World Clubfoot Day was June 3rd, but for many reasons I missed the boat. I still wanted to share a little bit about what that date means to us. Our sweet Jonas was born with bilateral clubfoot, meaning both feet were twisted inward and upward. We found out about it during the 20-week ultrasound.
I remember the ultrasound tech poking around for ages, without saying much at all, and I was just dying to find out the sex of the baby and she said she couldn’t see it. I remember thinking how standoffish she had been, almost short with me. When I got the call from a nurse that we needed to go to a fetal specialist down in Denver because the tech thought she had seen something wrong with our baby’s feet, I understood why it had been such a weird visit.
My initial reaction was fear, but some Google searching calmed my spirit some. Clubfoot doesn’t exactly have a cure — it’s a congenital birth defect — but the position of the feet can be corrected thanks to the Ponseti method, which involves full-leg casts for the first two months to slowly stretch the feet, a very minor surgery, then braces at night for the next several years. It is a very successful form of treatment for most cases. We made the trip to Denver and the specialist there was reassuring — the brain, heart, and spine all looked great so far. Oh, and it was a boy! (You can read more about how all of this went down here)
We are so grateful for the team at Shriner’s Hospital for Children. We had to travel over frozen roads to get him treatment, but they were the experts and it was worth it. It was such a blessing that we had just moved much closer to the clinic.
There were some tough moments, but Jonas handled treatment like a champ, and he still sleeps with his feet in a brace at night. He hardly ever complains, we’ve often said that it was a tender mercy that he was such a calm, sweet, cheerful baby, because he needed that patience. We are hoping that our next trip to Shriners will mean the end of boots and bar, but either way the end is in sight and we are so grateful we’ve had a relatively smooth road through treatment!
For us, World Clubfoot Day is a chance to reflect on our journey with our sweet boy. But it’s also a reminder that we are incredibly fortunate. I’ve shared a lot of our story online, here on my blog and in a few YouTube videos. This one is old but regularly gets comments from families around the world, including from many countries where access to treatment or orthotics isn’t good.
If you have a few spare dollars and want to help, MiracleFeet provides organizational, technical, and financial support to clinics to increase access to treatment for children born with clubfoot in low- and middle-income countries. It’s a wonderful foundation with an important mission. The treatment is so cheap (less than $500 per child!), and in some ways so simple, yet without it, children can be crippled for life.
Watching our boy walk is still a miracle. Every child should have that chance.