Today has been a really, really hard day.
We got a call last Thursday from our wonderful pediatrician that both girls would need to see a pediatric orthopedist to evaluate their hip situation (this, after reviewing the results of the ultrasounds). She was pretty reassuring, telling me that oftentimes they will have parents double diaper babies to see if the dislocation heals on its own. She told me that Annabel's issue was VERY minor and was really only present when pressure was applied to the hip, but Sophia's was a little bit more pronounced. She gave us the referral to the specialist and told me to make sure they got us in within a week--if they didn't, call her back and she would pull some strings. In hindsight, that should have been my first warning that it wasn't quite as minor as she was leading on. My second warning should have been when I called to make the appointment and they tried to schedule it over a month out. I told her that my doctor said it needed to be within a week. I was on hold for 15 minutes while they figured out a way to fit us in. Anyway, we had our appointment with the Physician's Assistant this morning. (I want to be sure to note that aside from all the sadness of today, it was a big day for me...it was the first time I got all three of us--me, Annabel, and Sophia--out the door, into the car, out of the car, and into the doctor's office by myself. David had to meet us there and didn't get there until about 10 minutes after we did. I will admit, as I sat in the waiting room filling out paperwork while my sweet girls snoozed away in their carseats and people cooed over them, I kind of felt like supermom. But, I digress.)
The PA was very nice. He looked at the girls' X-Rays before he came in to see us, and he never mixed the two, or their histories, up. Honestly, I don't remember all the detailed specifics of their condition. It is commonly known as Hip Dysplasia, but I think the more accurate term they use now is DDH (Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip). Both of them have it, and Sophia's is significantly more....significant...than Annabel. Neither of them is severe, but they are both bad enough that they had to get braces that correct it. The PA did present the braces as an option. If we don't do them, they will likely have hip pain throughout their lives only correctable by surgery. I flat out said to the doctor: "It would be irresponsible of us not to do it, right?" and his response was "yes."
Sophia has to wear hers 23 hours a day, only taking it off for bath and diapers. Annabel has to wear hers for naps and nighttime. They wanted us to start treatment today, so we immediately went and go them fitted. Annabel screamed and screamed when the practitioner put it on her. It was the first time in her life that picking her up and holding her didn't stop her from crying. Sophia was super sleepy today (I think they are both going through a growth spurt), and she slept right through her fitting. She really has been a champ about the whole thing, like always.
I know it may not seem like a big deal to most people, but this news has been really, really hard for me to digest. It's not even the fact that they have DDH that upsets me, but it's the fact that they have to wear these braces. We were just settling in to our normal...they had the oxygen off, they were sleeping so peacefully at night, and they were happy, happy babies. Now this has thrown a kink in all of that. Now they have braces that immobilize their legs...just as they were starting to wiggle around more, kick at toys, etc. Now they have braces that have a huge piece of plastic that goes behind their back. Now they have braces that lift their legs 2-3 inches off their bed when they sleep on their backs. Now they have braces that prevent them from being swaddled, their favorite thing. And now they have braces that prevent them from being properly snuggled by their mom and dad. And that's what absolutely breaks my heart. I can really only snuggle and hug them from their chest up. When they have the braces on, I can't hold them close to me like I did before, and worst of all, I can't comfort them with the simple act of picking them up anymore.
I feel like our girls have been through so much already, and they don't deserve this. No baby does. At this point, they will be wearing them for 4 months, minimum. We go back in 2 months to reevaluate, and at that point, we hope that Annabel will only have to wear it at night and Sophia can go down to wearing it only at naps and night. I did ask the doctor what the next step was if this didn't work, and he said he has never seen it not work in a case like this, so we can look at the bright side and thank God that it's a mild case.
The PA told us that the girls will get used to it within the next few days. He also told us that we, as parents, will never get used to it. David will be staying home with us for the next two days to help with the adjustment period.
Please say a prayer for our little girls that this quickly becomes their new normal (in their minds), and that in the meantime, they don't feel much discomfort. I know this is what is best, and I know that the time is going to fly by and be a little blip in the long run, and I just have to keep reminding myself of that.