When we went for Megan’s 9 month well baby check up, we were shocked to hear that her pediatrician wanted us to see an orthopedic surgeon. He pointed out her leg length discrepancy, skin folds that were not symmetrical and he could feel that her hip was not where it was supposed to be. I normally take Megan by myself, but this visit, I had my mother with me and I was grateful that she was there. My sister was diagnosed with bilateral DDH at three years old in 1964 so my Mom had some idea of what I was feeling. Our second thoughts were about the problems my sister had and is still having with her hips. She has been through two hip replacements and she is only 42. I did not want this to happen to my daughter.
Two weeks later we saw an orthopedic surgeon who, thankfully, knew he was not qualified to treat a baby and sent us to a pediatric ortho. We met with him and after a few more x-rays it was decided that Megan would have an opened reduction. When the surgery day finally arrived, Megan was 11.5 months old. We were very nervous, especially me. Megan was cruising along the furniture in the waiting room and I kept thinking about my poor baby being in a spica cast for 6 weeks. After they took her away, we took a walk and tried to eat something. After only an hour and a half, her surgeon came out to tell us that the good news was that he only needed to do a closed reduction. Her hip had gone right into place under anesthesia. The bad news was that she would be in the spica for 12 weeks with one cast change. We stayed one night in the hospital and Megan only had two doses of pain meds while we were there. She was wonderful!
When we got home, we put her down for a nap. When we got her up we were surprised to see that Megan had flipped herself over onto her stomach. Her cast only went to her knee on her right leg and she was already starting to learn how to use it. By day four she was pushing herself backwards and within two weeks she was pulling herself around. She ended up learning how to cruise the furniture and a week before the cast came off for good, she was climbing the stairs!
We were very excited to learn the she would be getting the cast off after 10 weeks instead of 12. She screamed the whole time the cast was being cut off because of the noise. (To this day she does not like loud noises.) Her right leg had sores on it, her left leg had no muscle tone and had layers of dry skin. I immediately gave her a sponge bath. It felt wonderful to hug a squishy baby again. We then went to get her Rhino Cruiser brace which she began wearing 23 hours a day. It took a while for her left leg to gain back strength, but before we knew it, she was learning to walk, with her brace. After 6 weeks in her brace her index had gone down, so her doctor reduced her time to 20 hours. After another 6 weeks her index was at 29 and she then only had to wear the brace when she was sleeping. Her next x-ray, three months later, showed that her hip was staying in place, but her socket was still shallow. Her doctor decided to keep her in the brace, sleeping only, and the next x-ray was to be in six months with one check up at three months. It was a long six months, but on Sept. 30, 2002, 16 months after the closed reduction, her hips were pronounced normal. Both of her indexes were measuring at 20. As I was looking at the x-ray, I actually had to think about which side was the bad side because each side looked the same. It was the most wonderful news! Megan goes back for another x-ray when she turns three. Right now, it looks like there will not be any further treatment. We are keeping our fingers crossed.
June 30, 2003 – Megan went for her three year x-ray. As we were waiting, it was so nerve racking. I kept thinking about what we would do if the x-rays did not turn out well. Her doctor came in with the x-rays saying “We have great news.” Her right index was 14 and her left was 17! We go back in a year for her next x-ray. It was such a relief to see her hips looking so good. I asked the doctor to let me see all of her x-rays since April 2001. I took pictures of them so I have a record of her progress and added them to her picture site. It was amazing to look back at the progress she has made in the past 2+ years. Her hips are looking normal! Yeah!