Patient Stories

Leah’s Story

My daughter Leah was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at birth. At 10 weeks old she was placed in a pelvic harness to gently position her hips so they can align in the joint, and to keep the hip joint secure. The doctors had said that in some cases Hip Dysplasia can correct itself, Unfortunately that was not the case for Leah. When Leah was 9 months old the doctors discovered her condition had worsened. Leah struggled to crawl, walk, and maneuver the way that she should have been able to. She had her first surgical procedure at only 14 moths old. She endured a Pelvic osteotomy and was placed in a Spica cast. She spent a total of 4 months in this uncomfortable position. She had to undergo a total of 3 surgical procedures during this time. During this time Leah experienced a lot of anxiety and even panic attacks. In order to keep Leah clean I would give her sponge baths and constantly change her diaper because diapering her in this position was complicated and had to be done often in order to keep her cast clean. Everything was just so difficult with her being in a full body cast. I had to go out and buy a huge bean bag chair for her to sit on. I also had to reconstruct a stroller in order for her to be able to sit in it. There was even a night that she had a stomach virus and I had to wrap her legs up with towels just so she wouldn’t throw on herself and get her cast dirty. She wasn’t even able to eat certain things because in the event that she choked there was no way for me to perform the Heimlich remover. It was absolutely devastating seeing my daughter going through this. She wasn’t physically or mentally developing the way she should have been for her age because of all of the trauma she experienced.  When her cast finally came off she was thrilled and overwhelmed with joy. Her father was in the United States Marine Corps so he was unable to be by her side because he was on a deployment during this time, but he was able to surprise Leah the day her cast came off which really added to her excitement. Leah did finally start to walk after months of therapy but something just wasn’t right. When I was pregnant expecting my second child we found out that Leah would have to undergo even more surgery and unfortunately  this time more evasive.  Now Leah was closer to being 3 years old and she would need to have a pelvic osteotomy and femoral osteotomy with bone graft followed by 6 weeks of being in a Spica cast. This broke me in a way I’ve never been broken before. I almost didn’t go through with it. I almost couldn’t bare to see my precious little girl in so much pain. I can only imagine how hard this was for her. It was like her spirit was crushed. I was so sick to my stomach with nerves when we brought her in for surgery I threw up. Leah was in a lot of pain when she woke up but at least this time she had both me and her father there for her. Recovery was tough but she made it through again like the champion that she is. She had to learn how to walk now for the third time. She is now almost 5 years old and she still experiences some post traumatic stress from everything she went through. For a while she was terrified of doctors but she is getting better all the time.  I am a strong advocate for  raising awareness about Hip Dysplasia because this can be very common but it is not often spoken about. I am thankful that my daughter is able to run, jump, climb and do anything she desires to do. There was a time where I didn’t think she would be able to do any of that. Every time we go to the park and I see her play it truly brings joy to my heart because I remember how she would struggle.  I look back on all of the tears, appointments, sleepless nights, missed milestones, triumphs, and I am thankful because it was all worth it now.