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.

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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.

 

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.

Exploring New England with an Infant

Boston

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A few weeks back in September my family of three (still hard to believe!) took our first trip by plane to the northeast. Traveling is something Greg and I love to do and the day we found out that I was pregnant was the day we decided we wouldn’t stop, even with a baby. And that is just what we did. At 2.5 months, our daughter, Adeline, took her first flight from Atlanta to Boston and she couldn’t have been better. Flying with a newborn certainly has its challenges but aside from the extra luggage and a little pre-planning, our precious cargo was an angel and handled everything so well.

We did get the eye-rolls from plenty of passengers when boarding the plane. I am guessing they thought Adeline would be screaming the whole way, but that wasn’t the case. As long as there was a bottle in her mouth for takeoff and landing, she was fine. They say the sucking helps with any pressure in the ears they might experience, a pacifier probably works too.

We flew Delta. I am not sure about traveling with an infant on other airlines, but they were super accommodating and made the flight a little smoother than we even planned for.

When we landed we went straight for the hotel so Adeline could get a nap. In Boston, Uber and taxis require babies to be strapped in a car seat (plus, even if they didn’t we feel safer having her in one), so we arranged for car service with Boston Airport Express. We found them on Trip Advisor and had a very pleasant ride. They were friendly, prompt and easy to communicate with. We would highly recommend! We stayed at the Intercontinental Boston; our second time staying there, and had another great experience. The hotel is clean, accommodating, with friendly staff, and a baby bed and refrigerator (score!), and ideally located to get around town easily. It is a close walk to the waterfront and pier, a short walk to Boston Common and Boston Public Garden, not far from the Children’s Museum and the New England Aquarium and about two blocks to the South Station, which can simply take you anywhere.

Around the corner from the Intercontinental is Sorelle, a coffee shop we enjoyed a lot. Their breakfast sandwiches, bagels and drinks were great, we ended up going there every day. We are coffee lovers so, as such, when we were walking to Boston Commons and noticed George Howell Coffee Shop, we couldn’t help but going in. Also another great spot to check out!

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Our recommended dinner spots during this trip:

Cambridge

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A quick subway ride (about 6 spots from the Intercontinental Boston) and you are at Harvard University. We had a blast exploring Cambridge and Adeline enjoyed her stroller ride through campus. If you go prepared, you can rent bikes and there are lots of trails, but if not, everyone is on foot this time of year. Harvard played football the Saturday we went and it was fun to watch their band march through the streets.

Tatte Bakery and Café is a must! We have been a few different times. From sandwiches, to soups, to pastries and coffees, it never disappoints. If I was a student, I would be there everyday!

Mike’s Pastry Shop is a tradition. There’s one in Boston North End and they expanded and added one in Cambridge. It’s an Italian bakery known for their cannoli, it is a must see (and taste!).

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Portland

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We had not been to Maine and with Portland only about a 2 hour drive (2.5 hours with baby), we made a day trip of it to get some lobster and explore the town. It was a lot of fun, walkable and beautiful sites to see. There was markets open when we went, entertainment playing at the restaurants on the water, and a lot of other fun things for families or anyone who visits. We ate at Porthole, which we enjoyed – a typical on-the-water seafood restaurant with the best fish tacos and excellent, fresh, oysters. If you go and eat, make sure to get a table on the patio – that was the best part. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of other restaurants to stumble upon in this town, both casual and fancy, and lots of public parking.

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A suggestion: We drove through Salem, MA on our way to Maine. Salem is about 45 minutes from Boston, easy highway drive, and a good place to stop and break up the trip. There is a lot of interesting sites and history in Salem. We couldn’t stay and explore as long as we would have liked, but check Trip Advisor and there are lots of sites to see, mostly the witch trial history.

Travel tips we learned along the way and wanted to share:

By Plane

  • When traveling with an infant we were moved up the line when going through airport security. So that was a win.
  • Even though you have priority in security, it still takes a little longer since they have to check and test each bottle, so plan for that.
  • Make sure your icepacks are completely frozen. They may not let you get by if the icepack is melting.
  • We rode Adeline through the airport in the stroller and you check the stroller at the gate when boarding the plane.
  • Delta gives priority boarding to those traveling with babies – another win.
  • Under 2, you do not have to purchase a seat, instead “infant in arms”. However at check in, they do ask for the child’s name and information to provide them with a boarding pass as well.
  • Strollers, car seats, and other baby related items as such do not count as your carry-on items. You can still bring your own 2 carry-on items with Delta, which is so helpful.

By Car

  • We rented a car to drive up to Maine and all rental car companies rent out infant car seats (or any size car seat) for $10. Not a bad deal and we brought along wipes to clean it down before putting Adeline in.

 

Next trip, NYC! Stay tuned!

Chicken Medley Soup

This time of year is my favorite. As the weather outside cools down and the air has a crisp chill to it, I cannot help but get creative in the kitchen with soup recipes. Fall provides the perfect soup weather, and I am excited to share a new recipe I recently threw together for a quick and healthy dinner. Enjoy!

Chicken Medley Soup

2 shredded chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15.25oz can of whole kernel corn
1 chopped zucchini
1 cup green beans
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped okra
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp thyme
2 cups water

Salt and Pepper to taste

Season 2 chicken breasts with salt and pepper generously. Boil the chicken breasts in water for 35-40 minutes.

While the chicken is boiling, chop the zucchini, green beans, carrots, okra, and celery and place in a large soup pan. Add the can of tomatoes, with juice, and the can of corn, drained, to the pan. Once the chicken is finished boiling add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth from the chicken to the pan. Add 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of thyme to the pan.

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Pull the boiled chicken a part to shred. Add the chicken to the pan. Pour in 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp thyme. Stir.

Turn the stove on medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the veggies are softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Serve and enjoy!

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.