Patient Stories

Harper Jade

This is a story about my fearless warrior, Harper Jade. Harper was not breech and she is my second-born daughter. I was blessed with Harper and and her older sister. When we brought her home after a long labor and eventual c-section delivery, I noticed she kept her legs close to her and didn’t like to stretch them out much. At her 1 week, 1 month, and 2 month checkups I asked about her legs. She had started moving them more often, but not kicking which I was concerned about. Doctors assured me things were fine and that she needed time to adjust based on her womb positioning and the delivery. Eventually, shortly after she turned 3 months old,  I became too concerned to let it go and requested an appointment to have her evaluated further. We were referred to a neurologist that requested an x-ray. That day, our lives changed, Harper’s x-rays showed both of her hips were dislocated. We immediately consulted with an orthopedic surgeon and they felt she was too old to be placed in a harness and due to the dislocation of both hips they didn’t think it would be very effective. We traveled to receive opinions from other pediatric orthopedic surgeons and requested all medical records and X-rays to consult with doctors via email to ensure we educated ourselves on what this diagnosis was, the best next steps, and how to navigate it. At 4 months, Harper had an arthrogram and an attempt for a close reduction, but it was unsuccessful. The trusted orthopedic surgeon we went with and the others we consulted felt Harper was too young for an open reduction at that time, so we had to wait. Harper has always had the best attitude, even at just 4 months. So we waited. It was the hardest thing to do. She continued to grow, but standing and walking she wasn’t quite able. When we attempted to put her on her feet she would buckle at the knees or pull her legs up. She most definitely could win awards for the fastest crawler though! And fearless climber!  At just about a day or two past 15 months, it was the big day. Harper was to have her surgery. The plan was to perform one hip at a time and she would be placed in a hip spica cast then in 4 weeks she was to come back for surgery on the other hip and then placed in a hip spica cast for another 6 weeks. We were told to pack an overnight bag as the surgery would take awhile. We were given a pager that would alert us when the operation started and alert us with updates. About 30 minutes after we were alerted that the surgery started, we received another page that the surgeon would be meeting us in a few minutes with an update. My heart sank. It was the scariest moment in my life so far. As we jumped up out of the chairs, we saw  Harper’s surgeon come out into the waiting room. He immediately said “she is doing great” and said he had good news. They were able to position Harper’s hip more easily than expected, more like a close reduction process that was attempted when she was 3 months. He informed us that they wanted to attempt the other hip to see if the same would occur. We gave permission for them to proceed. It was successful! Harper was placed in a purple hip spica cast from her chest down to her toes for 8 very long weeks. We got really creative with outdoor wagon rides on top of bean bags (lots of bean bags), lots of homemade popsicles, and tons of books. Harper was able to get the spica cast removed after 8 weeks and was placed in a Rhino brace for 4 weeks. She was removed from the Rhino brace after 4 weeks and started physical therapy 4 weeks later. Harper continues to go to physical therapy twice a week, one day we do aquatic therapy and the other day we do land therapy. Harper recently received leg braces that we continue to adjust to. Harper is now standing with support (without the leg braces) and pulls to stand consistently. Her resilience, determination, bubbly personality, and beautiful smile keep me going. She is our superhero and continues to get stronger every day. We are grateful for this opportunity to share her story, hope to continue sharing. and hope that it helps others.