Yesterday was stressful. It was supposed to be a really happy day when we find out the sex of our baby, but now we have that nagging worry that our baby will have problems with his feet.
The ultrasound showed bilateral clubbed feet. The doctor took a long time slowly examining every inch of the baby, from the heart, spine and brain to double check if there could be anything else wrong. He found nothing else of concern, and our blood tests (triple scan) for neural tube defects, down's syndrome, etc. all came out with a very low probability. That is reassuring, it means that the feet are an isolated issue.
Afterwards we met with a genetics counselor to go over our family history. This is where it gets confusing...neither G or I have ANY instances of clubbed feet in our near relatives. Clubbed feet can either be congenital (which is what we think our case is) or syndromatic, meaning it comes along with another problem like mental retardation. Since there are no signs of mental retardation, it must be something lingering in our genes. The only thing I can think of is that someone in our distant ancestors (like a long lost grandfather's brother or sister) had clubbed feet and we didn't know about it since we never knew them personally.
Thankfully clubbed feet have a high success rate of being cured. The baby's legs are put in plaster every few weeks, and then when he starts to crawl a brace is added for a few hours a day to help maintain the shape of the re-formed feet. We are meeting with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon to discuss all options. Of course as with anything there are chances that things can get worse and that baby will require surgery instead of the plasters. But there is no way of knowing that until baby comes out and is examined by the surgeon.
The doctor and genetics counselor both recommended against procedures like amniocentesis for us, saying that we are still young enough and there were no other problems in the ultrasound to warrant putting the baby under such a risky test.
I had to hold myself until we got out of the doctor's office, and then finally the pipes let loose in the elevator and I started crying. Both G and I were pretty moody, and all I wanted to do was hug G and be comforted. We called up G's sister, Mom and my parents to tell them the news...it was hard because it starts out with "We are having a boy! Yay! "... and then we have to answer the question "So is the baby healthy?"
G stayed home from work for half the day after we went out for lunch. He researched a bunch about clubbed feet on the internet, and found a mixed bag of information. Some people had great results, and even went on to be soccer stars and football players. For example, Mia Hamm and Troy Aikens both were born with bilateral clubbed feet, yet went on to be superstars in their respective areas. Others had re-occuring problems for the rest of their lives, ranging from walking with a cane to arthritis to amputation of feet.
The most reassuring item G found on the internet was a youtube video of a small toddler going through the series of plasters and braces. He was happy, bouncy, and most importantly...ACTIVE. Despite the brace, he was crawling around like crazy and there was a snippet of him finally walking (albeit a bit wobbly) at a normal age. So I need to focus on this image instead of negative images. My initial reaction, my gut, my heart, say that our baby will be fine, he will recuperate and walk normally in life and even play sports if he wants to. He won't be the kid ostracized because of his odd limp or wheelchair ridden life.
After G left I went grocery shopping, and was supposed to go to the library but all I could do was lie in bed in a sort of grief until G came home again. I cooked home-made chicken soup for dinner since it was easy. Then I opened my tax statement back from the accountant...even MORE bad news.