Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The End of An Era: Saying Goodbye to Daily Bracing!

3 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks and 6 days  after we started Eli's treatment for bilateral clubfoot, we are finally DONE with daily brace wear!  For those of you counting at home, that is nearly 9 months earlier than we were originally told our treatment would take!

In the last few weeks it seemed like Eli had been packing away the food. We are talking 2 to 3 breakfasts, a few lunches, and then multiple snacks before and after a full dinner. We knew he was getting ready to hit a huge growth spurt but I'm not sure Eric and I expected such a HUGE growth spurt!  One day his braces fit, the next we couldn't get them on without Eli being in a lot of pain :(

So we ended up letting Eli sleep without his braces that night (because everyone loves sleep in our house :)) I finally called Dr. Mehlman's office the next day and left a message to get a new prescription.

The phone call came in as I was working with a few students in my office. Thinking this was just a call letting me know they sent the prescription for new braces over to JF Rowley (the company who takes care of Eli's braces) I answered. When the nurse said that Dr. Mehlman was happy with Eli's feet if we were happy with Eli's feet and we could discontinue bracing, I started sobbing. Uncontrolled tears soaked my desk.

Just the day before we had been told that our unborn son would be born with clubfoot just like Eli. Emotions were raw and admittedly I was annoyed that we would not be getting a break from clubfoot treatment for another 4 years. Having this 5 month break from treatment, brace fittings, and bracing overnight has been nothing short of a huge boost of wind in my sails. It's like God knew exactly the type of rest we needed so we could prepare to work our butts off to be able to give our all to #3's treatment.

For me, one of the hardest things, when shopping for Eli was the whole pajama issue. When Eli was in casts, the casts were too thick and bulky for any kind of traditional sleep sacks. When Eli was in braces, he always had to wear pajamas without feet. Early on, I remember frequently calling or texting friends in tears, because I couldn't find pajamas that would work with Eli's braces. I would be so envious of parents posting pictures of their kids in adorable footed pajamas, not knowing how luckily they were that they didn't have to order thier kids pj's online or have to travel to three different stores to find something in your son's size. At one point Eli had to sleep in girls nightgowns because we were so desperate :( (Hopefully we haven't caused permanent scares :) )

Naturally the first thing I did after calling my husband was head to the store to buy Eli his very first pair of footed pajamas. (I am fairly certain the people at the store thought I was a crazy hot mess as I am crying at check out, taking pictures of the jammies on the conveyer belt to send to everyone I know :) )

The best part about the entire experience was getting to watch Eli's reaction to the new jammies :)

Eli: "Momma, what are these?!"
Me: "Eli, these are new jammies!"
Eli: "But Momma,there are socks on my pants! I love these Momma!  There are socks on my pants! I love these! Thank you Momma"
And here you have it, the best picture ever, my boy basking in the glow joy of wearing footed jammies for the first time ever with his big sister who, of course, wanted to join in the celebration by wearing some as well. Best. Day. Ever.

Doctors had warned us that Eli might have a hard time transitioning out of nightly brace wear and might go through some sleep issues with his braces but, Eli hasn't turned back. Every night since, he has told us before bed, "I no need to wear my braces Daddy."

After all the other challenges we have faced surrounding his treatment, I guess we got lucky :)

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.


  1. I chocked up while reading this post! I can totally understand the emotions behind shopping for a "footed jammie"!
    Good luck to Eli! It really is a big step! Love to all of you.
    oh and yes that pic is priceless! :)

  2. Thank you Mukta. It feels next to impossible to believe we've made it this far. Even about a month out of no-bracing I feel like we are forgetting something at bed time! :)

  3. So, I would like some updates on the newest with clubfeet. My baby was diagnosed last Friday with bilateral clubfeet as well as missing their right hand, every 4 weeks we have gotten some type of bad news. I am dreading my next 4 weeks appointment! I'm due in December. I already have an appointment with the ortho/surgeon and as well as a geneticist. I also have my normal OB and my perinatal specialist.