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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Creases? They Don't Line Up

Well, y'all, we are home and have been for a little over a week.  Life is settling into some semblance of a routine, although the sleep issues continue to plague us all.  Which, of course, is why I haven't been blogging since we arrived home.

Mei Mei is doing BEAUTIFULLY.

(Well, except for those rather pesky sleep issues.)

And the sleep issues don't seem to stem from insecurity or fear or anything we actually expected.  I believe, instead, that it's a result of a bit of jet lag and, primarily, an inability to calm herself down after hours of what is to her over-stimulation.  The baby room at her orphanage did not have toys.  The children rarely used walkers.  Basically they sat or laid in the cribs all day, every day, waiting to eat and to sleep.  They interacted with one another, I am sure, but only through the bars of their cribs.

Now Mei Mei has toys.

And human contact.

And tons of visual and auditory stimulation.

We are keeping her world small and somewhat plain, of course, but there is only so much we can do to limit her sensory experiences.  So far it doesn't overwhelm her.  On the contrary, she LOVES being exposed to this whole new world, although not in an over-the-top, sensory-seeking kind of way.  (I lived through that with the Tongginator, so I recognize the difference between eagerness and mania.)  Mei Mei just wants to catch up.  She wants to learn.

She wants to truly LIVE.

(She doesn't want to miss ANYTHING.)

She is so very happy right now.  She giggles with us, and not in an "I'm going to perform and be cute so that you will take care of me" kind of way, which is what the Tongginator did our first few months together.  Because Mei Mei lets us know - in no uncertain terms - when we irritate her.  Like when we close the child gates.  Or when we prevent her from sticking her fingers through the air conditioning vent.  Or when we try to make her sleep.  Or whatever.

She is on! the! go! all the time.

Which is kinda funny considering the fact that she is scheduled for an ultrasound on Wednesday, checking for hip displasia.  The Husband, Tonggu Grammy and I grew concerned about Mei Mei's hip issues within the first 24 hours of meeting her.  She isn't crawling or walking, which didn't concern us all that much, especially since the Tongginator did not crawl or walk until she'd been home four and seven months respectively, at 15 and almost 19 months of age.  But the difference between Mei Mei and the Tongginator is that - when we first met her - Mei Mei did not use her legs AT ALL to move around.  Not when she army crawled.  Not when she rolled over.  Not when we held her.  Her legs?  Just dangled there.

Limply.

And when she moved from a lying to a sitting position, or from a sitting to a lying position, she would simply swing her legs in a complete 180 without them ever leaving the ground.  By this I mean: picture a child lying flat on her stomach.  Then imagine her swinging her legs wide to perform a perfect split, then continuing around the front to form a V with her legs, all while still lying flat on her stomach.  Then the child pushes with her hands to sit upright.  That's Mei Mei's best trick.  She also reverses that to move from a sitting position to a lying-on-her-tummy position.

It's fascinating to watch when you've never seen it before.

Our pediatrician examined her this past Thursday.  We took her to the doctor the day after we arrived home, to check for respiratory issues, since Mei Mei wheezed and rattled her way through Guangzhou, but that quick visit simply checked to ensure that she was free from infection.  Her comprehensive medical appointment took place six days ago.  The doctor checked out her hips especially, since we expressed a few concerns.  One thing the doctor did was to place Mei Mei on her belly to check out the creases in her little butt cheeks and legs, to see if they were symmetrical (or, in other words, that they matched up evenly).  They weren't.  They didn't.  There is about a half-inch difference, so it looks like one leg is longer than the other, even though they are exactly the same length if you measure them independently from hip to heel.

Hence the ultrasound tomorrow.

We don't know what all of this will entail, and probably won't learn more for a couple of weeks.  We have a follow-up appointment with the pediatrician on July 14th.  Oftentimes children with developmental displasia of the hip (the most likely scenario in our situation, rather than congenital) need only physical therapy to strengthen the joint.  Some children need to wear leg braces.  A few need surgery.  If it is, in fact, developmental displasia, it most probably stems from the thick towel diapers the children wore in her specific orphanage, which the nannies tied to their waists using rope, since the nannies told us they rarely used walkers with the children.  (Typically, developmental displasia of the hip can occur when infants are swaddled in a traditional manner, or when they spend too much time in walkers.)

this is not Mei Mei, but another child from her orphanage ... notice 
the thick towel diapers that cause the children to splay their legs wide 
(and no, none of the other children from our travel group seem to 
have this medical issue, so it doesn't occur with every child exposed)

We are hopeful that Mei Mei only needs physical therapy.  Because she IS starting to use her left leg a tad when army crawling around.  Basically her knee shoves off a bit each time she pushes off with her left arm.  That's a good sign, but it's not a definite.  We shall see.  Because her right leg?  Is still just hanging there, limply, often at odd angles.

Regardless, Mei Mei is perfect, just as she is.  Just where she is.  Just how she is.  According to me.  According to the Husband.

And definitely according to the Tongginator.

38 comments:

Cristina said...

So glad that you are home and everything is going well. Hugs and blessings to you all xxxx

Vicky said...

It's so good to see your update! I pray that Mei Mei's hip will not require surgery.

Aus said...

Well - while I'll confess to suffering something of a T Family 'jones' - we're tickled to death that things are going so well!

As for the 'hip thing' - 'cause I haven't had near enough coffee for that other word on a keyboard - y'all are BTDT - you'll deal with that wonderfully - you already 'got it' ..."Just how she is"...!!

Great joy for you guys - glad y'all are home - welcome back and he's to finding the 'new normal'!!

hugs - aus and co.

Dawn said...

My daughter (not adopted) had severe hip displasia (both sides) when she was born. We did braces, therapy and finally a full body cast. Today? She is a healthy teenager and a gymnast and cheerleader. Let me know if I can help with questions as you move forward!

Be blessed!

Football and Fried Rice said...

So happy that you are home and madly in love with your littlest!!! Praying that her evaluation goes well and she does, not, in fact have hip displasia! A little therapy can go a long way!

Welcome home. Welcome to sweet love x 2! Cant wait to hear more about how much the Tonginnator loves mei mei!

Sharie said...

Glad to hear things are going well. I was starting to worry;) Hip displasia is nothing after what ya'll went through to add that 4th member to your family. You'll handle it swimmingly.
My niece is in PT school now, her goal is to do pediatric PT, so let me know if you need tips, I'm sure she'd love to share:)

Sarah said...

Welcome home Mei Mei & family!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Glad you are home and everyone is well. I'm happy for you all!

Briana's Mom said...

Sounds like things are going very well! I hope little Mei Mei just needs some physical therapy. So glad you are all home safely!

LucisMomma said...

Prayers for it all to go well and get good news from the doctor.

Our DD (an orphanage baby) also did not use her limbs--legs or arms when we got her. She took a while to get her strength. Her arms came along quickly, her legs took longer. I think it's the swaddling, the tying in a crib, walker use (being in one too much makes the core muscles weak--so we don't know if she was in one too much or never, she still had problems).

Glad Mei Mei is progressing with that leg and prayers the other will respond quickly to therapy or whatever she needs.

Thankful you all are home safe and Miss T is doing well, too. :)

Debby said...

I will say some prayers for Mei Mei. You do have reasons for concern. I am wondering that if it isn't related to the lack of exercise.
When my daughter (now 39) was a few weeks old her leg folds didn't match. Her one leg was 2 inches (yes two) shorter than the other. But her hip did not click when they moved her legs around. She was hospitalized and getting ready for surgery. The night before (around midnight) the doctor came back in the hospital and rexrayed her legs. They had planned on the surgery and a full body cast. (Remember that was 39 years ago and before MRI's) The doctor decided that it wasn't hip dysplasia. They decided it was a curvature of the spine possibly caused by the way I carried her or possibly genetic. We never had surgery, really did nothing. Routine checks of her spine has shown a small curvature but nothing significant. Just think that one leg was 2" shorter and she never had to do anything and it corrected itself. I sure hope that is the case for your baby. Hoping just some therapy and freedom to move around is all she needs.

Debby said...

I will say some prayers for Mei Mei. You do have reasons for concern. I am wondering that if it isn't related to the lack of exercise.
When my daughter (now 39) was a few weeks old her leg folds didn't match. Her one leg was 2 inches (yes two) shorter than the other. But her hip did not click when they moved her legs around. She was hospitalized and getting ready for surgery. The night before (around midnight) the doctor came back in the hospital and rexrayed her legs. They had planned on the surgery and a full body cast. (Remember that was 39 years ago and before MRI's) The doctor decided that it wasn't hip dysplasia. They decided it was a curvature of the spine possibly caused by the way I carried her or possibly genetic. We never had surgery, really did nothing. Routine checks of her spine has shown a small curvature but nothing significant. Just think that one leg was 2" shorter and she never had to do anything and it corrected itself. I sure hope that is the case for your baby. Hoping just some therapy and freedom to move around is all she needs.

Mer (Lulu's Mommy) said...

Good Job, Mama. I didn't use my leg muscles for at least nine months after I was born. Maybe I should tell my doctor about that. Ha.

Bell said...

Welcome back home TM and family. Welcome MeiMei!
Hope hip issues resolve quickly and MeiMei soon starts to explore her new world on feet.

Kristi said...

a friend of mine was born with hip displasia - her mom has pics of her as a baby in a sling type of thing that held her legs in a certain position. She eventually got a cast that started at her rib cage & went down her legs. She ended up with a full-ride gymnastic scholarship. Prayers for Mei Mei!

Kim K. said...

I've been anxious for updates. I pray that Mei Mei's hip will not require surgery. Please keep us posted as best as you can.

The Gang's Momma! said...

Awwww, so glad to hear from you again. Been thinkin' of you off and on for the past ten days or so. Glad that things are settling in and coming around to your new normal. Love hearing about her little personality blossoming.

Our Li'l Empress had to be taught how to crawl - we avoided therapy simply because the dr. taught us how to teach her how to do it and we got the whole Gang in on the action. Between the increased and opened space to explore and the Gang constantly helping and correcting the weak leg, she got the hang of it in time to have the OT sign off on it.

I love the comment about keeping her world small and simple for now. We noticed when Li'l E had no "boundaries" put in place downstairs, she kind of shrunk in to herself. When we gated off parts of the downstairs and opened the space to her slowly, she responded with so much more confidence and ease. It meant climbing over stools laid on their sides and gates in doorways but it was worth it to see her unease fade away at her own pace.

Hugs to you my friend. Will be praying over the hip ultrasound - for good direction and a good plan for her best treatment. Can't wait to hear what God has up His sleeve for you all :)

Aunt LoLo said...

TM, I know blogging is not for everyone, but THANK you for letting us join you (and Miss T and Tonggu Daddy and MeiMei) on this journey!

prechrswife said...

Glad to read an update, and I will definitely be praying for Mei Mei as you search for answers for her hip problem. :-)

Cedar said...

THANKS SO MUCH for posting. Poor baby, poor babies in the orphanage...Glad reentry is going well-ish--those pesky sleep issues can be a bear--I look forward to hearing how the ultra sound goes. Praying answers are found quickly and surgery is not required.

That picture is makes me want to cry.

Merrill said...

Glad to know you are home and settling in. I was born with hip displasia (40 years ago). I had that brace with the bars between my feet. My mom hated it, but we all survived it. Will be thinking of you as you prepare for the ultrasound.

Veronica Mitchell said...

So glad things are going well.

Our daughter was born with hip dysplasia. The wide straddled hips are actually good for hip dysplasia because legs spread wide apart forces the hip bone into the socket, which is how the socket gets shaped correctly. If she has to wear a brace or have surgery, they will make her keep her legs in that position. And we saw the splits thing often - it's how our daughter learned to sit up too.

Our girl learned to sit up, crawl and even walk in her brace, so if that's in her future, don't let it throw you. Kids can adapt to braces so quickly.

Cavatica said...

Yay! You're home and blogging and doing well! My cousin had hip displasia and had a hip replacement at age 60. That's when it was diagnosed. She was ice dancing before and after her hip replacement.

Can't wait for more stories of your girlS!

Learning Together at Home said...

So glad to see your update! I'll be praying that they can see what is holding back her movement and looking forward to hearing of her progress.

Nicole said...

Hey! Glad to hear you are home:) We just adopted our son at the age of 10 months from Colombia. He also had hip dysplasia, though we think his was most likely from the tight swaddling that was used on him as as infant. He was premature & the Colombian orphanages use "Kangaroo Care" therapy of having the premature babies wrapped up close to a care giver at all times to help them recieve extra skin to skin contact. I"m grateful that he had that extra care, but I do think that all of that tight swaddling/wrapping is what caused his hip dysplasia. When we recieved him at 10 months he army crawled using only his arms & dragging his limp legs behind. At about 12 months he would push off with his legs a bit when army crawling & finally crawled with his belly off the floor at about 13 1/2 months. Once he started doing that, he made tons of progress and started walking at 15 months:) Our ped. feels it's just something we can keep an eye on for now and that at this point he doesn't need braces.
Thanks for sharing! I'll be checking back for updates on the little sweetheart.

Claudia said...

We had the exact same thing, with the creases that didn't line up! But by the time they had her properly scanned (which took aaaaaages) it had fixed itself and they sent us home from that appointment and told us there was nothing more to do. She was already doing PT by that point (crazy - doing treatment before the diagnosis, but whatever....) and the PT was (mostly) lots of fun. Hope your dysplasia journey is similarly untraumatic.... glad to hear she's already moving around a lot more!

CC said...

Hugs for Mei Mei and the family but glad that adjusting is going well and that she is perfect!!!

Mahmee said...

Glad to hear you are all home safe and sound. Hope little MeiMei is healed up soon. Good luck with the jet lag. Totally hated that part. Welcome home.
M.

Kayce said...

Glad to hear from you all! Sounds like things are going along as they should...happy, simple and full of love!

We too have had the hip dysplasia issues but had nothing appear on ray and are now off to a specialist for ultrasounds and a look see for other walking issues. Our little cricket walks like she's on a balance beam all the time. Hopefully for both of us things will turn out okay with simple strategies to fix them. Lots of prayer for you guys. HUGS!

Alyson and Ford said...

Thank you for letting us into your world; congrats again, over and over!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

the_blissful_mommy said...

Best part of this post: you are content. You are gratefully thanking God. You recognize how perfectly your daughter was created to be y'all's. Hip shmip. Bring it ON. You've been waiting for this child for so many long wintry months, it's time to have a baby bird with awakening wings to coax and massage and fluff. Keep walking, sister. Keep walking and thanking Jesus for how perfectly He creates our world for us.

xoxox ;)

the meaklims said...

I don't think I could say it any better than the previous commenter!

Your thankfulness, your obvious love for this incredible child...and get lots of sleep, no matter what!

Glad to hear things are going well and you are on top of everything, even in the sleep deprived fog. You never cease to amaze me.

Jill

Chasing Dreams Photography said...

Welcome home....send me an email and let me know how our little Gao girl is doing!!!!! : )

Mia's Mommy said...

Glad you're home and getting adjusted to your new life as a family of four.

I'll be thinking of Mei Mei so keep us updated. I know whatever the diagnosis...you will handle it. You are, after all, a super hero mom. :)

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Welcome Home!! So happy to hear that everyone is doing well and transitioning. Those pesky sleep issues the first few weeks were not fun, but you know it will pass in time!

I ditto what Krista said.... please keep us posted on the diagnosis and whatever comes of it, you will handle it because you are an INCREDIBLE Momma!!

Have a graet week......thinking of you!

xoxo,

Lisa

Patty O. said...

I'm so happy for you guys! So, so happy. I hope everything goes well with Mei Mei's hips!

sosopie said...

Big congratulations... I haven't read in awhile and was so happy to hear that you have Mei Mei home. I hope the hip issue gets resolved soon and she's crawling and walking in no time. BTW, I, too have a 7 year old and the baby was 12 months when we got her and I couldn't find matching clothes at all. I can't believe you did!
-sb

Sharon said...

Congrats and welcome back!