mother of a club foot child

At birth, my doctors found out that my son has been affected with clubfoot, on his right side. Because of the medical treatment, I got in the early months of my pregnancy at the IHS hospital in Phoenix, AZ, I was only able to get two ultrasounds my entire pregnancy.

Sometimes if a baby is positioned in the right way then clubfoot can be identified in utero, other cases like my son’s it can’t be known until birth. There really isn’t a way to prepare for this if you are able to have the early diagnosis. Except that maybe your newborn can’t wear some of the really cute pants or PJs because of the way that treatment goes.

Clubfoot is caused by a varying number of things, positioning in the womb, genetic history or even just the ways the muscles of tendon develop by being too short causing the foot to be curved and turned downwards like golfing club, hence the name.

Treatment for clubfoot starts as soon as possible with an orthopedic surgeon, this just the kind of doctor that you go to for broken bones and such. But what the doctor does is stretch and manipulate the affected foot to the correct position and cast the foot in place, from upper thigh to toes. Each and every week the appointment is made and the cast is cut off and replaced while the cast each week slowly and slowly turns back into the correct position. This didn’t harm to my son or cause him pain, and it’s really similar to what orthodontic do to patients with braces.  But like braces he was sore and irritable after each adjustment, nothing a little cuddling and ibuprofen could help. This goes on for about 6-8 weeks depending on the severity of the clubfoot but luckily enough my son only needed 6 weeks, 6 casts for his treatment.

My son did well with each casting but the hard part about it was making sure that he didn’t get hot and that the cast didn’t get wet and sweaty. My son also wasn’t able to take a regular bath for weeks and he had to take plenty of sponge baths.

After the 6th cast instead of the regular appointment, my son was scheduled for a tenotomy. This is a simple non-invasive surgery that is done to the heel tendon, aka Achilles tendon. All the doctor does is cut the tendon and recast while in the operating room this cast stays in place for 4 weeks. This just helps to ensure that the surgical wound heals properly. While in the cast the tendon regrows longer and is completely fine afterward.  my son acted and developed in all of the

Despite all of this my son acted and developed in all of the regular ways and in the regular average timeline of most babies.

Dealing with all of this while being a first-time mother was probably one of the most difficult things ever. if it wasn’t for Kannon’s father I really believe that I would have developed postpartum depression. But luckily enough he was unbelievably supportive because I truly thought that my son’s deformity was my fault I thought every day that I was not big enough for my son to grow and that I caused this. But each time this thought bubbled in my head my boyfriend reassured me.

As amazing as he was my boyfriend’s addiction also was a common factor in my son’s recovery. There were the times when his father was so dope sick that I couldn’t convince him to get up to come to the casting appointment with me for our son. There were even times he would call me as soon as I parked at the doctor’s office and he would apologize and ask for me to come pick him up because he knew he had to be there for our child. This, in turn, would make us late for the appointment.

Even on the morning of the surgery his father turned off our alarms and made us hours late to the scheduled appointment for his surgery. Anyone that has surgery knows that the patient can’t eat or drink anything before the operation and with an infant that is just plain torture. My son wasn’t able to breastfeed for 6 hours before the appointment and because of his father’s decision to turn off our alarms my son had to go almost 3 extra hours without feeding.

This made the entire rest of the day so tense between us and he even had the audacity to sleep in the waiting room while I was pacing and waiting for our son to be our of the operating room.

After the 4 weeks of a single cast my little boy would only have to wear a special kind of brace for 23 hours of the day and 7 days of the week. He was only allowed to be out of this brace for an hour for a bath and a strech. Mind you my son was still tiny and squishy and small. He learned how to roll over in this brace and if that gives you an idea of how little he was.

But as time goes on he is now at the point of his recovery where he only needs to wear his brace over night. This is the longest and most vital part of his journey as a clubfoot baby. He has to continue wearing his brace until he is 4 years old. Each and every night. Along with the brace there are ankle streches and rotations that need to be done daily to be sure that his foot stays flexible and this helps ensure that there is no relapse of his clubfoot.

So the jouney goes on but despite everything I am so grateful of my son and eveything that he is. He is currently walking and every single step that he takes I am so so proud to see. With out his doctors and treatment he wouldn’t ever being doing anything that a non-deformed child could do. So thank you to his doctors I’m be beyond grateful.

 

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birth story of Kannon Joseph

My son was born on April 27, 2016. I was induced on that day but because of some distressing heart rate observations during each of my contractions, my doctor decided to just schedule a C-section for late in the afternoon.

Unlike most fathers, my son’s dad didn’t stay with me the entire time, he didn’t offer to get me ice chips and all that cheesy stuff. He decided about 3 hours before the surgery to go back to our apartment, right across the street from the hospital, and check on our dog one last time. It wasn’t until months later did I figure out that he left so that he could go get high. He almost missed our son’s birth. For an entire 45 minutes before the operation, I was calling and texting asking “where are you?” , “is everything okay?” , “you need to come back!” , “the surgery is soon, hurry!” and all kinds of things. I was taken into the operating room not knowing if he was going to make it in time. my nurses were sympathetic enough to allow me to bring my phone in the operating room so that I could keep calling and texting. but it wasn’t until after I got the epidural for my c section, and I was laying down on the table did the nurses announce that he was here, that he made it. It really stung a small part of my heart that I didn’t get to take that silly little picture of him all dressed in his scrubs but I guess that is just the cost of addiction. Missing moments in life because the need to get high is just more important.

If it weren’t for the fact that I was so nervous about my major surgery I probably would have been even more mad at him than I was. But I needed him. I needed him because no matter what he did I relied on him so much because in the past he was what got me through so many just overwhelming emotional and mental anxiety bursts and he was truly my best friend and soul mate.

I swear that surgery felt like it was so short but in reality a major surgery like that takes time. I had no idea where in the process they were, my surgeon wasn’t saying much to me then all of a sudden I heard that beautiful cry, that is a moment I will never forget, I cried as soon as I really registered that that was my baby crying, that he truly was his own person now.

When the surgical nurse showed me my son for the first time I immediately saw my father’s face and the resemblance of him. It was so quick, a flash, but I knew that my dad would be a major part of my son’s amazing life.

But getting past the surgery, when I finally got to the recovery area my doctor came in and he told me that my son had a condition called clubfoot on his right side. Kannon was bundled so much by the nursery blanket that I didn’t even notice. Our previous ultrasounds, only two sessions, had never given any sign of that. But I’ll create a post all about that and his surgery another time.

I remember sitting in my recovery bed and I just could not stop itching my face! I mentioned it to Kannon’s father and he just told me it’s a side effect of the kind of drug they put me on for either the epidural or the pain medicine. I always thought it was funny that I asked him before the nurse. I guess it was just an automatic reaction, I mean ask the addict first I guess…

I also really don’t know how long we were in the recovery area. I remember breastfeeding Kannon for such a long time and since he was so tiny I didn’t want to squish his face with my boob so I held down that part for him and I think I started to fall asleep like that. I really don’t have a clear grasp on the timeline during and after the c section.

I know without a doubt that Kannon’s father loves his son. I don’t want to in any way portray a story that makes it seem like he doesn’t. But the fact is no matter how happy the memory, it is always slightly shadowed by addiction.

This is reflected even more during the next few days of our hospital stay. Kannon’s father would always leave, sometimes hours on end. It was so often that our nurses even started to notice and mentioned something. There were even a few nights when he would sleep at home, or at least say he was sleeping, instead of being at the hospital assisting me with our new son. And anyone who has had a child knows that the second night is nothing but cluster feeding, diaper changes and 30-minute cat naps every couple of hours. So exhausting. And his father was barely there. I believe there was only one time in his entire newborn stage that Kannon had a skin-to-skin session with his father.

our first picture together-1

But we still made it home. And that came with enough difficulties of its own but that an entirely different story. All in all, I was blessed with a tiny little angel and there is nothing I would change about him. He will forever be part his father and I love that fact. Because let’s face it, I will forever love his father.