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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. None of the following information should be used for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult a doctor with any concerns.*
Grabbing my phone, I noticed that I had missed a call from the doctor. I nonchalantly pressed play on the message…I had grown so used to the appointment reminder calls.
My heart stopped for what felt like a whole minute when I heard that the message was from the ultrasound office. Uh oh. This can’t be good! They only call back if something is wrong!
Of course, the message was generic…”…we want to discuss your ultrasound results with you. Call us back when you can.”
My mind was racing. Was his heart okay? His brain? Did he show signs of a developmental problem? Was my baby going to be okay?
I grabbed my husband, and we immediately called them back, but we ended up having to wait for them to call us back again.
Finally, the call came. I sent one last prayer up to the Lord, and paced around the backyard as I listened to the woman speak.
“I want you to know that all the important things look really healthy. He has four chambers in his heart, it’s beating strong, his head circumference is right on track. He looks great!”
I breathed a sigh of relief, but was also a bit confused. Maybe they call even if there’s nothing wrong!
“It does look like your son has a clubfoot on his right leg.”
At this point, I literally laughed. Now, you have to understand two things. First, I am a very anxious person…so by the time we got the phone call I had already convinced myself that our son was going to have some major heart defect and only a slim chance of survival after birth. So a clubbed foot compared to that seemed very trivial. Second, I laugh when I feel nervous or scared. It was a combination of the two.
Researching Clubfoot (Talipes)
After this phone call, my husband and I began our research.
Clubfoot, or talipes, occurs in 1 out of 1,000 babies. It can sometimes be comorbid (occurring at the same time as) with another developmental concern, such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida.
Two weeks later, we had an ultrasound with a specialist who confirmed his clubfoot. Thankfully, she also confirmed that it was just that…a clubfoot….and not combined with anything else.
She also said that he only had it on the right foot…his left foot looked totally fine. My next question was, “how severe is it?”
Her answer? “It’s not the worst I’ve ever seen.” >_<
She also informed us that sometimes it is just the position of the foot in the ultrasound, and that there was a chance we could find out his foot was straight when he was born. However, she made it very clear that she did not think this was the case, as it showed up the same way in two ultrasounds two weeks apart from each other…that would be a pretty rare coincidence!
After this, our research continued!
The specialist and my midwife had informed me that Kaiser would use the Ponsetti method to correct our little one’s foot.
As we researched, we began to discover that this was a treatment plan that worked wonders!
Here’s what we found out:
- baby gets a series of casts (usually 4-6 casts depending on how they respond) that slowly turn their foot, stretching it out and helping it get back into normal position
- the first cast goes on very soon after birth
- each cast is on for a week, except the last one which is on for 4 weeks
- most babies need a small surgical procedure called a tenotomy – where the Achilles tendon is cut and then grows back – to allow their foot to move properly
- after the casts, baby wears “boots and a bar” – a brace that holds their feet in a rotated out position
- they wear this brace 24/7 until they stand up
- once they are pulling to a stand, baby wears the brace for naps and nights until they are 5 years old
As we learned these things, we felt a rollercoaster of emotions.
We felt relief that this was a very treatable deformity and that our son would have a corrected foot in the end. (There is even an Olympic gold medalist figure skater who had clubfeet!)
We felt sorrow that our little one would have to endure so much.
We felt anger that we live in a fallen world where deformities happen.
We felt hope that we have a God who knows our sorrows and shares in our pain.
As my pregnancy continued, we decided to pray for healing for his foot every day.
We knew that the Lord heals, even still today, and that Christ instructed us to have perseverance in our prayers. (Think of the story of the persistent widow.)
As we prayed each day, we felt our faith growing stronger. I knew that, whether our son came out with a clubfoot or not, the Lord was hearing our cry, and He would answer it in love and in perfect wisdom.
If you are experiencing a pregnancy in which you have been told there is something not right with your little one, I want to encourage you to pray for your little one daily. (Do this even if they say everything is perfect, too!)
Pray specifically for the issue at hand, and ask God for healing.
Trust me, I know that this can be such a scary and difficult thing to ask for. What if my little one isn’t healed? Are we alone in this? Did God not hear my prayers? Does God want my child to suffer? Am I being punished for something?
Beloved, these are all lies from Satan! Do not listen to him. We know that God hears us and is always present with us, even in our sufferings. That’s what is so amazing and beautiful about Christ’s Incarnation!
Spoiler alert….Little E was born with a pretty severe clubfoot. And we have struggled with all the thoughts mentioned above.
Through God’s grace, however, we have come to know and understand that He is healing Little E…in His way and in His timing. He is present with us and has been present with us throughout this entire journey. And more specifically, He is and has been with Little E throughout this entire journey…from conception on.
Although things don’t always make sense to us, we know and trust that God is faithful to His promises. He is making beauty even from deformity, and He will continue to make beauty out of this journey.
One other thing that is a MUST for expecting mommas of a #clubfootcutie is to surround yourself with support, even now.
There are so many clubfoot groups online, where you can ask questions, get and share advice, and, most of all, just be in community with others that are experiencing the same kinds of emotions and struggles you are experiencing too.
But I would encourage you to not stop there. Online communities are great, but in-person relationships are what we were designed for! Connect with someone in an online group who is near you and (safely, of course, …in a public area and perhaps with a friend or your spouse) arrange to meet up with them!
It is a long journey ahead, beloved, but a beautiful and grace-filled one. <3
Please leave a comment below and share your own experiences of finding out your little one had a clubfoot!
Questions? Leave them below and I would love to help as best I can!
Find out what happened next in Our Clubfoot Journey!
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