August 25, 2008

Hip Spica Cast

We decided that it may be worth a try to put on a cast. Matt and I were able to pray & discuss this new information on Thursday night and we came to the conclusion that we did not have enough information to make an informed decision. Friday morning I contacted a few of Whitney's specialists in town to get more thoughts on the matter. They all responded very quickly and by mid afternoon it was quite apparent to us as to what decision we should make. The possible pros seemed to outweigh the cons. We are thankful we had to weekend to process this and come to accept the facts.

Our appointment was at 8:30 this morning at the doctor's office. Usually they bring children to the hospital to sedate them but they thought Whitney would be calm enough. She did a great job. We picked out a purple cast and got started. I did have to pull a few tricks out to keep her occupied. Thankfully I did not have to use my emergency trick which would have been to sing. There was the doctor, 2 nurses, and I assisting in the process. It probably would have been a great picture. I brought Whitney's AFO's along and the doctor was willing to stop the cast just above her knee so that she could still use them at night. They also used a gortex liner which looked like a shower curtain when they were putting it on. This will help tremendously if we have any blowout diapers. I need to frequently change her diaper to keep things as dry as possible. She has a smaller size diaper stuffed into the cast with a larger one over top of the cast to hold it all together. I was thankful to discover that she is able to wear an 18 month onesie over top. She is currently in 9 month clothes so, we made a big size jump today. The doctor took an x-ray before we left to check if the hip was in the correct location and it was. We will have another x-ray next week to check again. Please pray that it remains in place and the body will begin to accept it there. Meanwhile my mother-in-law was helping get a special car seat installed in our van while my father-in-law took care of Fiona at home. It all worked out very well and within 2 hours we were headed home with a tired little girl.

It seems that additional care for her will include, frequent diaper changes, changing body position every two hours to eliminate sores, bathing, and transporting her as she is now very awkward to hold and carry.

She is currently taking a nap with her sister and hopefully will begin to accept her new 'outfit'. Thank you for your prayers for us this weekend. We were a little stressed but I think this morning went better than expected and we feel peace about this decision.

August 22, 2008

Disappointing News

We had an appointment yesterday with Whitney's surgeon and after looking at the x-ray saw that the brace is not giving enough support to hold the femur in the correct location. She has suggested that we now place her in a body cast for a period of six weeks and then reevaluate for a possible additional six weeks.

This has been very disappointing news for us to hear as we were hoping that this brace and surgery would be effective. We are concerned with the breakdown of her skin under the cast, her loss of muscle tone, and her developmental progress. There is a less than fifty percent chance that this cast will work and it is hard to know what decisions to make for our dear Whitney. If the cast would work this would be very beneficial to her in the long run for walking and to hopefully avoid scoliosis (curvature of the spine).

Please pray for us as we make this decision as we strongly desire to make the right choice for the well being of Whitney and need God's wisdom. It is comforting to know that our God is a God of all knowledge and He will sustain us. We are open all and any encouragement today. (: Thank you once again for caring for us and Whitney, we covet your prayers.

August 16, 2008

Going Home

Whitney's doctor just released us to go home! Whitney will be ecstatic to lose the IV in her right hand and regain access to her comforting thumb.

As Susan mentioned, the surgery went well. It lasted about an hour, and when we got into the recover room, Whitney was crying and ready to be held. She had that unique cry that told us that she was scared and disoriented. The anesthesia is a real bear. The doctor showed us x-rays that demonstrated that Whitney's leg is in the hip after surgery. Now we pray that the pelvis responds and the hip socket develops.

Last night was a bit rough. Whitney was getting used to her brace and feeling a little discomfort from the surgery (the pain and swelling have been rather mild). At about 10:40, after we had settled her down twice, the IV pump started beeping for no apparent reason. It took the staff (who are exceedingly polite) about an hour to figure the problem, but which time Whitney was disgruntled and upset, and her dad was too. Fortunately, she snuggled back to sleep on my lap and slept relatively well for the rest of the night.

This morning, she seems to be her normal self, smiling and babbling away. The doctor was happy with how her incision (it's very small) looked and ordered our discharge. It will be nice to get Whitney back onto a normal schedule.

After the surgery, Whitney will be wearing a brace for a few weeks to a few months. Longer is actually better here--it means the hip is developing, so the brace is providing additional support. She'll wear it 24/7 for the next week until we follow up with the doctor. We should know next week whether the hip is responding.

We are so blessed that the surgery went well and our only problems were minor inconveniences. We praise God that we are being discharged on schedule and heading home, and we are praying that God will cause her hip to respond. It's amazing how many things have to go precisely right in the right order for a baby to develop into an adult, and yet we take it for granted.

August 15, 2008


A quick update for you. Thank you for your prayers today. The surgery and recovery went well. It has been a long day for us all. There has been much stress and little sleep. Thankfully we had a few visitors throughout the day to distract us. Matt is currently at the hospital with Whitney and I am home to get a few hours sleep and then we will switch. We will write more details later on.

August 6, 2008

Whitney's Hip Surgery

As Susan posted a few weeks ago, Whitney will, Lord willing, have surgery on her left hip next week Friday. I had no idea, but when babies are born, they do not really have a hip socket. The ball joint between the pelvis and the femur begins developing around six months. The ball on the head of the femur is cartilage. When the cartilage comes into contact with the growth plate on the pelvis, the cartilage begins to turn into bone (ossify), and the pelvis begins to develop around the head of the femur. Whitney's right hip is developing properly, but her left hip is not because the femur is not in contact with the pelvis (i.e. it is dislocated). The doctors hope that by cutting one of the tendons in Whitney's hip, it will relax her hip and permit the femur to come into contact with the pelvis. The doctors believe that there is about an even likelihood that the surgery will be successful.

The fact that Whitney's hip is dislocated would not be a major issue if her right hip was also dislocated. But the imbalance created by having one hip in the socket and the other dislocated hinders walking, standing and sitting. The possibility of significantly improved mobility for Whitney made this surgery worthwhile to us.

The surgery seems relatively simple compared to her shunt and back closure surgeries in January. Nonetheless, we'll be staying overnight at the hospital. Please pray that the surgery is successful--the doctors have said that they'll know within a week whether it has triggered the appropriate development of the femur and the pelvis!

After surgery, Whitney will wear a brace to stabilize her hip while the tendon heals (it will grow back together, hopefully without as much tension). We have the brace already. Apparently, it's a big deal that it's pink. Our surgeon's office had not seen one in pink before. We hope to post some pictures of Whitney wearing it (we have it already) later this week.

August 1, 2008

The latest

This morning Whitney had a 7 month check up at her pediatrician. I love this doctor because she is so encouraging and sincere. Whitney is now 18 lbs & 1 oz and almost 27 inches long. She is following the 70th percentile for both height and weight. She is ready to make the move out of her infant car seat and into the 'big girl' seat. We were told again today that she is developmentally ahead which is music to my ears. Shots were uneventful as previously however now I am getting used to her lack of response. Now I may need prayer for when I bring Fiona for her 3 year to prepare me for the screaming. (:

We also went to a summer program for the children at Conductive Learning Center. It was fun to imagine Whitney in a few years being part of that program. It was also great to see so many families and a healthy reminder that we are not alone in this journey.

I received a call today that the new hip brace has arrived. We will get it fitted on Monday morning and have a pre-surgery appointment on Tuesday morning to prepare for the big day.