Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Call for Help: Smiley's Hip Development

Please pray for Smiley's hip development.

As a baby who was footling breech he is at a high risk for hip dysplasia.

The oversimplified issue is that spending so much time in the womb with his left foot up by his head means his left hip joint is a bit too roomy. That summary is not quite accurate because an infant's hips joints are mostly cartilage, not bone. The issue is not really that the joint is too roomy now, but that it might develop correctly as the joint transitions to bone.

Every few weeks we take Smiley to the doctor for an ultrasound of his hips. So far his hip joints are acceptably shaped, but with each measurement they are less safely within what is considered normal development.

In two weeks we have another ultrasound appointment. If, at that time, the trend is still negative he will need to be in a straps-and-velcro Pavlik harness for four to eight weeks.

The harness itself is not too bad. Being restrained makes most babies fussier, which would be a bother but not nearly as severe as if he had a condition that required surgery. This would be minor compared to many other medical interventions for infant health problems.

The bigger bother would be caring for Smiley if he had to wear such a harness. Nursing is still possible but quite tricky. To switch from a daily bath to only sponge baths would almost be inviting a diaper rash. He might not fit into his car seat and thus be unable to visit friends. It is still true that these problems are minor compared to most infant health problems, but they are frustrating enough there is a support group website about them.

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