This is Adrick's Clubfoot Journey
Our son was diagnosed in-uterine at 36 weeks gestation - by luck - as we had just moved from out of province and were starting at a new hospital. I had had seven ultrasounds previous to the one where they discovered as we call it; his angel's kiss. At the time of diagnosis, they were convinced his feet were a positional clubfoot and not congenital (congenital meaning defect present at birth) as surely anyone doing an ultrasound prior would have noticed the deformity. Not so. Adrick's feet are bilateral congenital talipes equinovarus that received a 6 (severe) rating from his doctor at Montreal Shriner's Hospital.
(4 days old)
At six days old we started the process. I took my newborn son into the old Montreal Shriner's Hospital on Cedar Avenue up on ol'Mount Royal to have his first casts. I cried like a baby. The poor staff at Shriner's tried to comfort me, but it only made matters worse. They cast my son with what they called "hello-casts" basically an introduction cast for my son. It was traumatizing. Across the room, because at the old Shriner's the cast room was one big room separated by curtains, was another woman with a son. I didn't know at the time, but he was only one day older than Adrick. I could see her looking at me, crying my eyes out, and I remember thinking I just wanted to ask her how she was handling all this with no tears?! Her son was also being cast for the first time that day. We would go weekly for a month before approaching one another, eventually finding friendship in our sons' hardships.
Adrick endured ten weeks of casts because he was born at 38 weeks gestation. They had wanted to wait until 50 weeks gestation to place him under general anesthetics. Ten weeks of casts are long, enduring, heart-wrenching and exhausting. All those adorable newborn outfits - a waste. All those cute baby shoes; chuck them out. All those footie sleepers that look so comfortable; forget them. Adrick lived in onesies. It was the only thing that fit him. Adrick's casts were humongous! Adrick moved a lot during his casting phase, he was rolling over before a month old which made it hard on the casting techs, and he was a BIG baby. Being an August baby with an Indian-summer we didn't need anything else other than the onesies during the casting phase.
Wednesday, October 28, took forever to come but came much too quickly. We went the Monday before to Montreal Children's to prep Adrick for his tendonomity. Adrick was cast in soft casts so I could remove them and bathe him the morning before surgery. We were given specific instructions and scared half-to-death:
I got up the morning of surgery, bathed him in antiseptic soap, dressed him and flew out the door at 5 am. We made it in time, of course, there wasn't a soul on the road (a Montreal-first) at 5 am - so we were 2 hours early for our appointment.
Once arriving at Children's I waiting for the hospital to "open." Dr. B came into the pre-op room, still in his biking ensemble (helmet and all) marked Adrick's legs with a sharpie, and told me again that my child is massive (lol). The anesthesiologist came and explained the process and told me where to wait. They even gave me one of those fancy pagers, the coaster-type-like-ones you get when waiting at a restaurant and left with my son in his arms. I can still see his little eyes peering over the anesthesiologist's shoulder looking at me, scared and confused. I cried (again). I went and waited in the waiting room and held onto the words Dr. B told me when we first met before Adrick was born. Dr.B told me, "if there was anything that you would want to go wrong with your child, clubfoot was it. Clubfoot is 100% treatable most of the time. "
(Adrick's feet 11 months old)
I waited, and I waited. The Doctor's had told me 90 minutes start to finish. I eventually hit the two-hour mark. My pager was still quiet. Around the 127 minute mark, because who was timing, Dr. B popped his head out and said they should page me any minute to see my son. I waited, and I waited. Eventually 32 minutes later, Dr. B walked by again and asked if they had paged me. I said no and my stomached dropped. Something was wrong. I knew it. My heart started to race as Dr. B took me into the post-op room. My ten-week-old son was on a gurney, hooked up to too many machines to count - - - but he was just fine. While I was stumbling trying to get the words out that the pager didn't go off - a nurse introduced me to another saying, "Oh his Mom is here, she didn't leave."
I couldn't imagine what they were thinking or saying. And I didn't dare ask how long Adrick had been there by himself out of fear of the rage I might bestow on the staff for not coming to find me earlier. Regardless, I was there for when my son woke up.
Adrick and I went home right as soon as they would allow and I nursed and snuggled him all day and evening. My daughter was brought home, and by dinner time I noticed my son's cast had slipped. Again. Holy hell. Again, it was in the evening. I opted to leave the cast and called the cast room first thing in the morning. The amazing thing about Montreal Shriner's is they are always there to help. They saw my son right away. They removed his slipped cast. And under Tylenol only, reset his foot. I never heard a baby scream like that. But he held his own. We were in new casts and sent on our way.
Three more weeks of casts. Finally, November 21st came, and we were put into boots and bar. FINALLY! Well, that brought a whole new set of challenges (i.e., learning to nurse laying down with him attached to the bar), strategically dressing him, so I didn't have to remove and redo the shoes 100x in a day and counting the minutes of his four-15 minute periods of No-bar free time. We got through the 23-hour wear and were put into night time wear only. However, for the first week, we did 18-hour wear, then 16-hour wear the following week, and we are currently on a 14-hour wear. This road has been long, tiresome and exhausting, but I wouldn't change a thing... ok maybe less slipped casts... but Adrick's clubfeet are a part of him and his story, they are his angel's kisses - they are what make him unique. We want to raise our son to know his story, but we do not want his feet to define him. How do we plan to do that? We are not sure, but follow us on this journey and see.
Update: March 25, 2017