deluca – Who doesn’t like it? Didn’t get a chance to stop by my favorite location in SoHo, but grabbed a tea at the Columbus Circle (City Spire) location.

Other:

  • Auden Bistro & Bar– As I mentioned, we really enjoyed the room service at The Ritz-Carlton. One thing about traveling with a baby, you do spend a little more time in the hotel room and likely end up ordering room service at least once. Both of our meals were extremely tasteful, fresh and good portions. We would definitely order and dine here again!

That’s it for now, but we will be back. We ❤ NYC! Already planning our next New York adventure. Comment below if there are specific things you would like to see covered next. XO!

Treating the Hip

We have a bedtime routine with Adeline. She eats her last feeding, gets a bath, we read her a book (this girl LOVES to read and cries when the book is over!), and then Adeline and I rock and say a bedtime prayer. We pray thanking God for all of our blessings, for the friends and family we have surrounding us and loving on us, and we pray a special prayer each night together for her hip; for complete healing, for it to be healed with or without surgery, for no pain and for a quick recovery. (I am not going to lie and say we don’t ask for a miracle healing in Jesus name in our prayers, too, and especially as we got closer to the date of her next appointment.)

We had her follow up orthopedic appointment in late September (September 24, Adeline’s 3-month birthday) to see the status of her hips, specifically the left side. Per her orthopedic doctor’s orders, we had given it 2-months to “wait and see” if the left hip would work it’s way back into the socket so that he could either put her back in the harness or put her in a hard brace (and know that it was holding it in the right position).

Leading up to what we knew would be one of the most important doctor’s visits we would have, my prayers got longer, stronger, more emotional. I knew at this visit if she had not showed signs of improvement on her left side we would have to face the reality of surgery. Every morning I would look obsessively at Adeline’s hips when changing her diaper: compare her leg rolls to see if they were even, if her legs were the same length, and if her knees were the same height when bent (all things the doctors check for in infants with hip dysplasia). I wanted so bad to not be able to feel her hip bone out of the socket. I wanted so bad for her to be okay and for this all to be over.

We went in for our visit on that Monday. We were so excited to see her doctor – he has the most calming presence about him, and Adeline just smiles when she sees him which makes her mommy so happy – but it didn’t take a long time for him to recognize the left hip was still dislocated and it wasn’t popping back in. Luckily, Adeline kept her smile on the entire visit, didn’t cry once (I think she liked all of the attention). I loved seeing how strong my little girl was laying on the doctor’s table. It gave me the strength I didn’t have on my own, especially when her doctor confirmed our worst fears and the “s” word came out of his mouth.

We were facing the decision at this point of not “if” but “when”. Adeline would need an operation under general anesthesia as a next step in her treatment process. Because it requires anesthesia, her doctor recommended trying a procedure called a closed reduction at/around 4 months. This is a less invasive surgery basically manipulating the hip back into the socket without an incision, but clipping a tendon if necessary to loosen. Unfortunately, with this operation it is not a guarantee it will correct the issue, and hard to know if it will work until she is under anesthesia. If he is not able to manipulate her hip with this operation, a more invasive procedure will take place when she is a little older (8 or 9 months), called an open reduction.

This was a lot of information to process. Thinking about my child facing surgery at any age is tough, but especially at 4 months; it is emotional, to put it lightly. But we had a decision to make – to try the closed or wait until she is older for the open procedure. There are a number of benefits to correct her hip at a younger age, “sooner the better,” as our doctor put it. If it is successful, Adeline’s developmental milestones won’t be as delayed, babies’ bodies are still growing and developing and that can be a good thing in the healing process, etc. etc.

After reflecting on our conversation with Adeline’s doctor during our visit and exchanging several emails with him too, praying for guidance and direction on how to move forward, we decided to schedule a closed reduction.

Adeline is scheduled for her surgery on November 16. As I (and my husband) prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for this day, I ask you to join us in praying a special prayer for protection over her, for wisdom for her doctor and guidance of his hands, and for complete healing for Adeline. We are still going to continue praying without ceasing for a miracle because we have full faith that God is capable of anything, but we know and are at peace with the fact that He has a plan, and if November 16 comes, and the surgery happens, He has it under control and His promises never fail us.

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.

IMG_8008

IMG_8007

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.

 

Ice Cream Pie

If you love Oreos, you will love this treat. The easiest dessert you will ever make, no baking required! This was a hit at a dinner party we held a few weeks back and the best part about it – it was only 4 ingredients and took 5 minutes to prepare. You can get creative and try out other types of ice cream and cookies too (think mint, cookie dough, you name it).

Ice Cream Pie

1 box of Oreos
1 carton of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
Whipped cream, as desired

Place 2 rows of the Oreos in a plastic bag and crush the cookies into crumbs. Once the cookies are in crumb-form, pour what is in the bag in the bottom of a pie dish and spread out evenly. Top with cookies and cream ice cream. Tip: I found it best to sit the ice cream out for about 10 minutes before using so it has softened and it easy to spread. Smooth the top of the ice cream out and drizzle chocolate syrup on top.

Freeze the pie for 6 hours. Remove and decorate the top with whipped cream and the remaining Oreos.

Serve and Enjoy!

 

Our Hippy Journey – The Diagnosis

As I mentioned in Adeline’s birth story post, she was a breech baby, frank breech specifically, and likely had been for quite a while during my pregnancy. That means her head and feet were basically touching and she was folded in half in my tummy. When babies are born, no matter their positioning, the doctors do a top to bottom evaluation to make sure everything is ok and the baby is healthy. As was routine, they checked Adeline out after her birth, bathed her and placed her in my arms in the recovery room. That was about the time the pediatrician came in to talk to us about her hips. I was still pretty out of it, at this point it is after midnight and I was still coming off of the medicine. But what I did hear in this conversation was a doctor telling me my baby was not perfect, and no mommy (or daddy) wants to hear that, ever. Obviously I was concerned, but did not have time to process what exactly they meant and the doctor was not able to tell us much.

The next day, the pediatricians do morning rotations to each patient’s room after checking the babies. That Monday morning the pediatrician came by our room. My husband had just run to grab some breakfast for us so it was only Adeline and I in the room. Everything looked great and Adeline was healthy, she told me. Except for her hips. What I will always remember about this conversation was the pediatrician telling me she had never seen a case this bad in 6 years – why on earth she stated it that way is anyone’s guess, but I was crushed inside. I did not know what all of this meant, what was in store for us, and if my precious baby would be ok. And then the mom guilt hits – this was all my fault. What did I do wrong? Is there something I could have done different to avoid this? Why does my baby have this? There are so many days I still have these thoughts and some nights while rocking Adeline to sleep I still have tears stream down my face worried about her and feeling like somehow I could have changed this.

Following our discharge from the hospital Thursday of that week, we scheduled Adeline’s first pediatric appointment the next day. We did not want to waste any time. Our pediatrician, whom we absolutely adore and has been such support, checked her hips that Friday. Sure enough there was clicking and popping coming from the right side and we believed that was the side to worry about. She talked to us about Infant Hip Dysplasia, something neither Greg nor I had ever heard of. She advised us to schedule time with a Pediatric Orthopedic Specialist, and sooner the better. Since babies are born with a good amount of the hormone relaxin passed on from the mother, which keeps the baby’s ligaments and joints flexible in order to move through the birth canal, picking up on and treating hip dysplasia early has a much better success rate to avoid further complications and procedures such as surgery.

After leaving the doctor’s office that day, we did not waste time. We called from the doctor’s office parking to sat up an appointment for the following Monday to meet with the orthopedic doctor in hopes of learning more and praying it would be a quick-fix.