This is a diary entry I wrote early on the year, it captures our thoughts prior the arrival of our precious guy…
The 20 week scan, an amazing experience. Here was our baby, we could see him wriggling, see his profile. Most of all, we found out he was boy. Instantly we were calling him by his name, the only name we had considered for a boy.
The scan was also a rollercoaster. A boy, healthy, but talipes. We had never even heard of this and the word ‘clubfoot’ was like a punch to the heart. I immediately imagined surgery, wheelchairs, crutches, and struggling to walk. I had images of children and adults living in poverty and realised I had the mis-informed belief that this condition only occurs in developing countries. It doesn’t, but we are fortunate to have access to brilliant healthcare (more on this health inequality in another blog post- this was a topic I had been teaching at university around the time of the scan).
Then came the tears. What did it mean for him? Would he live a normal and active life?
I just wanted a perfect, happy, healthy baby.
Then came the fear. What if there were more underlying issues? What if we had to say goodbye to the baby we had bonded with, felt moving, seen wriggling, bonded with, found out was our son.
Then sonographer then said she had done a referral to the consultant and I just wanted to see them straight away. She tried to reassure us, Tom held my hand but didn’t know what to say. It’s safe to say we were in shock and left the hospital in a blur.
I just remember seeing two girls at the entrance smoking; one pregnant, the other rocking a tiny baby in his pushchair. A sense of unfairness hit me, and hit me strong. I had done everything I could have for my baby; eating well, vitamins, research and reading. Yet, he has something wrong with him. What had I done wrong? I now know it was nit anything I had done, or could have done differently. I did, and still do, struggle with the sense of unfairness, 1 out of 1000. Unlucky. I struggle to grasp that figure and what it means. Although the more reading I do and the more I look for information and support, the more it appears more common.
As soon as we got home we read. The sonographer said we shouldn’t but I couldn’t cope with total ignorance and soon realised my fears were ungrounded. There was effective treatment. It was going to be hard.But he would be unaware and he would be fine.
I become thirsty for knowledge on all things talipes related. I wanted facts, journals papers, real life stories, photos. It’s all I though about and all we talked about for weeks. Always googling, always thinking, always planning. We spoke about it everyday until it became normal. We call it his wonky foot now, talk to family about it with ease and cry less. I had wobble in next in the new year when looking at tiny shoes in the sale, but I allow myself to get upset occasionally. The sense of unfairness still surfaces. Some worries remain, long term effects, odd sized feet, later surgery, that our hospital use a soft cast method. Having read all the journal papers I can I am ready with questions.
Armed with knowledge we started to tell people and it became apparent how little people know about wonky feet but their responses were encouraging and we made it clear that it’s not a big issue. We werent sure about telling people, we don’t want to hide it but don’t want it to define him. The charity STEPS have been amazing, giving us support and literature- Steven Gerrard was born with bilateral clubfeet and that’s not stopped him! so, I want to do something; raise awareness, make everyone proud of baby H.
His first steps will be even more precious.
His first cast as a newborn will break my heart.
I’ll cry if he needs the tendon operation.
The first weeks in his boots and bars will be hard.
There will be hard times, sleepless nights, questions, tears and frustrations. Baby H will know no different. He will be loved, adored and encouraged. He will keep us going and do us proud. He’s our son and we love him, no matter what.