Emma-Lee’s Story

First off, I want to thank each and every one of you for this site, for spreading the word, for giving our children a chance!!

When my husband Matt and I took Emma to her wellness visit, her pediatrician said everything was “perfect”. We had mentioned that Emma’s hips were popping and clicking, and she said it was “normal”. It is just what happens when babies are growing. So we left the office, confident that our baby girl was, as the Dr. said, “perfect”. Yeah well we learned pretty quick, our pediatrician messed up big time. Matt kept telling me “something just isn’t right”. I said not to worry, the Dr. said she is perfectly healthy.

His worries started to worry me and we ended up making another appointment. I wasn’t worried, as I didn’t even even know what hip dysplasia was. When I gave birth, they made us watch a million videos on SIDS and Shaken Baby Syndrome, not one piece of literature in the stacks of paperwork I brought home stating anything about hip dysplasia.  So we get to the Dr. and she tells us something isn’t right, I want you to go see a pediatric orthopedic as soon as possible. “WHAT IF WE NEVER NOTICED IT????” That was what we were thinking, since Emma was just there less than a month ago and every time she did the leg checks she was good to go. There is no way my child developed this condition in less than a month!!!! She referred us to Dr. Ferrick at Buffalo Women and Children’s Hospital.

emma-lee

We went to the hospital and within minutes had her x-ray done. We were called back into the room and Dr. Ferrick simply said this “She has hip dysplasia, she needs to be put in a cast, we can do it as early as next week”. THAT WAS IT! So here we are completely blindsided, though we did do research before we met with Dr. Ferrick. He did not explain ANYTHING to us. It was like if I had to get a cavity filled, just very vague.

At this point I am a puddle. After we left the hospital, we went to the park to try and relax with Emma and all I could do was cry and think! ALOT! I told my husband, we need a second opinion, maybe a third. This is our baby we are talking about here!!! Our first baby who is so beautiful and perfect. So I literally googled a Dr. and found the University of Rochester Medical Center. We made an appointment for a few days later (we were blessed to get in so fast) and we also made a back-up appointment at the Shriners Hospital in Erie P.A. Both about the same distance from home…..

We met with Emma’s amazing team on the 15th at URMC, and that is how we found Dr. Cook. He explained everything so well, answered every question, made us feel comfortable, I had faith in this guy and so did my husband and we didn’t think twice about it. Emma needed a closed reduction and spica cast for 12 weeks, but we all know, there is no guarantee. WE FOUND OUR DR. TO FIX OUR BABY!!!! Dr. Cook moved to Rochester from Canada because the main hospital (Strong Memorial) is in the process of opening a children’s hospital and he wanted to play a major role. His credentials astounded us! He worked/studied at Boston Mass, one of the top 3 pediatric hospitals. We were scheduled for surgery only a couple weeks later. It all happened that fast!!!

In the mean time playing the waiting game, I found https://www.facebook.com/groups/Hiptoddlers/…….a DDH Group on Facebook. I just randomly chose it and started to learn more about my babies condition. It was the best thing I could have done for myself, my husband, and for Emma. We met amazing mommies who have all been in our shoes, who are still going through it, all types of stories and surgeries, which I must admit was scary at first because of worst case scenarios I seen. Through this group I was able to obtain priceless information, new friends, and help with endless support and love. I was given a spica table, a cast cooler, a bean bag chair, moleskin tape, toys, clothes…..all from perfect strangers. We took trips to Canada to get these items, just so happy to have help!!! It’s just the 3 of us. No family. This is it, but it’s perfect as long as I have my daughter and my husband.

The surgery date came, we drove up the night before since she had to be there at 6:30 a.m. I was worried about her not being able to have a bottle after 1:00 a.m., as we were starting to get into a sleeping routine finally LOL. She was perfect! Woke up happy like always. We got to the hospital and signed in, sitting there about to just hide in the corner and cry. We all went into the pre-op room, and the whole time I kept thinking, why my baby? Why this beautiful, precious, perfect little angel who was sent to me at the perfect time in my life. (I lost my mother in August and if I was not pregnant, who knows where I would be now. Emma-Lee saved me from myself) The anesthesiologist came in and explained everything, we chose not to go back with her as we were recommended how hard it is on the parents. We trusted these guys so we let her go. She was totally fine with it, busy playing with a toy :) We were warned the hardest part was watching them take your baby, but the staff and Emma were so awesome I only cried a few tears and was OKAY!

What seemed like 20 minutes even though it was about 2 hours total, the Dr. came out and we were very nervous as they were not 100% sure that when they did the closed reduction and injected the dye of the outcome. He said it went perfect! She had a bilateral closed reduction and he wanted to do an MRI to make sure all was well. We were then called back to see her after her cast and surgery, and again, I thought I would just flip. NOPE! I was fine and so was my husband. Emma slowly woke up, didn’t even cry, and was smiling in minutes. We are so blessed we got through the hard part. We were then transferred to a room that we had to share with another child who was driving us nuts because Emma wanted to sleep and the boy and his guests were very loud. I asked if there was any way we didn’t have to stay the night as only one parent could be in the room, that wasn’t going to happen with us, and the noise was loud as we were directly across from the nurses desks.

A few hours later Dr. Cook came in and told us the MRI looked perfect, that Emma was the “poster child” for DDH and that he was so happy with the outcome that we could leave! We stayed the night at the Ronald McDonald house the night before and then again the day she had her surgery. I had already picked up a loaner car seat while Emma and her daddy were getting the MRI done. I could not believe that they let us leave!!! They gave us a few prescriptions for Tylenol and ibuprofen. She didn’t need anything after surgery so I didn’t think she would even need that. We have never given her any medicine except eye drops when she was a month old. They also gave us a prescription for Vicodin! I was like, why? They said since we drove in from Buffalo, they wanted us to take it with us just in case. So I filled the Tylenol and ibuprofen, just in case.

We got back to the Ronald McDonald house around 5 p.m. We got all this done in less than 12 hours!!!! AMAZING! Emma did great, only cried when she was hungry. We even went to breakfast the next morning with one of my husband’s friends and his friend’s little girl. Emma was perfect. She loves her new car seat as it sits up high and she can see everything :)

Since we have been home it is like nothing happened. I thought she would flip out having her cast on as she was using her feet for everything, even to hold her bottle LOL. So far, we have been doing more than awesome. Emma loves her spica table, she is the same baby she was before her cast. Her daddy got her a toy that goes on the floor. You lay them on their belly and they can use their hands to spin and grab things. She was spinning around and around and loving it! I believe in strength in numbers. ALL MY FELLOW “HIP” MOMS, thank you! Gina Jay, thank you for answering all my calls when we were gone. It was all good news every time! Thank you to friends for support and most of all THANK YOU DR. COOK FOR DOING AN AMAZING JOB!!!!

Last but not least, we know that their can be more casting, more problems that may arise, but the love and positivity all around us has allowed us to get this far with no problems at all!!! Even our first poop diaper was a breeze LOL. To all you moms out there who are about to go through this, trust me (I am not the most optimistic person, my better half carries that trait lol) TRUST in your Dr. If not, find a new one. TRUST that this is temporary. TRUST that all of our children are stronger than we are. To my fellow “hip” moms, as Bob Marley says it best “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right. ”

Peace and Love- Sara, Matt, and baby Emma-Lee <3




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  1. Krista Kulp says:

    That’s great to hear. I had hip dysplasia when I was born. I had my first hip replacement when I was 31 after two kids and live my life perfectly normal.Had my second hip replacemnt at the age of 33. Healthy happy and have two healthy happy kids. No hip problems with them.Pain is temopory and she will be just fine.

  2. Patty says:

    Thank you for sharing. My 19 month old daughter goes in for surgery next tuesday. It will be an open reduction and ostectomy. I am a nervous wreck! I can’t sleep and thankfully these blogs help. I will write her story once her surgery is over. Praying all goes well for us!

    Patty

  3. Christine says:

    aw I love that you have a blog finally! I’m so glad that Emma is doing so well. & by the way.. you do have family! As I said before, if you need anything even a sitter for a night I would love to help out!

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