Yesterday was Hannah's first casting appointment at Texas Children's. We have six casting appointments scheduled over the next seven weeks. All of them are located in Sugar Land except for this first one which was held in the Medical Center. Hannah's doctor was in surgery all day at that location and managed to squeeze in her appointment that afternoon.
We arrived at our 3pm appointment and began our long wait in the waiting area! Luckily I was anticipating this and brought books, snacks, a baby doll + accessories and more. Hannah loved looking at the fish, telling other children not to touch her chair or her baby and of course, taking care of her doll. We let her walk and explore as much as she wanted, knowing it would be her last chance to walk for at least 2 months.
At 4pm Bryan spoke with the front desk and they finally called us back. Hannah's doctor arrived soon after and met us in the casting room.
Sweet baby waiting to get started
A before picture of Hannah's feet. We plan to take the same picture each week when they remove her casts and get ready to put a new pair on.
Hannah's casting was done by her doctor and a casting tech. It was clear this was not their first rodeo putting casts on feet like Hannah's! Hannah watched as they wrapped her feet and legs and let the plaster set. The physician held the wet plaster on her foot in place as it dried. The theory is to stretch the foot and slowly train it to have correct placement.
Hannah was so very brave and stoic during this process. She was fine through most of it but at one point as she leaned against her Daddy, her bottom lip began to quiver. She turned to me and said in a little voice, "Mama". I held her hand and told her she was doing a good job... and then gave her M&M's!! She was happy to have a treat and that kept the tears away while the doctor and tech finished the job.
The finished product
Bryan took detailed pictures of Hannah's toes so we would remember their initial appearance and placement in the cast. Changes in color or not being able to see her toes could indicate circulation issues or that the cast is slipping.
Almost immediately after leaving the casting room Hannah began to cry. I think reality set in that these things were stuck on her legs and they did not feel good at all. She screamed through all the hospital lobbies, the elevators and the parking garage. She continued to scream for most of our drive home through rush hour traffic. We tried positioning pillows under her feet for comfort, offering her snacks, drinks or toys, turning on a movie in the car.... nothing helped. She screamed and thrashed around and dry heaved for what felt like forever. It was a horrible, helpless feeling for me and I know she was so upset and frustrated. Hannah would drift off to sleep only to start screaming again after 5 minutes because of the pressure and discomfort from her casts. Like I said, the casts are slowly stretching her foot and that can be uncomfortable the first couple of days.
Mad, sad baby girl :(
Asleep for a few moments
Finally awake, and very angry.
Hannah wanted to hold my hand so I sat twisted around in the front seat for the last hour of the drive.
As we got close to home she agreed to have a drink and wanted some Cheetos. If Cheetos and M&M's make this process tolerable for her, then that is what we will do!
At this point she still wanted to hold my hand but didn't want to eat anymore, so she kept her hand in the chip bag and held my hand through the bag.
As we pulled into our driveway, Hannah yelled out "HOME!". She was so excited to come in and see her brothers, Granny, and her dogs. She enjoyed sitting in her little chair and yelling "GO!" at the Aggies. We were glad to see her enjoy her first football game in spite of the circumstances with her legs.
That night Bryan (who keep in mind had driven 5 hours that day on top of the casting appointment!) went to work from midnight to 6am. Hannah slept in bed with me and it was a pretty rough night. She could not get comfortable so I was constantly helping her reposition herself and wedge pillows around her to provide support. She would get so frustrated and randomly swing her heavy, casted legs around. I was afraid I would wake up missing some teeth if I wasn't careful!
Thankfully as the day went on, she handled the casts pretty well as long as I kept Motrin and Tylenol in her. She enjoyed playing with some toys, riding in her wagon and was even able to take a 3 hour nap in her room! Unfortunately Hannah is battling an ear infection and some sinus junk all while getting used to casts, so this is just not a fun week for her! She went to sleep without problems in her crib tonight and I am hopeful that I will get more sleep tonight. Regardless of the sleepless nights or difficult days, Hannah is worth every challenging moment.
While this casting process is certainly not easy or fun, I have been reassured by many mamas who have 'been there done that' that the first 24-48 hours is the worst part. We are hopeful Hannah will become used to her casts and figure out ways to be mobile with them on. Most of all, we have great hope that these casts will provide drastic changes for her feet. We feel confident in her treatment as we move forward and are excited to see what she will be able to accomplish once she has flat, straight feet.