Tina~ I never thought I would ever go back and relive what happened when my daughter was born 23 years ago. This is our story and we want to share it to help others see there is light at the end of the tunnel and that its very hard to keep your glass half full but with love, acceptance, strength, determination and hard work it is possible.
10 months of trying to fall pregnant is long enough for anyone to wait when the pregnancy is all you want, a child of your own. You read that ‘wee stick’ and you find out you are pregnant. You know you have to wait many months until you can meet that little person you are carrying inside of you. Throughout the pregnancy you love this little person that you can’t even see. You imagine what they are going to look like and you pray that everything will be okay and they will be healthy. That’s all every mother wants. Having a pregnancy that had sickness the whole way through was a bit of a challenge. No history of birth defects on previous members of the family had been noted, as far as I was aware there were no warning signs or scans to detect what was to come.
Having renal colic at 35 weeks wasn’t easy and it induced my labour. The doctors stopped my labour and said it would be better to go full term for baby’s sake, which meant between 35 and 40 weeks, I had to attend the maternity unit at the hospital everyday to be placed on the monitor (this means they would strap the monitor to your tummy to pick up the baby’s heart beat on the screen). I also had to do a kick chart to monitor how many times the baby would move within 24 hours. One observation that was made was that there wasn’t a lot of amniotic fluid around the baby and she didn’t have a lot of room to move.
She arrived…Laura-Jane was born at 3:20pm on the 30th October 1994, weighing in at 7.11 lbs and was 52cms long. Following what I think are the ‘normal’ emotions after childbirth, feeling tired, overwhelmed and inexperienced, back on the ward I was left in my room with her, she was in this tiny cot all wrapped up tightly and all she did was sleep and all i really did was cry. I had waited so long for her to arrive and had so many things to tell her. Breast feeding was not an option, Laura-Jane was having none of it, She had her first bottle that evening and then it sort of went quiet.
The following morning when the doctors did their rounds at approximately 8:45am, my world was shattered. Laura-Jane was taken out of her baby grow and nappy to be examined by the doctor and the doctor checked her hips by lifting her little knees to her chest in a circular motion. The doctor then said the term “CDH”!!!!!!. WHAT IS CDH, I was thinking. I was then told by the doctor Laura-Jane had ‘clicky hips’ and that she was to have double nappies straight away. (so my disposable ones went straight out the window) All the questions you think you would ask have not even come into your head yet. A sudden feeling of panic, distress and sadness all rolled into one. The lack of understanding what CDH even was can not be put into words. Looking at your new born baby that now has this kind of disability that you cant see from the outside, and you ask why? why has this happened? where has it come from and what comes next?
Being told it was the left hip only was no reassurance, but thank-god the right hip was okay. The doctors team had their chats, they had explained everything to me but i didn’t take it all in as I was in shock that there was a problem with my precious baby daughter, as they left i felt very distressed with the news and when I looked at Laura-Jane, that’s when all the questions come flooding into my head and the tears streamed down my face. “I have let her down, this is all my fault, How will i cope? how will she cope? and what will the future hold?”.
We were discharged from the hospital 2 days later on the 1st November 1994. We left the maternity unit with paperwork containing many appointments for the coming weeks. Laura-Jane was due to have her first scan in the middle of November where we to find out how severe it really was and how life was about to change.
Read more about Laura-jane’s DDH journey on her personal blog: