We knew very early on that baby Cade had a probable diagnosis of Fibular Hemimelia and we were already surrounded by an amazing medical team before he even graced us with his presence. Matt and I had seen many ultrasounds of him and tried hard to visualize his little lower legs. The only thing that took us by surprise upon meeting him in person was a little dangley appendage, for lack of a better description, on his right lower leg/nub. He very clearly had a heel and it looked like he had tried really hard to have a toe. Bless his little heart.
However, that little appendage was hanging by a thin piece of skin so it flopped around. I was immediately concerned with the very real event that this active little baby boy of mine was going to get it stuck on something. The last thing this momma could handle was finding a toe somewhere on the floor. Baby Cade made his first trip to Children’s Hospital Boston three days after being born. Dr. Kasser had the opportunity to examine him in person and thought it’d be best to take the wee little toe off in the OR just as a precaution. That was scheduled for April 2, he was 3.5 weeks old.
Matt and I had shared with our Bible study that we were hoping this “dry run” of sorts would put us more at ease for Cade’s big surgery that will occur when he is 6-9 months old. I had prayed specifically for all the right nurses and doctors and ultimate peace knowing we were electing to have this little operation for him (knowing it would have to come off eventually). We got to the hospital early, 7 am to check in for pre-op and to then have a series of tests done prior to the operation that would allow Dr. Kasser and his team to make the official diagnosis of Fibular Hemimelia. Our little trooper was patient with the ultrasound and xray technicians as they got the scans they needed. The doctors and nurses were wonderful as we waited for his little surgery. When the OR nurses came to get him from us in the pre-op area I was unprepared for the emotional trauma that goes hand in hand with handing your sweet, little babe over to strangers and watching them walk down the hall with him. It was at that point that the tears came quickly.
It was a quick procedure but it sure felt long. The ultrasound of Cade’s hips had revealed very minor hip dysplasia. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “enough already!” This poor little guy. It took a bit longer for them to come get us and take us to his recovery room because they already had a prosthetist crafting a brace to keep his little legs in abduction, to encourage proper hip alignment as his bones develop. It was such a minor case, Dr. Kasser said they typically wouldn’t even put him in a brace, however, because of his lower limb abnormality, having strong, perfect hips is a must. Better to catch it early and fix the problem, which means the poor little baby will have to wear this diaper-like brace for 4-8 weeks. It took a day but this momma is coming around and trying hard to not be so sad. The count down begins!