Kalynne’s Story

As first time parents, we were excited and looking forward to having our baby girl in a few months, so when my husbands niece was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at a couple months old, we were a little concerned it may be hereditary but didn’t think too much of it for our baby. We fully expected an adorable healthy newborn and lots of cuddle time (no one in my family had ever had any hip dysplasia issues, nor his until then that we knew of, and we’d never even heard of Hip Dysplasia in babies) … Very long story short our daughter was born 12 days overdue, big (9 lb, 14 oz), but seemed PERFECT! She was NOT breech, only risk factors for HD she had were, firstborn girl, and possibly it is hereditary since her cousin had it.

They checked her hips at the hospital and said they seemed fine! We were SO relieved and so we went home, 6 days later my mom took Kalynne and I to her first check up. Our pediatrician checked her over, commenting on how healthy and beautiful she was, then moved to her hips, I noticed he was spending a lot of time there and had a frown. I immediately knew something was wrong and he then showed me that her left hip was dislocating… I remember like it was yesterday feeling so overwhelmed but trying my best not to just cry, keeping a brave front up since I was with my mom… But postpartum hormones, plus that was NO fun, I kept telling myself “it is NOT serious, he said it dislocates but it’s not dislocated”… I knew nothing about it so I basically lied to myself to keep my hopes up… I did NOT want my baby to have to have surgery…

We were referred to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon (one who had thankfully just in the last month moved to our city). Back at home, and after my mom left I remember I laid her in her swing and dissolved into tears… I cried for several days straight (and cried more over the next several months). I felt like I was being SO cheated, and everytime I looked at my baby or held her I just hurt for her and felt so sad for the fact that we prob just had a couple days to cuddle her and enjoy her newborn phase without a brace or cast… Only Hip Dysplasia Parents can understand this but I felt a feeling of “loss”… it didn’t seem fair and frankly I got depressed very quickly (and I had NO normal postpartum depression, I actually was SO happy til that 6th day).

Two days later my husband was working, so my mom took us to our appointment where the Ortho took just a couple minutes to diagnose her with Bilateral (both hips – though I didn’t know that at the time) Hip Dysplasia. He placed her in the Pavlik Harness and set us up for visits every two weeks, and Ultrasound in 4 weeks! At the Ultrasound we found out it was both hips, and more serious than we thought. I was feeling VERY scared because I knew the Ortho didn’t want to try the harness for more than a couple months before they would move to surgery. So we continued our 2 week checkups, and 4 weeks later went for our second Ultrasound.  Her hip had improved, in fact the right hip was considered “good” but the left was still not there… I had hope but it had been 8 weeks.

After the first couple weeks our baby girl figured out she didn’t like being in the harness 24/7, she would scream hours every night due to colic which was made worse due to the fact she couldn’t kick her legs… And she was the crabbiest baby ever! I cried with her most of the time! We were getting SO weary of this deal… I wanted to enjoy her first few months but instead I just wished for her to be older so we could be done with the hip stuff.  We had another Ultrasound where they FINALLY told us her hips looked great despite the odds. That is when it hit me that we were SO blessed, our Ortho looked at the Ultrasound, shook his head and smiled and said “you better be thankful for this miracle, I have NEVER seen hips as bad as hers get better with just a Pavlik Harness, much less in a couple months”… she should of had to have countless surgeries!

My prayers were being answered, she was being weaned out of the harness and she could come out of it for 12 hours per day! That was the happiest day I had had since she was 6 days old. She had been in the harness about 10 weeks, although that doesn’t sound long, when you are in the situation every day is a hardship… it feels like a year. At one point I didn’t think I could do it any more, but FINALLY I saw the light at the end of the tunnel! For the next month she slept (with plenty of fits, of course) in the brace until we finally let her out completely!

They told me she would probably be delayed several months in motor skills and may not walk til 2 yrs old. But she started rolling over at about 3 months old (something pavlik harness kids can’t do is tummy time so we started that at about 2 months old when she was out of her harness during the day), sat up well at 5 months, crawled at 7 months, and pulled up at 9 months, started cruising all over around 10 months, taking steps at 10.5 months and walked at 11.5 months! She was into everything by 12.5 months and now at almost 17 months old she is a normal and healthy little toddler! Running climbing and playing like any other toddler…

There is hope for your HD baby if you are going through this situation… and I am so thankful for this website because I researched and couldnt find much on HD.  It’s not very common, I guess, around here? It was very informative and supportive and helpful for me to see success stories and also know our case could be much worse! We are now expecting a baby boy, and though I know statistically we have a low chance of him having it… it almost makes me panic when I think about having to go through that again.  It was a dark time in her little life, I honestly try to not think about it and when I do I feel like crying and feel sick. I REALLY want to be able to dress my baby normally, hold him normally and cuddle and ENJOY him being tiny instead of wishing it would pass! No one but we HD mommy’s can understand, I know, but at least we do and I know if our little boy has HD also then I can come to this site for support! Thanks for reading and I hope it offers encouragement! =) The first pic is when she was first put in pavlik, the second is at 2 months old, and the third is right after we removed the harness! =)

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16 Notes

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  1. Jennifer S. says:

    Thank you so much for your story! Congrats on her passing by those milestones like a breeze. Hoping for good progress with my own!

  2. Emma says:

    Such a positive story. I am so glad it was picked up early and treated succesfully.

  3. Lydia says:

    Ooops, I dk what happened to the last pic but thats not the right one! lol

  4. Lydia B says:

    Thanks guys! Hoping it can be an encouragement! =)

  5. Lydia B says:

    Last pic is a completely different pic than I thought I had selected… if anyone knows how I can fix or remove it let me know! lol =)

  6. Courtney D says:

    This story brought up all the emotions I’ve gone through in the past 7 months. My girl was our last child, and did not other than being a white female fit into the reasoning as to why it happened. She still has quite a bit of immaturity in her left hip but it is in place. I remember the day we got her harness. I cried so hard. I couldn’t cuddle her like I wished. She would cry inconsolable cries for 12 hours or more a day thanks to colic, acid reflux and he leg spasms.
    I still feel like I missed out on so much with her :(

  7. tina says:

    your story gives me hope. It brought me to tears. I’m going through with my first child with HD. She was breech and now 7 weeks. She has been wearing the brace for almost a week. It has been tough. I hope one day I can write my own success story.

  8. Tiffany says:

    Both of my girls have HD, and have used Pavlik harnesses successfully (our 8 week old has been in it two weeks and will likely start weaning at the next appointment.) I do not want to be offensive, but I feel that this harness is really a pretty simple, non-invasive treatment, really a blessing if you consider the alternatives, such as surgery or HD which goes unrecognized until adolescence. While sure, not dressing the kids in cute clothes is inconvenient, and holding them may feel weird at first, these babies will NEVER remember it, they are NOT in pain, they know NOTHING different, and really, this brief moment is merely a tiny blip in their lives. I am actually glad I didn’t read more about it before we experienced the harness firsthand, because I would have been so much more anxious! I truly believe this is much harder on the parents than it is the kids, and that is something that we need to deal with and move forward, bravely and I good humor! My older daughter is a wonderful little athletic seven year old who thinks that she looked cute in the harness and otherwise has no memories of it. It did not effect our bonding in any way!! If your child needs a Pavlik Harness, please don’t be worried. It is not a big deal at all in the grand scheme of things.

  9. Mary says:

    Thank you Tiffany

  10. Lou says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so difficult, our beautiful little boy has been put in a harness, he’s 2 months, he’s gone from being such a happy baby to crying all night. It’s heartbreaking, I know it’s needed and will help him but it’s just so frustrating to not be able to hold him the same way. I’m back at work after my leave and feel so sorry for my wife bless her she’s so tired from it and it is understandably upsetting her. I just wish there was more I could do to help him and settle him, he’s our world

  11. Emily Schmidt says:

    You could not be more spot on with everything! I feel so many emotions but I can’t help to feel a little selfish for some of them. Feeling robbed of these first few months is exactly right. I find myself just staring at my daughter crying. She is the most beautiful little thing I have ever placed my eyes upon and it just breaks me to see her in the little harness. Thank you for sharing your story and putting into words everything I am feeling.

  12. Denise says:

    My daughter wore the palvik harness for 3 months and although we just can’t wait for her to have it off when she did get it off I was proud and the 3 months thankfully was when she was 1-4months old so thankfully it delay anything too much and i am SO thankful we did the harness which was easy to feed her and change her diaper she was a little easier to handle but don’t get my wrong I am happy she is out of it. Things happen and we don’t know why – and if this is the only thing wrong with her …then I am blessed………

  13. Whitney says:

    Anyone have suggestions or tips with skin breakdown in hip crevices ? Trying to prevent any skin breakdown. Our newborn was diagnosed right away with bilateral hip dislocations . She was frank breech Andy never changed positions since week 30. Otherwise totally healthy. Her hips move in and out of place easily and she has good hip angles which is apparently a good prognosis . She was placed in her Pavlik harness at 4 days of age once we got in to see ortho ( I work for a peds speciality clinic so was able to get her in right away). We go weekly for adjustments and ultrasounds but she has to be in it 24/7 with no cloths underneath at this point . We know it’s just a blip in the road and are praying for the best outcome . Just wondering if anyone has had issues with skin breakdown from harness and suggestions ? We have bought a lot of sleep sacks since she was put in the brace !!!

  14. Susan says:

    I am 58 and I had hip dysplasia when i was born. My mom noticed that when she put me on my stomach I would scream. She took me to the Dr. He told my parents that I would probably never walk. My dad was having non of that so they got a second opinion. I was put in a body cast for 6 months and a brace for another 3 months. I remember any of it. I never had a problem with walking or running.

  15. Zoe says:

    Susan, did u have any pain as an adult?

  16. Erin says:

    This was my story too. The doctor flipped me on my back as an infant and noticed one leg was longer then the other because I will missing my right hip socket. I was put in a Pavlik harness to help form the socket. I am 30 now and have been very active in sports and exercise my entire life. It has not affected me or has been very noticable, over time I have just noticed how both of my sides are “different” which isnt uncommon for anyone. Not until about two years ago I have noticed some pain and tightness so I regularly practice yoga over running and things that are harder on the joints, I also get regular massage which helps this tremendously. I was explained that there may be scar tissue where the joint formed so it is best to keep it moving. My hips get extremely tight if I dont. If your baby’s condition is similar to mine, this will minimally or if at all affect her life. It actually has promoted me to stretch and take care of my wellness more. Teach her young to value this:) take care

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