Lynnon’s Story

Our daughter Lynnon’s hip dysplasia was discovered by her pediatrician during our hospital stay at her birth. The doctor was conducting the routine infant examination and mentioned that her left hip was clicking. He said that sometimes breech babies are born with loose hips. Lynnon had been breech for the entire third trimester of my pregnancy. I tried many techniques to try and get her to turn, including ice packs, elevation, and even the external version procedure. She was born by C-Section and it was apparent why she was unable to turn… she was a frank breech. Her feet were literally next to her ears, legs stretched out in a ‘pike’ position, and her bottom down.

Lynnon had an ultrasound done that same afternoon, and it showed that both of her hips were dislocated. I was shocked. I was also extremely worried about her comfort, though I was reassured that she likely felt no pain at all. We received a referral to a pediatric orthopaedist for further consultation on her hips. At 6 days old, we traveled the first of many three hour trips to meet her pediatric orthopaedist. Upon her examination, Lynnon was fitted with the Pavlik Harness. We were told she was to wear it 24 hours a day, though we could remove it for quick baths and to change outfits if needed. The straps on the harness were marked so we knew the correct positioning, and we were shown how to remove the harness without changing the abduction straps. The doctor said the harness had over a 90% success rate for infants, and she would wear it for approximately 12-18 weeks.

I had anticipated this news after doing some research about hip dysplasia. The harness seems terrifying at first. It is an unsightly and unnatural looking contraption. I was dealing with the intense hormonal change of giving birth, and the fact that there was something ‘wrong’ with my precious baby, which intensified the worries. The idea that she couldn’t be a ‘normal’ baby and had to wear this harness seemed devastating at the time. I knew that we were fortunate because there are so many other illnesses and issues that infants deal with, and our situation was relatively minor. I had a dear friend whose baby was born with a heart issue, and had been flown by helicopter in the first weeks of his life to have open heart surgery. I knew I should count my blessings for Lynnon’s overall health, but it was still hard to cope.

I cried the entire three hours for the first trip to see her specialist, and could barely speak to the doctor without sobbing. I was worried sick that the harness was going to hurt her, that we wouldn’t be able to breastfeed, etc. etc. Though I recognized and knew it was incredibly shallow, I found myself being upset that Lynnon couldn’t wear many of the cute outfits she had received as gifts. Pants were out of the question (and it was the middle of winter), and her hips were kept at such a wide angle that the only comfortable and non-bulky clothing for her to wear were onesies. I had been comforted by others who had been through the same treatment that the time goes by so quickly, and we would barely even remember her having to wear the harness. At the time, 12-18 weeks seemed like an eternity and it was hard to believe them.

I would say that the fear and anxiety about the harness wore off within the first week after her fitting. Life in the harness was never as dramatic or devastating as I imagined. Lynnon never complained about the harness. After the first week, we were pro’s when it came to weaving her diaper through the harness, or taking it off and putting it back on quickly for changes or baths. Lynnon was a little ‘bulkier’ than the normal non-harness baby, but we were still able to nurse, cuddle, and play. After a couple weeks, we were even able to make light of the situation and would sing ACDC’s “Back in the Saddle Again” each time the harness had to go back on.

As we got into the weaning stages, I even think that the harness was comforting to Lynnon at times. Putting it back on at night was almost like her way of being swaddled, or being put in a familiar position. The only negative suspicion that I had regarding the harness was that it may have made her a gassier baby, as she was not able to freely kick and move her legs to ‘work out gas’ and aid digestion. But, her gassy period lasted less than three weeks, so it may have simply been her age and immature digestive system, and a stage she would have gone through regardless.

Now, I am so thankful for the harness . In fact, I find myself thinking “I LOVE THE HARNESS!” At Lynnon’s two week follow up, her hips were no longer dislocated. At her five week follow up, her hip angles showed great improvement and she was cleared to be out of the harness for four hours a day. At her eight week follow up, both hip angles measured sixty degrees and we were cleared for twelve hours per day out of the harness. She continued to wear the harness only at night time until she was 14 weeks old, when we were officially cleared. The effectiveness of such a simple device at correcting her hips has been fascinating. We are so thankful that we have been able to avoid more invasive treatment such as surgery and a cast. Lynnon will continue to have follow-up visits with her hip doctor until she is five years old, and we have been encouraged by other success stories to believe that she will be an unrestricted, un-phased, and un-stoppable child.

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  1. Krista Kulp says:

    I was born with hip dysplasia. I am now 36 years old and have had both of my hips replaced. Would not change this for the world. My parents were wonderful. I now have two children of my own. No problems with dilvery of either child. My son was breach but I think that had to do with that he was 8lbs 7oz. Big boy. Now I live with no hip pain after the surgery. Happy to hear that they have made leaps and bounds in medicine for little people like you daughter.I wish they had a harness like they have now. Hope she grows to be a big strong girl.

  2. Carrie N says:

    Exactly the same story. My story is also published here “Chloe”
    The pavlik saved us, too. Thankful and we also have X-ray every 6 months. They said until age 10.

    Love to you!

  3. Sallie H says:

    Thank you–Your story is courageous, inspiring and hopeful for a new mother who has a baby with bilateral hip dysplasia. You explain each stage of the Pavlik’s harness as well as the emotional aspects of motherhood.
    My daughter will be able to relate to your experience.
    Hope your little girl will do very well.
    Best wishes from a granny.

  4. Christa says:

    I just wanted to say thank you, after reading your story it made me feel better to know that There was someone out there who felt the same way I am feeling right now going through this same thing. Your story is exactly what we are going through and the emotions I am feeling.. My daughter is two weeks old and got a pavlik harness on when she was 2 days old.. I got really emotional about it and cried for the first few days. My daughter was also frank breech and I delivered her naturally so having to deal with the after pains from that and having a 17 month old at home and a newborn was tough enough and adding the pavlik harness just seemed like so much to take on all at once. I find diaper changes so much tougher and it takes so much longer but I know in the long run this is going to benefit my little Girl. I am hoping it gets easier eventually.. My husband took a few weeks off work to be home and help out with the kids which is nice and I’m hoping I get the hang of things before he returns to work. Thanks again your story really helps ease my mind.

  5. Christie says:

    Christa, I am glad it was helpful to you. I’m sure you have read, “You will hardly even remember the time in the harness.” It probably seems impossible right now, but it really is true. It is such a short period of time in hindsight. Lynnon is 18 months and running wild. Her checkups have been great so far. Hang in there!! I hope your experience is just as successful as ours.

  6. Angela/ Miguel - baby Daniella says:

    Good day all
    Our baby girl was born on the 23rd of June 2015 and was also diagnosed with hip dysplasia. we too have read through almost every website and article. We are feeling quite emotional and concerned, of course. We are starting the treatment in the pavlic harness and remain hopeful on successful treatment.
    If anyone reads this could you perhaps disclose the severity of your childs hip dysplasia. Our doctor indicated that the hips were quite unstable and popped in and out of the socket. A good sign was that they were in the socket to begin with. Therefore not a complete dislocation. I remain slightly confused by it alL, can anyone related? and possibly provide further guidance

  7. Chelsea says:

    My daughter is 4 weeks old and has been out in the Pavlik harness. We have had the exact same experience as parents but she seems to HATE it and cried incessantly when we put it back on her after bath time. She basically drinks as much milk as she can and sleeps all through the day then screams all night. It is very disheartening because her first three weeks of life she was a very placid and calm baby who never cried hardly at all. Everyone’s telling me she’ll get used to it and won’t know the difference, but it’s been almost a week in the harness and I’m pretty sure she knows the difference. She naturally stretched and kicked her legs a lot so when she goes to do that she meets the resistance of the harness and starts crying. It’s so very hard as a new mom. Thanks for relating, feels nice to know there are others going through this too…

  8. Christie says:

    Angela/ Miguel, Lynnon’s hips were both dislocated at birth. So, more severe than your situation, and the harness worked. She had her 3 year check-up recently and the Dr said if he hadn’t seen her chart he would never have known by the x rays that she had hip problems.

  9. Stacey says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.
    My 12 week old was put into the Pavlik harness last week and after reading so many ‘horror’ stories about the treatment provided and the harness that is initially popped on not working and having to start treatment all over again, this reassures me that the Pavlik has a great success rate and we may well and truly be on the road to recovery… here’s hoping!
    I hope to learn to ‘like’ the harness too… can’t help but feel helpless but I’m sure it will get easier with time,
    Thank you!

    • Christie L says:

      I’m glad her story helped. It does get easier, and in hindsight, the time goes by so fast! I hope you have wonderful success with it!

  10. Nikki says:

    Thanks for posting, I’m in the same boat up until wk 2. Tomorrow if I find out harness is working, the I will LOVE THE HARNESS too.

  11. Kristina D. says:

    I am so grateful for these stories. My daughter was born breech via c-section and we were told about her hip click while we were in the hospital. She is 11 days old and was just fitted today for her harness. This is my first child and I’m nervous for what’s to come in these next couple of weeks. My heart aches for her because I wish she didn’t have to go through this and I wish I could explain to her why this is happening to her. These stories have helped put my mind at ease a little bit.

  12. Nida says:

    You all are comforting angels who lighten the hearts for parents like myself. My first baby girl came to us nearly three weeks back. She was a breech baby and we weee told that her left hip was clicking, alpha angle 42-47 we had two ultrasounds done. The orthodoc who did the second ultrasound told us that the best way forward was a pal if harness. He undressed her and started to show us how it worked as he strapped her in it. I can say by far it was the most difficult experience. I could not get words out, no voice only tears. I went from holding a baby to holding a harness and I was told not to touch or attempt to take it off! It’s been on her only three days but I have to admit that time is a great healer.

    It’s day theee and I already feel an expert on it… she is comfortable in it thank God and I am keeping all my positivity and hopes and prayers for her and all of you too…

    Remember… the baby takes its energy from you and you must remain positive. I have a journey ahead but I pray for myself and all your babies that it be easy.

    God bless x

  13. Natalie says:

    My doctor notice our little one the day we are about to be discharged that she was clicking on her left hip. I saw her pediatrician and they did not hear any clicks but encouraged us to still see our orthopedic and when I finally was able to see him she was about four weeks old and he did not hear any click as well but ordered an ultrasound for when she would be 6 weeks and older. We got the ultrasound results and the orthopedic called us right away and said she actually has slightly underdeveloped hip on her right side and not her left. She was a 57 – 59 and they like to see them above a 60. that same day she was fitted with the Pavlik harness. At first like many other mom say it is very terrifying but once you get the hang of it and noticed that your child is so calm and relaxed it’s not as terrifying as it looks. Actually as soon as they placed it on my daughter she passed out on the doctor’s exam table. I washed all her three-month-old dresses and I’ve been dressing her in them and any onesies that have the button down along the crotch area I just button the bottom piece on the leg and leave the whole crotch area open and a put a little tutu around her sometimes, it looks super cute. I also washed large thigh socks like 6 months and older to cover the little booties for her feet. Right now our treatment is 24/7 for the next 6 weeks and we have a full appointment, 3 weeks in. For any moms who have to go back to work just so you know that this is considered a medical issue and you can get paid Family medical leave if you live in California. I feel very confident that my little girl will be fine as we are almost halfway through the harness look forward to getting her results. I will say a prayer for all the little ones that have to go through this and have it more severe issue like the hip is completely dislocated and or it is in both hips. Best of luck and it’s okay to cry we all do it!

  14. Natalie says:

    My daughter will be 3 weeks old Thursday & on wee day she will be in her harness for 2 weeks. Her left hip is “messy” as the doc said, I am unsure the degree of it being out and her right is also out a little bit. I know success rate is fairly good, but I am afraid of it not working on the left hip since it’s bad. We had to take my daughter to the doctor today because she has been extremely gassy & fussy at night since she has had her harness. Doctor prescribed us with acid reflux meds… she said babies in this harness typically have gas issues since they can’t move their legs well. The meds worked wonders & she is way better not stressing/fussy eveeynight.

    It is ok to cry.. I did for several days after. :)

  15. Sue says:

    I have my first grandchild coming next Tues and she is frank breech. They have talked to my kiddos about the possibility of her having to wear the Pavlik Harness. As grandma I am trying to do all the research I can as I will be watching her this summer. Thank you so much for your amazing story. Makes my heart a little lighter that there is so much light at the end of this tunnel. We are not sure how she will come out, but her toes are touching her little forehead. Prayers appreciated and thank you again…

  16. Elena says:

    My 10 days old daughter she has a really mild issue with just one of her hips. The specialist put on the harness and honestly has been a terrible experience so far she just screamed all night because she couldn’t stretch her legs she is so inconsolable it’s heartbreaking and just overwhelming. They told us that she would not feel the the difference of having the harness on but clearly she does and hated so much that she screamed no stop

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