Letter to Noah: October 5, 2009

My whole life I seemed to have been plagued with minor medical ailments, often many little things wrong with me at the same time (and it never helped that I’m a hypochondriac). Most of the times, these ailments, as I call them, resulted in funny stories afterward that I would share with my friends. Like the time my mom gave me an enema in high school or the patch I wore over my eye on a date and, of course, there was the bug bite in Texas that sent me to two emergencies rooms in two states and almost killed me (okay, this one was more than minor).

Anyway, my love, it seems you have been cursed with the Lauer genes. Since you were born, the minor medical ailments have been adding up: acid reflux, horrible constipation (some day we’ll tell you about your Nonni pulling out a hard poop with a rubber glove), torticollis, and now hip dysplasia. When you were diagnosed with torticollis (a weakened neck muscle that results in a favoring to one side) at your one-month appointment, I thought it couldn’t get any worse. As the doctor hurled words like “facial deformity” and “therapy for a year,” fear spread through my body, but it wasn’t until I held you under an x-ray machine, you screaming in discomfort, that I shed tears too. Here you were, just four weeks old, being subjected to machinery of this kind. It wasn’t fair, I thought. And I thought: You are truly my responsibility and if anything ever happens to you…

But after more than a month of PT, your torticollis is improving, your neck muscles getting stronger, and I love watching you hold your head up high. Now, your torticollis seems easy to manage. I’m used to the exercises and positions. The difficult part is that just as I was getting used it all, your doctor felt a click in your hip at your two-month appointment, which led us to more tests, an ultrasound this time, and a trip to an orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Memorial. On Friday, this doctor, who specializes in kid’s hips, diagnosed you with a very mild case of hip dysplasia, and immediately you were fitted for a Pavlik Harness, the go-to treatment for infants under four months. The doctor seems optimistic; he said he’d be surprised if you have to wear it for more than 6 weeks. But it was so hard seeing you be fitted for it; I cried, flashing to my own brace fitting when I was 12.

From 6-8 grade, I wore a Milwaukee Brace for Kyphosis 24-7, except to bathe and swim. And throughout high school, I wore it at night. Thankfully, you’re adjusting to your brace easier than I did. I fainted during my fitting and was nauseous for a week. You are all smiles. And we’re surprised how easy you’re able to move in it; it really doesn’t seem to phase you. We’ve heard that the first few days are often very challenging, so we were worried, but you’ve been amazing!

I’ve been overwhelmed. Being a new mom is tough enough. We spend a lot of time at doctor’s offices and at hospitals, but every time we’re at Children’s Memorial outpatient center (we’re there twice a week now), I realize how blessed we are. You are for the most part a healthy, happy child, and your father and I love you more than life. It scares us. You are our baby boy. You will not remember all these doctor’s visits and therapies. You will not remember wearing this harness. But, I believe, it will make you stronger. You’ve been through a lot as a three month old, more than most, I’m sure.

Here’s a picture of you in your harness, still looking at cute as ever!!

Noah in his Pavlik Harness.

Noah in his Pavlik Harness.

This entry was originally published on my blog to Noah, but it explains better than my journal at the time how I was feeling in these moments.

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