· By Tiny Hearts Education
Harper's Hip Dysplasia Journey
On the 16th of December 2018, we had a scan at 34 weeks to check on the position of my placenta. The good news was that the placenta had moved, but so did bubs, she was a breech presentation.
We then got called back to have another scan two days later where they noticed that I was losing quite a lot of fluid around the baby. I was then monitored at the hospital every second day for the week but continued to lose fluid, in which case an ECV wasn’t an option at that point. My OB called me on Xmas Eve and decided that the best outcome was to book me in for a c-section, the baby would be 37 weeks and one day.
On the 4th of January 2019 I gave birth to a beautiful little baby girl, 5 pounds 12 ounces and 48 cm long, she was amazing, what a set of lungs and the darkest bed of hair!
After our first feed and once we settled in, we had the doctors come in to speak to us about Harper’s hips; they believed that she had Hip Dysplasia. At this point, we were both absolutely shattered. We had no idea what this was and if our baby was going to be okay. It was so distressing for us; we didn’t know what to do or how to feel, we were in shock.
On the 15th of January, we had an appointment at the Children’s Hospital for Harper to be assessed. The physio advised that both her hips were not dislocated; however, they were unstable and could be dislocated. She advised us to come back in 2 weeks for a follow-up and see if anything had changed. In the meantime, she gave us advice on ways to hold her and advised us to change positions when breastfeeding. Which, of course, was so stressful. Just when you think you’ve got the feeding under control, we had to change our ways; it was tough, to say the least. But whatever it took.
On the 29th of January, after we just got an ultrasound, we walked into the physio’s room worrying about what was going happen, it was so upsetting, our poor baby, why did she have to go through this? We walked out of there that day with Harper in the Pavlik Harness 24/7 for the next two weeks. The specialist diagnosed her with Hip Dysplasia, her left hip was unstable and severe, and her right hip was moderate. It crushed my partner and me. I remember crying with Harper all the way home; it was shattering. We felt a little robbed in a way. Life became a whole lot different, we couldn’t even take off the brace to bath her, she couldn’t wear any of her beautiful new clothes, and I couldn’t cuddle her properly, it was the little things, but it was still so upsetting. We also got another car seat as the one we had fitted initially she wasn’t comfortable in, we just wanted to make her feel as comfortable as possible.
Two weeks later, we had another review. We were able to take Harper out of the brace for 1 hour a day (23/7 for the next six weeks) this was such a relief. This meant that the hip socket was forming enough for the ball to fit into it properly. We were getting there. Harper was so resilient, a lot tougher than her mum and dad! Every week she was in the brace the more progress she made. But some days were harder than others, there were several days we didn’t take her out of the brace because she would get so upset and worked up when we would put it back on it was too distressing to watch and for her to go through every day. But I believe sticking to what we were told to do paid off because the progress that she was making was fantastic.
Harper’s hip journey ended up being about 13 weeks in the Pavlik Harness. We got the all-clear just before Easter, which was such amazing news. The moment we took that brace off it was so emotional, such a weight off the shoulders, we were over the moon. Now I could hold my baby properly, not worry about what she can’t do when she gets older, give her all those squishy cuddles I couldn’t for the last three months, she could wear all of her clothes, and our family and friends didn’t have to worry she was going to break every time they held her.
We’ve since had her 6-month ultrasound, 12 & 18 months x-ray and with all of them being positive news. Now she has healthy hips and has been discharged. She will need to have a follow up before she starts school, but is like any other active toddler. She’s hitting all of her milestones and being the cheeky girl we all love. It was the hardest and the most emotional time we’ve had to go through, especially as first-time parents. But we got there by trusting our own judgment, advocating for our child, listening to the professionals about what was needed for a full recovery, and most of all having the support from our family and friends.