Natalie Trice is a mother, wife, author, blogger and writer and lives in the UK. She has two sons, and her second, Lucas, was diagnosed with DDH when he nearly five months old.
Ever since, Natalie has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the condition that affects so many children and adults around the world. As well as writing about it on her blog and in the media, in 2015 Natalie’s first book, Cast Life – A Parent’s Guide to DDH, was published and is now selling globally. Natalie also launched DDH UK which focuses on raising awareness and offering information for people effected by hip dysplasia.
Here is Natalie’s Story
I know only too well that whilst DDH is not life threatening, it really is life changing. The earlier it is spotted the less likely a child will suffer a lifetime of pain, disability and hip replacements. However, all too often cases are missed and children are diagnosed later than we would like.
My son was diagnosed with DDH just before he was five months old and we went from a life of coffee mornings and baby yoga to endless appointments, scans and operations. I wanted know as much about the condition as possible so I understood the treatments being offered and could see a way forward.
My initial search threw up horrific images and worst-case scenarios that simply compounded my fears. I felt totally out of my depth and alone.
Lucas had his first operation, a closed reduction, when he was just eight months old. His condition was too severe, and detected too late, for the pavlik harness to work so this was the next logical step.
For Lucas, this procedure and the cast and harnesses that followed, didn’t work and he went on to have an open reduction and femoral osteotomy when he was two. Post-op he was placed in a broomstick cast for months and despite this being a challenge, it was worth it when we went for the check ups and things were looking great. His hardware was removed the following year and everything was looking really positive.
One thing I have learnt is that DHH sometimes comes back and bites you and this happened to my darling boy.
He was doing well at school, running around with his friends and was always playing football, but then in June 2015 we were told things weren’t looking good once again.
My husband and I were totally floored. Lucas was six and we just didn’t see this coming, why would we? This time he needed a pelvic osteotomy, his fourth and largest operation to date.
Ironically two days before he was wheeled into theatre we had the launch party for my book, Cast Life – A Parent’s Guide to DDH’,
Cast Life was inspired by my son and is the book I wish I could have read during those lonely, uncertain early days at the start of our journey. It includes everything from clear explanations about the condition and the treatments involved to the products available to make life easier for children in casts. It also looks at family life, dealing with emotions as well including first person stories and parent comments. Over time I cobbled together information as we went along but didn’t ever find one solid resource that offered me comfort and solace.
Professor N. M. P. Clarke ChM, DM, FRCS Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, who wrote the foreword for Cast Life, commented, ““DDH is one of the most common congenital abnormalities and it is remarkable that there is so little information out there. This book is essential reading for the parents of children with the condition, as well as health professionals working with them, and I would love to see it in all clinics around the world.”
I’m not a medical professional, although many did contribute to this book, but a mother who hopes her experiences and the determination of her son and strength of her family will help empower others and offer them a little solace.
Lucas’ journey isn’t over and I have accepted that DDH is now a part of our family and our life. I am looking forward to working with the IHDI and other DDH organizations around the world to ensure there is more awareness of this life changing condition and the parents have the support the need for their journey.
Cast Life is available on Amazon and 10% of the book royalties will be going to this cause. I have also set up a charity called DDH UK offering information about DDH.