Our Sugar Belle is Also Our Hippy Baby

I hoped that once pregnancy was over that things would be easier, and they totally are in many ways. (Still no diabetes, folks!) In other ways, we face new challenges as we continue to press on. It could always be worse.

The latest in our family’s saga is that sweet baby Violet has hip dysplasia.

The first thing people ask when they see her is, “what’s wrong with her legs?” The answer is, nothing – but her left hip socket is a little shallow, so she’s spending a total of 6 weeks in a Pavlik harness to correct a mild form of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). Some children have it so severely that their hips are dislocated, but luckily, she doesn’t have any of that, so we are hopeful that this will resolve easily.

It started when her pediatrician noticed a click in her hips at her one week well baby appointment and told us she’d be watching them at one month to screen for hip dysplasia. Many babies are born with some hip instability, but over time, it typically goes away. With hip dysplasia, a child may require treatment before this can happen. It’s a screen they do for every newborn baby because it’s one of those things that can be fixed fairly easily if caught early, but if gone undiagnosed,can cause trouble in early adolescence and adulthood.

The term was familiar to me, but I didn’t knew what a diagnosis would mean for us immediately. I remember, when Amelia was born, checking to see that the creases in her leg rolls were even – because if they aren’t, that can be a sign. But Amelia never had DDH, or at least it was never diagnosed if she did.

It didn’t even cross my mind this time. [I read far fewer books to prepare (none) than I did when I was a noob, and stayed off the baby forums.]

At one month, Vi’s clicky hip hadn’t resolved, so they sent us to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for an ultrasound to confirm their suspicions. I found out the next day from Vi’s pedi that we were being referred to a children’s orthopedist, and that she would likely need to wear the soft brace (Pavlik) for 2-3 months.

I cried. It seemed like the end of squishy newborn cuddles way before I was ready to let them go, and however silly (compared to much worse things a family can deal with), I needed to mourn.

At the ortho appointment, they actually gave us the option to not treat it because it was mild, and see if it would resolve on its own. However, he said the harness would give her the best chance at not experiencing future problems, so we dove right in.

We are on Week 3 of the harness, and halfway through as of today. She wears it 23/7, with an hour off after dinner every night for cuddles, stretching time, tummy time and a bath, if needed. Most of the time, she doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, and is not in any pain, but we can tell by the smiles and baby chatter during her hour off that it feels nice to be free. She’s a trooper who rarely complains (except when she’s starving and wants to nurse), and I’m so proud of her.

Ideally, the harness is holding her femur firmly in the hip socket while her bones and cartilage mature. We won’t know until we have her follow up ultrasound at 6 weeks (September 30) if it worked or if there are more steps we need to take. So, fingers crossed.

For any mom or dad or guardian beginning this journey, let me tell you – it’s a pain in the butt, but totally worth it to avoid hip pain and/or surgery in her teens or early adulthood. There is a slight risk of nerve damage if the angles aren’t right (some doctors will do the adjusting as the baby grows, but we have been instructed to do this ourselves). You’ll know if you get any time out of the brace (some don’t get an hour off at all) and she can’t move her legs, like one or both have fallen asleep. If that happens, it’s called femoral nerve palsy, and the harness has to be removed. It’s not very common though, so the risk is probably worth the reward.

Diaper changes can be difficult, having to tuck the tabs under the harness straps in the back. Sometimes the Velcro gets stuck to the harness itself. Sometimes the harness Velcro sticks to her clothes. We sized up her diapers a little early to get as much back coverage as possible to avoid up the back blowouts that might get on the harness, and that’s been successful thus far. If anything gets on the harness, we usually have to leave it – only twice in three weeks have I used some of her time out of it to wash baby vomit out and make it smell a bit more fresh. My husband and I relish our sweet baby cuddles every night, because the harness makes her stiff, and somehow heavier (like dead weight almost) – not at all like the cuddly newborn ball she is without it. I know those days are fading quickly, and it makes me sad. Her bedtime onesies don’t fit at the moment, and some of her cute outfits had to be retired early bc of this. She pretty much can only wear onesies under the thing, so we are looking forward to getting her back into some cute stuff in a few weeks. For now, convertible jammies and a sleep sack are getting us through the nights.

We will share an update at the end of the month when she has her follow up ultrasound. For now, I’ll leave you with this pic of my brave little 2 month old :).

Vi’s Birth Story

In the Gestational Diabetes support groups I found on Facebook the last 11 weeks of my pregnancy, there was always a lot of talk about going into labor naturally versus induction versus planned cesarean sections.

The general consensus was that it would be best to go into labor naturally if at all possible. It makes sense. C-sections, after all, are surgeries, which often mean more recovery is needed. Contractions resulting from Pitocin, artificial oxytocin used in inductions, are supposed to be more painful and intense. So many women told horror stories about long labors and failed inductions. Many threads popped up about how to urge labor to come on naturally to avoid the other two options.

I’m telling my story because my induction was actually a much more positive experience than my first labor, which came on naturally a few days after a membrane sweep almost five years ago. I want to remember it clearly, but also want others being induced for medical reasons to realize there are positive experiences out there too.

After a pregnancy that kept going wrong with twists and turns at every corner (all positive outcomes thankfully), I welcomed the idea of an induction because it gave me back some sense of control. When I finally got my induction date, about 4 days before delivery, I breathed a sigh of relief. July 5 would be the day.

I was already dilated to a 3 and she had dropped down low. There was a sense that she might come before July 5, but she never did.

My husband took our daughter to see the fireworks with his family on July 3 while I stayed home to rest. On July 4, I took our daughter swimming and to a pool party at my aunt’s house. That night, we sent her to her grandparents for an extended sleepover and we caught a few episodes of Stranger Things Season 3 before bed. We couldn’t sleep, but tried to rest as best as we could. The next day would be a long one.

We went in around 7:15 a.m. Our nurse was Lindsay. You never forget the ones who help you through these things.

She hooked me up for monitoring before starting the pitocin, and away we went. (It was the exact opposite of my last experience, when we went in at midnight and isn’t even know if I was truly in labor or if I was experiencing a false alarm.)

I rested easy knowing my doctor was around and knew to check in on me. (Last time, he was on vacation and I wasn’t sure which on call doc would deliver me – it seemed like none of them wanted the job.)

There was a Seinfeld marathon on TBS so we out that on. David read a lot. I switched between my iPad and phone while charging the other, mostly browsing Facebook. I had set up a FB group to update our families but there was nothing to report for a long time.

The contractions started getting stronger, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The nurse brought in two birthing balls and I was allowed to get up and walk around and use the bathroom. (Last time I was confined to the bed the entire time and given a catheter before my epidural.)

I hadn’t made much progress, if any, after hours of laboring. My contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. Little by little, the nurse backed off the pitocin. I didn’t know it yet, but my body had taken over.

The nurse called my OB to see if he could come by and break my water to get things moving. He was backed up at the office and still hadn’t come by a few hours later. Around 4:30 p.m., I decided to try and nap. I got about a half hour in before I woke up to stronger contractions and the urge to pee.

I called the nurse for help getting to the restroom. As I stood up, I felt my water break and trickle down my leg. I knew it wasn’t pee bc I still needed to go. Just then, the doctor called to say he was coming by, but he wasn’t needed anymore. (It was a weird experience bc last time, I’m not sure when my water broke. I missed that entirely.)

There was blood in the toilet when I peed, and after a check revealed it was for sure my water, the nurse had to put a towel in bed with me to catch some of the fluid.

Things moved fast after that. My contractions got much stronger and more painful. I called for an epidural and it showed up quickly. (Last time since it was overnight it took forever to get relief.) I was a lot more present for its insertion because last time the pain was so awful and I was so scared that I can’t remember it well.

I could still feel pain, particularly on my right side, but it got much more bearable. (Last time I was completely numb and had to be told when I was contracting.)

My doctor came by to do a check, and I had dilated to an 8 in a very short time. He and his med student went to grab food in the cafeteria, and when he returned it would be time to deliver.

At this point, I had a new nurse, Suzanne. She checked me again not long after and I was at a 10 already. Other staff prepped equipment for the delivery and got the incubator out for baby’s arrival. Suzanne and I pushed.

The doctor came back just in the nick of time with his student. I pushed 3-5 times more. The pressure/pain was fairly intense, but it felt better to push. I didn’t love feeling the pain, but I liked being more present and being able to do something to help myself. After 20 minutes of pushing, Violet came out with her little hand on her face and was placed on my chest. It was just before 7:30 p.m. – almost 12 hours since we checked in.

I required only one stitch. The doctor worked on delivering the placenta and fixing me up while my husband and I spent time with our girl.

While she was being bathed, my husband went to grab both sets of grandparents and our daughter, a new big sister, to come and meet the newest member of our family.

My first daughter was proud to meet and hold her new baby sister, but I’ll always remember how concerned she was for mommy in a hospital bed. I had gotten to change back into my tank top, but I think she sensed the pain I’d gone through. My sweet girl sat with me on the bed and cried when it was time to leave – I’ll always remember that. She didn’t want to leave mommy. We were moved to the recovery rooms after that and all was well.

39 Weeks… She’s Here!

So it looks like I missed a few weeks of blogging near the end of my pregnancy, and maybe in time I’ll come back to them in some form or another. In the meantime, I want to introduce the newest member of our family.

Violet Quinn Inlow
Born 7:26 p.m., Friday, July 5, 2019
8lbs, 1oz
20 inches

Birth story coming shortly. 🙂