Our son, John, was born on September 4, 2004. He was born via c-section (so much for those 10 weeks of natural child birth classes) at 37 weeks. We went to the doctor's office for a routine visit to see if John had turned head down yet. He had not and we were immediately sent to the hospital to attempt to turn him. While monitoring his heart rate, it was noted that it dropped significantly. The doctor was unable to determine why the heart rate dropped but did not feel comfortable sending us home. We were going to have a baby that day! I was scheduled for a c-section, the future grandparents were called and my husband ran home to get the essentials. During the c-section, it was revealed that John was stuck in my rib cage and would not have turned. While there was no explanation for the drop in heart rate, we know that a c-section was the right thing and the experience was joyous. I had no regrets for being unable to have a natural childbirth.
While I was recovering, my husband stayed with John. The nurse doing the initial exam noted that John's hips did not appear to be in the socket. Mike mentioned this to me later. When the doctor visited John on the first day of his life, she did not immediately notice the hips clicking during her exam. I mentioned that the nurse had noticed the hips being out of the socket. Thank God for that nurse and her thorough exam! It seems that by the time the doctor had examined John, the ligament loosening hormones from my body had exited his and it was not as easy to detect. Upon a more thorough evaluation, the doctor felt John probably had hip dysplasia and immediately directed us to www.hip-baby.org. We took the news with strength and hid the disappointment and fear in the presence of the doctor. When she left, we held each other and cried. We were scared that our dreams of the perfect child, one that would enjoy all of the physical activities we enjoy, were being threatened. How could this happen to us? We took such care to do all of the recommended things during pregnancy and yet we had a child born with problems.
As the days past, we read many of the testimonies on the web site and shed many tears. We prepared ourselves for the worst, afraid to get our hopes up. We expected several years of braces, casts and surgeries. Publicly, however, (except to our closest of friends and relatives) we downplayed the problem. We often reminded ourselves and others that John's problem was just "muscle and bone" and his vital organs were well-developed. Our first trip to Children's Hospital in Denver reinforced the fact that John's problem was treatable and not life threatening. We thanked God for his health and prayed for positive treatment for his hips. More tears were shed when they put the Pavlik Harness on John. He was less than a week old and seemed so fragile.
The doctors at Children's Hospital told us that there was over a 95% chance that the Pavlik Harness would be all of the treatment John would need. They estimated that he would be in the harness for 6 weeks to get the hips in the socket (they were out of the socket which is the worst form of hip dysplasia), 6 weeks to stabilize the hips and 6 weeks to wean John from the brace. While we hoped the doctors were correct, we hesitated to be too hopeful.
So, we spent several months diapering around the harness, never removing it even for a bath. John was dressed in shirts and no pants. His lower body given as much freedom as possible to move. We even found booties that fit over the harness. Each trip to Children's Hospital followed the script that the doctors outlined. John's hips stayed in the socket sooner than they expected and by the time John was 2 ½ months of age, he was being weaned from the brace.
John is almost 1 year old now and he is still doing well. He has had several check-ups and x-rays of his hips and the sockets are developing normally. Accompanying John's hip dysplasia, he had torticollis and scoliosis. The torticollis was revealed when I noticed a large mass on his neck. After an ultrasound and several more doctor's visits, it was determined that it was a muscle mass due to neck trauma. The scoliosis was also a result of the way John was situated in the womb. It seems breach babies are more prone to all three of these conditions. So, to accompany the Pavlic Harness, John and I attended physical therapy. With diligent stretching of the neck muscles, accompanied by massage, John's torticollis never progressed to anything of concern. And, as the doctors predicted, he outgrew the scoliosis.
If you have any questions about this site or would like to make a suggestion, please contact us at hip-baby.org.