Friday, April 20, 2007

Questions about M's surgery

M was born with a club foot. There are several interesting things about this:
1.) She only had one club foot. Usually babies are born with two club feet.
2.) Her foot was formed that way. It was not because she was squished in utero (so it was not a positional clubfoot, as the MD's called it).
3.) I was born with clubfeet.
4.) My middle brother was not born with clubfeet.
5.) My youngest brother was born with clubfeet.
6.) Everyone in the hospital said it was not genetic.
7.) M's newest orthopaedist said of course it is genetic.
8.) M's first orthopaedist (who we ADORED!) was very interested in her story because I was clubfooted (not sure if that's a word or not) and only one of my brothers was. Does this mean the gene is passed from mother to child? Could it be passed from father to child? Where did it originate in my family?

Here was the treatment:
1.) Casts (pictures to come). For the first 10 weeks of M's life, starting when she was three weeks old (pictured above), M and I went to the ortopaedist each Thursday for a new cast. Each time, he could straighten her foot a little more.

2.) When M was ten weeks old, she had a tendon release surgery done. Basically, the orthopaedist (did I mention that we adored him?) took a special knife and cut her achilles' tendon. Prior to the surgery, her foot was very straight, but she held her foot like a ballerina en pointe.

3.) Four weeks in the same cast to let the tendon heal properly.

4.) From 14 weeks-6 months in corrective shoes full time.

5.) New orthopaedist now in the picture--other one moved away. New orthopaedist does not use the Dr. Brown's bar shoes, so we went to only using those at night.

6.) New orthopaedist decides he wants M in a special brace, no more shoes at all. M and I get fitted for the new brace, which the people SWEAR is covered by insurance (her shoes were not).

7.) Eight weeks after getting the new brace (and finding out the insurance does not pay for very much of it), M's new doc says she's fine and no need to wear the brace at all. What!?!?!?! We could have stayed in the stupid shoes for another 8 weeks!!!!

She still pulls her foot in a little when she walks, but her doctor thinks she will outgrow that as she walks more and more and strengthens her leg muscles.

That's about it...


Stacy said...

Thanks for sharing your story and the pictures, Natalie. The poor girl sure had a tough first year, huh? Glad to hear that she is much better now, but I can't believe the things that insurance doesn't cover. It's not like it was something that was optional!

christinator said...

Poor baby and poor Mommy to go through all that! Thanks for sharing the story. Sooo crazy and frustrating that half of it wasn't covered by insurance (I have stories to tell about that, too). But I'm glad she's doing so well now and that's what matters!

natalie said...

The amazing thing about all the casting was that M never cried when they sawed the cast off or put a new one on (except the one time that H had to take her...that was a nightmare for everyone involved!). When the dr. was doing his dictation he would call her "Sweet M(name) Benson..." When he moved, he said he'd loved to continue her treatment, but we couldn't afford to travel that far each month to see him. If I ever have a chance, I'll tell him how much we miss him and what a blessing he was to our family. He held my precious baby while they put her to sleep and was holding her when they called me to her after her surgery. He's one of our angels...

melody said...

Thank God for wonderful orthopedists who care and get/keep our children walking.

Thanks for sharing M's story. I never realized she had been through this. I actually know all you are talking about with surgery and castings. So happy to know she's now got two cute, wonderful little feet and no longer needs the shoes or brace.