6 June 2013

Molly's Talipes

I was going to write about this when my daughter, Molly, was born. So it’s only taken me 2 and a half years to get round to it. The silver lining is the extra 2 and a half years of insight and understanding that I now have about how a child (and parents) deal with Talipes.


I spent most of my pregnancy with Molly terrified. It was one thing after another. My previous pregnancy had miscarried in the early weeks so I was worried about this one from the off. Then, following routine tests, I got a result of a 1 in 8 chance of my baby having Downs Syndrome. A week later I received a call from the hospital to say my baby was ok and that she was a she. It was the most nervous, elated and emotional I have ever been, and probably ever will be.


6 weeks later, at my 20 week scan, I was told that she had something wrong with her foot. A bit of a blur but I heard the word ‘Talipes’ and got an appointment with the consultant. Against my better judgement I went home and Googled it. The word Clubfoot came up although the hospital hadn’t called it that. That was scary because everyone’s heard of Clubfoot but no one really knows what it is. To a lot of people it means one big foot, which it isn’t. I spent the next couple of weeks worried about my baby. Would she walk? Would she be disabled? Would she have to have operations?


So over the coming weeks and months I slowly learnt about the condition, called it Talipes because Clubfoot sounds horrible, explained it to my friends and family and gradually talked myself around to accepting that my baby is otherwise perfectly healthy and that a wonky foot can be fixed (with a series of casts and then boots and a joining bar to hold the foot in place). I was really very lucky compared to what some parents face with their children.


So, on October 21st 2010, my beautiful Molly Rose was born. After a reasonably traumatic birth following being induced 2 weeks early because of a liver problem, an emergency forcep delivery and a lot of blood lost, I had my baby….finally. And I hadn’t even looked at her foot. Her little face was just so perfect and I loved that tiny little girl unconditionally.

4 weeks later and she was in her 1st cast which was changed every week for 4 weeks until her foot was in the correct position. Then just before Christmas 2010 she went into boots and bar for 23 hours a day. 3 months later and she was in them for night times only and that's the sketch until she's 5. 

I read a lot from parents who think all children suffer through this treatment and who let their children out of the boots once and struggle to get them back in them again. Every case and every child is different and I'll never judge any parent for dealing with the condition however they see fit. All I will say is we never fussed over Molly, never felt bad for her, never made her Talipes into anything other than a normal part of her routine. She's never had a night out of her boots and bar in 2 and a half years and has never once questioned the need to wear them. Children's attitudes towards everything they face develop from ours as their parents and equipping them to deal with life is our single biggest responsibility. 


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