Motherhood

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

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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.

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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.

 

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.

Adeline’s Birth Story

June 24, 2018. I have replayed this day over and over in my head a hundred times. I can remember every detail of the day, everything that happened, the conversations and emotions, but sitting down and writing this right now is a whole different story and one I have not shared with many. June 24 is the day Adeline was born and a day that rocked my whole world – changed everything about my family and identity in an incredible way.

Before I jump into her birth story, let me give a little background. At my 33-week appointment I was told that Adeline was likely breech. But to be certain, at my 35-week appointment the doctor ordered an ultrasound. And sure enough, the bowling ball we felt at the top of my bump was most definitely her head. We scheduled an External Cephalic Version (ECV) at 37 weeks in hopes the doctor could manually turn her. 2 minutes into what proved to be a very painful procedure, my doctor knew this baby was not budging – she was a good size with little room to rotate and completely comfortable and snug in the position she was in. That afternoon after getting home from the hospital from the Version, we scheduled a C-section for June 30.

Greg and I woke up that Sunday in June (June 24) and decided to attend the 7 am church service (not sure what we were thinking since looking back, that was the absolute last day we would ever sleep in 🙂 ) and after the service we went for breakfast at a restaurant in Buckhead. It ended up being a beautiful summer day and the sunshine came out strong.

At this point, Adeline was still breech and after scouring the web for a few weeks leading up to this day I was determined to go to the pool as much as possible to swim laps in hopes she would turn (which apparently works for some women, who would have thought?!). This day was no exception. After church Greg and I got our pool things ready and headed that way for a few hours before coming home to relax for the rest of the evening. It was about 6:30 pm when we sat down for dinner and started talking about our baby, what parenting would be like, what we were going to do our last week before the C-section that following weekend, and we even argued a little about who was more excited about our baby’s arrival.

I am not sure what it was, the pool, the dinner, or the bickering, but Adeline was not having it and she didn’t want to wait any longer. About 7 pm, when Greg got up to do the dishes in the kitchen, my water broke. There was no question. Greg loaded the car so fast, I was basically frozen and couldn’t move, thinking a million different things, but we both hopped in the car in less than 10 minutes and booked it to Northside Hospital.

Upon arrival they took me quickly back to our room knowing our little girl was breech. The on-call doctor came to our room within minutes. She had most kind spirit, with a reassuring calming nature God must have known I would need. To make it better, my midwife, whom I adored throughout my pregnancy, was also on-call that night. I could not have wished for a better team.

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By the time I was taken back, checked out and connected to all the monitors it was time, Baby Adeline was ready to make her appearance. They wheeled us back to the operating room and Greg and I knew within 30 minutes we would be parents – what an amazing and scary feeling, all at the same time.

In what was the most seamless experience, our baby arrived at 10:32 pm that night. I was so drugged up with medicine and somewhat loopy when they placed her on my chest once she was cleaned up, but it was one of the most special moments I could have ever imagined.

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There are so many other details about the night that is imprinted in my memory and will never be forgotten.

As I sit now and reflect on that series of events, I can’t help but believe God knew exactly what he was planning and doing and I thank Him every day for the healthy and safe delivery we had and for letting Adeline make me a mommy.

Adeline Estelle has brought so much joy to our lives and more than I ever thought imaginable. I cannot imagine life without her, and she’s the absolute best gift I have ever received.