Friday, December 5, 2008

A favorite Christmas memory

When Thomas was born, he had a club foot. I knew about it before hand, thanks to 3 ultrasounds that showed a tiny, crooked foot. It wasn't completely a shock: I had had one when I was born too, and the statistics all pointed at my firstborn male son.

So, before he was even born, I researched methods of correcting clubfoot. I discovered through the internet the Ponsetti Method, which corrects clubfoot using a series of casts that gradually bring the foot into a normal position. Usually after 6 or 8 casts, a small incision is made in the achilles tendon to lengthen it and bring the foot up into the correct position.

I was overjoyed to learn that a local doctor was doing the Ponsetti Method. I had an appointment for Thomas when he was 5 days old. We showed up, all excited to spend the next 6 to 8 weeks dealing with casts, all in the hopes that my little baby would have a straight foot in the end.

Well. 5% of children don't respond to the Ponsetti Method, and we happened to be in the 5%. Thomas was born in August, and at Christmas, we were still going weekly to have cast changes. During this time, I had never given Thomas a real bath, because we always had a cast to deal with. Every outfit I picked out I had to make sure would fit over a large white chalky cast. By Christmas time, I was tired of having a baby with a cast. I hated it, and wanted

So, on Christmas Eve day that year, I took Thomas' cast off. By myself.

I armed myself with a our old green bucket, which I stuck in the kitchen sink and filled with water. I'd heard that a little bit of vinegar helps, so I poured some of that in too. I stripped Thomas down to his diaper, propped him up against me with his back to my stomach and his foot in the water, and started soaking the cast off. It took me about an hour.

In the middle of it, Shane called me and couldn't believe what I told him I was doing. I think he thought I was a little crazy, but I didn't care. All I wanted was a cast-free baby for the holiday the next day. To be able to hold him close to me and not get white plaster all over my clothes. To give him a real bath for once, and let him lie in the water, instead of being suspended over it.

It was 100% satisfying. I have pictures of his two feet that Christmas Eve. His new Christmas outfit fit a little better than it had when I tried it on him weeks before. His two legs could kick and play inside his new cozy Christmas jammies. I just loved having him be a normal baby for a few days.

I still smile a little when I remember this. I can picture myself soaking that cast off, filling and refilling that green bucket. I knew that two days after Christmas he would be right back in plaster, but I didn't care. I was going to have my first Christmas as a mom under my own terms, and nothing was going to stop me.

Taken just hours after the de-casting

So do you have a favorite Christmas memory that involves doing something you shouldn't have? When you broke the rules just to get what you wanted?


Ginger said...

What a cute picture! I have never heard of that before. I am so glad he turned out great!

Melanie said...

You've told me that story before, but reading it brought tears to my eyes. It's amazing how much we love our kids, and are willing to go to extremes for them. You're an awesome mom!