I have blogged about our diagnosis and struggle with hip dysplasia in March. It has been a difficult journey for all of us and I relieved to announce that it is all over. Juliana’s hips are finally in perfect position!!!
We were so happy that we could not stop smiling and laughing in the doctor’s office. The doctor had to repeat the excellent news to me in English, because I could not get it through my head that everything is okay. We ended up taking a day off of work to enjoy the news while in Marseille.
We had lunch with a view of the sea, strolled around, and even went to our old neighborhood in L’Estaque. We breathed for the first time since Juliana was born. She no longer has problem with her neck or hips… she is finally completely healthy and normal.
We have consulted with two different doctors in Provence before seeing this one. The first specialist was in Aix-in-Provence, and the second in Manosque. The first doctor told us that we would need one more month of it on 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. We were no longer allowed to let her play for fifteen minutes without it. She could only have it removed for diaper changes and baths. A month later, we followed up with a different doctor. He told us that Juliana would only need to wear the brace for six weeks in the evenings because her washable diapers held her hips in a good position during the day. He was afraid of her laying on her side at night.
We decided to search for a specialist for children to make sure that the problem has been solved after the six weeks were up. The last two doctors were specialists, but not specifically for children. We found that going to a kiné for children was an entirely different experience than seeing a regular one, so we needed to see if the same held true for this. My husband found that there was a specialist for children in the Marseille public hospital – he is very well-known. The soonest he could fit us in was two months, we decided to wait the two months rather than be fitted in earlier with one of his associates. We did not want to have any doubts in our minds that Juliana is recovered.
I was very impressed with the hospital in Marseille. They had a section of the hospital devoted to children – even their own emergency room. There were pretty murals on every wall and was a very happy environment. On the way out, we even found two clowns having fun with the kids in the hallway. They wore regular clothes with suspenders, a red nose, and a little makeup. It reminded me of the Patch Adams move with Robbin Williams. I was dead-set against moving near Marseille because of the crime, but now, I am actually considering it as a possibility. I love the fact of having a hospital with specialists for children. I wonder how many hospitals in France have this.
We had an x-ray done upon arrival and met with the doctor. We brought all of her x-rays and ultrasound results with us, he reviewed them plus the new x-ray. After reviewing all of our records, the doctor said something that shocked us. Apparently, Juliana’s hip dysplasia was so mild that a hip brace was not necessary. In most cases, the hips go into the natural position without any outside help. The other doctors asked us to use the brace because it was better to not take any chances. However, since we both did not have a family history of this problem, there was not really much of a risk. I remember reading this when she was first diagnosed with hip dysplasia. However, the doctors made me very fearful and I did not want to risk her needing surgery later.
This got me to thinking…
If I knew this at the beginning, would we have made the same choice of putting her in this hip brace?
The brace made her miserable and uncomfortable. She went from being eager to try crawling, to hate being on her stomach. She went from trying to wiggle around to explore, to sitting still and crying if she moved. I have a video from when she was seven weeks old and she did not mind being on her stomach and tried pushing herself forward with her little toes. Later on, she would scream out as if being tortured if she was placed on her stomach for even a second.
If her hips would not have gone back on their own, she would have needed the brace later and it would have taken longer for the brace to have any affect. If her hips would not have lined up by her first birthday, she would possibly need surgery – forcing her to wear a cast for months. Since her dysplasia was minor, she probably would not have had surgery but could have problems later on in life.
Knowing now what I do, I think I would have really stuck to making her wear the brace all the time for her first two months. The earlier you do it, the more effective it is. This way, she could have been out of it quickly and not been too delayed with her milestones. If she could have been out of it by three months of age, I think she would not have hated being on her belly or stopped trying to move around. Wearing it until she was seven months old had too much of a negative affect on her. Even though she only wore it at night for the last two months, it prevented her from learning how to roll.
During the past couple weeks she began rolling from her back to her belly, and reverse. She does not mind being on her belly now that she learned she can roll back on her back when she wants. She is also starting to crawl and is back to being the baby I remember. It is sad to know that we did not have to go through all of this. I guess it is better to be safe than sorry sometimes. I am just glad that she is starting to catch up and reach her milestones. I know that she will not remember any of this when she is older, but it is still heartbreaking as a parent to see your baby go through it.