My son Noah was diagnosed with hip Dysplasia at 2 months and prescribed a Pavlik harness, which he wore 24 hours a day, for six long months… No baths, no footie pajamas that make mommy melt, and cuddling and nursing were definitely modified…
Around age 9 months, we were allowed to take it off for an hour a day, to give him a bath, but he still couldn’t stand it get started on learning to walk yet. At 1 year old, he finally got to have the harness removed, and he only had to use a fixed abductor brace at nights.
He learned to stand, walk, and run, all within the normal range of each milestone. We thought that meant progress! For 6 months he wore the brace at night, until at 18 months it was discovered that his Dysplasia wasn’t making any progress, and he needed surgery to correct it. That is a HARD word to hear.
Noah’s acetabulum (hip socket) wasn’t the right shape to hold his femur at the correct position, so he needed a bone graft surgery called a Dega Osteotomy to repair it. (Think saucer-deep, when it should be teacup-deep.) His surgery was a success, and he had to wear a pelvic cast called a spica cast to hold his hip in place for 6 long weeks while the socket healed. It was a long, hard, expensive, and mentally taxing road, for our whole family.
A toddler can’t understand why he can no longer walk and run, and he definitely doesn’t understand the word “temporary”… If a toddler can experience depression, I’d say Noah experienced it. It’s a lot to power through, but he did it, and the cast was removed 6 weeks later. Today, he is a happy, healthy, 2.5 year old who walks, runs, and jumps perfectly (although mommy has an irrational fear of bounce houses and shattered hips that came with a $50k price tag…)
It’s so important for information to be shared so more parents can be aware of birth defects that don’t make the forefront of news media and social media these days – hip Dysplasia is invisible but 100% of the time, it needs medical intervention. It WILL NOT go away on it own and left untreated. If my son’s discomfort for 2 years of his life can change the outcome for even ONE family out there, I will consider it “worth it”.
Kimberlie GoodnoughTags: Hip Dysplasia, Hips