We had the first snickerdoodle hip ultrasound to evaluate her hip dysplasia on Monday morning. A healthy hip has a socket angle of at least 65 degrees. Our snickerdoodle was born with one hip at 44 degrees and one at 50. Additionally, every time they manually rotated her thighs, her hips would dislocate. On Monday, after three weeks in the harness, her hips are both at 57 degrees, and while her hips slip slightly under stress, they don’t dislocate any more at all. We’re praising the Lord for this progress and I am excited that it seems she’ll be out of her harness by the middle of July.
She wears the harness 23 hours each day, and the hour she’s out of it is generally taken up with changing her clothes, often giving her a bath, and letting her stretch out and kick her legs. On Monday I had to take her out of the harness for the ultrasound, and leave her out of it until the pediatric orthopedist could see her. As I picked up my harness-free newborn and held her to my chest to carry her from the lab to the orthopedic office, I suddenly had a wave of unexplained nostalgia and joy at the feeling of her little floppy newborn body.
We can (and do) snuggle in the harness. We’ve worked out nursing, and I’m even getting faster with the diapers. I don’t think we’re lacking in the bonding department, and until I had that extended time to just hold her, I didn’t realize that I had even noticed a difference between my snickerdoodle’s infancy and the other two. However, there is a difference. Her body is held fairly rigid by the harness. In some ways, cuddling her is a little like holding a muppet. Her legs remain in the “frog” position at all times. She sleeps on her back with her legs up and bent, like a doll left in the sitting position by a careless child.
Because of that she doesn’t need to be held like a newborn normally needs to be held. In fact, holding her in the traditional cradle hold is challenging. Instead I hold her upright like I would an older infant. It makes me forget that she’s less than a month old and had left me apparently feeling subconsciously like I had skipped the whole newborn phase. Holding her tiny little helpless, floppy body on Monday I remembered how young she still is, and I just basked in the newness of it all.
Today, after bathing her and changing her little onesie, I took twenty minutes to snuggle her again, to soak up the feeling of the light, little bundle in my arms and to remember that we’re only inches into the journey that will be her life.
A journey she will be able to walk through because of the common graces of modern diagnostic medicine and the Pavlik harness.