Georgia was a perfect 8 week old baby girl. Everything about her is wonderful. She is our first child and the simple act of cooing or blowing an accidental bubble is miraculous. She is tiny, born at a petite 6lbs even and she is hungry. Freshly home from yet another run to Babies R Us we sit down to nurse. My phone rings and its my husband.
“Hi” I say.
“Hi” he says then goes silent. Eventually I can hear that he is crying.
At first I freeze.
Second I start to shake.
Earlier in the week at Georgia’s 8 week check up our pediatrician did the normal hip swivel routine and noticed a clunk where there should be no sound at all. Not a click, but a full on clunk. Anytime the doctor gets that focused looked on their face with the tilted head and ears perked up you worry. It sounded like she could have something call hip dysplasia, he said, so we will get some x-rays. Its usually treated with a little harness and doesn’t turn out to be much of anything.
By the time Daren called the results were in.
When Daren finally spoke he told me that the x-rays were in and that the report read that this child is showing to have ” severe bilateral hip dyspasia, and combine with the pattern of gas bubbles this child also has Cerebral Palsy”.
Stunned. Looking down at my perfect nursing newborn I could not wrap my mind around that fact that we’ve just been told that she is sick. Very sick. Irreversibly sick.
I spent my day crying to my mother and cradling my daughter. Daren spent his day talking to other doctors and by the end of the day we had an appointment with the best pediatric orthopedic doctor in the area for the next morning.
Dr. A is gruff and pretty no nonsense, but in a I’ve seen it all and I know what I’m doing sort of way rather than an arrogant or disrespectful sort of way. He and his staff inform us that they have never heard of a child being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy via an x-ray of gas bubbles and that she clearly has no such thing. He confirms that she does have bilateral hip dysplasia and tells us that most babies have great success being treated with a Pavlik Harness. The nurse brings in a tiny pink Pavlik Harness and shows me how to manuver all of the straps and velcro. She is to be in the harness for 23 hours a day and we are sent on our way with a check up and new x rays scheduled in 2 months.
Two months later on a Friday we went back in to see our pediatric orthopedic doctor to have her new x-rays done and find out any further course of treatment. Call it a hunch, call it a mothers intuition, call it God but I knew I was not walking out of that room with good news. Having to wait in the exam room for nearly 30 minutes while our Dr. read out x-rays wasn’t a good sign either. When he finally entered the room his first words were ” I don’t like these x-rays”. He throws them up onto the light and walks me through what we are seeing. Georgia’s femur bones are clearly too high and a little outside. They are still dislocated. This means casting.
I start to cry.
The nurse comes in with my paperwork to talk scheduling. She has a sweet smile and knowing eyes, the eyes of a fellow mother who has heard disappointing news from a Dr.
“I’m sorry.” I say.
“Every mother cries” She says with tears in her own eyes as she recounts for me the time her son had to undergo surgery.
I leave the parking garage and pull over in the nearest residential area I find and start to sob. I don’t want my child in a cast of any kind let a lone a full body cast. I’m already grieving the loss of seeing her baby legs, fat rolls, perfect belly, and baby booty every day. I can’t get ahold of anyone on the phone. My husband is in surgery and my Mother is out of the country. So I pull myself together enough to drive and head home. I cried all afternoon and again when I gave her her bedtime bath, knowing that this treasured nightly ritual of ours will be coming to an abrupt end for quite some time.
Georgia will be put under full anesthesia in the OR and put into a hot pink Spica Cast the next Friday morning. She will be in the cast for a total of 9 weeks. The cast will start above her belly button and run down both legs to her ankles. It will be challenging. It will be sad. It will be funny. It will work.
It has too.