It’s Hip to be Harnessed

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  July 16, 2012 — 23 Comments

There’s something I haven’t mentioned publicly yet, mostly because I wasn’t sure how to talk about it. I’m still not really very comfortable with it, but there’s no more avoiding it if I want to keep showing you pictures of my sweet baby.

Jack was diagnosed at birth with Developmental Hip Dysplasia. It’s really not a big deal at all. It just feels like it. Both of his hip sockets are too shallow for the top of his little thigh bone to fit securely into and his left hip is actually dislocated. If the condition goes untreated it could cause big problems for him later in life, like a limp, uneven legs, and severe arthritis before he’s even out of high school, but since it was caught right away those hips will hopefully be good as new by his first birthday.

We saw the pediatric orthopedist on Thursday and she fitted Jack with what’s called a Pavlik harness. It holds his legs up and out in a frog-leg position in the hopes that things will come together properly as he grows. If that left hip is back in the socket after three weeks then we’ll keep wearing the harness for…I don’t know how long. A while. If not, the doctor says we’ll give up on the harness and plan for surgery and a spica cast once he’s a few months older. I can’t even bear to think about that so I’m just hoping and praying that the harness does its job.

There’s a lot to be grateful for–that it’s 100% treatable, that it was caught early, that he’ll never even remember this–but that doesn’t take the sting out of seeing your squishy little newborn strapped into an orthopedic device at two weeks old, or hearing his doctor discuss surgery as a very real possibility.

I have such a love/hate relationship with this harness. I want so badly for it to work, and I’m so grateful that it exists, and at the same time I’m incredibly resentful. Everything is harder with it on. Changing his shirt is a major ordeal. Putting a clean diaper on him requires feeding the tabs through a very narrow space between his waist and the side straps. And the baby who was so easy to please just last week is now nearly impossible to settle, wanting to nurse and be held almost constantly. He seems so uncomfortable and it’s hard when you can’t find a way to make your baby happy.

I know we’ll all adjust, that before long the harness will fade into the background of our daily landscape and I’ll hardly even notice it anymore. And if he ends up needing a cast for months and months I’ll be longing for the days when only fabric and velcro restricted his little limbs. And someday hopefully not too far off we’ll look back and this whole thing will seem like it was really just the tiniest bump in the road. But right now it feels like a big ugly mountain.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


23 responses to It’s Hip to be Harnessed

  1. Poor Jack! The difference from you just telling me to seeing the little guy with frog legs is really shocking. I am thankful that it was caught early, so he can get the help he needs and develop properly. I will keep him and you in my prayers and hope for a speedy recovery! Love you!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Yeah I thought I had prepared myself with lots of googling but I still cried when they put it on him. It’s hard to see him in it.

  2. He still looks adorable with it! Thank God that it was caught early and surgery isn’t the first option. I’ll be praying that the harness works and that he won’t need any other measures to correct this.
    But you know what, it really is a blessing that you’re able to be at home with him for all of this no matter what happens. Take care of that sweet little boy and is it bad that I love the frog reference and that he’s in green? I can’t stop looking at how cute it all is. Take care of yourself and that beautiful little boy!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Lol I didn’t even notice the frog/green connection. I think green is his best color so maybe I’ll start calling him my little froggy boy.

  3. Ms. Joanne Kellogg July 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Charlotte and Nick- I will be praying for you and Jack. Charlotte, I can just guess it being so plain white is part of the annoyance. I bet you will be coming up with a personalized fabric cover to embelish that harnass anyday.
    Best wishes to you all! Sarah’s mum, Ms. Joanne

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Thanks, Ms. Joanne! The white is really hard to keep clean, so that may not be a bad idea!

  4. Charlotte, what a bummer for baby Jack. :-( My neighbor’s baby had this and it was totally no big deal for the baby – but it really distressed his mom and dad. Thank God for modern medicine – it breaks my heart to think of what kids with his condition would have gone through back in the day.

  5. Oh, I am sorry you are all going through that. I have seen others with this problem and since it was taken care of early, it was not a big deal. I know, easy for me to say, it is not my precious little guy who is in a harness. It will, I am sure, be just a little bump. I had some friends whose little girl had to wear a helmet because her head was misshaped and she had a very large soft spot. She is fine now and has some adorable photos of herself in a pink flower covered helmet. They can do wonderful things now. I hope Jack gets comfortable in his harness soon and doesn’t have to wear it long.

  6. I had that when I was born too. Luckily my mom, who’s a nurse, caught it right away too. I do know another girl I went to school with who had it and it wasn’t caught until too late. Now this was 50 some years ago so I’m sure things have changed but she ended up having lots of surgeries and now she’s in a wheel chair. But I’ve had no problems except I do remember I was pigeon toed for a long time. Also I was extremely flexible and still am. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it.

  7. Charlotte & Nick,
    First, your post brought me to tears. I know the frustration and helplessness parents feel when something is not right with their child. Cyber hugs to you both. Jack is such a blessing! I am thinking of you and praying all will be well soon.

    Please keep the pictures coming. Jack will get used to his brace soon and none of us want to miss a minute of his development!

    Love you all,
    Aunt Julie

  8. We love you Charlotte. I wish we could make it easier for you and Jack. I’m so glad you can stay home with him.

  9. So sorry to hear this, I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing since getting home. I was actually born with this myself and turned out ok. :) you will get thru it. Jack is lucky to have such an awesome mama! I’m here for you if you need anything at all!

  10. Cousin Diane Marie July 19, 2012 at 7:48 am

    SO glad it is treatable, though I’m sure it’s a challenge! I am glad to see news…have been east weathering the latest heat wave with east coast cousins and thinking of you all too.

  11. I just came across your blog…my daughter has been in her harness for 3 days…it’s been a rough three days (mostly for me…she seems to be adjusting just fine). I’m so thrilled to read that the harness worked for you son! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it works for our baby girl too!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap September 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Have hope! Those early days were rough and I shed a lot of tears but it really did get easier and was so worth it.

  12. thanks GOD they diagnosed the HHD early, and I hope the harness will work effectively, My daughter 21 months did surgery week ago to relocate the dislocated hip and she is now in hip spica cast and she could not do any thing even sitting just sleeping at her back, i wished the doctor can diagnose it earlier to avoid this invasive surgery, but what can I do just thanks God and the surgeon for his effort. she still too young to remember and I hope she will be fine. Do not worry about Jack and this is the best time for him and he will be fine.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Front Door Curtains | Living Well on the Cheap - July 18, 2012

    [...] want to thank y’all for all your kind words and promises of thoughts and prayers after I shared about Jack’s hips on Monday. It really means a lot to me to know that so many people care, and it was comforting to hear of [...]

  2. One Month | Living Well on the Cheap - July 30, 2012

    [...] So when the 29th rolled around I decided to just photograph him in what he was already wearing. The harness makes it such a pain to change his clothes that I need a really good reason to do so. Like poop. [...]

  3. Look Ma, No Harness! | Living Well on the Cheap - August 24, 2012

    [...] wondering what the heck this whole harness thing is all about, you can read my first post about it here, and read about when we found out he wouldn’t need surgery at the bottom of this post. [...]

  4. Best Stuff for Babies (0-6 Months) | Living Well on the Cheap - July 10, 2013

    [...] The HALO Sleepsack is great for keeping babies warm once they are too old to be swaddled. You can also get them with velcro flaps to wrap around to swaddle baby’s arms, but Jack was often able to break free. This was the only way we could swaddle him when he was in the harness. [...]

  5. 18 Months and Why He’s Not Walking | Living Well on the Cheap - December 30, 2013

    […] It explains why he was slow to hit all of his gross motor milestones. It could even be related to the hip dysplasia that he had at birth. The good news is that it’s treatable. A physical therapist is going to start seeing him […]

Leave a Reply to Janet (Country Mouse) Cancel reply


Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>