Everyone who knows me, knows how passionate I am about DDH. I do all I can to educate and inform about this condition that has affected us so personally. I am quite active in a facebook group that gives support to parents of babies and toddlers with ddh. In that group we chat and rant about treatment and our babies. I also recieve emails asking for information and advice. One topic that comes up is traction and I have no experience of that. However a mum I chat with has written up their experience and I hope it answers some of those questions.
Here is Kerry’s story:
We went into hospital with Amelie on the 2nd of January, I think that the build up to going into hospital is often worse than when you actually go in. Luckily we were due to go in just after Christmas so I didn’t really think about it until about five days before hand. Amelie is a very chilled out baby generally but I was worried about how she would sleep as she gets over tired very easily, especially as she is only 8 months old. I don’t think I was actually too worried about her going into traction as i would be with her and could look after her it was the operation afterwards that concerned me more.
When we arrived the nurse filled in the necessary paperwork and then we were given a time to take her to x-ray to check that her hips were as expected. Once we were back at the ward they put her into traction, they used special tape which they stuck to the inside and outside of her legs, which had foam and string on the end. They made sure her bottom was off of the bed and then bandaged her legs. The nurses said that it could take a few attempts to get her in but she really wasn’t bothered. She went to sleep the first night pretty well considering she is used to her bed time routine at home. I found traction quite draining but I think this was because it was mainly me looking after her. We live two hours drive away from the hospital and with another child to look after, my husband couldn’t visit much and I didn’t really get much of a break. If you could share the experience it would be much easier. I didnt want to leave Amelie when she was awake as she would get herself on her front and all twisted up and then like any baby get frustrated when she couldn’t roll back over. This meant I could only leave her to get a cup of tea or a quick snack, but i had to wait until she napped to shower or pop out to get a meal from the canteen.
The nurses at the hospital were great and were very helpful and took great care of us. I think our record was five bed sheet changes in one day, as they did tend to get food all over them, it’s bound to happen when you are feeding an 8 month old lying down. She was also sick a few times, but this was she got herself in a bit of a tizz after she had had her milk. Amelie is a very burpy baby, I was very worried how I would deal with this when she was in traction. Before her operation and even now at home often wake if there was a significant burp in her tummy and scream, this however oddly was not a problem at all in traction.
Amelie got pretty constipated in traction, I think she is pretty prone to it and has suffered from it while being in her spica cast. Its not something i thought about but it makes sense as babies often kick around and while in traction and in spica this can’t happen. She didn’t however get too upset about it.
We only did five days in traction as we went in after new year, I have to say I’m very thankful for this, Amelie was so over tired by the final day she cried a lot and there was nothing that I could really do for her, babies and hospital wards generally are hard work, Amelie is used to being put down for a nap in a dark room, hospitals are bright and noisy and if I’m honest she was always going to get over tired. While it was hard work and not very nice to see her upset she wasn’t in any physical pain because of this, as i mentioned earlier I didn’t really get a break and this made it especially difficult.
She woke at 5.30am the morning of her operation and I couldn’t wait for her to be cut down and give her a hug. She was very happy just to be carried around and when her dad arrived at 7am he took over and after we had given her a bath, which was so lovely, he managed to get her to take a short nap on his shoulder.
Our professor swears by traction and he seemed genuinely pleased that he was able to do a closed reduction on Amelie. We were happy and were able to take her home the day after her operation. We are just hoping for lots of bone growth now, so that she will not need any further surgery.