Tuesday, November 3, 2009

AJ's legs

There are two moderately graphic picture posted here. I am making them small, so click to see them larger, however if you are squeamish, please close your eyes.

So I happened to mention on Facebook that we were waiting to hear what kind of treatment we would be getting for AJ's "curly" legs. That got a lot of questions headed my way because a lot of people weren't even aware that his poor little legs were having problems. Allow me to share..

AJ was a breech baby, meaning when I was pregnant with him he was feet down instead of head down like he was supposed to be. On top of that, he was a good sized baby. I also have a wide pelvis. ("Ample", as my midwife liked to call it. Hi Sue!) My cervix likes to dilate super early. (8cm dilated by 36 weeks and no sign of contractions for at least a month). I grow babies to at least 42 weeks of pregnancy. (Possibly longer, who knows.. haven't ever spontaneously gone into labor.) All of these factors contributed to AJ being completely wedged down deep and low in my pelvis. (If I bent over too far you probably could have seen his toes hanging out. Ha!!) Which led to him not being able to stretch his legs and use them for nearly my entire pregnancy.

Soooo, when he was born, his legs were "curly". That's the best way I can describe them. From the knees down, his legs were smooshed and had no meat on them. His shin bones seemed to be really bowed. His feet turned inward, and the toes on his left feet weren't lined up, almost like some were sticking out the top of his feet and some sticking out the bottom of his feet. His feet had been curled up and under/around his butt. If you picture him sitting cross legged and then wedged into your pocket, that is how he was. Here are the pictures.

Once he was (finally) born, it was clear that there were issues with his poor little legs. Carrying him around felt like carrying a ball.. his legs never straightened. A hip assessment was done on him (because 20% breech babies have hip problems) and he wailed so loud and so hard, not because he had hip problems but because the muscles in his legs were so tightly contracted from never having been stretched out that it hurt him! It broke my heart.

We visited a pediatrician. He said to wait it out. He said "I was a breech baby and I'm just fine!" John and I took it upon ourselves to stretch his legs every time we changed his diaper, and they began to slowly improve, but not completely. For AJ's 3 month check up we visited a new doctor. (Dr. Bob Sears.. love him! The 1st pediatrician kind of rubbed me the wrong way anyway when he said home birth is BAD! and thinks people who scrutinize vaccines before making decisions are BAD!.. but that's a whole 'nother post!) Anyway, Dr. Bob recommended physical therapy for AJ's legs, since at 3 months old his knees still could not straighten. He suggested I call CHOC.

CHOC has a waiting list, so they suggested in the mean time I rule out other problems by taking AJ to an orthopedic doctor. That doctor determined there is still a 15% angle in AJ's knees that is still there. He said we do not need casts for the time being (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!) and to go forward with the physical therapy. He wants to see us back in 3 months to check for progress and determine if other treatment is necessary. He also requested AJ get an ultrasound for his hips because of the high incidence of hip issues with breech babies. Just to rule anything out. And last but not least, he suggested we see a genetic doctor to rule out any congenital deformities. A lot of ruling out going on, but I'm a proactive type of person and would rather prevent issues and treat them now, instead of waiting to see what might be wrong later and finding out it's too late to fix.

The goal is to help his tight muscles and ligaments stretch with the physical therapy. I assume the physical therapists will assess AJ a little more when they see him. I'm hoping that the stretching is what helps fix everything for my baby boy and nothing more drastic needs to be done. Thank you all for your concern and I welcome the questions you have been asking!


outdoor.mom said...

oh goodness. Poor little lamb. We will have to keep him in prayer :-)

Queen B said...

oh, no! I had no idea he was having problems (must have been when fb was only giving me random updates and not ALL, like I need it to ;)

I'm glad you found a doc that better fits your needs. Getting information (whether it be validating or invalidating hypotheses) is the key to keeping you positive, I'm sure. Sounds like there is good news, so far. We'll keep y'all in our prayers.

Jenn Ann said...

I'm most impressed that John took pictures during the c-section...I'm 99.99% positive that Striker will not be doing so should we end up needing one.

Paula said...

You are so right to be pro-active! Having a great Ped. makes a parenting life easier! I'm sure PT will make a world of difference for him! And I hope that you will soon find yourself wishing he'd stop running so you can just sit down for minute! ;-)

Jane: a female given name of English origin said...

A mom is always a son's biggest advocate! hang in there! My prayers

KFuj said...

You are great for switching to a new Dr. I would have switched too!

PT should help keep stretching AJ's legs. Thanks for the update, hope things continue to get better :-)

Kim Thomas said...

We will keep him in our prayers!