Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy Half-Birthday Angel!

Addison's big debut - just a few hours old
This week marks Addie's half-birthday! We can hardly believe how quickly the time has passed. In those six months our little bean has survived the scare of a possible blood infection, a pavlik harness, has almost (fingers crossed) done her full term in her spica cast...and despite all of that has grown into quite a little personality whose smile melts your heart and whose mere presence can light up a room.

1 month old - very sleepy!

On the more fun side, she is the smiliest baby around, giggles when we make funny faces at her or talk her language to her. She blows raspberries constantly, loves her hello kitty doll, her sophie the giraffe and will chew on anything you put in front of her. She likes to spend time in her crib, surrounded by all her stuffed animals with whom she holds court - chatting away as though telling them what her latest and greatest discoveries have been. She has a rainbow maker in her room that just transfixes her every day at 5 o'clock when it lights up her room with little floating rainbows from floor to ceiling. 
2 months old - more alert!

She LOVES bananas but is not crazy about mangos, peaches, avacados or pretty much anything that is NOT a banana. Recently she decided that grandma's homemade apple sauce was ok too! Our little one has almost been weaned and relishes a good bottle of formula. She is finally starting to get some tufts of hair - even a little tiny bit counts, right? She loves her Treehouse cartoons - especially Guess with Jess and Dora the Explorer. She has started to get a little shy with the men in her life, but then on other days has all the smiles in the world for them. 

3 months old

Nobody is as good as her daddy. If he comes home from work and doesn't immediately interact with her, she gives it to him good by screaming at him until he gives her his undivided attention. 

4 months old - just before her surgery

4 months old - days following her surgery

She is so curious about everything around her. She loves being outside and particularly enjoys watching the leaves of trees rustle in the wind. She goes on long walks with her mom and dad in her baby bjorn carrier and delights at the world around her by offering small little coos of acknowledgement and approval. She is definitely an animal person and gets such entertainment out of watching the antics of her dog, Finn, and her cat, Furious.

5 months - only has eyes for daddy
Above all else, she is the joy of our life and continues to amaze us every day with how brilliant she shines. She is an inspiration to us and is the bravest girl we know. We love you angel and can't wait to see what the next 6 months with you in our lives will bring.

Happy half birthday angel!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Good Night's Sleep

Well, as Addison nears her 6 month birthday we decided it was time for our little sparkle to move into her own room (and out of mom and dad's - hooray!). Until she was 4 months old, she slept with us in our bed...and made a very good little warmer! Once her cast went on we moved her to her playard bassinet that was located right beside our bed. Last week we decided to make the big transition. We figured this might make for a few cranky nights of her feeling abandoned and alone...but we were wrong! Last week I laid her down in her crib, head and torso propped up with a crib wedge and lots of blankets to make her bed a little more comfy as she can't reposition herself at night...and to my surprise she not only went right to sleep, she had a two hour nap! Success! So that very night we put her in her crib and she slept really well, only waking once, around 4 am for a bottle. So this was the real test, would she go back to sleep after her bottle and change, or would she lay awake wondering where the heck she was? Again...she went right back to sleep.

Hubby and I were so impressed with the independence our little girl was showing, but at the same time we are both a little melancholy because it just means she is getting older and we so desperately want to hang onto our little baby. She is so happy in her new room that for the past three nights, she has slept 12 hours straight, no early wakings. Her dad and I, meanwhile, are still waking up in the middle of the it seems we are the ones with transition problems as we are still trying to get used to it! The first night she slept all the way through her dad woke up in a panic, asking "Is she still breathing up there?". When you are used to having her right next to your  bed, it does take a little getting used to!

Last night I was watching her from the baby monitor set up in our bedroom, and I noticed that the poor thing still tries to turn over onto her side in the middle of the night but the cast keeps her firmly anchored on her back. However, it seems she has figured out a work around, she simply turns her torso to the side, inserts the thumb into her mouth and sleeps, half twisted, blissfully unaware that the cast is anchoring her down.

So after all we heard about how hard it is going to be to get her sleeping in her own crib after having her co-sleep with us it turns out we have disproven that in the last week! As for our worries of her feeling abandoned and alone by putting her in her own room... it looks like we are the ones left feeling abandoned and alone...while she sleeps peacefully in her big girl bed in her big girl room.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Fun in Spica

Before my husband and I had Addison we used to delight in the fact that we could just pick up and go where ever we wanted. Yes, we had a dog and a cat that required some tending to but thankfully we had many friends or family willing to take them on if we chose to get away. We knew adding a baby to our life would change that somewhat but we promised ourselves that we would not let that change our social lives too much if we could help it. Well, like many things, that changed a bit when we got Addies HD diagnosis.

A simple trip to a friend or relatives house, even if it is just for a day, seems like a major undertaking as Addie requires a great deal of luggage to travel with her now (what a diva!). We have a bag for her changing supplies, a bag for her bedding, her Handy Sitt chair, her cast cooler AND the usual stuff that comes with an infant - formula, bottles, clothing, etc. It takes a full hour just to get her stuff packed up.

Unlike any other baby out there, diaper changes are a bit more involved, especially if the cast area gets wet while you are away from home! We need to pack not 1 kind of diaper but 2 plus abdominal pads. We also need to throw into the diaper bag the waterproof tape, the moleskin, the blowdryer AND the wedge to prop her up for her changes.

With her portable Handy Sitt chair and all her toys at grandma and grandpa's house

Then there is the stuff required for her naps! She needs her crib wedge and all the padding of her usual blankets and the one we use to prop up her little feet to help make her comfortable with her sleeping where ever she goes.

Her chair is very portable so that is an easy one to throw in. All this packing and unpacking is crazy...and definitely not what we had envisioned day trips being.

However, once we arrive at our destination and get her all set up, it is so worth it because the day just goes so much smoother. She can sit and visit with everyone, we can put her down for a nap (most of the time!) when she needs one and she sleeps comfortably. Because there is so much to pack for these trips it also means that we end up leaving little bits and pieces behind everywhere we go as I can't keep track of it all once we unpack it!

The cast makes a useful handle! At a recent family gathering, enjoying all the attention.

Summer means a lot of outdoors type events in Canada because that is our nicest time of the year, so most of us tend to want to be outdoors during the hot summer months from June-August. The biggest challenge we really have then is one that we cannot pack for - keeping her cool. Even moderately warm days can overheat our little one so we have to constantly watch her for signs of heat exhaustion and try to make sure when she naps there is a cool enough spot somewhere for her to rest. I am terrified that I am going to mistakenly overheat my poor little babe. I am sure I am a bit too overzealous when it comes to this, but I just keeping thinking how miserable I would be in a body cast...let alone if I was HOT and in a body cast!

Even though I moan about the packing and is worthwhile because Addison loves our little day trips. She is such a social butterfly...especially if those trips involve visiting her cousins or her grandparents. So I will just learn to love the packing...and maybe I will get better at remembering to bring it all back with us too!

Taking it all in at a family picnic...again, that Handy Sitt chair goes EVERYWHERE, indoors or out!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Message Board Advice

Like most parents dealing with the unexpected diagnosis of hip dysplasia, not knowing anything about the condition I went right to google as soon as I found out. What was this condition my little girl had, what do I do about it, what is the long term prognosis, how am I going to deal with a baby in a harness/cast/brace? So many questions were swirling around in my mind.

What I discovered was that there were a lot of other parents out there dealing with the same situation...and so I spent a lot of time chatting with folks on some of the message boards and hip dysplasia groups out there. There are a lot of folks who are so compassionate and caring and giving of their time to answer all the questions of a newbie to hip dysplasia and to them I owe a LOT! Those groups provided a lot of support and advice at a very uncertain time in our new parenting lives!


I have become kind of jaded lately. We are now half way through our spica experience and baby, baby's daddy and I are much more comfortable and confident in our situation now than we were at the outset, so we have settled into life with hip dysplasia much more reassuredly. I still visit the message boards in search of new tips and tricks, but also to chat with those newbies just dealing with a recent diagnosis as I remember all too well how frightening that was, how scared we were and how we just needed a little reassurance. What I am dismayed to see are all the fear mongers and argumentative folks that exist on these boards. Parents seeking advice are given it, but some of it comes in negatives. Want advice on something -- one parent will say one thing, then another chimes in about how wrong the other parent is and what the more sensible solution will be.

The other ones that irk me are those who disparage the advice of doctors. Maybe I am spoiled in Canada with having doctors I can trust, and while I do agree you need to be inquisitive and seek a second opinion if you are not sure - what good does it do to plant the seed of doubt in a parent's confidence in their medical team? It is difficult enough navigating all the specialist appointments and just getting through this with our precious little ones. Where does this need to discount each other's experience and advice come from? I am afraid that this probably just causes more anxiety for those newbies to HD. I truly believe these folks just need to hear what others are doing and then make the best decision based on their own instinct, and all of us board crawlers need to understand that...and remember back to how we felt when we first got the news. There is not one of us that has the best answer - we just know what we would do and what works for our own unique situation. What I have learned is that there are so many varying degrees to HD that we can't possibly assume that what works for us will work for everyone .

So here is my plea - for all of you message board crawlers out there who think you know best. You don't. Please remember that. Only the mom and dad of the little one know best. All they need from us on those boards is our compassion, our experience and our support. There. I said it. I'm done. And maybe I should take a break from those boards for a while.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


In our case we get public displays of affection, but we also get public displays of anxiety, anger and even acrimony. Yes, taking a 5 month old out in public in full body cast can often elicit the oddest responses from total strangers.

When Addison and I venture out, we typically do so Dr. Evil style with me wearing Addie in her baby bjorn carrier. Because she is up and facing forward we get a lot of smiles and coos from total strangers wanting to meet or cuddle her. She soaks it right up and for the most part loves the attention! However, sometimes we do have odd encounters.

Mini-me + Dr. Evil

Addison + Daddy

A few weeks back, I was out at a local department store looking for some good walking Addie and I do a lot of walking around these days (seems she has become quite an outdoorswoman). Out of nowhere this woman appears, I kid you not, right in front of my face and gasps "What did you do to your baby?" I am sure people on the other side of the city heard her gasp. Sheepishly I had to explain the situation and reassure this woman (convince her maybe?) that I am not a bad parent. As unnerving as these kinds of encounters can be, at least that woman had the decency to confront me about it. That kind of situation at least allows me to respond and share Addison's story and in some small way help to spread knowledge about hip dysplasia in infants.

The people that really irk me of late are what I call the gawkers. Seems where ever Addison and I travel, they are there. Silently staring and judging. I wonder if these people realize that their face is betraying them because the staring is often accompanied by a look of shock and often disgust. I think that many of them assume that I am a delinquent or abusive parent and that I must have done something to my poor baby. Hip dysplasia is something that is not commonly understood by folks, and they are so unaccustomed to seeing a baby in a body cast that they can't help themselves from jumping to conclusions. I just want to yell at them - "Yes! I got drunk and fell down the stairs with her! Happy now?" Most days I take it in stride, but there have been moments where the gawkers have really gotten to me. On those days I tend to feel like not even leaving my house, but that's not fair to Addie because she loves our little outdoor adventures.

Hanging out at home, away from the gawkers

There are a lot of compassionate folks out there too who approach me and in a very concerned tone ask about why Addison is in the cast. To those folks I am happy to explain the situation and am always responded to with "will she be ok?" and genuine care and concern.

So, if you are out and about and happen to see a baby in a body cast - don't automatically assume that the parents could have prevented it. Be kind, ask about it if you must but by all means please don't stare and please don't judge.
Spica babes need love too!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spica Sleeping

Sleep is a much discussed topic among new much sleep is your baby getting, is she sleeping thru the night yet? How many naps does she take? Is she sleeping in her crib yet? Well, this all takes a different slant when you have a baby in a body cast.

Before her closed reduction Addie and I had come to an agreement on the sleeping arrangements. Her dad and I tried for the first few weeks to have her sleep in her own crib, in her own room. However, after three weeks of poor baby waking every hour or so in need of comforting, only to get her back to sleep and try ever so gently to lay her back down in her crib to have her wake 5 minutes later crying out for comfort...well, we decided that something had to give. We would not survive the sleep deprivation this was wreaking on our lives! So, after one particularly bad night where no matter what we did Addison would not go to sleep, at 3 am in the morning I finally broke down and brought her to bed with me. Wouldn't you know it, she fell right asleep snuggling face to face with me. And so it went, until she got her spica cast.

The first night home she co-slept with us as she had done for the past two months and did not stir.  In hindsight I now realize this was due to the pain meds they had her on! For the second night was not so peaceful! She just could not settle. So that next day I decided to try an experiment. We had purchased a playard for Addie before she was born, thinking it would serve as the bassinet until she was ready to sleep in her own crib. From day 1 Addie wanted nothing to do with that playard/bassinet. We would lay her in it and she would immediately start screaming. Turns out our newborn was just a cuddle bug in need of body warmth! Prior to her surgery we did not make much of an effort to get her on any kind of schedule, we were so devastated that she was going to have to endure surgery and casting that we wanted to spoil her a little and so we let her dictate what she wanted. Being the happy baby she is, she wasn't too demanding and her needs were totally achievable so we said schedule be damned!

Just waking from her mid-morning nap in her playard
After that second night home following her surgery, I decided to give the playard another try. Sure enough, I set her down in it for a nap and she went right to sleep. She was now ready for a little independence. I think the stay in a hospital bed helped to expedite that somewhat, but we were pleased all the same. So, we moved the playard into our room, put a crib wedge in it to help prop up her head and padded it with lots and lots of blankets to help make it as soft as we could. That same night following the successful nap we put her down to sleep in the playard...and wouldn't you know it...she slept peacefully.

While I am happy to report Addison is, for the most part, a great napper...night sleeping is a bit of a challenge for her. When I chatted with my doctor about this issue, she simply told me that until Addison is out of the cast and able to reposition herself on her own Addison will likely continue to wake every 3 hours or so. Not the news or advice I had been hoping for as by mid-afternoon I am generally a zombie due to midnight, 3 am and 5 am wakings!!

Now, I mentioned earlier that before her cast went on, we were on no particular schedule but a funny thing happened on the way to the spica cast. Almost immediately following her surgery and casting, Addison started to develop her own schedule. Pretty soon, the time of day she needed her naps, her meals and her bedtime began to get more consistent. It really surprised me! It got so good that prior to her cast change, Addison had a few nights where she slept the whole night through (success, or so we thought!).

We try to socialize Addison a lot, so we take her to visit relatives and friends as often as we can but we have noticed that this does, indeed, disrupt her day to day routine. Following her cast change, sleeping has been a little more unpredictable again. She is still in her playard and continues to wake at midnight, 3 and 6 am for feedings but we are thinking that once the weather starts to cool a little, we will be moving her to her own bedroom. Our bedroom, where her current bed is situated, is in our basement so during these hot summer days it is much cooler for a baby in a cast. Her room is on our upper floor and while our house stays fairly cool, it still is likely more comfy for her to remain in the dark, cool basement for now. She is fast approaching the 6 month mark, so I am going to have to get the transition to her own room underway, we want to achieve that before then.

Adjusting to the Hippo Car Seat

Much happier in her Britax Hippo car seat
Well, I am happy to report that the days of loathing her Britax Hippo car seat are gone. Addison has become more and more accustomed to the car seat to the point where she now enjoys great naps in it on longer journeys (yay!). In hindsight I realize that it was probably her incisions that bothered her in those early days, not the car seat!

We found that tethering toys to her car seat helps her pass the time happily
One unfortunate thing about the Hippo car seat is that it does not have any place to attach car toys we have used teething rings to tether toys to the Hippo seat for Addie to play with during car rides. We also bring along a few stuffed toys for her to play with in her seat and have installed a mirror that allows both her to look at herself (something that always brings a smile to her little face) and also allows us to keep an eye on her in the backseat!

We have had to customize the seat to allow Addie to fit. We have padded the back with memory foam and added a head rest for her to make it a little more snuggly.
The seat was loaned to us by the Stollery Children's Hospital, where Addison had her closed reduction, and it seems to me that it is meant for a larger child as we have had to pad the back of it with memory foam in order to position Addie far enough forward to sit properly in this car seat. We are very thankful to the hospital for loaning it to us, because we had no idea what we were going to do for a carseat for the duration of her spica-dom!

Playing away with her tethered toys
On particularly long car-rides one of us will sit in the back of the car with her as she has a tendency to lose her toys and get bored. With mom or dad beside her, she generally plays for a little while and then is able to easily fall asleep in the car seat (which is great news for her mom and dad who are no longer arriving at destinations with a tired and cranky baby!).

Now that we are 7 weeks into the spica cast and have a date set for follow up with her surgeon in mid-September...I am beginning to wonder what the next evolution of car seat will be? I am pretty sure she won't fit in her bucket seat we bought to use with her as a newborn...or maybe she will? I have heard lots of stories about babies who are quite sore following cast removal which makes me wonder if I will need a bigger car seat...and then there is the brace that she will be placed in following the cast removal which will keep her just as splayed out as in the cast. It might be time to start investigating new car seats!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spica Logistics

Diapering. As new parents, we expected to do our share in the diapering trenches, but we were not prepared for just how involved this would become with a baby in a spica cast! When we first brought our daughter home from the hospital we quickly learned how many diapers a little sparkle can go thru! We soon became diapering pros, Addison's dad took great pride in his diapering abilities and after a few explosive situations and a lot of laughter we both had figured out that it wasn't all that bad! So when Addison went into the hospital to get her spica cast to correct her hip dysplasia we had no idea what a production diapering would become. And so we continued our diapering education!

Within an hour of her surgery, Addison had a major diaper situation going on. I had read a lot on line about how parents of kids in spicas dealt with diapering so I went into her surgery day with some information and from what I had read I fully expected the nursing staff in the recovery room to have "petaled" her cast with water-proof tape. However, as the nurses wheeled her out of the recovery room the first thing they told us was that they had administered morphine for Addie because she was inconsolable in the recovery room. As a result, they had not even put a diaper on her as she was too upset and they suspected it was a bit painful due to the incisions made in her groin during her surgery. So, there she was, spica cast on but no diaper in the cut out where the diaper was meant to be! So, while her dad and I tried to comfort her as she came off her sedative, we didn't really pay much attention to the diaper situation. As any parent knows, it is hard to see your child in pain so diapering was the last thing on our minds. It didn't even occur to us how yucky that would be if we didn't deal with it ASAP. So, of course, she had a blowout. And I mean a good one. It went up the front of the cast, up the back of the cast and all over the hospital bed. If it wasn't so difficult to see her in such pain, we would have had a really good laugh at how ridiculous it was!

Her dad and I just looked at each other in desperation and scrambled to press the nurse call button! Surely they would know what to do! How wrong we were. I don't think the nurses see many infants in spica casts. She brought us some wipes meant for sponge bathing infants and we went to work wiping down our little girl and her bright pink cast. Once we had the worst of it wiped up, we decided we needed something to help soak up the wetness. The nurse brought us some abdominal pads which we stuffed up her diaper, then we placed a smaller diaper inside the cast and a larger one over that! Over the next few days, we got more and more comfortable with the whole diapering situation. Once we were home, and with a little practice and trail and error, we got it down to a science.

At first we thought a maxi pad would be the perfect situation to help dam up the diaper area in the back, as we had a few incidents of explosions that went all the way up the back of the cast. Because you can't actually fasten the inner diaper closed, it is very loosely stuffed inside the opening, leaving lots of room for accidents inside the cast. So, we thought, a maxi stuck to the inside back of the cast would be the perfect solution. We started out putting that in place first, then placing the smaller diaper over that, and then the larger diaper over that. What we soon learned was that with the combination of the glue on the back of the maxi and the moistness and warmth of the diaper area in general, the glue began to make the casting very very sticky and difficult to work with. Not to mention, when we would turn Addie over to complete the diaper process, the cast began sticking to her back...not much fun for her. Back to the drawing board. We went in search of something different and found cloth diaper liners at our local drugstore. Perfect, we thought! They were very long, so we cut them in half and began putting those in the back of her cast, then the smaller diaper, then the larger diaper. Within about a day, she developed a nasty rash. Turns out when you cut those disposable diaper liners in half, the materials used to make those liners super absorbant also gave our little peanut a horrible allergic reaction. So...we decided to return to the abdominal pads we had used in the hospital.

What we also found was that Addison needed a bit of help too as she had to lay through what had now become a 5 minute diaper change job. So we adapted her change table as well. We purchased a pregnancy wedge for her change station to elevate her back during the whole process and make her a bit more comfortable. Because the changing process had become that much more involved and more time intensive we decided we also had to rig something up to entertain her while we fussed over cleaning the cast and diaper area so we got a mobile that we could hang above her as we worked on keeping her clean. These worked great.

The arsenal required for a simple diaper change these days!

We get a LOT of questions about how, exactly, we change her. So here it goes, step by step. Hopefully this will answer some questions and maybe help other parents who have babies in a spica.

1. We lay her on her back on her change table, back cozily propped up a bit on the wedge and ensure she is in reaching distance of her mobile (so she can entertain herself). We then remove the soiled inner diaper, leaving the larger diaper underneath her in case she decides to do some business in the middle of the change...which happens very frequently!

Getting ready for the diaper change

2. We wipe down the front of her diaper area with either a pre-moistened, alcohol free wipe or, if she has a rash, a washcloth with warm water. We then use a blowdryer (yup, you read that right) to dry the area completely.

3. We then flip her onto her tummy and  repeat the cleaning and drying procedure in that area.

Clean and dry!

4. Once clean and dry, we take an 8x10 kendall tendersorb abdominal pad, which we have cut in half, and stuff it up the back of her diaper, leaving just a bit overlapping on the outside diaper area.

Placing the cut in half abdominal pad

5. We then take a size 2 diaper, which we have cut the fastening tabs off of, and stuff that up the back of the diaper, over the abdominal pad. That gets the back done!

Size 2 diaper over the abdominal pad

Make sure it is tucked in well
6. We then flip her over, and stuff the front of the size 2 diaper up the front opening of the cast taking care to ensure the leg area is not bunched up by smoothing out the leg ruffles and tucking them into the legs of the cast.

Flip her over and tuck in the front of the diaper to the cast area

Make sure it is tucked in well
7. We then take a size 6 diaper and put that over the whole cast, to hold the smaller diaper and abdominal pad in place...and we're done!

Place the larger, size 6 diaper over the whole cast to hold everything in place

Now, as you can imagine...this is not an exact science and there is plenty of room for disasters! To keep the area as clean and dry as possible, we also have lined the cast opening with waterproof tape to help delay cast breakdown when the area gets wet. Because waterproof tape is plastic and we felt not all that comfortable against baby's tender skin, we also found moleskin in the foot care section of our local pharmacy and decided to put that over the water proof tape.  After trying a few different brands, we decidd that the Dr. Scholl's Moleskin Plus Padding roll is the best.

It provides a nice soft surface against Addie's skin. When the moleskin gets wet or soiled, we simply peel it off and apply new moleskin as needed. It takes quite a bit of time to petal the cast opening area with waterproof tape and moleskin, but it is worth it! I find it is best to do this in the mornings when Addie is much easier to get along with in general. She is very patient in the morning. If we have to do a spot replacement of the moleskin later in the day, I get her dad to make faces at her or sing to her as I do it which helps to pass the time and calm her down a bit.

With a little patience, a lot of trial and error and even more laughter, diapering has gone from something we initially dreaded to something totally manageable. Just another interesting part of having a baby in a spica!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just to add to the fun!

Addison has begun, we think, to start teething! Poor baby. She just got her second cast on and now she is gumming everything she can get her hands on. She is dealing with it pretty well, but by evenings we have noticed that she has become fussier than usual! We are trying to relieve her sore gums by offering her lots of different options from cold teething rings, to frozen bagels, to ice cubes made of apple juice. I am learning to watch myself, because whatever comes near her these days is going in her mouth and getting a good gnawing.

enjoying an apple juice ice cube

We tried the baby mum mum cookies everyone has been telling me about but I am not too keen on those. They disintegrate immediately and I am so paranoid of her choking on a bit that I have discontinued using them with her until she gets the hang of big people food! I have scoured the grocery stores for a thicker teething biscuit, but alas cannot find one that I am not afraid will end up choking her to death!

Last night she was so fussy at bed time we ended up giving her a bit of tylenol and resorting to the vacuum. A trick we learned in those early sleepless nights! Seems that Addison is soothed by the sound of a vacuum cleaner, so on it went last night to lull her to sleep. I am happy and sad that she is teething. Happy because that means soon she will be chewing and we will be moving to more solid foods (other than banana, which is her favourite...well, actually the ONLY food she will eat). Sad because we love her toothless grin! It just will not be the same when a few choppers pop through! I guess that is what parenting is all about... rejoicing in their growth and learning, but lamenting the speed by which they grow up.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cast Change Day

Addison went in for her first cast change yesterday and in some ways it was much less stressful than the original surgery day, and in some ways a little more stressful. First of all the appointment was very early in the morning as she was first on the OR slate, so we had to have her into the Stollery by 6 a.m. for a 7:20 a.m. surgery time. She did really well until around 6:30 when the hunger got the better of her. She hadn't eaten much since midnight, and she was wondering why we were holding out on her. She was also very tired which made the admission process a little tricky as they had to do some pre-surgery tests on her that she was not too fond of. After applying some numbing gel and wrapping her little hands in gauze, they led us to the waiting room where 2 surgeons, the resident and the anaestetist all came to chat with us pre-surgery. The first surgeon was doing a minor plastic surgery procedure to remove an extra bit of skin that Addison had on her right ear, he explained it would be simple and that he would apply steri strips over the dissolvable stitches and not to worry to much about it, that it wouldn't bother her at all. When we met with her orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Dulai, she explained that if her hips were not improving or were not in the socket when they cut the first cast off, that they would not be recasting her and that instead we would have to discuss the next, more invasive, steps towards correcting her hips. Her dad and I both knew that this meant more involved surgery and the possible breaking of her little bones, pinning of her hips and could even include traction of some kind so we were really hoping for a good outcome!

As the doctors were chatting with us, Addison gave into her tiredness and fell asleep in my arms, so she went into the OR blissfully unaware of where she was headed. After about an hour and a half they wheeled her back up to the hospital ward she would be staying in. As they brought her in her dad, grandma and I were anxiously searching for evidence of a cast, but she was covered in blankets so we couldn't tell. I asked the nurse if they reapplied the cast and she said yes. Such relief! We knew that this meant her hips were in place and must be getting better. She was pretty upset coming out of the OR. She had an upset tummy and was probably wondering where the heck she had woken up, and why she was in pain. After a half an hour of soothing and rocking, she calmed down enough to take a bottle. After that she returned to the happy little baby we know her to be. She was "chatting" away with her toys and giving smiles to everyone around her. Her grandma and grandpa spent the day in the hospital with us, and they were also very relieved at how well she was doing. She even settled down and had a good morning nap. The nurse let us know that the surgeon even felt that the surgery had gone so well that she wasn't concerned with doing an MRI following the procedure, another good sign! This means the chance of her hips slipping back out of joint had decreased enough not to have to go through that final check following cast application. Again...relief! Unlike the first stay in hospital, we were let out around 4 pm the same day, and went home to celebrate!

This morning we had a phone message from the surgeon who told us the surgery went great and that she was very pleased...and to come see her in 6 weeks for the next step. So...six more weeks in a spica seems much more doable now than it did 6 weeks ago. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for Addison, and for us! She will need to go into a brace following the cast removal, but she is now that much closer to achieving healthy, normal hips and we are so thankful for that!