I am a great believer in life lessons, karma and the tooth fairy. An eternal optimist with an active imagination, I am often unprepared for life’s curve balls. Call it sheltered, call it naïve, I like to call it hoping for the best and forgetting the “expect the worst” part of that saying. This has applied to everything in my life – pregnancy and motherhood of course, fall at the top of that list. Having a baby is hard enough as it is without the unexpected hiccups along the way. Hiccups that continuously go hand and hand with some traumatic turbulence.
Leonard Cohen famously wrote, “There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.” Well, I had one major crack in my first year of motherhood. Fixable? Yes, but a crack nonetheless. I’m not talking about sleepless nights and a sore back from rocking my daughter to bed. No, those soon became things I welcomed as I could relate easily to other moms by complaining about them. They made me, my baby and my entire situation normal, ordinary and average. And every mother knows that’s really all you want your child to be as a new mom. Words I had despised my entire life soon became these glittery magical adjectives I so badly wanted to be associated with.
Adriana never turned and so was born breeched which meant a C–section for me. She came out feet first to greet the world. That also meant that our “pregnancy pothole” was something called hip dysplasia. “She has hip dysplasia,” we were told.
“Wait, what is it? How did she catch it?” We asked. Because after all, everything in the Middle East is apparently caught, contagious and can be fixed with 2 pills of Panadol Extra.
As adults we forget how to “roll with the punches,” be resilient, look at a challenge straight in the eye and get our warrior face on to win over adversity. She was a constant reminder of all of those things. My lesson is that nothing is really in my control. Sure, during those 7 months I could have gotten into my sweat pants and hoodie while vowing never to smile again. I could have immersed myself deep into my sense of guilt or I could choose to squint really hard and see the light between the cracks. Somehow this wasn’t the end of the world. I had to believe that there would be easier moments and I just had to make my way to them. One crack at a time. Each luminous stream bringing with it more than a handful of lessons and more than a sprinkle of insight.
Yes, life is anything but smooth. In fact, it’s jam packed with unexpected hiccups and turns that leave you feeling overwhelmed, dizzy and lost. How we deal with these hiccups clearly defines who we are as people and how we choose to adjust our footing to move forward. You rotate and pivot and do just about anything to gain your ground. That one step is the future to get you out of whatever dark abyss you seem to be stuck in. And sometimes all you have to do is adjust your footing and reposition yourself in order to see that miniscule ray of light.
My daughter was born breech coming out with her feet first to greet the world! Babies in the breech position are more likely to have hip instability than babies in a normal position in the womb. This resulted in her hip socket growing slightly out of place, a misalignment which was detected in an x-ray and several clinical examinations when she was five months old which meant she had a condition called hip dysplasia. Unfortunately it is known as a “silent” condition and is sometimes missed upon clinical examination and so misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Although it cannot be prevented, early detection and immediate treatment are very important. Hip dysplasia affects 1 to 3% of newborns.
As a mom, sometimes, one of the most difficult things to deal with emotionally is that which is out of our control. This was out of my control. People assumed that I should handle the situation well and rather easily mostly because it was treatable. My daughter is now 20 months old and despite the fact that she is jumping, running and climbing (when she’s not busy breaking or spilling things) she still has to undergo hip X-rays every 6 months. The point is that although hip dysplasia may seem rather trivial to an outsider, it is far from it from a family that is going through it.
I felt sad, worry, resentment, anger and possibly every emotion in between for the seven months that she was being treated by Dr. Marc Sinclair. In those 7 months she had red marks from the velcro straps, countless tantrums when we had to put her in it after her bath time (the only time she was allowed to be out of it), oh and as a fashionista, her trendy baby clothes had to be packed away. She couldn’t wear shoes or pants or pretty much anything but oversized dresses that could easily be slipped over her brace.
Needless to say, I rarely put her in dresses now and still stress out and get anxious before, after and during every single X-ray. Please reach out to me if you or someone you know has a child with hip dysplasia and needs support, reassurance or a partner to join in on her cryfest. I am always on standby for any of those three activities.
For more information check out: www.hipdysplasia.org. If you are informed or suspect that your child has hip dysplasia I would highly recommend getting treated by Dr. Marc Sinclair at the Children’s Medical Center. He treated Adriana for 7 months in both a pavlik harness and a second more flexible brace and I cannot thank him enough for his medical treatment, care and endless concern and reassurance.