‘My baby boy is not going to be perfect?’….’there is something wrong with him?’….’I am totally powerless to help him!’….’why does it have to be my baby?’
These were a few of the many thoughts trailing through my mind upon learning that our son, our first baby, Leo, was going to be born with a birth defect. At 20 weeks pregnant, we learned that I was carrying a precious baby boy and that his little right foot was severely clubbed. Needless to say, the latter was not the ultrasound news my husband and I were anticipating. My pregnancy with Leo had already been quite rocky as we lost his twin early in the pregnancy followed by a severe hemorrhage where we thought we were losing Leo. God watched over my precious boy and allowed him to continue to grow and thrive, albeit with a crooked foot.
Upon learning of his birth defect I did what any mother would likely do, pray and began Googling “club foot” (though it is not the wisest move). A flood of frightening images flooded my computer screen and the tears began to roll as I read and researched to learn more about this condition. After I came to terms with the realization that Leo was going to have an obstacle to surmount following his birth, I continued my research, located an outstanding Pediatric Orthopedist, and prepared for the arrival of our son.
When Leo was a mere three weeks old, we began treatment of his clubfoot, using the Ponseti Method. This practice placed our son in a plaster cast, changed weekly, as his foot was steadily turned into its proper position. Following this five weeks of casting, he was then placed in a pair of shoes with a connecting bar to hold his feet in place. He wore these from 3 months old to 6 months old full time and at night until he was 2 ½.
I will admit, during this time of casting and wearing the shoes and bar I had moments of being quite self-conscious that my baby was not perfect. I would get frustrated and weary of peoples glances and questions. I counted the days until he was released to only wear his shoes at night. While my husband, son, and I did face a birth defect, we were blessed beyond measure that Leo’s was correctable. While the road to straight, precious feet was a challenging one, we will be able to fully arrive. As Leo’s clubbed foot was quite significant, he is now facing surgery, at the age of 3, to correct a relapse of the club. We pray that this will be the final step in the correction of his cute crooked foot. We will not take for granted the gift of a sweet, hopping, skipping, running toddler.
To those that are facing birth defects in their babies or children, whether short or long-term, my prayer for you is strength, perseverance, and comfort in knowing that your little one is precious and perfect.
Allison Cassady and her husband, Scott, live in Edmond with their son, Leo (3), daughter, Annie (6 months) and new lab puppy, Lucy (7 weeks). Allison, who has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from The University of Texas (even though she is an Aggie) is a professor in the School of Education at Oklahoma Christian University. She loves spending time with her family, playing chase with Leo, snuggling with Annie, traveling to Texas to visit family, cooking, and teaching.