When I think back to 10+ weeks ago when our baby was in a Spica cast, I find myself thinking, “we did that?” It almost seems like it was someone else. What an ordeal. During those 3 and a half months I thought the end would never come, but it did and we survived. Everyone says that when we look back it will seem like a small snippet in her otherwise long and full life. And I believe that.
Those first couple weeks cast-free were glorious. Poppy had her first bath in 98 days. And we celebrated with an Island themed “Cast-Away” party where she got take her first dip in the pool. I strongly encourage parties, especially ones that celebrate the end of something hard.
But our ordeal isn’t over yet and today it still feels like a long snippet. Poppy is now wearing a hip abduction brace full-time and will be for a couple more months. I’m already fed up with it, but it is important to note (and to tell myself daily) that it’s way better than the cast. She can wear some normal clothes, have baths, show off her irresistible chubby little legs and for a whopping 15 minutes each day she can be free.
But she can’t move like she wants and still can’t fit in typical car seats, highchairs or baby things in general. She can’t sit up for long without falling over (into impressive straddle splits) and is getting to the age where mobility matters to her. She gets frustrated trying to pull herself around in that big thing and is less independent because of it.
But we’ve come so far and we can handle those things. What I can’t seem to handle is that she isn’t sleeping. Since she was 3 weeks old she has spent every night in some sort of orthopedic apparatus. And to keep that interesting, we have had to change what “get up” she was in SEVEN times. First the pavlik harness for 5 weeks, then the hip abduction brace for 2, back to the pavlik harness until surgery, then spica cast #1, spica cast #2, spica cast #3 and now we’re back to the hip abduction brace. Each time it changed, her sleep regressed for a couple of long hard weeks and then normalized. We are 10 weeks into this last stage and it’s not getting better. She is waking up more than a newborn combined with a teething toddler and it’s not awesome.
My theory is that is has to do with her age. She is 9 months old now and wants to move. Maybe when she comes to a light level of sleep like we all do, she wants to adjust her body to get comfortable and she can’t. So, she wakes me up to comfort her instead. And I don’t have the heart to refuse. Who knows, but we’re sure getting a lot of time together.
Recent studies show that being sleep deprived is equivalent to the alertness you have when you’re drunk. Add to that being irritable and unmotivated and that’s how my days are going. So if you see me around and wonder why I look like such a wreck, there you go.
As I think through how hip dysplasia will have colored the entire first year of Poppy’s life, I am searching hard for the beautiful colors. The ugly ones are always obvious. Today I am holding onto these 4 shiny things:
I’ve got some time to pray. There are plenty of heavy things weighing on me (and the world) and apparently I need lots of “middle of the night” time to sort them through and lay them down. In a noisy house with needy kids, this is crucial time that I would be going without if not for my sleepless little lady forcing it on me.
I am getting serious about self-care. Buzz phrase or not, it’s a real problem in my life right now. I have “let myself go” to take care of my people and it feels like it’s starting to backfire. So the lack of sleep has just pushed me into a desperate enough place to get me motivated toward making changes and placing more value on my personal health.
We are in the home stretch. We are beyond so many hard days. We have learned incredible lessons. We have a baby that has two healthy hip joints (that are almost fully formed) and she will be walking before we know it.
I’ve got a baby to hold. I waited for this baby, prayed for this baby and lost three babies before her that I don’t get to hold. And when the house is quiet and dark, I get her all to myself. No brother and sister smothering. No noise distracting us. No electronics. Just her soft squishy self all nuzzled close. I am trying to memorize her smell, her noises and the feeling of being able to give her all she needs.
My heart for this blog is to find the golden threads and to help you find yours too. What is the bright side of what you’re going through? What meaningful thing can you draw out of the hard place you found yourself in today? They’re there, I promise.