I am sat here, scratching these first words of a draft into my notebook at 4am, unable to sleep. Words have been flying round my brain in a jumbled, tangled mess as my brain tries to process what is going to happen.
Yesterday morning we took my 15 month old daughter to Bristol Children’s Hospital for an x-ray and consultation. We had discovered a few weeks ago that my little girl has a a good 2 cm difference in her leg length.
It had only become apparent when she first began to practise walking, using sofas to cruise and pushing her little pushchair up and down the lounge.
We noticed that she was walking with her right foot flat on the ground but her left foot on tiptoe and at a slight angle outwards.
I didn’t really think anything of it at first. I assumed that she would learn how to put both feet flat when she started walking properly. But my mum noticed it and it reminded her of my sister who had Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip when she was little.
We were over my mum’s house a few weeks ago and mum was changing my daughter’s nappy. She held my daughter’s legs flat on the floor and it was clear that there was an obvious difference in her leg length.
She was x-rayed and diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (also known as Congenital Hip Dysplasia), the same condition my sister had had.
In layman’s terms, DDH means that the hip joint is malformed, that it is a condition that a child is born with and that it often runs in families. Because of DDH, my daughter’s left hip has become dislocated.
The consultant told us that my daughter will be admitted to hospital within the next few weeks to have the condition dealt with. He told us that there were two certainties, the first being that when she comes out of theatre, her hip WILL be back in its socket.
This will be done by one of three methods. The second certainty is that she will be in a plaster cast, from her tummy to her legs, for four months.
The plaster cast will be very difficult, both for her, and for us. She will not be able to crawl, let alone walk. She will only have real upper body movement.
I know that it will be a logistical nightmare, having two young kids and getting out and about. We will need to get a new pushchair, high chair and car seat. Because she will not be able to turn over in her cot or sit up independently, we will need to move her cot into our bedroom.
For now I am worrying about her time in hospital. I worry about the general anaesthetic. I worry that she will pick up some dreadful infection while she is in hospital. I worry about her being unable to shake off a simple infection because she will not be mobile. I worry that, when she is under anaesthetic, the surgery won’t go as well as hoped.
And I simply worry about her being distressed, my poor, sweet girl. She was scared yesterday both in the x-ray and when she was examined. I know she will be dosed up with painkillers but she will likely feel uncomfortable and upset.
Yet, after scribbling these words down, I can put things into perspective a little more. I am lucky compared to many parents! I am worrying about my child having a hip operation, whereas some parents have seriously ill or worse, terminally ill, children.
We will deal with it! We have no choice about whether to get her hip sorted out. And, by the time Autumn falls later this year, our little girl should be as right as rain:-)
Please read my next post: ‘Preparing for my Daughter’s Operation’.