Hi! I’m Nicola, Amelia’s mummy and I am here to raise awareness of DDH and share our journey.
Amelia was born at 18:50 on 14 December 2016, a Wednesday to be precise. She was delivered by a planned C-Section due to breech presentation at 39 weeks. Amelia was a stubborn baby and appeared breech from 20 weeks – and didn’t move once.
Due to the breech presentation at birth the NHS procedure was to send Amelia for a hip ultrasound at 6 weeks old, at St George’s Hospital (Tooting). We attended and the outcome was ‘Shallow Hips” – a follow up appointment was made with an orthopaedic doctor. At this stage we wasn’t told much, it seemed as though we were shaded a bit from the truth, but the truth was about to be revealed.
At 8 weeks old we was told Amelia had Hip Dysplasia in both hips and she was placed into a Pavlik Harness (the plan was for 12 weeks to help her hips stabilise) – but this didn’t happen. Following a further ultrasound it showed that it wasn’t helping and she was taken out of the harness. The orthopaedic dr. told us Amelia would need surgery!!!! As parents we freaked out, as again, we wasn’t told much. The procedure Amelia would be enduring was a Closed Reduction.
The Closed Reduction was performed in June 2017 alongside a tendonectomy, when Amelia was 6 months old. We had to be at hospital for 07:30am with a nill-by-mouth baby. At 10:30am we were told they were ready for us and led to the anaesthetic room. The most difficult part – watching your tiny daughter be put to sleep – and yes, I cried uncontrollably whilst holding her hand (nothing wrong with that!). We were told to come back in around 2 hours and to expect to see our baby in a Spica Cast. 2 hours went by and we went to collect our daughter, surprisingly she wasn’t in a cast. It was unsuccessful 😦 – the surgeon explained the surgery didn’t work and we would have to come back in January 2018 when Amelia was 1 year old for more surgery!!!
On 9th January 2018 we were back at the hospital at 07:30am with Amelia, this time awaiting an Open Reduction procedure. Yet again nill-by-mouth. The surgeon decided to operate on her left hip this time round and was told the operation would take around 4 hours. Again we watched our daughter be sent to sleep – it never gets any easier!! We returned after 4 hours to a very drowsy baby but this time finally in a Spica Cast – woohoo!! We were told by the surgeon following surgery that it was successful and went to plan as much as it could have *sigh of relief* – we spent 1 night in hospital and was allowed home the next day with a concoction of pain relief. We were to return Monday 14th for an X-Ray to check if the femur had stayed in the socket – which it had!
On 20th February we returned to the hospital for Amelia’s 2nd Open Reduction – which as above went exactly to plan. Amelia was put under a General Anaesthetic, her current spica cast taken off, washed and the operation was then carried out on the opposite side. We met with the surgeon following who explained again it went successfully. Again we stayed in 1 night and could go home the following day, we were instructed to return to the consultants clinic on the following Monday for an X-Ray to check the hip was still in the socket, and much to our relief it was.
Our next appointment is on 4th April 2018 where by Amelia will be put under a General Anaesthetic again but this time not for an operation – for CAST OFF!! We are so excited for this day, to see those legs again. For this will be the start of another part of our hippy journey with the possibility of being placed in a Rhino brace for night times. We look forward to our next stage.
For my own sanity and time out, I write a blog called The Journey of Hippy Amelia.
My aim is to raise awareness, share my growing knowledge around Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips – DDH and give you an insight into our Hippy Journey.
What we need to remember is every journey is different, every surgeon is different, every hospital is different, every child is different – although we are all aiming for the same end result – healthy hips – we need to ensure that we just remember that every child’s journey will never be the same (but may be very similar).
When Amelia’s hippy journey started in 2016, Amelia’s Daddy and I felt very much in the dark. We didn’t know what DDH was and felt very overwhelmed by all of the (or lack of) information we were given or not given.
Pavlik Harness, Hip Dysplasia, Ultrasound, X-Ray, Rhino Brace, Spica Cast, Open/Closed Reduction, Surgery and more – all of these scared us, mainly because we didn’t know what they all involved or what they meant for our daughter.
I’m hoping my blog will give you an in-depth insight into our ongoing journey, help you understand DDH more and provide comfort at one of the hardest of times in ours and our children’s lives.