Today’s guest post has been written by the lovely Alexandra, a home-educating mum of six who blogs over at http://www.overflowinglaundrybasket.blogspot.co.uk. Alexandra shares her touching story of unexpectedly having to deal with a child born with talipes – otherwise known as club foot – in the hope that she can offer support to anyone else who finds themselves in the same boat.
My name is Alexandra, I’m a happily married mother of six and Tania has kindly let me write this guest post for Larger Family Life. I’ve decided to write about our experience with talipes because I hope it will bring some comfort for others who have just discovered their baby has talipes and also to bring awareness of the condition to others. Talipes is a deformity of one or both feet, the foot/feet are twisted inwards. Talipes used to be referred to as club foot and affects around 1 in 1000 people.
Eight years ago I was a mum to two healthy children and had just had my third baby; Samantha. As soon as I saw Samantha I totally fell in love with her, she was a gorgeous baby, I didn’t even notice her foot was twisted until somebody pointed it out to me. Samantha was perfectly healthy like her other siblings so I found it a shock to learn she had talipes.
We went to see a consultant when Samantha was a couple of days old and he told us that on a scale of 1 to 20 (when 1 is a slight talipes and 20 the worst) Samantha’s talipes was rated an 18.
Samantha immediately started having physiotherapy sessions at least once a week. I found these sessions quite disturbing because the manipulation of Samantha’s foot was painful for her and painful for me to see that being done to my new born baby. It was not uncommon for me to come home and have a little cry in the bathroom on my own. At the end of each physiotherapy session Samantha would have her entire leg and foot put in a plaster cast to try and keep the foot in a more normal position. This meant before we went back to the next session we would have to sit Samantha in a bath of vinegar which would soften the plaster cast so we could remove it. Then the process would be repeated every week; her foot would be manipulated and a new cast would be put on.
After several weeks Samantha had an operation where her Achilles tendon was cut in half. Young babies have the incredible ability to then have their bodies grow the Achilles tendon so it reattaches together allowing the foot to be turned even more into the correct position. The process of physio and new casts once a week continued until Samantha was seven months old.
As Samantha had her leg in a full length plaster cast this meant I had several months of people looking at me like I was a monster that had hurt my baby or allowed my baby to be hurt. Some days I wanted to scream at these people; “Her leg isn’t broken, I’m a good mum, she was born with this condition through no fault of my own”. Most of the time I avoided looking at people so I didn’t have to see their ignorant, judgemental stares.
At seven months old Samantha started to be treated with the Ponseti method, this is where she was strapped into two boots attached to a metal bar so her feet were in the position where the toes were turned out much further than the heels. Samantha had to wear her boots-on-a-bar 24 hours a day and also still have weekly physio for several months and then just the boots-on-a-bar at night for two more years.
Despite all the discomfort Samantha had to endure for three years she was such a smiley baby, totally adorable it was just so sad she had to suffer. Samantha is now eight years old and is fit and healthy, she regularly enjoys running five miles a day with her dad and sisters. Samantha still sees the consultant once a year; he’s very pleased with her progress and doubts she’ll ever need another operation.
It totally shocks me that some babies are aborted for minor deformities such as talipes, cleft palate etc. My baby had a minor physical deformity but she was also born with beauty, a great amount of intelligence and she is such a sensitive, loving, generous girl who enjoys her life every day.
If you have recently had a baby with talipes or are expecting a baby with talipes and you would like to ask me questions about our experience of it or you just want to talk to somebody about it then please do not hesitate to email me at email@example.com . Feel free to hop over to my blog at http://overflowinglaundrybasket.blogspot.co.uk/ .
If you would like to write a guest post for Larger Family Life, whether you’d like to share your experiences of parenthood, have something you’d like to get off your chest or want to offer any hints and tips you’ve learned, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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