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Hip-baby Disclaimer

Our beautiful baby boy Simon was born on June 6, 2000. Although he was breech in months six, seven and eight in utero, he turned around in the home stretch and I enjoyed a very brief and textbook natural birth.

Within a few days he became severely jaundiced and between his hospitalization and my concerns about the breastfeeding interruption, I barely listened when my pediatrician said he had a "hip click" and recommended we see a pediatric orthopedist. The ortho confirmed the click and sent us to get a sonogram.

The results showed Simon's dysplasia to be quite severe, although the hip had never dislocated. Still, I was not overly concerned. A niece had dislocation and dysplasia following a caesarean, and after being in a cast and then a brace, was absolutely fine. The ortho prescribed a Wheaten brand Pavlik harness.

Getting an appointment with an orthotist proved to be a pain. The runaround I got from my health insurance provider was inexcusable and it took nearly two weeks before we got him equipped. Simon wore the Pavlik for 16 weeks -- at first for 20 hours a day, and then finally just for 8 just before treatment was over. The hardest part was not being able to hold Simon as much as I wanted. I had read about attachment parenting and had hoped to carry my baby in a sling most of his early months. Instead my little one was flat on his back in the crib or propped up in gerryrigged bouncy seat. I was also saddened that he couldn't wear all the beautiful clothes so many people had given us at my baby shower.

At our follow up at six months the doctor gave Simon his first x-ray to make sure the dysplasia was gone. The good news: it was. The bad news: the femoral heads of his thigh bones had not ossified. According to the doctor he should have shown some hardening there at four to six months. His latest X-ray, at nine months, shows the heads are still soft. No one seems to know why. It may due to an underlying problem that also caused the dysplasia, or it may be a complication from the harness, possibly avascular necrosis. Subsequent X-rays show it is a localized issue -- his other joints are fine, and he's been checked for endocrine problems. We are hoping it is just a delay.

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