For those of you who follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve heard about our recent trip to the doctor with Birdie. When she was born, she had a VERY curved, kidney-bean shaped right foot. I don’t think it would be considered a club foot, only because it’s not severe enough of a curve. No one has used the term with us, and we haven’t asked if it would be considered a club foot. Her left was also a curved, but not quite so much. We decided to have her seen by the orthopedic specialist, just in case it was something that needed to be dealt with. She told us to stretch her foot, then to come back by the time she was 3 months old.
We had her follow up appointment on Friday, and sadly her foot hadn’t stretched out far enough. Our choices were to leave it alone, as the doctor believed she would walk on it just fine (the foot is very flexible, and it is mostly flat to the ground if you try to stand her up), or to have it casted and straightened. The doctor recommended the casting, so we chose to go ahead and follow her recommendation. She also recommended that we do it right away, because as she gets older, it will get harder to treat. And if we were going to fix her right foot, we may as well address the left foot while we’re at it. The doctor said that she wouldn’t recommend treatment for the left foot if we weren’t treating the right foot… but that it wouldn’t be that much more difficult to treat both at the same time.
I think my theory was that we should fix her feet while we can. I would regret it if there was something that Birdie wanted to do, but couldn’t, because of her curved feet… like dance. Or that she would be made fun of in school because of her feet. Plus she’d have a very hard time finding shoes that fit, and would likely always be uncomfortable.
So… this means that on Friday, that day, Birdie got casts put on both of her legs, from her mid-thigh to her toes. She is understandably angry about it, although Saturday was better than Friday, and hopefully Sunday will be easier still. She slept well on Friday night, and I hope that tonight she sleeps just as well. I’m fortunate that her Miracle Blanket fits over her casts, even though her sleepers don’t (she’s mostly been hanging around in onsies and her leg casts). She’s very fussy at the breast, and wakes up pretty super mad because she can’t bend her knees and pull her legs up to her chest (most babies with colic episodes or past colicky babies like to hold their limbs very tight to their bodies, and Birdie is no exception). In between feeding and napping, though, she does have some happy moments. She’s pretty pleased that her casts make a loud noise when she lifts them up and knocks them against the plastic toys on her floor gym. I think she also likes to hear the “thunk” on the ground when she lets her legs fall after lifting them. She still loves to see her daddy and will giggle at us (although we have to work a little harder to get her to laugh). I’m hoping that in the next few days she won’t wake up so angry, and that she’ll nurse better.
Kitten has handled the whole thing with pretty good grace. She was rather upset during the casting, and my mom had to take her out of the treatment room. But otherwise she hasn’t really said too much about the casts. She did delight in getting to do some colouring on them while we were at Rob’s parents on Saturday. I think that Kitten just has enough going on in her own head that she’s not all that interested in what’s going on with Birdie.
Rob hasn’t said too much about the casts. I think that for the most part, he just trusts the doctor’s advice, and it is what it is. He hasn’t mentioned how he feels about it, other than he thinks it’s a little bit harder to hold her.
I’m fairly bi-polar in my emotions. Some moments I feel awful and weep openly about it. Other times I feel very much like it’s no big deal, and the only change is that I can’t take her in the tub with me every night (can’t get the casts wet). In my heart of hearts, I’m a pretty big mess about the whole ordeal. I feel awful for Birdie – she must be so frustrated with her lack of movement. And while I don’t think it hurts so much, it must ache a little bit. You know how you feel when you have a really good stretch in one of your muscles – not to the point of pain, but a little uncomfortable? That’s what I imagine that she’s feeling. I feel like I don’t really know how to take care of her now. It’s harder to hold her. Our bedtime routine has changed. She’s not eating or napping as she usually did. I’m worried that she’s going to continue to spend more time crying during the day than she did before the casting, and that our lives/my feelings are going to go back to that sad place that was her first 6 weeks of life. I am worried that something is going to happen that will harm her forever, like her casts are too tight or something like that… even though the doctor AND the casting tech reassured me that there is lots of room in there for her.
And most selfishly? I’m worried that people are judging me, and seeing my baby with casted legs thinking that something *happened*. Like I was watching her and she fell off a table or something. I would rather have people ask me what happened so I could explain that she was born with curved feet than just look at me and think that I’m a bad mother. My Mother-In-Law’s reaction to seeing Birdie’s casts was enough to know that people are going to think the worst (she didn’t know we were getting it done, and was just so shocked to see Birdie in casts). It’s disheartening. I guess in some ways I’m just so tied up in being a mom that knowing that people might automatically assume that I’m a BAD mom makes me hurt a little bit.
I’m trying to find positive ways to look at this. I’m grateful that Birdie isn’t in pain and doesn’t have broken legs. It’s exceptionally difficult to handle her without jostling her casts around, and if it hurt every time someone bumped her? Oh man. I would just die. I’m very happy that this isn’t something that needs surgery (at least no surgery has been mentioned to us). I went and bought a pack of coloured Sharpies so we could decorate her casts and bring some brightness to her legs.
We go back to see the specialist again on the 14th. I’m hoping and praying that Birdie’s left foot has been straightened enough that she doesn’t need to be re-cast on that foot. Heck, I’m praying that we’ll have a mini-miracle and the right foot will be straight enough too! But alas… I am fairly sure that it will not work that way. We were told that we’re looking at 3-6 weeks of casting for the right foot. I’m sincerely hoping that she was being generous and that it doesn’t take that long. Six weeks seems like such a long time. I know that the time will go by so fast… but 6 weeks can feel like an eternity when you’re in it. Anyway, when we get the new cast(s), I’m asking for colours! I’m hoping they have hot pink or bright purple. It won’t be as easy to draw on, but at least they will look more cheerful (to me).
So if you’re the praying kind, please pray for us. Specifially, please pray that Birdie calms down and starts to nurse and nap better. If both of those got better, I think this whole thing would be a lot more managable for me. Please pray that my feelings about this will resolve and not be so sad/negative. Please pray that God will give me calmness and gentleness when she’s being fussy, and that my fuse will be long.