5.24.2005

left foot, left foot, left foot, right

feet in the morning, feet at night.

people often comment to me (after seeing all the thousands of pictures I've taken of bella - thank you, digital camera) about how often I seem to take pictures of her feet. it appears as if I'm obsessed with them. and I am. I love looking at them, touching them, poking at them, kissing them, and yes, taking pictures of them.

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this thursday, I take trent to see a doctor he's known since he was 4 weeks old. back in the old days, we'd take trent to see dr. alburger every wednesday. we lived in quakertown then, and we'd see the doctor at st. christopher's hospital in philadelphia. the drive was roughly an hour and 45 minutes each way, mostly because we only knew how to get there by driving down broad street to erie ave, after taking rt 309 all the way into the city. for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, suffice it to say it's probably the longest way to get there. but even if we'd used more highway and less local roads, it would still be over an hour.

trent is going back to see dr. alburger (this time in his willow grove office, which is decidedly closer - more like a half hour away) to discuss our options for his next, and hopefully last, foot surgery. trent was born with clubbed feet in both of his feet. as an infant, the soles of his feet faced his face. had we not done anything, there is no doubt that he would never have been able to walk.

when we first saw dr. alburger, he told us that trent's left foot seemed to be less "affected" than his right. we were just scared teenagers who had no idea what all this was about. but we dutifully took him in week after week to get tiny little casts put on his legs from knee to toes. after 9 months (and 32 sets of casts) trent had his first surgery to lengthen his achilles tendons. this involved cutting the tendons in half, which instantly removed the tension, and then allowing them to heal stretched out as they were, giving them more room to manipulate his feet. after a few more months, he had his second surgery on his right foot only, since it wasn't responding as well to the casting. this was to rearrange the bones in his foot, reattaching tendons to different areas and sometimes different bones. we still have the 10 lb plaster cast that went from his hip to his toes, and the wheelchair we used for him, since he was too heavy and too unweildy for a regular stroller.

when he could finally walk, sometime after the cast came off, he was given special shoes with bars on either side to stabilize his feet. of course, trent was walking well before that, crushing the bottoms of his plaster casts and learning to move around with his knees permanently bent. I am convinced this is why his thighs are still so big.

besides the trauma of the surgeries and the idea that he wouldn't be able to walk unless we kept on track, trent missed out on the little things about infancy that I am really excited to do with bella. he was only able to get a real bath once a week, because the casts couldn't get wet. it wasn't until he was out of the second surgery until I could take him to the pool. in fact, it was years before he could tolerate water on his face, because he was so conditioned to sponge baths early on and could never really appreciate being fully under water.

when I was pregnant with bella, the pregnancy intake nurse at my obgyn asked me if my first pregnancy resulted in any birth defects. I said no. at the end of the survey, she asked if there was anything else unusual about my first child's birth. that's when I mentioned the clubbed feet. she went back and changed the answer for birth defects, which is never what I had thought of in my mind. the doctors told me back then that it was strictly positional, but in reality, it is a bona fide birth defect. as in, it was nothing I did wrong. it might have been the pregnancy hormones, but I cried at that - because all this time I thought it was my fault.

when bella was born, one of the first things I asked sean (in fact, it was THE first thing I asked) was if she "looked okay." he knew I meant her feet - and he said yes, they were fine. when trent found out that it was a girl, he too asked about her feet. it breaks my heart that he was concerned over the fact that she might have to go through all the stuff he had to go through.

and now trent is one of the fastest runners on any of his sports teams, he plays baseball and soccer, he jumps and runs and is fine. for the most part. he has tiny, wide feet that make it difficult to get shoes that fit. he turns his right foot in so he walks on the side of it. he can't play for more than a few hours of sports before it begins to hurt. and he has scars and very little muscle tone in his calves - which is becoming more and more noticeable. and now, we have to schedule another surgery to make sure that his right foot doesn't fold back in.

the reason I scheduled the appointment so quickly was because trent has been to the school nurse a few times and has had to sit out of a few innings of baseball because his foot is hurting so much. I am scared that they are not going to be able to fix it fully and his dream of being a pro sports player isn't feasible. sure, lots of kids say they want to be a baseball player when they grow up, but I want it to be a talent issue and not an issue with his feet.

so...indulge me my foot fetish with baby bella. we're all grateful.

9 validations:

KATIEmagic said...

Wow, That was truly beautiful. Stop making me cry at work!!!

Marksthespot said...

I didn't realize Trent was still dealing with issues from his feet - I guess because I've never asked.

It's remarkable that he is able to do everything he does, including play sports so well. And it's remarkable that you helped him get through it all so successfully - I hyperventilate just thinking about discovering something so chronic afflicting Noah.

And if there's a long-term impact on Trent's ability to go all out in sports, well, we all have some excuse why we're not in the Major Leagues - at least his will be legitimate.

Kelly said...

He could drive in Nascar!!!

*runs away and hides*

Kat said...

beautifully told.

I came by you through Rich Girl Poor Girl.

lonna said...

We have lots of pictures of Dermot's feet too, and we don't have the concerns that you do. There's just something about little tiny feet. They are so adorable.

I was also sorry to hear that Trent's still dealing with his feet troubles. He certainly hasn't let them stop him. Way to go Trent!

Missuz J said...

Nothing to say about this one except for thank you. Trent sounds like an amazing kid--and you are an amazing mom.

NME said...

It's amazing how well Trent has done despite the birth defect, and hopefully the next surgery will alleviate the pain he his experiencing. What is even more amazing is what a great person Trent has become - and what a great mom you are.

Kodi said...

I can't imagine going through years of believing his feet were your fault. Oh my god! I think you are incredibly brave, and a wonderful mother

M.Thom said...

Although I don't know Trent, it sounds like he is an amazing kid. It has been clear to me in reading your blog that you are an amazing mom, and this just confirms it!

BTW...I love pictures of baby feet too.