Monday, October 27, 2008

It's a serious birth defect folks!

Before Om, I had no idea what it meant to have club feet. To me, all foot and leg braces were the same. Now I realize that there are so many variations in the type of lower extremity birth defects. Some are more severe than others, and some are accompanied by other birth defects in different parts of the body. Each type of defect has a specified type of treatment which may or may not include a brace/special shoes.

Club feet is just one category of lower extremity birth defect. Within club feet there are variations in severity and also in what caused the condition. For instance, children can be born with bilateral or unilateral clubbed feet, with severe, moderate, or mild severity. There are also atypical club feet which are very difficult to treat. Om has bilateral club feet with moderate severity. The docs said it is an isolated (no other issues in Om) genetic problem. There was nothing we could do or could have done better (such as changing the diet etc). Om wasn't "cramped" inside me (he had plenty of room to kick the bejeezus out of his Mom).

Thus, I understand when people who hear about club feet for the first time say things like "Oh don't worry my cousin's friend's brother had this and he just wore special sandals and is totally fine now." How do they know it was club feet and not some other milder deformity that was easily fixed with special sandals? They don't, yet they are trying to be supportive and give us hope. So I listen. :-)

I also listened when my parents said that Om would "miracously" be healed in the womb due to prayer. They were convinced that club feet could be healed via intense prayer and that when Om was born we'd have a pleasant surprise. I knew in my heart that this would not be the case (I trust science too much) but I let them pray for my baby. They were just worried for their grandchild.

I listened when my mother in law conducted a puja (prayer) ceremony in her house in India and had a priest pray for the baby for several weeks after. Although I didn' t like the idea of the money spent, I didn't mind since she was just trying what she knew best.

What I don't listen to are when people say things like:

  • "You didn't get enough vitamins. You should have eaten (insert random food here) so that your baby would have normal feet."
  • "You didn't sleep in the correct position."
  • "Malnutrition causes this."
  • "You must have bent in an unusual position thus the baby's feet twisted inward."
  • "You should have prayed more during the pregnancy."
(These comments are actually quite entertaining at times. I can't wait to see what comments we get when we take Om to India for the first time in March).


Priyanka said...

OMG! There are just too many ignorant people in India. I have heard a load of crap when I was pregnant too. One of them was "Don't take any iron pills, your baby will get dark skin" :P

Sue said...

Add another bit of wisdom to your list: "You took too many hot baths while you were pregnant." Love that one!

Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier. This clubfoot journey is quite a ride, isn't it? Grace is 3, and I have to laugh at the cruel twist of it all, when we were told by her former doctor that she'd be "finished" with all this business when she turned 3. Little did we know we'd be starting all over again with a relapse ...

Are you on the "no surgery 4 clubfoot" board? It's a great place to talk to other parents who are going through the entire range of clubfoot (and as you said, it's quite a range!). We could talk there too -- I could tell you more about Grace's relapse. Not a fun thing to deal with, but we're in it for a while ...

Om is a beautiful little baby! I hope all goes well and if you need any help or have questions, don't hesitate to ask! Good luck!

Mama - Mia said...

people just dont realise they are being insensitive!

Cubby has hypotonia in mild form. so he couldnt hold his neck like till almost 9months and all his milestones are a tad slower and his muscles are still slightly weak. but he is doing fine othawise.

but some people just tried to pint out that i must have held him wrong, ot supported his neck properly when he was a baby, ruined it while feeding him! and i just said bah!

and i can see you are doing it too! :)



Me said...

Priyanka - LOL never heard of that one!

Sue - So weird, hot baths? I am on the clubfoot group, and find it really helpful.

Mamma Mia- Oh I've never heard of hypotonia before! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Danielle said...

My aunt told me that Grant has a clubfoot because my uterine muscles were weak, and that every child after him would also have club feet. I just smile and nod. :)