Tuesday, January 22, 2013

She's Finished!

Because I use this blog as somewhat of a journal and because I realize not EVERYONE wants to read all the details of my life, I have provided a short and long version of Lyla's Clubfoot journey.  Feel free to read whichever you like. :)

A little over 4 years ago, my sweet Lyla was born with Club Foot. We knew about it from our 20 week ultrasound and were prepared for it at her birth. At 1 week she was put into full-leg casts that were changed each week so they could slowly correct her feet. When she was 5 weeks old, they cut her achilles tendon on her right foot so it could lengthen. She then had casts for another 3 weeks. After the casts and at just under 2 months of age, she was then put into a brace that looked like a mini snowboard. She wore this brace for 23 hours a day for 3 months. After that, she wore her brace every time she napped or slept at night for several more months to a year. Over the next couple years we slowly weaned her off her brace. She hasn't had to wear her brace in over a year. Today we went to see her club foot doctor and he officially told me he doesn't need to see her anymore and that her feet look awesome. YAY!!! We are so blessed to have had such great doctors, especially the ones in the beginning who did all the work! And the best part? Lyla doesn't remember one single bit of it. :) Blessings!

Before I ever got pregnant, I remember dreaming of all the fun and exciting details that came with pregnancy... finding out, feeling the little flutters and then kicks in your stomach, baby showers, and ultrasounds...  So, aside from the morning sickness in the first trimester, everything was going very smoothly and I was loving every bit of it.  When it came to our 20 week ultrasound, we were SOO excited.  We had both sides of our family cast votes on whether or not they thought our first baby would be a boy or a girl.  We were pumped!  

When we got into our ultrasound, we they informed us that they mostly are looking to make sure our baby is healthy and there are no concerns, and then they would try to see if they could tell the gender.  Eventually we found out that we were having a GIRL, which we were SO excited about.  And then the ultrasound tech started to spend an unusual amount of time looking at her legs and feet.  She finally said she was going to get a doctor and we asked if something was wrong.  She said she just had a question about her feet.  While she was gone, Nate and I were panicked.  I remember thinking that maybe she had webbed toes and Nate wondering if she was going to have any feet at all.  So, the head doctor came in and took a look at our baby and confirmed what the tech had thought... our baby had Club Foot.  To say we were devastated is an understatement.  I tried to be tough while listening to them and then as soon as the doctor left, I lost it.  Nate was solid and composed, probably making up for my crazy hormones.  The doctors came back with all sorts of pamphlets and advice for us and told me that I was the only one who would remember any of it.  Anyway, needless to say, I called in sick to work that day :)

Fast forward a few months and Lyla was born and we were prepared to see her little feet.  We felt really blessed that we found out in the ultrasound, because many people find out at birth instead, which would be tough.  So, here are her little feet...

Everything we read and all the advice we received said that we should begin casting as soon as possible to start correcting her feet.  So, Lyla had 4 sets of casts, changing them every week, while they slowly corrected her feet to the proper position.

Lyla getting her first cast on.
You can see from this picture how I handled the whole thing :)

I was a WRECK!
 Her left foot was a "Positional" Club Foot and her right was a "True Club" foot.  That basically meant that they would have to do more work for her right foot than the left.  Her first casting they "went for gold" and corrected it all the way on her left foot.  She was awesome and calm the entire time. We knew then that she was such a tough girl.

After first casting.

It was pretty sad that first day after because she used to love to scrunch her legs up into a little ball and snuggle up and fall asleep on someone, and the casts prevented her from doing that.  It broke our hearts, but we had to keep reminding ourselves that she won't remember any of this at all.  

We used to have to elevate her legs while she slept and make sure her toes were always pink so we could make sure she didn't lose circulation.  
Her new snuggle position...

Her feet after her first set of casts...

Whenever they would cast her or take her casts off, they would have to swaddle her so her arms wouldn't get loose and get in the way.

They took the first cast off her left leg until we did the 3-week long casts since it wasn't as clubbed as the other.

Then came the dreadful day of the achilles cut.  Her achilles tendon on her right leg was too short.  So they cut it to lengthen it and then cast it for 3 weeks while it heals. They say it's technically a surgery, even though it's more of a quick procedure.  They wouldn't let Nate or I in the room so all we heard were her screams.  It was heart wrenching!

Daddy holding Lyla after she screamed and cried from her "surgery".

After that, they casted her back up for 3 weeks so her achilles could heal.

Her last set of casts.
Getting her last casts off. The way they took off the casts was pretty alarming, but they assured me it was safe and even tested it out on me so I knew there wasn't a possibility for them to saw Lyla's leg off or anything.

Getting her last casts off.

When they correct club feet, they try to over-correct because they will tend to go back a little.  Her poor little legs were not used to being exposed so her skin was very sensitive.

And this was Lyla's amazing doctor, Dr. Stephanie Holmes, from Primary Children's Hospital.  She did awesome.  All the doctors we had seen afterward would always ask me who her doctor was and what a great job she had done.  They were all extremely impressed with her (and so are we!)!  

Lyla and Dr. Holmes
After we got her last casts off, we went to go get Lyla's brace.   At this point, Nate had left for Chicago to move our stuff so he could start his job at Sears.  Lyla and I were going to follow after she got her brace and another set of immunizations.  Since her legs were so sensitive, putting on thick, leather shoes was really rough for her and she screamed the entire time.  What made it worse was that her shoes were connected to a heavy 2-3lb metal bar!  After that, we went to get her immunizations at the doctors.  By that point, she was so tired from screaming and crying that she just cried as they gave her the shot and stopped immediately afterward.  I was so grateful I was staying with my sister-in-law Candace who was SO helpful in helping me to keep calm and take care of her.  She even sang Lyla Les Miserables that seemed to calm Lyla right down (Thanks Candace!)

Lyla, right after her immunizations.  Saddest picture ever!

And in true Lyla fashion, she warmed up to her brace after a day or two and was just fine.  She started scooting and crawling and used her brace to push herself around.  She would kick her legs up and bang her brace back on the ground over and over again (hello abs, and sorry to the neighbors!).  Anyway, we went to the Shriner's hospital in Chicago and her doctors would just adjust her brace as needed.  

Fast forward to a year ago and he told us we didn't need to put her in her brace anymore.  And then today, we went to her club foot doctor and he told me that her feet look so good and that he didn't foresee us having any problems and that he didn't need to see us anymore!  Yay!!  So here is the before/after pic again. 

We are so thankful for all the amazing doctors we were able to see, all the people who prayed and fasted for our sweet girl, and for Heavenly Father for blessing her and us through and through.  We could not feel more loved.  We are so proud of our Lyla girl for being such a trooper throughout this whole process!  Love you Lyla!


Haley said...

I'm glad that you documented all of this, because knowing Lyla now I'd never guessed she'd had such an experience. I don't blame you for bawling through the casting procedure. I think I would've been in the fetal position in the corner.

And I love the picture of you and Lyla sleeping next to eachother. Such sweet little buddies!

Emily said...

I remember you mentioning this once, but I forgot all about it. Loved this little inside look at Lyla's early months. She looked SO much like she looks today - that always amazes me. So glad that it went so well!

Dale, Julie, Jaxon, Britta, and Max said...

That's awesome that you have pics through this whole process. What a journey!!! Yes, Lyla is tough, but so are you!!!!

Sir Andrew Vickerman said...


I very rarely comment anything. I actually came across your blog by looking for cast pictures, yours really caught my heart, my daughter is just 15 months old and seeing a little baby like yours all blocked was too shocking not to enter the site. I'm so glad she is so fine now, I just wanted to congratulate you and your family.

Very best,

A. V. Pyruslav