Friday, 22 July 2011

The Clicky Hip

It seems so long ago that our DDH adventure began.  It started with a routine examination by the paediatrician of BabyB-B two days after her birth.  He said he could feel a slight "click" in our perfect daughter's hip, but not to worry as it almost always sorts itself out.  We quickly dimissed the "clicky hip" from our minds. 

Over the following weeks BabyB-B's hips were examined by our home visit nurse, our GP and our early childhood centre nurse.  On each occasion I mentioned that the paediatrician had felt a click and ordered an ultrasound at eight weeks.  At each of these examinations I was told that no click could be felt but to go for the ultrasound anyway.  Again, I quickly dismissed the "clicky hip" from my mind.

The day of the ultrasound arrived and up to the Children's Hospital I went.  It was BabyB-B's eight week birthday.  BabyB-B, typical to form, smiled and cooed at the technician as she was put down on a bed made for someone much larger than she.  During the ultrasound she continued to coo, smile and take in her surroundings.  As the technician got to the "clicky hip" our little BabyB-B started to get cross and I got a feeling in my gut that something wasn't quite right.  The technician said nothing.

The following week we had result day with the paediatrician at the Royal Hospital for Women.  We had already had a busy day at mother's group, which we left following one of BabyB-B's now infamous poonamis.  I raced home from Centennial Park to change my smiling poo monster before packing her into the Ergo carrier and walking up to the hospital.  BabyB-B fell asleep on the walk and was oblivious to my anxiety sitting in the outpatients' waiting room. 

Our name was finally called and in we went for the results: 50% on the left and 42% on the right.  What does that mean?  My question exactly.  The paediatrician said 50% is good but less than 50% they have to do something but he had to call his boss.  In the meantime he examined a now wide awake and smiling BabyB-B.  She proceeded to tell him all about her day in a delightful series of cooes and gahs.  Apart from the 42% she scored an A+.  The plus being that she interacts and responds to people much like a four month old baby would.  "The boss" then came in and in a massive whirlwind I was left holding a referral for the following Monday to the orthopaedic surgeon at the Children's Hospital.  The boss said they would probably put her in a harness.  My heart sank.  I called DaddyB-B and told him the news.  We reassured ourselves that it would only be for a few weeks and then it would be over.

All three of us trooped up to the Children's Hospital for our appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon.  We thought he would be telling us about treatment options and what would be happening.  Instead he put our smiling little girl on a bed, ignored her cooes and smiles and proceeded to examine BabyB-B like she wasn't there.  His boss came in to examine our smiling angel. acknowledging her presence with his own cooes and click.  He told us we had to go up to orthotics to have a Pavlik Harness fitted.  Now.  My heart broke.

We left with instructions for our next appointment and ultrasound and headed to the orthotics department.  Again our smiling BabyB-B was put on to a large bed.  Her clothes stripped and her chest measured.  She was the fitted with her Pavlik Harness.  As the first strap was done up she screamed.  My heart shattered.  What had I done wrong to cause this?  Was she too crammed inside me?  Was my labour too long?  I did not like to accept the logical answer, the genetic predisposition on DaddyB-B's side.  It was my fault. 

Our darling daughter has been in a Pavlik Harness of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) for just over a week now.  She spent the first seven days in it 24 hours a day.  She is now allowed an hour of "free time" each day.  I cried tears of joy during her first hour out.  A week is a long time not to see your beautiful baby's perfect little body and have lovely naked cuddles.  Apart from the initial screaming at having it fitted she does not seem at all bothered by the harness.  DaddyB-B and I are also coming to terms with it.  Her wild kicking during her hour free time lights up my heart.  Her protests at having it put back on are no more than her protests at having to get dressed generally. 

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